How to Record a Bluegrass Band

Recording a bluegrass band requires knowing where and how to place all of the microphones to get the best sound. Each instrument in the ensemble has slightly different acoustic properties and will need a different mic position. Finding the ideal position requires knowledge of how each instrument works and the best place to direct the mic to get the ideal bluegrass band sound. Simply setting up one or two mics does not provide you with the sound that you need and prevents you from individually adjusting the instruments' volume levels.

Step 1

Place two cardoid mics on separate stands facing toward the mandolin. The microphones should be about 6 inches apart from each other. Ensure that the top mic faces the top F-hole of the mandolin and the bottom faces the bottom F-hole.

Step 2

Position a single cardoid microphone about 10 inches away from the fiddle. Direct the mic toward the middle of the bridge, directly where the bow and string connect. This will capture the sound emanating from the bridge and the F-holes.

Step 3

Place a diaphragm mic about 8 inches away from the center of the banjo. Position another cardoid mic facing toward the bottom-left end of the banjo.

Step 4

Direct a microphone toward the neck of the guitar and one toward the bridge of the guitar. Place the microphones about 8 inches away from the guitarist. If the guitarist has a large sound, place it farther back. Use the same procedure for the upright bass.

Step 5

Position the Dobro mic about 8 inches from the head of the drum. Use an omnidirectional microphone for the best results.

Step 6

Wire all of your microphones into your mixing console by connecting them to the inputs of the soundboard. Connect the mixing console to the soundcard of your computer. Monitor the band playing, using headphones. Adjust the volume levels until everything sounds balanced. Press "Record" in your audio-editing program and record the band.


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