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At  4/18/2006 06:34 PM, David Lewiston wrote:
>When recording such a loud instrument, the mic should not be too 
>close to it. For pipes & shawms I prefer not to place the mics 
>closer than 20 feet. Because such loud instruments are intended to 
>be heard out of doors, that's where I record them.

The highland pipes are among the most complex instruments to record, 
because the sound comes from two different places: the drones are 
over the piper's shoulder, moving sound in one direction, while the 
chanter is forward, pushing sound in another direction. And to make 
things even more difficult, the piper is often pacing back and forth, 
so the sources of the sound moves with him (or in this case, her). 
You can either place separate microphones close to the chanter and 
the drones, or move far enough away to get an acoustical mixture of both.

Many years ago, I discussed this question with radio producers and 
recording engineers at BBC Scotland, who told me that they sometimes 
used as many as eight or more microphones to record a solo piper in 
stereo. I probably still have the diagram someplace.

The alternative to all that hardware would be a stereo pair located 
about 15-20 feet away. If it's indoors, the volume level will be 
extremely high due to reverberation off the walls, so the discussion 
in this thread about overload kicks in; if it's outdoors, the 
distance should be enough to modulate the sound level, but the pipes 
will sound "off-mike" with omni-directional microphones.

If it was me, I would try to record outdoors, on a day without wind, 
using a pair of directional microphones. It might take some 
experimenting to find the best combination of presence and 
chanter/drone balance.

John Ross