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Old 01-03-2019, 02:04 PM   #1
Forum Member - Shy or Quiet
Join Date: May 2017
Location: UK
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Default Recording Bagpipes


Anyone got any experience home recording the pipes?

I'm currently experimenting, I've tried recording the chanter and drones individually to put them on different tracks. The tenor drone and chanter going through an SM-57 and the bass drone through a JTS-TX-2. It produces a good sound but you can hear the drones and chanter are recorded separately if you listen hard.

A much more holistic sounding recording is made playing the whole set together through an SM-57, but the SM-57 doesn't really do the bass drone justice and where to place the mic becomes real issue.

Currently I only have one pre-amp.
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Old 01-04-2019, 04:26 AM   #2
John McCain
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Join Date: Nov 2001
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Default Re: Recording Bagpipes

You're correct that mic placement is one of the major decisions. You should be able to get the SM57 in the right place, but the challenge is you can't accurately assess where that is while you are playing.

So you either need to get a piper pal to play while you listen/move the mic, or get someone with good ears to do this while you're playing.

Or, more challenging, move the mic, record, listen. Repeat until you get the result.

Your room, and where you're sitting in the room, can make a lot of difference, too.

Good luck - I think the SM57 is a good choice (and I own too many mics, including Neumanns)
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Old 01-05-2019, 10:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Recording Bagpipes

In my limited experience (most of my recording work is done with studio techs who don't routinely record pipes) we've generally found that ribbon mics seem to work well with chanters.
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Old 01-05-2019, 12:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: Recording Bagpipes

I've done a bit of experimenting with recording pipes.

Here's one thing I've discovered. If you're trying to record with a single microphone, then an omni will work the best. The issue with directional microphones is that the directionality is determined in part by the frequency response falloff. As you get off axis they are more directional in higher frequencies.

A problem with the SM57 is it has a pronounced peak at about 4khz. You can partly address that with EQ, but it isn't a smooth peak.

Probably part of the problem you're hearing in your recordings is bleed. If you listen to just the chanter, you can probably hear a lot of the bass. Then when you mix them you get phase issues.

Think about the directionality of your microphones, and try to put each part of the instrument in the dead spot of the other mic. So if you record the chanter with the 57, put the body on the drone side, facing away from the drone--it will minimize how much drone it records. The TX2 says it's hypercardioid, so that means the dead spot is a 30 degree cone. Put the chanter inside the cone. The goal isn't to optimize the orientation for the thing you're trying to record, but to optimize it for the thing you're trying to avoid recording.

The TX2 also says it's for recording bass guitar and bass drums. If your bass drone is like mine it's got a fair bit of high frequency harmonics and a mic like that won't really do good for it.

To record with a single microphone, put it a fair distance from the instrument. Six to 10 feet.

If you have closed back headphones, you can monitor the sound as you move the microphones around.
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