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Djembefola - Djembe Forum •Article on Recording a Djembe
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Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:40 pm
by Rhythm House Drums
Well, after some research and lots of tests and more research / playing around... I've found some interesting solutions to recording the djembe that wont break the bank... too bad.

I've written up a decent article on recording techniques, and tested out a few common mics, including a dynamic, large condenser, and small condenser.

I've also put in some tips on post production, and ideas to make your recording sound more like a CD with a stereo image rather than a mono recording.

Here is the final, processed, recording. My favorite sound was with a Rode M3 on the top and a Beta 52A on the bottom, so I used that one to play with processing.
http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com/blog/au ... Stereo.mp3

To check out the sounds from the different mics and to here this recording raw, check out the article at:
http://www.rhythmhousedrums.com/blog/20 ... embe-drum/

Re: Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:07 pm
by michi
Great article, thanks a lot for that!

Cheers,

Michi.

Re: Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:38 am
by Djembe-nerd
Very good article :clap:

I was thinking of doing this but I only have a pair of small condensor M-audio pulsar and SM57. I will add a large dia and try this too, this is a good reference to start.

I like the SDC in your experiment, the best sound. What was your placement for the mic, was it single or pair. What DAW are you using.

SM 57 was Ok, the Rode NT1A was the least prefered. I also think the Beta takes away a little bit of punch from the slaps and tones.

I also like the processed sound. The reverb is choice and IMO will depend on the playing situation (Solo, group etc). I have heard in CD's both very wet and very dry sound from lead djembes, and they were certainly processed.

Re: Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:40 am
by bkidd
Thanks so much for writing up your experience with mics and posting the link to the forum. I'm curious, what setup do you use for combining the tracks and what software, if any, do you use for engineering the sound?

-Brian

BTW. Great website, the black walnut wood shells you've constructed are really beautiful.

Re: Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:55 am
by gr3vans
Good work. It's a process I wish I could afford. I'll take your advice under consideration and will hopefully save hundreds of dollars :) Or just spend thousands on 10 mics to record one djembe.

btw, what are you recording and mixing with?

Re: Article on Recording a Djembe

Posted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:36 pm
by Rhythm House Drums
Thanks for the feedback.
Djembe-nerd wrote:Very good article :clap:

I was thinking of doing this but I only have a pair of small condensor M-audio pulsar and SM57. I will add a large dia and try this too, this is a good reference to start.

I like the SDC in your experiment, the best sound. What was your placement for the mic, was it single or pair. What DAW are you using.

SM 57 was Ok, the Rode NT1A was the least prefered. I also think the Beta takes away a little bit of punch from the slaps and tones.

I also like the processed sound. The reverb is choice and IMO will depend on the playing situation (Solo, group etc). I have heard in CD's both very wet and very dry sound from lead djembes, and they were certainly processed.
A small condenser will pick up the attack a bit better than the large, and they generally have a higher threshold for SPL. The Rode M3 is great because it can be self powered with a 9V. That means I can use it with my iPhone to record in the field. There is a neat cable somewhere online that lets you connect a XLR mic to the iPhone or Android.

I think the room was the reason the LDC didn't sound better. It's more sensitive and I really believe if I was playing in a good room or a more lively room it would have sounded a lot better. I can really hear the room on that mic.

After listening to the final processed mix, after stepping away for a day or so, I think I separated the channels too much. I was playing with it last night and got a better result by tightening it up, so it still sounds stereo, but it's not all stereo (you can pick out where the sound is coming from..sort of) To really record in stereo you'd need a matched pair.... I've been eying the Rode NT5's... but a bit pricy for now.

In a mix, the lead djembe sounds great without any reverb or even stereo separation, but as a solo drum.. I think it's a bit more interesting with it.

The beta52 did take away a bit, but I think this is because I didn't eq it coming in and I should have. It picked up more of the tones and slaps than I wanted, maybe even backing it up from the drum a bit would have helped. In my final mix I EQ'd out the tones and slaps and enhanced the bass, then brought up the gain a bit.

So I use Logic Pro, Logic LE does the same thing and is more affordable. I have a M-Audio fast track ultra that lets me record 4 mics in onto 4 different tracks in Logic at the same time. I do all my processing through that.