Discuss gear and techniques for recording and stage performance
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
When I use the search feature I dont get any finds (even when I type djembe). So sorry if this has been brought up, just send me a link to the old thread if so..

What are some good techniques for recording a djembe? I've heard a mic up top and mic at the bottom. I've heard a dynamic mic at the center of the djembe about 6 inches off and pointing at 45 deg. I've also heard a large diaphragm condenser mic put a few inches below the head... Any experience/suggestions here? This is micing for studio type recording, not live.
User avatar
By Marc_M
Sounds like Rhythm House was looking to mic just a single drum. I remember the previous thread, but there is information covering material other than how to mic a single djembe. I thought this video has some good information.

User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
Since there is a dedicated section to recording now... I figure I'll post some things I'm finding. I've recently got a set up with a shure sm57 that I put on a stand and angle down to the center of the drum head. I've also got a beta 52a that I put about 6" to a foot away from the bottom of the drum. I'm really happy with the results. I dont have a lot of experience, but I like the way my recordings sound. I've recently got a Boss 20xl, it's a loop station that allows for 11 tracks and up to 16 minutes and is activated by foot pedal. In other words, I can record each dunun phrase on top of each other, and then record the acomp. djembe. I can throw in Krin and if I had a kora and a flute I'd be all set!... then just play it loud and practice soloing and playing within the rhythm. If I wanna change up the kenkeni.. I just go to that track, erase it and and record a new phrase over it. For practicing when you dont have anyone else around to keep the beat with you... this is AWESOME set up and not too expensive. I got the looper for about 170USD off ebay... got the SM57, cable, and stand for about 115. Feed that into your stereo and that's really all you need. You can even change the tempo without affecting the pitch of the drums, which is nice if you get into it and wanna speed it up, or are practicing chops.

The SM57 is a popular drum mic... especially for snare. You have to mic close, but it pics up nice and wont record much of any room noise (even if my wife is watching tv in the next room). It really helps my slaps and tones out. The Beta 52a is for kick drums. It works well to get a nice bass from the djembe and pure sound out of the dununs. I also use the SM57 on the dununs sometimes as well but the Beta picks up the bass better. I put the Beta on the opposite end of the dunun, and mike it about 3-4" from the head.
By bubudi
sounds like a decent setup. could you post a recording so we can hear the result?
By stereodesign
Lots of different ways to record Djembe, depends on the instrument, how you want it to sound etc.
I've used large diaphragm condenser mics pointing at the head at various distances of up to 1m away with excellent results. Alternatively a Shire 58 inches from the head can sound good.
Small diaphragm condensers on the head and a dynamic on the bottom can also sound good.
Watch out for noise from feet etc when using a bottom mic.
User avatar
By Rhythm House Drums
I've been playing around with this set up and love the results... using the dynamic mics I had, I wasn't getting the "life" that you'd get with a condenser... so here's what I've done with what I have...

SM57 4inches from the head pointed towards my hands
beta52a directly under the drum, almost up in the shell
SM57 3 feet away, about 6' up and pointing towards the head.

Ideally you'd use a condenser for the far away mic to get some of the room noise and add some life, but I have 57s so that's what I used... I turned the gain all the way up on that one. Recorded from all 3 on separate channels. Ended up with 20% volume on the far sm57 (just to add some room noise and distance to the sound)... about 30% volume with the beta 52a, much more than that and it got boomy.. but having that mic really helps to bring out the life in the tones and gives a deep richness to the bass. The 57 that was on the head had 100% volume. I ended up doing very slight compression and did noise gates on the 52 to cut out any high freqs. All the channels sound really funny alone, but together... it's nice!

Another option would be to use a good condenser, placed just right and in a nice live room... I'm recording in a bedroom with a lot of junk, so the room sounds awful. I'm trying to get the drum, but found you also need some room noise or it just sounds dry and fake.

As I've said before... I'll get some recordings up one day (problem is I make these posts from work.... and record at home)