6 Replies Latest reply: Jan 26, 2013 12:30 AM by KatieB1987
KatieB1987 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I'm trying to record some solo harp with GarageBand but it is coming out very quietly no matter how close I have the mic. I have adjusted all the volume controls many times and it's picking up my speaking voice perfectly clearly and at high volume. Do I need to adjust something else to pick up the harp frequencies properly? Any advice would be much appreciated! I'm a beginner at this! Thanks.

GarageBand '08
  • hansard5 Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)

    Tell us a bit more about the mic, the room, the size of the harp. (I assume it's the harp with strings, not the harmonica!!).

    It's often a question of mic placement, but the type of mic is important with a delicate acoustic instrument. You might need to run the mic through a preamp.

    I've had the same issues with classical guitar.

  • Edgar Level 4 Level 4 (2,170 points)

    A mic doesn't "know" if a harp is playing or if you are talking. It picks up sound waves. This has nothing to do with GarageBand. If your setup is working and the mic delivers the right level then the problem might be your placement of the mic and direction. Is it directional or omnidirectional?

    You might just have it pointed backwards, recording the room but not the harp signal. Check the mic documentation




    You can read up about the best placements for typical instruments but one simple rule for recording acoustic instruments in a room or hall. Walk around and listen to the instrument/ensemble to find out where it sounds the best and start with your mic position there.



    Hope that helps


    Edgar Rothermich


    'I may receive some form of compensation, financial or otherwise, from my recommendation or link.'

  • KatieB1987 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks so much for your reply! It's a Sony electret condenser mic and we are recording a 38 string classical lever harp in a 10ft x 10ft music room with wooden floors.


    Forgive my ignorance, but what is a pre-amp?! And how do I get hold of one if necessary?


    Thanks again.


  • hansard5 Level 1 Level 1 (60 points)

    I don't know much about that brand of mic.  A pre-amp boosts the signal of a mic or instrument. Some mics produce a really low signal which is insufficient for recording. A pre-amp can help enormously. You can get small pre-amps for under $100. The basic set-up is Mic>>pre-amp>>recording gear.

  • isteveus Level 5 Level 5 (4,305 points)

    A condenser mic needs power to operate either from a battery or what is called a phantom power source. Your mic has electret in it's name, that I believe means it can create it's own power or has it's own power.


    But seeing you can record your voice fine the power is not the problem. My guess is your mic is not sensitive enough. You may need to try moving the mic closer or find a sweet spot in the room as suggested above. Or try the built in mic.


    I've never tried to record a harp (probably not the only one) but I think you will need a mic that is very sensitive with a wide frequency range. Probably best to call one of the big online music retailers and get a suggestion on something in your price range. Sweetwater would be a good place to try.

  • KatieB1987 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks a million for your help! Very grateful and will take on board all your suggestions!