How To Record a Harp: (Complete Guide & Expert Tutorial)

Recording a harp can be quite challenging if you want the best sound, but there are sure ways in which one’s experience in recording the harp that will make it easier.

Recording a harp involves various steps and activities all of which should be followed to get the required outcome. 

This includes tuning this has an enormous effect on the final track produced as a result.

Microphone placement which is critical to get right and can be really annoying to get perfect.

Then we have the technical aspect of recording the harp which includes compression, reverberation, stereo or mono, as well as recording software.

The Best Way To Record a Harp

Tuning

Many people know that this comes first but they still end up forgetting or aren’t up to it. Tuning of the harp is the first thing that should be done before actually recording it. 

When you don’t tune the harp it ends up sounding pretty bad and you will be forced to start over this time by starting to tune it. 

It is also important to remember to check if the pedal or levers feel worn out. This is because while recording the pedal fists might produce clicking sounds. This is to just tell you should ensure that the harp isn’t in bad shape as it might reflect on the recording. 

The harp should be maintained in its best status always and as much as possible to ensure the sound produced and outcome is up to standard and good quality.

Learn how to tune a harp.

Microphone Placement

It is also important to consider the space to be occupied by the equipment, some require little space while others occupy larger spaces although most of them are not that bulky. Then there is the art of mixing the harp. It needs serious expertise and understanding.

Placing the microphone while recording the harp is also difficult because the sound field of the harp is a bit complex. 

Another thing to keep in mind is that the harp can be picked well if you are a few meters away from the harp.  The reflections of the room are the aspects of the harps sound field. 

Placing a microphone when recording a harp is directly related to the room that is recorded in. 

It is important to achieve a natural sound when recording it and this can be proven to be challenging.

The harp resembles the grand piano in that it needs a large room to beautifully unfold the sound. 

The sound of the harp is captured well when the harp itself is in a spot where it is between the corner of the room and the center while microphone itself should be near to the middle of the room. 

In order to prevent reflections of the sound in relation to the floor the microphone should not be placed too low. If possible you should get a room whose ceiling has broken lines. 

When placing the microphone the distance between it and the harp should be in relation to the height of the harp.

Therefore if the harp is 10ft. in height the distance between it and the microphone pair should be at least 10ft.. 

This is done so that the sound of the harp can be mixed well. In order to get more detail from the sound then you should add a spot microphone.

Learn how to mic a harp.

Type Of Microphone To Record With

Choosing a suitable microphone to record the harp can be difficult as the harp is a complex instrument. 

Omnidirectional microphones are the best microphones to use as they capture the sound of the harp if the room used is suitable.

Here is the microphone that we recommend.

Mono Vs. Stereo

Mixing the audio as stereo or as mono recording. It enables addition a lot of deepening to the recording and helps solve the phase complication which are majorly as a result of not well maintained or substance equipment.

Monophonic cell reproduction is when the audio is in one channel photo systems use only one microphone so there's only one audio signal. 

Speakers or anything that would sound like a pair of earphones or headphones with mono.

Two of the speakers are going to output the same signal and this applies to whether you have an endless amount of speakers.

For earphones and headphones this means hearing the same sound on your left and right ear. 

Stereo or stereo phonic sound is when the audio is in two or more channels and it uses two microphones. 

Unlike mono which essentially is outputting the same signal across every speaker, stereo gives you the luxury of outputting different signals for each.

This means you can hear one sound in one ear and another in the other headphone or speaker.

Compression

In order to get the best results it is advisable to compress your harp with a multi-band compressor. 

This is usually important as the harp is known to not be consistent in its range. 

A harpist usually is aware of the fast attacks of the harp while it’s high. The release is equally fast this usually ends up in creating gaps in the music. 

While the bass of the harp has slow release and attack which is pleasant but at the same time it is undefined. 

To get the best results the multi compressor should be divided into three bands.

These are: the highs, mids and lows. 

In the highs one should set up a fast attack to offset the unpleasant one it already has and in order to remove the sustain they have then a fast release is set. 

The mids was created so as to bring about a better transition from high to low and making it a bit smooth. In the lows, the punchiness it already has is still kept by setting an attack that is slow. 

The end of the sound is made clearer by setting a slow release. By doing compression into three bands the overall sound is contained.

Reverb

Doing a reverb is quite simple as you basically continue on what you did while compressing. 

However the main aim of doing a reverb is to ensure that the harp interacts quite well with the environment. 

As mentioned earlier the highs of a harp can be quite dry and the lows are usually less clear. By doing the reverb legato feel is achieved to the highs while the response of the lows is limited.

Best Software To Record With

The best computer software to use is the garage band for ease of use and Audacity. This is because they allow you to customize the sound.

Best Type Of Soundboard

The type of soundboard to use is the solid spruce plywood is the best harp soundboard to because its sound improves while it ages. 

This is because they become firm hence can respond well to vibrations. Therefore if you want the sound to be quite brilliant then the best harp soundboard to use is the solid spruce soundboard.

Conclusion

Recording your harp can be challenging but we hope that this resource has helped you out a ton.

Just remember to do the basics such as mic placement and understanding your surroundings and how they can affect your recording. 

As well as tuning and getting the right technical tones then you will be set.

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