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recording djembe

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Whitebird, Jan 8, 2001.

  1. Whitebird

    Whitebird Guest

    Firstly, great list guys. I am a small studio using digi-001 and vs-880, and came across this list on the digi user conference.

    I am needing advice on miking and recording african percussion, namely Djembe & dun-duns.
  2. Hi Whitebird,

    My personal preference for Djembe or indeed any of the similar shaped instruments like the Dumbek, is to use two mics. One near the head and one under the player's chair right underneath the bottom of the drum. The top mic picks up the hand contact on the head whilst the bottom mic picks up the bass. I can then mix the two tracks to create a balance between the two mics depending on the music. The mics I use are nothing special, a standard bass drum mic for the bottom, an MD441 or whatever. The top mic you need to play with, an SM57 or 58 often works well but sometimes I like to use a good quality capacitor mic, depends on the particular sound I'm looking for. I normally place the top mic close to the head, like with a snare drum but again it's worth palying around with the position.

    Please bare in mind that this is just what works for me in my acoustic with my setup. It may not work in your acoustic or it may not give you the sound you are looking for. My best advice is to take your time and experiment.

  3. Whitebird

    Whitebird Guest

    Thanks Greg. I was thinking along those lines as well, and you have given me some confirmation of that.

    I am having a bit of trouble getting the bottom end of the double ended Dun-Duns. Any tips there.
  4. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Do you own or have access to a large diaphragm condenser mic?

    Ang1970 is:
    Angelo Quaglia,
    AQ Productions

    RO, created for musicians by musicians.
  5. Whitebird

    Whitebird Guest

    Yes. I have a Rode NT-1.
  6. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Good. If you have a fairly dead room, put it up somewhere between waist and knee level, about 2-3 feet from the source.
    Mic pre selection will make a difference too. What have you got at your disposal?
  7. Hi Whitebird,

    Sorry, I don't know what a Dun-Dun is! I've got a feeling I might know it under a different name. I've even asked my wife who is one of the world's leading authorities on percussion and she thinks she has heard the name but doesn't know what it is.

    Do you know if the Dun-Dun has another name, or can you describe it to me?

  8. Whitebird

    Whitebird Guest

    First to Angelo. I don't have much choice in pre-amps. Just my digi-001, and a yamaha mx series desk. I figured the digi would be the pick there.

    Now Greg. Dun-duns are the bottom-end and melody of a west african drum ensemble. Traditionally there are three, the dunun or dunumba, which is the lowest; then the sangban in the middle, and then the kenkeni at the top. These were usually one person, one drum & bell.

    Now they are commonly played in 2 pairs, with different pitches, playing intelocking melodic grooves, and bell patterns.

    Thay are a double ended cow hide barrel drum
  9. Hi Whitebird,

    I think I know what sort of drum you are talking about. Unfortunately, I've never tried to record this type of drum so I don't have any practical advice to give.


  10. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    I suppose you could make the distortion of the MX work for you on loud passages. But in general, ya they suck.

    I'd try the rodent into the 001 first, same setup as mentioned previously. Getting low to the ground hopefully will catch some of the bass better. Going in close to get proximity effect might just make it sound muddy. Play around with the placement until it sounds right.

    Another rodent xy'd with the first would be a great way to get space. But if you don't have a second one you could try blending in a pair of xy'd 57's (or whatever you have 2 of. Hell, they don't even have to be the same brand, just the same level). Make sure the diaphragms are the same distance and polarity as the rodent.

    And then there was m/s... but that's another story kids. Maybe uncle Steve will read that one to you tomorrow night.

    Sweet Dreams
  11. Wayne Butler

    Wayne Butler Guest

    Two mics worked well for me on the djembe. Used an ATM25 at the bottom, looking up towards the head. Gave the hands some depth Spl isn't a problem, but they do get deep. Used a AKG535EB small condenser on the skins, kinda off-axis.

    Didn't try a large condenser, but I will next time.

    ATM25 sounded great through the Peavey VMP-2.

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