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Micing a Harmonica

Discussion in 'Sound, Music, and Intercom' started by lieperjp, Oct 6, 2008.

  1. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Does anyone have a suggestion for micing a Harmonica without buying a special harmonica mic? Later this week I'm recording a guitar/harmonica duet for some friends and need to figure out how to get a good sound from the harmonica.

    I have this available to me:

    2 Audio-Technica 4033a condenser mics (I would prefer not to have to use these, even though they are the best recording mics we have.)

    2 Beyer Dynamic MC86N(C)S Shotgun Mics

    Various SM94s (4 of these), SM81s (4). SM58s (8), and SM57s (7).

    I will be mixing on a Behringer Eurorack UB2443FX-Pro.

    Any suggestions? I was thinking I would be using two SM81s on the guitar. I was almost thinking that I would use the two shotguns perpendicular to the floor a foot above and a foot in front of the Harmonica, but I'm not sure how shotgun mics work in situations like that.

    Also, any specific EQ notes that apply to most harmonica situations?
     
  2. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    I can see the weak link in this signal chain...

    Anyways, moving on...

    I would use both an SM81 and an A/T 4033 on the acoustic guitar. I'm assuming it's an acoustic guitar, but you don't mention if it actually is or isn't.

    You can place the A/T 4033 near the soundhole or similar so that it picks up the body of the guitar. The SM81 should be used to pick up the strings and finger picking/movements.

    You might also want to consider recording the guitar in stereo using an X-Y or Mid-Side configuration. That would get really nice results if done properly.

    As for the harmonica, throw a 57 on it and let the person playing it work the mic. You migh have to EQ out breath noise, but it should be fine.

    If you want my REAL advice, I would say experiment with all of them and see what sounds best to you and the people you are doing the recording for.

    Make sure you have some decent headphones and reference monitors to hear what you are recording/editing.

    All the best!
     
  3. Pip

    Pip Active Member

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    Yeah, if you don't feel like trying all of what you have, I'd go with the 58.
     
  4. lieperjp

    lieperjp Well-Known Member

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    Yup... I know... I'm to lazy to pull out our 32-channel Mackie for 4-5 mics. It's not working properly, anyway... This is the only other board that's not a powered mixer that has the sweepable mids, so hence my decision.

    Yes, it is an acoustic. I think I know what you mean by mid-side configuration, but can you explain a little more?

    I will do some experimentation. Thanks for the help!!!
     
  5. howlingwolf487

    howlingwolf487 Active Member

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    Check out DPA Microphone's Microphone University for a bunch of great reading on stereo techniques and a whole lot more.

    As I look at the A/T 4033, I see now that it is a fixed cardioid pattern. In order to record using a Mid-Side Technique, you need a microphone capable of a figure-8 pickup pattern.

    I think that an X-Y technique using the 2 SM81's would do nicely and you can use one of the 4033's as a room mic to add in the natural ambiance of the recording space (if you want that, that is).
     
  6. DaveySimps

    DaveySimps CBMod CB Mods Premium Member

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    I would use a SM58. They are great in dealing with the unique sound of the instrument. I have had issues with some condensor mics sounding too harsh. Definately play with placement of the mic.

    ~Dave
     
  7. rwhealey

    rwhealey Active Member

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    Probably not what you're thinking about, but check out this Who video:

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hKUBTX9kKEo[/media]

    at about 4:02. That would be an SM58 or a direct descendant- the Who have always used Shure mics.
     
  8. Dillon

    Dillon Active Member

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    Ditto for the '58 on the harmonica. Let the player practice through the mic for a while, though. Playing through a mic is quite different than playing acoustically.
     

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