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Hand-held percussion-like shakers and tambourines have become a big part of the rhythm section as they're responsible for adding motion to the song. Let's look at the best way to get a great sound. There are a number of things to consider when recording hand-held percussion. First, the instrument must be moved when playing, so close miking usually won't work because of the wind blasts. And second, the transient response of most hand-held instruments puts added strain on the entire signal chain. That's why it's always best record with extra headroom, which means at the level meters read somewhat low.
Because of the transient response, ribbon and condenser mics are normally used since they have a response fast enough to capture those short energy bursts. Place the condenser mic set to an omni pattern about 2 feet away at about head level but pointing down at the instruments. Omni works great for this purpose since any air blast won't set off the proximity effect that a directional mic has. (music playing) Make sure the recording level meters read out -10db on peaks.
Move the mic to about 4 feet away if your hear wind noise or want to capture some of the room ambience. (music playing)
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