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jhunger says

Inspired by vaisnava’s thread, I’m starting a thread around recording everybody’s favorite instrument, the ukulele!

The idea here is that anyone can share what they know or ask questions about the instrument, good brands, types (e.g. soprano vs concert vs tenor), how they record it and fit it in the mix, anything around playing and recording ukuleles, really.

I’ll start with some basic info about how I like to record:

I normally use a Kala concert acacia wood ukulele to record with. I like a single, bright SDC microphone, and the one I use most often is an AKG C451B, usually 6 inches to a foot away and angled toward the soundhole. When mixing, I don’t do a whole lot of EQ other than a bass roll off and a little bump in the 4000+ range, and if I’m plucking I’ll normally put a bit of compression (maybe 3:1), but again, not too much. Other than that, I don’t typically use any effects.

I’d always like to improve on my sound, so I’m interested to hear if anybody else does things differently.

P.S. -

Yes, we already know that the ukulele is a much maligned instrument on these forums. If you want to add a snarky comment about how you’d never stoop to such depths as to touch an ukulele, feel free – we’ll totally respect you for it :).

P.P.S. -

I really like vaisnava’s idea and I’m hoping that we can continue this in some form or another for a variety of audio areas, e.g. for other instruments, how to use various effects, etc. It would be great if each topic were specific to one subject, for instance covering specifically EQing techniques rather than just a general mixing thread. Perhaps there could even be a naming convention to title the thread “Audio Education Thread – [n]” (or something else if anyone has a better idea) so it’s easy to find them amongst the other topics.

Of course there is already a lot of information online on these topics, but we have such a rich pool of expertise along with one of the most productive forums around here, so I think we could get a lot of discussion going that will help a great number of us DIY musicians.

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vaisnava says

sweet thanks for spear heading it man. The ukelele was a joke at first, but it seems like it is a good place to start. I hope others will take it serious and it can grow into a nice informative series. Like I said I don’t have a Uke so I cannot be of much help there.

If one thing I think would be great to is if you put your song link with that includes that Uke setup so people can hear it can decide “Oh, this is the style I want!” or not and try something new.

I will now get out of the way and let it blossom or fade. :)

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permian says

Joel, thanks for your contribution. I hope we’ll see other threads like this yours.

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Stuck_in_the_Basement Envato team says

I personally own a Kala KA-S which I record – much like anything else – with the very affordable yet reliable Rode NT1-A. I put the mic very close to the instrument, slightly above it, and angled toward the soundhole.
The reason I put the mic so close to the instrument is that the acoustic in my little basement office is far from being great. I use very little EQ, just a hig pass to cut the low ends at 80-120Hz or so. This takes care of the proximity effect altogether.
I usually double my takes and pan them for more presence, and also add an IR Reverb (with moderation) supposed to simulate a studio room. That’s about it. Oh and I forgot, I sometimes use a slight compressor, but not necessarily, it depends on the mood and feel of the track.
You can hear the result of this technique in my track (fittingly) entitled “Ukulele Frenzy”. I hope it’s okay to mention it for the sole purpose of this thread.

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jhunger says

Sounds pretty similar to how I record mine. I agree, I’m a little hesitant to link to my AJ tunes (and also I don’t keep track of how I recorded each one usually), so I may put up a couple of soundcloud samples instead in the next few days, along with a few more details (when I’m not supposed to be at my day job :)).

permain & vaisnava, no problem – I love talking about this stuff! When I get time I’ll try to write a little more about at least what I’ve learned.

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DanHoodMusic says

jhunger, this is great! I am glad someone took the initiative. I record Uke the same way as you, but my mic is a C-460b. That runs into a 70’s API pre. I use just a bit of compression more for the tone then the “squish” (Waves stuff) and just a touch of EQ. My room has a bump at about 385Hz and another at around 160Hz.

The only difference is where I want the Uke to sit in a mix. if it is prominent, then I record closer to the source, if it is a background instrument, then I back up about a foot or so to get a bit of my room. (acoustically treated, but I still have to add more)

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StudioEtude says

I note that the larger the range of the sound from the instrument, the better need a microphone. But if your instrument has a small range of octaves, you can burn it on an inexpensive microphone. The last track I recorded the game on clarinet – “Shur C608”, which is sufficient for a narrow range of the clarinet. I just pre-recorded a breath, without sound, and kept it as a noise-sample, later used the noise reduction. Distance to the microphone during recording was about 40cm and the microphone was deployed at 45 degrees relative to the central axis of the clarinet. Of course, the nature of clarinet playing and some specific notes on the bottoms sound quieter than the notes at the top, so I had to edit levels… Maestro at times entered into ecstasy and slid while playing the clarinet around the microphone :)

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pietrogirardi says

Thank you JHunger. finally a wise use of this forum (anybody tired of the “red/black/silver paw/50/100/200 sales/congrats threads? Wouldn’t it be nice to create a separate forum for those?).

I’m about to buy my first Ukulele, does anybody have suggestions about brands or models with a good price/quality ratio?

Thank you,
Pietro

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lion-audio says

I personally own a Kala KA-S which I record – much like anything else – with the very affordable yet reliable Rode NT1-A. I put the mic very close to the instrument, slightly above it, and angled toward the soundhole.
The reason I put the mic so close to the instrument is that the acoustic in my little basement office is far from being great. I use very little EQ, just a hig pass to cut the low ends at 80-120Hz or so. This takes care of the proximity effect altogether.
I usually double my takes and pan them for more presence, and also add an IR Reverb (with moderation) supposed to simulate a studio room. That’s about it. Oh and I forgot, I sometimes use a slight compressor, but not necessarily, it depends on the mood and feel of the track.
You can hear the result of this technique in my track (fittingly) entitled “Ukulele Frenzy”. I hope it’s okay to mention it for the sole purpose of this thread.

Hey Stuck in the Basement, I’m just trying out your ukulele technique on my very first uke track, since i seem to have the exact same setup (crappy room / Nt1a / crappy ukulele – not sure if yours is crappy, too). thanks for sharing, everybody!

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Stuck_in_the_Basement Envato team says

Hey Stuck in the Basement, I’m just trying out your ukulele technique on my very first uke track, since i seem to have the exact same setup (crappy room / Nt1a / crappy ukulele – not sure if yours is crappy, too). thanks for sharing, everybody!
Cool, let me know how that works for you! And yes, my Ukulele is pretty cheap. I did not know any better when I bought it, oh well… still works for the little use I make of it. By the way Ukulele experts, how often do you change the strings on these bad boys?
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