From Creation to Completion: Mouth Drumming

The Gear

Surprisingly enough, the gear I use for beatboxing is relatively sparse. The two major pieces I have in my studio for recording beatboxing are:

  • Shure Beta 58A: This microphone, like its famous older sibling, the Shure SM58, is a workhorse. However, unlike the SM58, it has additional range on both the top and bottom of the aural spectrum, giving it a much cleaner sound. Where the SM58 brings out a warmth of tone, the Beta 58A brings out a crispness I need in vocal percussion.
  • FocusRite Scarlett 2i2: This was Jason’s recommendation for a powerful analog-to-digital box, as it has two inputs for either XLR or 1/4" and outputs cleanly to USB. FocusRite’s Scarlett line also includes boxes with a larger number of inputs; Jason uses one of these to mic his Yamaha baby grand.

Dropping the Tracks

Recording in Adobe Audition is ridiculously easy once you have the FocusRite. Once Audition launches and detects the FocusRite, it prompts to change the input to use it instead of the onboard mic. From there, it’s as simple as adjusting the level of the FocusRite’s built in preamp, arming the track for recording, and then letting it rip.

Edits

While I have a ton of experience working as a human metronome, I wasn’t perfect on any given take. However, by switching over into individual track edit mode in Adobe Audition CC, I was able to fix minor timing issues with a tiny bit of cut and paste magic.

When your capture is so clean, adjusting a hi-hat to perfection is as easy as cut and paste.

Equalization

When people discover I beatbox, they often ask me to perform for them on the spot. I prefer not to, because a large part of the magic lies in the way my sound is mixed. (As a corollary, wisdom dictates that as a performer, you’re only as good as your sound engineer.) As I mentioned, I EQ’d my four drum tracks differently.

EQ for the kick and snare
EQ for hi-hat
EQ for crash
EQ for the güiro (Pr)

Foundation: Set

With the bass track and the drums set, I had the foundation set for my new track. I was at the point where I almost felt compelled to dance to it whenever I heard the rhythm — a great sign!

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Elaine Chao

Elaine Chao

2.2K Followers

I work for Adobe on Adobe XD. Also a martial arts instructor, musician, writer, volunteerism advocate. Opinions mine.