Date published: August 1, 2011
Acoustic designer Hector Torres has come up with a miking system that's intended to streamline the task of amplifying a cajon. The core of this deceptively simple product is a thin rectangular mount machined from a single 2 ½x6 piece of hardwood that holds a boundary mic, the Audix ADX60. The mount and mic are attached to the rear of the cajon. No matter how you move or lean with the cajon, the mic remains in a consistent position.
Location really matters when you're mounting the mic. Thankfully, there's a video on LP's website where Kevin Ricard suggests placing it near the bottom of the cajon's rear panel so the top of the mic ends up an inch or so below the bottom of the hole. In our testing, mounting the mic any closer to the hole produced a sound that was too boomy, and fixing it right at or inside the port yielded a "boingy" sound similar to the unequalized signal from an internal tom mic.
I used the mic and mount with a PA and in the studio, and in both cases I made similar EQ tweaks to arrive at a good sound. By itself, this setup-flat and dry-resulted in a sound that was pretty useful but had a little ringing in the upper midrange. It was a simple matter, though, to reduce the mids and balance the highs and lows to achieve a big, full sound through the speakers.
Because the ADX60 is a hemi-cardioid mic, it picks up only toward the body of the cajon, offering great isolation. (I could really crank the level before I got any stage noise or feedback-almost like plugging the instrument into a direct box.) And as a condenser, it has the necessary response to capture the full range of the instrument.
The LP Cajon Mic System is a very functional way to mike your cajon. It eliminates the need for boom stands on stage, provides great isolation, and produces a very useful sound without a lot of hassle. While this ultra-close approach might not be my first choice for miking a solo cajon in the studio, I could certainly see a use for it in a session where you're recording a cajon in conjunction with other instruments and you want to keep bleed to a minimum. To cap it all off, the system is very reasonably priced, retailing for $268. The mount alone goes for $19, and LP also makes a similar but larger mount to be used with a Shure Beta 91, which lists for $25.