How To Make A Cajon Mic - Tips For Live Setup And Recording (2023)

It must be admitted that a cajon is a very interesting instrument that is becoming more and more popular. It's not just about its portability and versatility, a Cajon just sounds very impressive and can also add something unique to worship music. When you first saw it, you probably wondered, "What's this box for?" It seems to have become popular in acoustic performances a few years ago, but the cajon is a very old instrument, originating in Peru.

You also see many people using a cajon by combining other percussion and acoustic drum hardware. A bass pedal that hits the center of the cajon is common today. Next to it a hi-hat stand with hi-hat or tambourines on it. Leg-mounted tambourines or cajon snare drumsticks are also common. Whatever you decide, you'll probably want to know how to mic it. Whether you play this unusual instrument live or use it in the studio, there are three things that can affect your sound: your room (recording environment), microphone choice, and placement.

Which Microphone is Best for a Cajon?

You should know that every instrument has its tone. Two cajons that are very similar (shape, dimensions, color...) will most likely sound very different. They can be made of different types of wood or simply differ in the thickness of the wood used.

(Video) How To Mic A Cajon

You don't have to spend a lot of money to microphone a cajon for live performances or recording. As mentioned, if you read some of our previous articles carefully, the Shure SM57 microphone is the perfect all-rounder and arguably the best cajon microphone. It is by far the most affordable dynamic instrument microphone you can use for percussion, woodwind, brass and vocals. The Shure SM57 is the world's most famous microphone of all time for a reason.

Dynamic microphones such as the Shure Beta 52A and the AKG D112 are high-output microphones with a transmission range optimized specifically for low-frequency instruments. These two give your Cajon a deep, rich and powerful sound. You can also microphone a cajon with two microphones, one from the back and one from the front. This is the best combination that makes this instrument shine in the mix. For example, a D112 on the back 4 inches from the hole (or you can just plug it into the hole) will capture the low frequencies of the cajon's bass, while an SM57 on the front will capture the mid and high frequencies of the cajon's to establish. bow. Perfect combination! You can't go wrong with this.

Miking a cajon for a live mix

When recording a cajon for a live performance, there are many similarities to recording any other percussion instrument or drum component. Point the microphone so that it is pointing at the source of the sound you want to record. If you tend to record with only one microphone, we recommend adjusting it so that it hangs about 3" (7.6 cm) into the hole of the cajon on the arm of a microphone stand. Why? Because if you only use one mic and put it in the front, you only pick up the snare, and if you put it in the back, you only have the bass, so you have to find that perfect middle, and that's in your cajon.

If you have enough mic inputs on your mixer and enough mics, it will be easier to get the cajon to have a rich and full sound. All you have to do is position your cajon microphone correctly, one in the front and one in the back.Adjust the gain for each microphoneThen adjust the EQ to make the bass sound strong and the snare clear. Keep in mind that on some stages your microphones can sometimes cause a lot of feedback. When this happens, be prepared to move your mic closer or farther away, adjust the gain, and turn the EQ knob to avoid false and unwanted frequencies.

(Video) Live Cajon Mic Setup (My Complete Guide)

How To Make A Cajon Mic - Tips For Live Setup And Recording (1)

Record a cajon with a single microphone

There is no one right way to record Cajon in the studio. It depends a lot on what equipment you have and how well insulated your space is, but feel free to experiment. For example, you can only place a distant microphone in the center of the room, while placing the cajon's sound hole near a corner or wall. If you play the Cajon with the sound hole facing the wall, the sound waves from the Cajon will bounce off the wall and you will hear more bass frequencies. This is a neat trick to record cajon with only one microphone.

A second and most common way of recording is by placing a microphone in the cajon. And that can be very difficult. As I mentioned earlier, you need to find the perfect center for the microphone placement to accurately capture both bass and snare sounds. I recommend you place the mic right at the hole or even as far as 3 inches in to record. In post-processing, you can use EQ and compression to shape the overall sound.

Miking a drum with a Shure Beta91A

The Shure Beta91A is a great microphone and is sort of a cross between the Beta 91 and SM 91. It is a condenser microphone that covers the full frequency range (20 - 20,000 Hz) and is typically intended for use with piano and/or kick drum. This boundary mic features a "Frequency Contour" EQ switch that cuts 7 dB at 400 Hz "for a strong low-frequency "punch" with plenty of high-frequency attack." Due to the characteristics of the Shure microphone, this may be the best solution for housing it in your Cajon.

(Video) How I Record My Cajon - Microphone Setup

Use of PZMs

In simple terms, pressure zone microphones or PZM are a special type of condenser microphone. In fact, they don't look like standard microphones and these weird, unusual-looking microphones are also known as boundary microphones. They are usually placed on solid, hard, flat surfaces such as tables, walls, wooden screens, etc. When a sound wave encounters a surface barrier (boundary) such as a wall, the maximum sound pressure occurs on that surface. Because of the way these microphones work, it might be a good idea to put a PZM microphone in the base of your cajon.

If that doesn't work so well, try placing the PZM on the floor directly in front of the cajon. There are also PZM microphones made specifically for cajon, such as the PUR CBM-1.The most popular pressure zone microphones on the market used with cajons are Audix ADX60, Shure Beta 91A, Sennheiser E 901 and Audio-Technica U851R. Keep in mind that these mics aren't that cheap and you'll definitely need to experiment with the EQ to get them to sound right.

Using dynamic microphones such as the Shure SM57

Dynamic microphones typically have a much warmer sound than condenser microphones and their SPL is higher, meaning the signal has fewer peaks. In other words, they are less sensitive, which is why dynamic microphones are usually used for loud instruments. You can place it freely near your Cajon. This is great because it eliminates outside noise. However, if you place it in front of your cajon, chances are you'll hit it while playing. For this reason, you need to find a suitable position for your dynamic microphone in front of the cajon. Another advantage is that dynamic microphones are affordable, and I can recommend the Shure SM57 as one of the most widely used instrument microphones in the world. Thanks to its compact size, durability and great sound, it will last for years. For the cajon's bass I can recommend one of the following: AKG D112, Shure BETA 52A, Audix D6, Sennheiser e602 Sennheiser e902. There are cheaper microphones for recording low frequencies, but they don't sound any better than this one. read aboutdynamic microphone for drums.

(Video) How to mic your Cajon at a Gig

Using a condenser as a drum microphone

Condenser microphones are often used in studios or for home recording because of their sensitivity and clarity. If you are more likely to use it for live performances, you should be careful, as condenser microphones are more fragile than dynamic ones. The main advantage and disadvantage of condenser microphones is their sensitivity. This is an advantage because they can hear sounds at a distance, but also a disadvantage because that distance also allows them to hear ambient sounds.

They are also capable of generating feedback at lower gains, so if you're aiming the cajon with a condenser microphone, proper gain setting and microphone placement is a must. You don't have to worry about capturing finger strokes and ghost notes, the condenser can do that. However, an important note about a condenser microphone is that it is not typically used for close miking or capturing bass notes from the cajon.



What is the best mic for cajon live? ›

The Shure SM57 is a cardioid dynamic microphone used in live concerts and studio recording situations. It is one of the best-selling microphones in the world. It is not only used in a lot of music situations but has been used for the speeches of every American president since the its introduction in 1965.

What mic should I use in cajon? ›

I will generally use a dynamic mic for this application, and something such as the Shure SM57 works very well. I actually prefer these over a kick-drum-style mic, as they tend to pick up the snap of the edge hits on the cajon in a more pleasing way. Note that you do want the mic to go into the cavity a bit.

How do you mic a drum kit for live sound? ›

Where To Place Drum Mics. One of the most important considerations, when you are miking your drums live, is where to place your mics and how many to use. As a general rule of thumb – at a minimum, you will need a mic placed on your kick drum, a mic placed on your snare, and a mic overhead to pick up the rest of the kit ...

What type of mic is best for live performance? ›

Live musicians should get a dynamic microphone

Live performers prefer dynamic mics for a few reasons: they're durable, affordable, and can withstand plenty of loud noise before signal distortion sets in. Many have a built-in high-pass filter to attenuate sub-bass frequencies.

Which microphone type is most commonly used in live sound? ›

The most common form in live use is the cardioid pattern, although hypercardioid mics are also common. Omnidirectional mics are less often seen. Hypercardioid mics have the best feedback rejection.

What microphone makes you sound better? ›

Condenser Microphones

They produce a more “colored” sound than other microphones because they are more sensitive to both lower and higher frequencies. In short, if you ever want to pick up room noise or general ambiance, a condenser microphone will be the best bet for the job.

What is the frequency of a cajon? ›

While on a regular kick drum your low-end fundamental might live somewhere between 50-80 Hz, on a cajon, we're talking more along the lines of around 80-140 Hz.

Can you use a condenser mic for cajon? ›

Inside the Cajon: Placing a microphone inside the cajon is a popular method. It involves placing a condenser microphone inside the cajon, close to the sound hole. This placement captures the sound of the snare and bass tones of the cajon.

What size sound hole for a cajon? ›

For the Cajon to properly work, you will need to drill a big hole in the back panel. We used a hole drill with a diameter of around 10 cm. We spaced our hole 15 cm from the bottom edge.

Does a cajon need a snare? ›

Purpose: Most cajons will have snares to give some rattle or buzz to the high tones. However, some cajons are purpose-built to produce mainly deeper bass tones, whilst other Cuban-style cajons may produce higher, bongo- or conga-like tones. Cajons without snares will sound different to cajons with snares.

Which is the best brand for cajon? ›

10 of the best cajon drums 2023…
  • 5: Gecko portable travelling cajon drum. ...
  • 6: LP Cajon Saddle (LP-CJS) drum. ...
  • 7: Meinl Percussion Artisan Edition cajon. ...
  • 8: Meinl Percussion JC50LBNT cajon box drum. ...
  • 8: Gecko cajon box drum. ...
  • 9: Luna Teal cajon (with gig bag) ...
  • 10: Donner DCD-1 cajon drum.

How far should a drum be from a microphone? ›

When using one mic, place it in between the two drums and try to make sure it is about four to six inches away from each head. If you choose to use two mics, you will want to use positioning similar to the snare drum. Place the spaced pair one to three inches above the head of each drum.

How do you get a good live kick drum sound? ›

Here are 7 great tips on how to make your kick drum sound better.
  1. PUSH THE MID FREQUENCIES. Contrarily to what most people think, the bass drum is not all about the low end. ...
  3. TRIGGERING. ...
  5. PARALLEL EQ. ...
  7. 808 KICK.
Mar 24, 2015

What frequency should kick drum mic be? ›

Kick drums can be tuned to have a fundamental frequency as low as 50 Hz and as high at 80 or 90 Hz depending on the drum size, the type of drumheads used and the style of music that is being played.

How many mics do you need for drums live? ›

Using just two microphones is a perfectly valid approach for tracking drums, especially if you are looking to capture the drums exactly as they sound in the room.

What is the best microphone for gain before feedback? ›

Shure BETA 87A Review – Supercardioid Condenser Microphone

With a supercardioid pattern it achieves superior gain before feedback and minimum stage bleed, giving you the ability to perform on smaller and more aggressive stages when needed. The frequency response is nicely balanced and sounds natural throughout…

Is a dynamic or condenser mic better for live vocals? ›

Do singers use dynamic or condenser mics? They use both depending on the situation. For live use a dynamic microphone is more robust and perfect for the dynamic range of a PA system. Whereas a condenser microphone is more sensitive and great for when you're in a quite and controlled recording environment.

Why dynamic mics are better for live? ›

Dynamic microphones can take a lot of signal without being damaged due to their low sensitivity and higher gain threshold, so you'll see these used in many live situations. They're also really good studio mics for things like drums, brass instruments, pretty much anything that's really loud.

How do you hold a cajon? ›

The most common way to play the cajon is by sitting on top of it and reach over the front to smack the face. Some percussionists choose to sit behind the cajon on a chair and straddle it with their upper body while they perform. Others will tilt it inward as they play.

Where do you point a microphone? ›

Place the microphone element to the side of your mouth to avoid noise from breathing. Keep the microphone element about an inch from the side of your mouth, but not touching it. Make sure the front of the microphone points toward your mouth. The front may be labeled with, for example, a colored dot or the word "Talk."

Which microphone type is highly durable and produces little feedback in live performance? ›

Dynamic microphones are the most rugged, and are most suitable for live performing, as they can tolerate more abuse than the other types of microphones. There are two types of dynamic microphones: moving coil and ribbon.

Which microphone works best in live settings where the potential for picking up loud sounds is at its highest? ›

Generally speaking, dynamic microphones work best for capturing loud sounds and are commonly used in live settings. Conversely, condenser microphones will pick up more subtleties in sound and perform better at capturing higher frequencies.

Does a expensive mic make you sound better? ›

Fidelity and accuracy are expensive qualities to build into a microphone, so those are the areas that will generally improve as you increase your budget. However, this doesn't necessarily mean that your voice will sound better through a more expensive mic; it's more important that you find the right mic to suit you.

What makes a microphone high quality? ›

A microphone's frequency response refers to the range of frequencies, from low to high, that a microphone will pick up. This range is referred to by its lowest and highest frequencies, measured in hertz. A microphone with a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz would make a good choice for a vocal mic.

What are the best cajon dimensions? ›

Nowadays, cajons are mostly around 48 x 30 x 30 cm in size and primarily made of birch or beech plywood, while some high end models are made of solid wood.

How do you amplify a cajon drum? ›

Many cajons have a single sound hole located towards the top of the rear face. We have found that a really effective way to amplify this type of cajon is to use a dynamic microphone (we use a Shure SM57) situated about an inch above the top of the sound hole & about an inch away from the rear surface of the cajon.

How much should you spend on a cajon? ›

Typically, low-end, beginner cajons can be as inexpensive as $50-100, and the highest-end cajons can be as expensive as $400 or more. If you're looking for a good quality entry-level cajon, look to be spending between $100-250.

Can you use a condenser mic for live performances? ›

So, to answer the question; yes, condenser mics can be used live, but they sometimes have certain drawbacks for louder bands like rock or metal bands, for example.

What not to do with a condenser microphone? ›

Never put your condenser mic where you would not put your ears. Condensers are very sensitive instruments that respond to minute changes in sound pressure. Excessive sound pressure level (SPL) will eventually degrade the capsule's diaphragm the same way prolonged exposure will damage your hearing.

Do you need a pop filter for a condenser mic? ›

Condenser: Typically used in a studio, these are known for being extremely sensitive to popping due to their light diaphragm. It's very important for studios to equip their condenser microphones with pop filters to achieve the highest quality sound output.

How do you make a cajon sound deeper? ›

The pitch of your cajon can actually be adjusted by loosening or tightening the screws that hold the playing surface in place. Generally, the rule applies: the looser the screws, the lower the pitch. With a new cajon, the screws are usually tightened as much as possible, so loosening them up will be your only option.

Which mic is used for cajon? ›

In this instance, a kick-drum-style mic works well on the back of the cajon. An AKG D112 MKII or a Sennheiser e 602-II on a short stand or a mounted clip works well.

What is a cajon player called? ›

A cajon player is often referred to as a percussionist or a drummer, as the cajon is a percussion instrument. However, some musicians may also refer to a cajon player as a “cajonero” or “cajoneador,” which are Spanish terms for someone who plays the cajon.

How tall should my cajon be? ›

Ideally, you're able to sit comfortably without having to extend too far forward to be able to strike the center of the playing surface. Most cajons are roughly 45cm tall, which is a good size for adults. As a rule of thumb, the smaller the cajon, the higher the sound.

What is the best wood for the front of a cajon? ›

Fortunately, birch has the right characteristics for the cajon, since it offers a very sharp and clear sound. And just like drum kits, plywood is often used to make cajons. Most of DG cajons are made of birch.

How fast can you learn cajon? ›

It's one of the simplest instruments out there and great for beginners. Like most percussion instruments, they are usually quite easy to play and have a low barrier to entry, but mastering them will require years of practice and technique development.

What is the most durable cajon? ›

Acrylic Cajons

Acrylic cajons are considered the most durable option. Their sound is not as warm as a wooden model, but that's not necessarily a downside, especially if you gig a lot.

How do I record my singing microphone? ›

7 Steps for Recording Vocals At Home
  1. Choose a proper space. ...
  2. Choose the right microphone. ...
  3. Place your microphone in the right zone. ...
  4. Use a good preamp. ...
  5. Work with your vocalist to make them relaxed and confident. ...
  6. Do 3-6 takes and then stop. ...
  7. Effects come later.
Sep 2, 2022

How do I record live vocals? ›

The most common method is to have the singer(s) stand in a room with microphones positioned around them. This captures a natural, "live" sound. Another popular method is to have the singer(s) sing in a studio booth, with the microphone placed close to their mouth. This gives the vocals a more intimate sound.

How do I record both microphone and system audio? ›

2. How do I record system audio and microphone at the same time bandicam? To record computer sound and your voice at the same time, you can launch Bandicam, go to "Video", and "Settings", and choose "Default Sound Device and Microphone" at the "Recording" settings. Then, check the "Two Sound Mixing" option.

Can I record a live conversation? ›

Under Federal law, it is legal to record a conversation as long as one-party gives consent to the recording. This is known as a “one-party” consent rule.

What app can I use to record a conversation? ›

Cube ACR is an app that allows you to manually or automatically record calls. It's only available for Android phones, but it's fairly advanced and compatible with not only your built-in phone app but also third-party apps like Skype and WhatsApp. You can even customize which contacts you want to auto-record at no cost.

What is the best mic position for recording? ›

In general, place the mic anywhere from three fingers to a foot away from the singer. Remember, the closer they are, the bassier it'll sound. The farther away the singer is, the thinner it will be, and the more room you'll capture.

What makes a good recording microphone? ›

A microphone with a frequency response range of around 80 Hz to 15 kHz would make a good choice for a vocal mic. However for miking snares and toms, you would look for a range that starts lower, at around 50 Hz, and for a bass drum mic, you will want a low end of 40 Hz or even lower, down to 30 Hz.

What is the best setting for a microphone? ›

Audio levels should be kept around -10 to -12dB. Quietest recorded audio to should be kept well above the noise floor, maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio.

What is the best gain for recording vocals? ›

Generally, you'll want your vocals to be peaking around -10 dBs, with an average input level around -18 dB. If you're peaking higher than - 6 dB, it's time to turn down the microphone gain or adjust your vocalist's position for more balanced vocal recordings.

How can I record like a studio at home? ›

Jump to these tips:
  1. Treat your room for recording.
  2. Invest in a solid mic chain.
  3. Reduce background noise.
  4. Learn about mic placement.
  5. Correlate the meters to your ears.
  6. Invest in mixing and mastering software.
  7. Test your mixes everywhere.
Feb 11, 2022

How do you record crystal clear vocals? ›

How to Record and Mix Clean Vocals at Home
  1. Decide on your tools at the outset. ...
  2. Establish a consistent recording environment. ...
  3. Treat your environment as much as possible. ...
  4. Quiet your environment as much as possible. ...
  5. Learn to identify a good vocal sound, then go for it. ...
  6. Use the mic to your advantage with good mic technique.
Mar 3, 2021


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