View Full Version : Mixing Gaelic band

10-03-2005, 11:03 AM
Good day all

I recorded a friends band on the weekend
and now it's time to mix
I have recorded 2 acoustic gutars
2 female vocalists
and a bodhran drum
does anyone have any ideas of reference and/or tips
on mixing this style of music

P.S I should mention that they plan on using this cd to
hand out to local pubs to try and get gigs

10-03-2005, 11:27 AM
Hey 18Duffs

I have recorded and mixed two Irish/Celtic bands and I assume Gaelic wouldn't be a whole lot different.
If those are all the tracks (and performers) there are, your main focus should be to retain the spaciality (word?) of the band. What I mean is, don't try to fill in every inch of the mix. Let the music 'breath' a lot.
You can start by panning the guitars right and left (not necessarily 'hard' R/L, but give them room so they don't run into each other). Put the vocals near the middle, but not really in the middle (10R and 10L is a place to start).
I assume you meant bodhran and that's a little trickier. I prefer to mic a bodhran the same way as a kick drum with one dynamic mic 'inside' the drum aimed toward where the player strikes the other side of the skin (an SM57 works for me) and one condensor mic about 14-24" away from the drum on the other side (I use an Oktava MK-012). This gives you a good bit of control of how much thump vs. click in the drum sound. Plus you can pan a little more if you have two tracks.
But I guess you've already recorded and probably didn't use two mics, so put the bodhran straight up the middle and EQ and compress (the free BF76 plug is good for this) to get the smack you want.

You can be a little more generous with reverb in this kind of music because generally bands want that 'off in the moors' kind of sound, but if they are less airy and more raukus, give it a nice room verb to make it feel like a pub.
Really, keep effects to a minimum (besides verb) as this kind of music is really organic and natural in its feel.

Let me know if you want some more info and good luck!


10-03-2005, 12:06 PM
HI Ben.... thanks for the reply!!
I suppose I should of elaborated on how I recorded them
all was done in my home studio with a converted cold cellar as a booth
I might of lucked out... for the bodhran (sorry about the spelling)
I treated it as a kick...
I used a Beta 52 close to the drum and put a C1 a few feet back to
capture the room feel... do you think it would be wise to do a soft pan
like you suggested for the guitars?

I recorded the guitars with three seperate mics
I used a 57 close to the hole and a 58 on the bridge
and put the C1 a few feet back...again to capture the room

I recorded the vocals with a 58 up close and put the C1 in the background

there fore I have lots of tracks to choose from
but most likely won't end up using them all

10-04-2005, 07:08 AM
Hey Duffs,

Sounds like you got your bases covered when recording. Smart move.

Depending on how the ambient mics sound you may be able to use those instead of verbs. Also depending on how far back they were and what kind of slap you get from the walls of the cellar (I assume they are concrete?).

Start off by getting a good mix with the close mics as I described before and then use the ambient/room mics panned all over the place (opposite of the source mic) to really make it feel like a room and give you a 'real' as opposed to contrived spacial sound.

But it sounds like you're on the right track, now just use those ears to make it sound the way you want.

Would love to hear what you come up with.

(Unfortunately the band I work with in that style is not terribly good, and I end up doing a LOT of editing just to keep them in time and such, so I don't get all the advantages of room mics like you do).


10-04-2005, 11:42 PM
Hi there--those were nice suggestions on the bodhran; never really thought of it as just a held bass drum. When you say 'Gaelic' are they singing in Gaelic, or is it more of a Pogues-style pub sound? The type of production you go for really depends on what kind of feel they want. If you listen to the great trad bands of the 70s (Bothy Band, Planxty etc), there isn't a lot in the way of even reverb on these albums, and very little compression. The 80s and early 90s changed things a lot, with bands like Clannad (Enya used to be with them) and Capercaille going the whole hog, slapping plates and delays here and there willy nilly. In Scotland, I have heard folk say that the trend is for people to go back to more of an 'organic' feel and a few producers are eschewing reverb 'completely'. You just have to consider context. As Ben said, trad music tends to go for a 'raw' sound, which means less ambience. Remember, people used to play in each others houses. Your ears will be your guide.

The hard panned guitar thing works great sometimes, but it does stray away from naturalistic imaging. Since you've got 2 guitars, get them as far apart as you need to, to keep out of the way of the vox and create some play between them. Generally with bass drums (or bodhrans), you want to keep them centre, but since you've got 2 mics, some panning might be in order. Watch out for phase problems. If there are only 2 vox tracks, gentle panning would be useful I think. Again, if you're going for a natural representation, think about how they would be set up on stage, and that should be a good guide.

I too would like to see how you get on. If you're interested in some good suggestions about compression in acoustic music, check out the UAD-1 forum and look for a post under 'recording traditional music' in the 'art of recording' section or whatever they call it.

Cheers Duffs and good luck!