Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Recording Tip 44: Try acoustic filters. Cut a hole in the end of a Styrofoam or paper cup and stick the tip of the mic thru it

This was something I first heard Tchad Blake did. It’s a fun thing to do and can give you an atypical sound when needed.  

Everyone has heard what a voice sounds like when you cup your hands around your mouth or hold up an old cheerleader megaphone and talk or sing. When you do that you’re hearing acoustic filtering which makes a cool sound when recording.

I’ve recorded singers using a paper like a megaphone, styrofoam cups around an SM57 for a snare...I even put a mic in the hole of a cinderblock brick in front of a kick drum. Sure, you can try to make an odd sound later with EQ, but there’s nothing quite like doing it in the moment and letting nature create the sound. And no matter how good you are with EQ, there are very few times it sounds as interesting as it does with an acoustic filter.

So when looking for a different sound, take a styrofoam cup or whatever, cut a hole in it and place it over the mic, holding it with some tape. You’ll never know how it will sound till you hear it, but I’ve found more often than not it works. You’re obviously looking for something out of the ordinary, and that is what you’ll get!

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