Hey, has anyone experience with contact microphones for live instruments? I've found a few interesting ones at affordable prices but most often it's either for experimental field recording or strings, strings and strings. I can't find anything about idiophones / steel tongue drums, so I've no idea how well standard contact mics would work with them.

@ice contact mics are usually good to render a specific / narrow range spectrum frequencies. They can sound a harsh on metallic sound source though... What type of recording are you after?

@noue It's for this instrument: -- I don't intend to record it with a lot accuracy, the idea is mainly to get a clear signal without ambient noise that I can then route through various layers of echo and distortion. Since it's quite small I'm not sure how many mics I should use or how big they should be (not to mention where I should install them, probably right in the middle under the dome, I guess).

@ice nice instrument :) Personally I wouldn't go for contact mics for it. My main concern is that the attack would be largely predominant in the final sound ( due to the direct contact / hence the 'string' specification of the mic) it's up to your likings though and it is possible to pickup interesting sounds with this particular combination. Layers of effects will react more precisely on more defined sound sources though.

@noue Thanks :) I'm learning how to use it a bit more every day, there's so much more subtlety than what I initially expected, I really like it.

I thought about contact mics because at the moment I don't have much time (nor space) to set up a proper recording system. I recorded a bit with my Zoom H2 but I often lack a quiet environment for optimal results. In fact it would mostly be a mobile setup, just the drum and a zynthian box, for quick sessions.

@noue I didn't think about the attack, thanks for you input! I suppose I could add an envelope layer to try to smooth it if needed.

@ice alternatively you could try dynamic mics or an omni electrostatic / electret very close to the instrument. Playing with just little distance / angle shifts can make for good results even using cheap equipment. Just make sure you use some kind of preamp before you mangle the sound.

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