In 1963, Conny Sommer was born in Hamburg, where he started his musical training at the age of nine. While studying musicology, with a major in music ethnology, Conny Sommer went on several study trips to Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain, Colombia and Guinea.
Since 1989, he has very successfully worked as a live and studio musician, teacher and lecturer. His instructional book “Das große Lehrbuch für Cajón“ can almost be considered to be compulsive reading for cajoneros. A second method book and an instructional DVD by Conny Sommer are also available on the market.
The German specialist magazine “Drums & Percussion” regularly publishes an educational column on cajon playing written by Conny Sommer.
Cool cajons, best service, very innovative, FRIENDLY!
Cajon Fineline Comfort Mocca
Acoustic pop music, jazz, flamenco and every other groovy style of music
Rolando Villazón, NDR Big Band, Miguel Iven, Stefan Grasse Quartet
Setup for live performances:
1)The smallest setup consists of a clip mic - AKG C 419 (with pop filter!) or Beyerdynamik Opus 88 -, which is attached to the sound hole of the cajon in a way that it is positioned about 5 cm / 2” behind the sound hole, directly at its edge. Alternative solution: Sennheiser MD 421 or Shure SM 57 Beta positioned at a distance of about 15 cm / 6 “ behind the cajon, pointing diagonally upwards and, thus, extending into the sound hole.
If you want to have a fat bass sound, you can also use a bass drum microphone and position it directly behind the sound hole, but if is not used in combination with a mic at the front, the sound will be rather imbalanced. The signal coming from all these combinations is quite bass-heavy and should be filtered in any case. With a robust attack and a good bass sound, a reduction in bass of –8 dB at 80 to 90 Hz is quite frequent. For fine tuning: The wood sound has a frequency of about 1 KHz, the snare sound should be adjusted at 8 KHz.
2) If the setup on stage does not allow for the direct sound emanating from the playing surface of the cajon to be heard, it is recommended to position a second microphone at the front. Depending on what kind of sound you want to have, you can choose between a dynamic mic (“wooden” mid range frequencies, weak treble frequencies) or a condenser mic (brillant treble frequencies). The positioning of the microphone at the front depends on the percussion setup: For optimum sound, put it at a distance of 30 cm / about 12 “ right up front. In case it bothers you during the performance, it could also be positioned at a distance of 40 cm / about 16 “ and at an angle of 45 degrees obliquely from above. If the percussion setup comprises several drums placed in front of the cajon (for instance, congas, djembés, timbales, toms and the like), the best solution is to use overheads to mic up the complete setup. Equalization is made a lot easier if you use two microphones to mic up the cajon: The bass frequencies can be controlled without problems when adjusting that part of the overall sound picked up by the backside mic. You may even want to filter out some frequencies. In case you wish the cajon to be miked up using effects, you should employ the front mic (less bass frecuencies) for this purpose.
3) A frequently-used miking technique applied in the pop music scene is putting a boundary layer mic in a horizontal position onto the padded bottom of the cajon. Advantage: simple positioning, the mic does not move; you may possibly use a Y-cable to feed two channels on the mixing console.
For studio situations, I always utilize two microphones for miking up the cajon.
1) My favourite acoustic setup includes a Neumann TLM 103, to be positioned on a floor stand at a distance of about 45 cm / 18 “ behind the cajon and pointing diagonally upwards and, thus, extending into the sound hole. This mic is combined with a Neumann KM 184, which is positioned at a distance of about 50 cm / 20 “ up front pointing towards the upper edge of the playing surface. Without equalization, this setup sounds completely neutral and powerful; it sounds definitely like a cajon and not like a drumset, especially with regard to the bass frequencies. Its sound is well-balanced and soft, not hard and aggressive.
2) If you want the bass sound to be like that of a bass drum, you should replace the backside mic with a bass drum mic with its tip extending into the sound hole.