Recording hand percussion

mjbphotos

What?!?
Before I ask my questions ... At almost-67 years old, I acknowledge my hearing loss (and tinnitus), just did another frequency test and verified anything over about 12.5KHz I can't hear. Funny thing, though, is that recently I've noticed some higher frequency stuff that I CAN hear, where I don't remember hearing them that way before - things like tambourine, or high freq, cymbal 'tings', etc.

Anyway....

I've always struggled getting hand percussion to sit and sound right in my mixes - shakers, cabasa, gueiro, tambourine and even a hand drum. On a recent mix I was working on, a rock sound with guitars, bass, drums and keys, I added a tambourine, but when listening to the mix, despite the very low volume I had on the tamb, I could still close my eyes and point to it in the mix, it stood out, was not "in" the mix. The other day I mixed an acoustic song (3 nylon string acoustic tracks, bass and vocals) that had a cabasa track and a gueiro track. I panned each of them about 20% to either side, and put them low in the mix, but they still don't sound that good to me, although my songwriting partner liked it.

Should I be squashing the tracks with compression? Record with a dynamic mic instead of a condensor? Any other suggestions?

I heard 'Don't Speak' by No Doubt last night while driving, and the tambourine that starts in the chorus of that song is very low in the mix, but clear AND part of the mix, too - single hits or shakes, etc, all sounded good - that's what I'd like to achieve.
 
I use one or two LDC's for percussion and I don't compress because I want the transients but that's just me. I will EQ if needed and almost always add reverb.

I use two mic's for things like shakers and maracas and one for single instruments. Experiment with different reverbs because it makes a difference. Some work and some definitely don't
 
No - I hate compression on things that just don't need it. for the HF latin stuff I find that losing the stuff below 2K can often make it sit better. Pretty much I do what Markmann said - works for me. I'm currently doing some latin stuff and the percussion is much more difficult than I expected.
 
Especially things like tambourine, the mic is very far away, like in the next room. I sit at the console with the door to the drum room open and I turn on the drum overheads. It tames the transients
 
I use one or two LDC's for percussion and I don't compress because I want the transients but that's just me. I will EQ if needed and almost always add reverb.

I use two mic's for things like shakers and maracas and one for single instruments. Experiment with different reverbs because it makes a difference. Some work and some definitely don't
How do you place your 2 mics when tracking, and how do you pan the tracks?
 
How do you place your 2 mics when tracking, and how do you pan the tracks?
The mic's are usually 2-3 feet apart because that's a comfortable distance for me to play and also gets decent separation. I pan the tracks pretty hard right and left but I do it by ear. Most common is generally at the 9 and 3 o'clock position. Reverb helps to get them to sound how I hear it in the room. If you want to hear something I did listen to a latin type track I recorded a few years ago on my Bandcamp page called "I've Been Waiting" that has drums, congas, shakers and guiro that run through the entire song and you can hear them clear at the intro.
 
Lazer? I'm totally confused why you would want to compress and limit every track? Totally alien to my recordings. Compress if they need it, and many simply don't. The one thing I hate about compression is how it makes things breath and behave unnaturally - like guitars that have amazing sustain, then suddenly don't and things like instruments that can be played quietly and loudly all playing the same, and then the fader up and down for volume sounds totally unreal. Limiters are for when things get out of control, surely? With modern 24 and 32 bit processing, nobody should be near 0dBFS nowadays, so what will the limiter be doing? I know you do this for your music - but not every bit of music is your type, so doesn't need it. I don't get your way of thinking, I'm afraid?
 
I record percussion a lot and as everything in recording, it depends. I'll use condensers or dynamics, I'll close mic if I want that pop but most of the time, I'll record at a distance. When I'm panning, I think very carefully about what each percussion instrument is meant to achieve. I'll use compression sometimes, but again, it's dependent on what role the percussion happens to be playing. It can be easy to fall into the trap of just compressing as a default but then, you alter some of the fundamental sounds of different percussion instruments. Is that what you want ? Those percussion instruments are there precisely because of their sounds.
This is a difficult all-purpose question to answer because not only is every song different, the percussive roles are too. Sometimes, they're just decoration, sometimes they're providing necessary colour alongside basic drum patterns, sometimes they're driving, other times they're providing rhythmic variation.
 
, nobody should be near 0dBFS nowadays,
I dont do any social media or online streaming. LUFs what? haha. That is where I set the limiter to -16lufs. But for the car, it needs to be as loud as the other songs. It needs to be as close to zero as possible. So in my car when I get to my mp3 , my mp3 needs to be loud as the CD's previous track.

Compressor limiter and clipper...will take it to the edge of zero.
 
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I dont do any social media or online streaming. LUFs what? haha. That is where I set the limiter to -16lufs. But for the car, it needs to be as loud as the other songs. It needs to be as close to zero as possible. So in my car when I get to my mp3 , my mp3 needs to be loud as the CD's previous track.

Compressor limiter and clipper...will take it to the edge of zero.
None of that helps y original questions, but ... thanks ....
 
I use various types of mics as others have said depending on the placement and role of the percussion.
eq always helps to declutter unwanted stuff. IE i dont need the bottom end on a tambourine,shaker,guiro etc
then treat with reverb either via a bus or master send so it sits in the right place in the sonic canvas.
Hope you find a way that works for you.
 
A ribbon mic is good for taming the spiky highs of things like shakers and tambourines. I have found those spikes to be some of the most intrusive sounds when mixing.

C.
 
Today I recorded a tambourine part, using 2 LDCs, on about a 3 foot triangle, tracked to separate tracks, put it in the mix panned towards one side, so about 20L,40R, and it sounds much better than when I was using one mic.
 
Today I recorded a tambourine part, using 2 LDCs, on tracked to separate tracks, put it in the mix panned towards one side, so about 20L,40R, and it sounds much better than when I was using one mic.
Yeah, right. Record the stereo field. Its much more 'alive' . Mono went out with the stone age. Nobody records in mono anymore. The majority of samples I download are stereo. Even the Roland Rom cards are stereo samples 16bit 44k.
None of that helps y original questions, but ... thanks ....
huh..
 
Should I be squashing the tracks with compression? Record with a dynamic mic instead of a condensor? Any other suggestions?
If you hear other percussion parts recorded the way you like - your hearing can't be that bad - the point of percussion is it narrow band recording - wee how much cutting away you can do before the part doesn't sound right - compress if you must - but really listen to it first - a compressed part has a definitely sonic quality that I don't really subscribe too - Except Handclaps and chock type blocks - I compress them a lot - but not so you can hear the compression breath.
 
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