View Full Version : Recording a Tambourine

06-08-2002, 11:49 AM
I'm trying to get a better tambourine sound in my hip hop tracks. Right now I'm just using 57 at about 1 foot. Curious to know if anyone has had good results with a particular method.

06-08-2002, 01:47 PM
I like a Neumann KM-56, 4 to 5 feet away from the tambourine, recorded at a conservative level to capture the transients.

Hope this helps.

Bob Mould
06-08-2002, 01:49 PM
ive found that using dynamic microphones on tambourienes give a more natural sound than with condensers. a 57 should work pretty good, u might wanna try not to aim it directly at the tambourine but a bit off axis. a slight distortion can really help the sound sometimes.

good luck

Ben Jenssen
06-09-2002, 12:44 AM
Interresting question!

I think tambourine is one of the most challenging instruments to record well.
Of course it depends on its sound, and how it is played, single hits or continously. Usually I find that I will get a more natural sound if I have a couple of meters distance, maybe 4-6 feet. I dont have a very good sounding room (small and dead) but it works all the same.

I always use quite a bit of reverb in the mix to make it blend in. Its actually THE big difference.

Be careful with gain setting on the pre, tambourines are often VERY loud, and have nasty hi freq peaks.

Maybe try to use a "fuller" ("warmer" images/icons/rolleyes.gif ) mic than SM57. It s kinda "trebly".

07-15-2002, 03:21 PM
I find distance can be your friend with the tamborine man.


07-15-2002, 11:09 PM
there are those tiny kinda tambourines you can play with 2 fingers ... looks like a rattle .
they sound extremly nice when they are recorded .
the big ones are cool , too ... but to much attack if u hit em ( thats when u have to step back to avoid clipping ). on usual tambourines sometimes a low frequency rolloff helps a lot , too .
some tube compression can make it sound real vintage , too . i like the u87 best for some shakers and tambourines .

maybe that helps ???


07-16-2002, 09:39 AM
Fire up the Motif, find a tamborine sound, and play your heart out.
Seriously, like the others have said, 3-4 feet distance from the mic ususally works. Try a 421 Sennheiser, or any good condenser with a pad built in. Try to stay away from the older tube condensers.

Also, the style of playing, and type of tamborine, make ALL the difference. Experiment with various sizes of wood and plastic tamborines. If possible, maybe bring in a good session or band percussionist for an hour for some pointers.

J. Darby
07-16-2002, 09:54 AM
Stereo mic with 2x NT 1's from about 4ft sound pretty damn nice, tweak in the mix with a tiny bit
of D-Verb.. woked for me bout 2 days ago, with a
CRAP Tamb!

07-18-2002, 01:16 AM
I personally prefer condensers. As others have said, close micing doesn't usually do it for me. It tends to produce some low frequency overtones (undertones?). Is subharmonics the right word? Try holding a tamborine close to your ear and play it softly. You'll hear the same low frequency noise. The same is true for shakers (the little egg shaped ones). FWIW, If you track on tape and edit in PT, DBX noise reduction sounds like crap with this sort of source material. This is just one area where Dolby SR shines in comparision, but I digress....

07-22-2002, 07:54 AM
I agree that some distance helps to put the tamborine inside the mix. I find the 57 does a great job.

The most overlooked aspect is technique. A lot of people say "somebody grab the tamborine" and underestimate the difference a real "player" will make. Listen very carefully to the difference in angle, attack, grip, etc.

Ben Jenssen
07-22-2002, 09:13 AM
Originally posted by VillageGreen:
Listen very carefully to the difference in angle, attack, grip, etc.<font size="2" face="Verdana, Arial">I agree.
I often just hold the tamb. horisontally, and hit it with the other hand.

Slam that Flam
07-23-2002, 08:39 PM
What I do (Im a drummer/Percussionist/Digi001 user) is use an Octava MC012 microphone. They sound great and are pretty cheap as well.

That's what I use for my overhead miking duties as well. I figure if the cymbals sound really bright and full...shouldn't the tambourine also?

Playing the tambourine: hold it Vertically. Shake it from left to right (or right to left)with the groove. This may not happen right away. The tambourine is not as easy as it may seem to be. While Shaking it, let IT hit the other hand.

Mic technique: PLease experiment with the distance from tambourine to microphone. All you have to do is move closer or further away. images/icons/smile.gif

Good luck to you

07-23-2002, 10:25 PM
Plug mic into preamp.
Arm track.
Press record.
shake well. (don't stir)

Sorry I couldn't resist....