Top Tip: What’s THIS For??

I thought I would share some crazy and possibly illegal uses for mics I have found on recent sessions that add a bit of interest to tracked recordings.  Feel free to chip in with any others, what makes for strange sounds and timbres that make people go huh?

An acknowledged classic first, shotgun mic on snare.  Set to high directional setting and suspended a few feet above the snare pointing straight down at the centre.  A variant is to stick something underneath and key the top mic off that.  Sounds best with a tight controlled snare.

Mini condenser in the back of a guitar cab.  A Karma or QTX stuck in the back of an open cab adds some freaky overtones to the front mics.

Dangle one in the holes of a soundboard of a piano, if you are lucky enough to be recording a baby grand.  Mix with your other mics to taste.

Tape some minis inside the two drums of a pair of bongos and perch them on top of the bass cab.  Blend with DI at mixdown.

Blu-tack another tiddler inside a cowbell and put it in front of the bass drum front hole.  The pressure wave rings the metal in a surprising way.

Place a guitar or bass cab in front of the kick drum, the bigger the better.  DI out to the desk and blend with the sound of the kit, some bowel-shaking bass fundamentals may appear.

Put a dynamic in front of a monitor speaker.  Put a tin bucket over the speaker.  Play a previously recorded track over the speaker.  Route the recording mic to another track.  Try with bits of the drum kit, electric guitar, vocals.  If you don’t have a bucket (?) use an empty fire extinguisher and whack the bass up on the feed signal.

Warning: unorthodox mic use can result in 50% chance of catastrophic failure to sound great.  Which means 50% chance of catastrophic success hurrah!


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