Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

I am recording an album with my band for the first time and we are arguing over how the bodhran should sound. We can’t seem to find a way to explain it to the sound engineer who is mixing our CD. First, it sounded too out front because he put compression on it. Our bodhran player loved this, but being the melody player, I did not. Then, we took the compression off and now we can barely hear the drum. In fact, we lost almost all of the higher register of the drum. If anyone knows anything about this and can tell me exactly what to tell the sound engineer, please help!!!

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Um. What I did was find several recordings with the sound I liked and asked the engineer to try for that. I know that doesn’t help very much, but the engineer seemed to appreciate the effort.

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Normal studio practice is to use a good quality drum mike, usually with a clip attachment, plus a few instrument condenser mikes a few feet away (either side of the skin) to catch the higher frequencies and ambience. It’s a very difficult instrument to record well, even with the best of equipment, so you may have to accept a bit of sound processing like comression / gating / snap reverb in order to move forward. I ‘ve been there! Miked in the above fashion, the engineer at the time got pretty good results, and there was a slight amount of comression and snap reverb added which tightened up the sound. He used the eq controls on the desk to get rid of some of the "boominess" also.

Jim

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

I think it’s all amatter of taste. Personally, I would stick a couple of good neumanns about 4 or five feet away and record it flat. If it still sounds rubbish, then it means your drum or your playing is rubbish. The alternative is all kinds of gating and compression and spending 2 hours or so tweeking the e.q. And you might well find that if you go down this route, a sturdy carboard box will end up sounding better. (I’m serious, I’ve done it)

Posted .

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Yep, I’ve been there. in fact the recording for the Mighty Craic has too little higher register. i have tried the clip attachment with a good quality mike and have also tried a mike either side, one almost below and one slightly above. the clip mike seemed to work best.

Another sound techie first recorded the entire band with all the instruments involved with just one mike above us. He then figured out the "loudness", tone etc of each instrument in relation to each of the other instruments in order to understand what relationship each instrument bears to the others in an unmiked situation and then managed to set his recording levels accordingly.
(Don’t please ask me how he did all that but the result was pretty good on the whole)

Joe

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

There’s nothing particularly tricky about recording a bodhran. A good mic in front (not in back) of the drum should yield the sound of the drum as it sounds live. The mix is where it is blended with the other instruments. If it is too boomy or lacking in fullness, you can temper the result with mic placement, EQ, or by using a different drum.

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Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Michael, Michael, you crack me up!!!!! 🙂

Jim

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Hi fiddleplayer22- Right now we are exactly in the throes of dealing with the bodrhan in studio recording. Our sound engineer’s favorite solution from his standpoint is to record the bodrhan in isolation, then dub it afterward. Even then, dubbing it back in the mix takes a lot of tweaking, seems to me. However, that means we can’t use the bodhran to impart rhythm and energy in the recording of the band. When we record the bodrahn with the rest of the instruments playing, the subharmonics bleed (really overwhelmingly hemorrage)onto everyone else’s
tracks, and the subs just rumble, rumble. We haven’t solved it, but have kind of arrived at some compromises. I’ll be interested to hear of other people’s solutions to this problem.
Good thread choice!

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

The back side is boomy, the skin side is "thwap"-y. Pick one, stick a 57 close in, and go. Or go both sides, if you’re that sort.
A Neumann seems a bit of overkill to me, but if you’re into that I guess it can’t hurt. The main thing for me would be something very directional, probably something dynamic, to reject the rest of the band as much as possible. If your engineer has a set of drum mics, you might try playing with his kick and snare mics, kick on the back side snare on the front.
As for the noise bleeding problem, if the drum is tunable, you might ask your drummer to slacken it up a little, or else use a bit of water on it. Sounds like it’s tuned very resonant, which you need in a loud bar but not in a studio. Loosening up a bit will take the room-filling property away, but with a mic close up on it, the drum should come to tape just fine.

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Thanks Jon- I’ll suggest loosening up at the recording session. Instead of water, a shot of jameson’s might really be effective! 🙂

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

Well, when we recorded our demo tracks, they set up a plexiglass divider thingie. We could all see each other, but with strongly directional mikes, there was not so much bleedthrough. Dunno if that helps any.

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

My friend Dave used to get excellent bodhran sounds in his home studio using a clip-on condenser mic that fed into some kind of bass amp and miking the amp.

Re: Has anyone recorded and mixed bodhran?

I’ve always miced up my Bodhran with a tie-clip electret bluetaced to the inside of the rim looking at the skin, about an inch away.
I’ve recorded it that way too and it sounds great with hardly any spill.
TTFN
PP