Monday, March 11, 2013

Mic Trick: Hand Drums

Everybody gets caught outside their comfort zone now and again. Here's a little trick that might save your bacon when you wind up mixing a band that has hand drums. That would be congas or a djembe, something of that sort. You can't just slap a mic on it and be done.

The trick here is that drums like these have two distinctive parts to their voices and you have to get them both or they won't sound right. Micing the top head will only get the attack. You need a second mic on the bottom to pic up the resonance that gives the drum its full voice.

Opinions are divided as to whether you need to flip polarity on the bottom mic. Try it both ways and see which one gives you the best results. On a tight stage you might have to flip it just to keep the monitors happy. A mic picking up a very resonant source that also happens to be close to a wedge can make you have a bad night. 

Stay tuned Brethren of the Knob and Fader. It's Mic Trick Week. Send in your tricky instruments and we'll post the tricks that will get you through the gig.

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