How do I Record an Organ?
The most commonly heard organ on records is the venerable Hammond B-3. The Leslie speaker cabinet, used with the B-3, has a rotating horn mounted near the top of the speaker enclosure, and a woofer at the bottom with a rotating baffle over the woofer to disperse the bass notes.
Most engineers mic the Leslie cabinet from both sides, top and bottom. Some of the most commonly used mics are Shure SM57's on the top, and condenser mics with a nice, rich bottom on the lower part of the cabinet - Neumann U87's are often used, but there are many great sounding inexpensive condensers on the market that will do very nicely. Dynamic mics that are well known for their bottom end response will also work well (e.g. Electro Voice RE20).
Place the 57's on opposite sides of the cabinet on the same plane as the rotating horns. A couple of inches from the sound vents on either side should do the trick.
Note: It's very easy to encounter phase problems when miking a Leslie. If the bottom end seems to disappear, try using just one mic on the woofer, and pan the signal down the middle of your mix, or just left or right of the middle. Pan the top mics in stereo. If the organ is playing subtle pads, you may want to pan the top mics to ten o'clock and two o'clock. If you want to feature the organ more in the mix, try going wide with the top mics - full left, and full right. If the organist is doing a solo, try panning the bottom to the left, and the top to the right.
This is another case where you'll want to use a limiter to catch the peaks, and believe me, a B-3 can have plenty. The organ is also an instrument where it is sometimes advisable, if not flat out desirable to squash the signal somewhat.
3Khz can be a good place to add a little EQ to make the organ stick out more in a mix without going for more level. Personally, I like to eq an organ while mixing. It tends to be an instrument that can clutter or mask things in the middle octaves, so it's a good idea to see where everything else fits, and eq the B-3 around it.
The information above came from "Studio Buddy -- The Home Recording Helper." It's a self-contained, easy to use database of recording tips designed specifically for people with home studios. If you find this article helpful, you should download the FREE program at:
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