Advice for recording Steel Pans

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by donthaveone, May 8, 2007.

  1. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    Hello, I was wondering if anyone has experiece recording steel drums and could give me advice. I am a newbie but have done live recording with rock/blues bands but never acoustic instruments. I have 2 SP C4's and some sm57's what would be the best mic's for the job? is it better to mike the top or the bottom of the drum?

    Any insight would help.
     
  2. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    I have not recorded them myself, but have heard a lot of them, and from that clangy sound, I would not consider a condenser, start with a warm smooth ribbon mic. Coles or Royer.
     
  3. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Use the best microphones, the best preamps and the best mixing console you can. The Univeristy of Akron just releast their latest CD "By Request" and it was recorded at a top end studio here in Cleveland Ohio using a Fairlight console and some $6,000 Sony microphones. It sounds FANTASTIK. You should listen to a copy if you can.

    More info here http://www.uasteelband.com/byrequest.asp
     
  4. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Those are great clips Tom. My wife has a pair of double second pans and they don't sound that good live. If I just had a Fairlight console and a $6k Sony mic, I could listen through headphones when she practices.
     
  5. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    The recording does sound great, but um...Dont have 6,000 dollar mics, Just sone C4's and 57's into my saffire 26. Do you know how they had the mics placed by chance?
     
  6. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Most important find a good "acoustical space" then use the best equipment you can. If you are doing it multi track make sure you leave plenty of headroom on each track so when you mix you are not overwhelming the mix bus. If you are doing it direct to two track just leave lots of headroom. There are a LOT of spikes coming from the instruments and some of them can overwhelm an input channel or recording medium. Best of luck and please report back to us on the results (and possibly post the tracks) of your recording. Take care.
     
  7. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    New development, I now have an AKG C414 B to my disposal. should I run it F8 in the middle of both drums or just run the sm57's independently underneath them. If i can squeak out another track I will do both and let you know which turned out better.
     
  8. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Oh, it's only two drums. Lead pans? Here is what I'd try first with the mics you mentioned. I'd try a 57 about 18 inches above each drum. Play with the distance of course, but I don't think that really close would be good. The pan is sort of a sector of a sphere, and you'd like to put the mic at least at the radius of the sphere. I'd put the C4s in ORTF with the pair at least 6-10 feet along the axis of the drums. The C414 either figure 8 or omni. If the C4s sound good I'd move the 414 back. If the C4s sound harsh I'd move it up. The main thing is thing is to have a plan to deal with the possibility that the C4s could be a problem - this is an inherently harsh instrument. The 57's and the C414 could be a good combination with the 414 giving your basic mono sound and the 57s being added in to give a stereo image.

    Not speaking from experience recording them, but at least I'm listening to my wife practice right now. (Her band is going to a competition at Virginia Beach this weekend.)
     

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