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TOPIC: Miking Pipes

Miking Pipes 1 year 7 months ago #419

  • Tunni
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Hi Folks

I would like to explore the potential of miking my pipes, both to add electronic effects and also to be able to play with amplified instruments in loud venues. Who's gone down this road and what types of mikes do you recomend? Omni directional, unidirectional, stock mounted, on stands, radio mikes, tie mikes, what's worked for you? Do you use different spec mikes for the chanter and the drones? Do you go straight into a couple of channels on the PA or through a seperate head and cab first? Where did you get your wahwah? :silly:
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Miking Pipes 1 year 6 months ago #440

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Home recording: I use large diaphram condenser mics plugged into an audio/digital interface, which allows me to record onto my desktop or ipad. Mic placement is very important, perhaps more important than the quality of the mic itself. To find the right placement you have to experiment to find the right place in your recording space. The placement will vary with different sets of pipes. I have two cartoid LDC mics and two dynamic mics. The sound from the LDCs has more depth. I once recorded in a studio where the engineer wanted to use a small diaphram condenser mic. The higher frequencies were more pronounced than the mid and low frequencies on my SSP in A. Your experience might be different. Garage Band is easy to use and the finsihed product is polished, but every GB project has the same kind of sound. It's not bad. They upload to the internet alright. Beware of the built in compression on GB. I haven't found a PC recording program I'm completely happy with, but Amplitude is free and fairly easy. I've found files get distorted sometimes when uploaded to the internet. YMMV.
Gigging: The most dependable set up was an accordion mic mounted on the inside of my bag between the drone and chanter stocks. The downside was picking up the sound inside the bag rather than out and the sound of air coming from the bellows would sometimes get picked up, but never very much. The upside was I plugged it into an amp, then micced the amp for the sound guy. This way I could always hear myself, control the volume, and tweak the sound. Sound guys don't know what to do with bagpipes, so they usually just turn them down. This set up also lets you experiment with pedals(!). Now I don't worry so much about getting the drones in the mix because I play mostly with a cittern player and a guitar player. I position the mic in front of my bottom hand about six to ten inches away. This has the affect of compressing the top hand notes down to the level of the bottom hand notes on SSP. With Border pipes you want to put the mic adjacent to the top hand. Gigging we almost always use dynamic mics like the SM57, because LDC mics are more expensive and easily damaged.
I hope this is helpful. It is by no means exhaustive or authoritative, and someone else might get excellent results doing something completely different or contradictory to what I do. Best of luck.
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Miking Pipes 1 year 6 months ago #441

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Dirdum many thanks for taking the time to answer so thoroughly. I had given up on ever seeing a response and I'm very pleasantly surprised to have done so. I was wondering about just going for a couple of SM57s and reading this I think I will. Top tip on the positioning much appreciated.
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Miking Pipes 1 year 5 months ago #444

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Tunni,
Happy to see you found it useful. I'm still learning a lot everytime I record. With the SM57 you can get your chanter right up on the mic, so close your fingers almost hit it, record, back off a few inches, record, and repeat until you find the sound you like best. Putting the mic at angle up or down will help with controlling the dynamics, so you don't end up with an overpowering top hand (SSP) or bottom hand (Lowland pipes). If you do use two mics you might put one on an axis with the other, like an "X", with one on the level of your top hand and one on the level of you bottom hand. I have found that I don't need a mic for the drones, because they come through well enough without one. Then you can have all sorts of fun "enhancing" the drone tone in your recording program.
When you get your projects done please post them on soundcloud.com or youtube.com, and let us know so we can enjoy them too.
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