How to Mic a Cajon Drum in the Recording Studio: A Simple Guide

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You must be thinking, why you need to mic a cajon drum?

For recording in the studio, you need to mic a cajon drum so that you can clearly reocrd the sound of the cajon drum.

Cajons are known to be the unusual drum boxes generating various tones and beats. However, they are not that unusual as they sound. Percussionists today prefer playing the cajons instead of the larger drum kits as cajons are much easier and fun to play.

The earlier versions of cajons were made out of wooden crates but in the modern times, many modifications were made to the instrument to be made suitable for all the types of music.

Cajon is made up of different kinds of woods for generating different tones. It consists of 6 sides, with 5 sides being stiff and strong and the 6th one, being on the front side is made to be comparatively thin and is used as a playing surface.

Recording a Cajon

On the rear side of the instrument is a small sound hole which is much similar to the one on the acoustic guitar. This allows the projection of low-frequency sounds. Many versions of the Cajon consist of the snare, which is usually made up of from the guitar strings that are tensioned and are allowed to fit inside the instrument.

The player can hence achieve different sounds by hitting at various places on the box. This ability of the Cajon to mimic the sounds of the drum kit has made it popular across the world.

How to Mic a Cajon

Here, in this video, Byron Mark shows how to mic a Cajon in the recording studio. This video can be very helpful for you.

If you are a beginner or a percussionist who is not aware of how to record on the cajon using a mic, here is a guide to help you out. The first step is to make sure that you produce the right sound.

If you place your cajon near to a corner or a wall, it will help in producing boundary effect which will add to the low-end great amount of power.

For miking, it totally depends on how the player approaches the track. If you are playing inside a studio, a single mic, situated at some distance from the instrument will be enough to capture all the sounds from the instrument.

Usually, the Cajon is played as a semi-electric or acoustic ensemble so the only feasible option would for recording be the case closed miking.

The proper positioning of the mics is quite tricky as the percussionist sits on the instrument and obscures it partially.

For capturing sounds at the lower end of the Cajon, a capacitor model of full range or a kick drum mic is to be placed just behind the instrument in a way that it faces the sound hole.

To prevent the sounds from being boomy, it is advised to place the mic approximately 20 cm away from the Cajon and at an angle of 45 degrees.

A cardioids capacitor mic is used for capturing the sounds from the front surface of the Cajon. You have to place this mic in such a way that it is situated below the top edge of the instrument and at an angle that it faces downwards.

It should be aiming at the playing surface’s center and in a way that it is between the percussionists’ legs.

The mic should be ideally placed at 30-40 cm distance away but there a few important things to be considered before placing the mic.

The mic should not be blocking the view of the front surface of the Cajon and the second thing is that the distance should be such that the percussionist doesn’t hit the mic while playing.

The complete sound from the Cajon is obtained when the two signals are mixed, but since the mic at the rear side faces opposite to the one situated in the front, the player will have to alter the polarity of any one signal.

Also, to make the processing of the signals easier and faster, it is advised to record separate tracks for each of the mics rather than making a stereo pair. If not done so, the player is likely to get sounds with low tonal depth at the lower end of the box.

Follow these simple steps for the placement of the mics for recording your sounds and enjoy seamlessly amazing sounds from the Cajon.

These tips can be used by any beginner or percussionist who wants to play their Cajon at their best and get flawless sounds.

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