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Couple of weeks back i had to record very loud drums for a documentary.I was carrying a SHURE two track mixer wired to a TASCAM two track recorder.I gave one output to the camera and one to the recorder.I gave a 1kHz tone from the mixer and aligned to -12dB in the recorder.I was recording almost 10 loud drums simultaneously and was monitoring from 20 feet away.The needle in the mixer (it was a VU meter and i could hardly handle the rotary knob of the mixer since for a small opening of the fader the level in the recorder was very high) was hardly fluctuating and it was showing more than -12dB in the recorder.I could hardly hear anything in the headphone due to near field monitoring.Finally the recording sounded just fine except at few places where it clipped.There was no gain cut in the mixer and i engaged the limiter in the recorder ( even though there was one in the output of the mixer also).

How could have i dealt the situation better ?

  • What mics were you using? Dynamic or condenser? The type of mics used will be an important factor in recording loud sources too. – Andy Lewis Oct 10 '11 at 11:01
  • I was using sennheiser 416p. condenser mic – chrisnanny Oct 12 '11 at 12:04
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What kind of mic were you using?

Seems like an inline pad would have helped a lot. The second you see your levels are not moving much, it means your system is reaching the max as it gets to your pre-amp.

  • I was using a senneisher 416p. – chrisnanny Oct 11 '11 at 7:08
  • You definitely need a pad for that mic. Alternatively, using dynamic mics would probably handle it fine. – Andrew Spitz Oct 11 '11 at 7:24
  • I have used mixers only with line ouput.But the shure mixer had both mic and line output.I was confused about the choice of selection when plugging it with the Tascam recorder(i don't remember which mode i finally selected)ideally what is done in that case?...thanx for comments Andrew – chrisnanny Oct 12 '11 at 12:02
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Line level is -18dBFS. You don't need to record any hotter than that for a clean recording. Theoretically everything above that is overloading the circuit. You have 18dB of headroom and drum transients could take all of it.

RX2 DeClipper used on just the clipped portions can work like magic.

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As a general rule for really loud sources dynamic mics are the most useful. If your budget is tight a pair of SM57s would do the job, otherwise RE-20s or similar.

In-line pads are essential if you are using condenser mics.

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Thanx for the response

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