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Brass Band Recording

Discussion in 'Brass' started by Razzman, Jan 26, 2014.

  1. Razzman

    Razzman Active Member

    Nov 17, 2012
    West Yorkshire
    I am a complete beginner at recording – so go easy and explain any technobabble...

    I took the plunge last year and decided to start recording the brass band that I direct. I purchased a Zoom H4N recorded with this for a while, then purchased two (match stereo) SE4’s. I have been using the SE4s at the front of the band in and X-Y configuration and recording to the zoom. I get better results than using the zoom on its own.

    I have made my fair share of naff recordings, but when recording rehearsals of my own band – it doesn’t really matter, and great practice for me.
    I am having a few problems with my recordings; I am not getting a good percussion sound (percussion is at the back of the band), I don’t get the bass sound i would like (located at the back just in front of percussion), I am also not getting the “sparkle” I would like especially from the higher instruments.

    Bearing in mind Im not in a position to throw loads of money at a new system, but I am looking upgrade over time to get the sound I want. I only really get involved in brass bands, so if I can tailor my system to that setup I would be happy. I am under no time pressures.
    I am keeping the zoom unit, as it will still be very useful for analysing contest performances, where I am unable to set up any system.

    I would like to pick up the percussion and bass sections with additional mics. I also think that the higher end, cornets could do with a different type of microphone, spot mic-ing the two sections.
    My first challenge has been to decide on a system setup.

    I have a very powerful Laptop (T510 with a 1TB SSD Hard drive and stacks of RAM). Some years ago I was given a copy of Adobe Audition 1.5 which still seems to work with windows 7. I don’t particularly wish to cart round a mixing desk and a multitask recorder, so was considering an audio interface.

    After a great deal of reading I was considering the Focusrite Saffire Pro 40. I was thinking that I could use it with my SE4’s for a while until I get familiar with it, and add further microphones over time.

    Does anyone have experience of this interface, is it looking the best / most cost effective solution for me and the application?

    Also anyone have ideas about overhead mic’ing of percussion and types of mics for brass band (BBb Basses through to Cornets). I am not wanting to go silly with I/O. I think 8 track should be sufficient. I am not looking to do “professional studio” recordings. My activities involve live concerts, rehearsals and possibly the odd demo recording of the band. In any case I am looking for a very natural sound – possibly going down the DECCA tree route.

    Anyone with Brass Band recording experience would be ideal, but any informed ideas would be appreciated,

    Thank you
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Resource Member

    Feb 21, 2013
    Quebec, Canada
    Home Page:
    You could close mic everything but it may kill the live sound we like from brass ensemble.
    I'd say IF, and it's a big IF, you're actual recordings are good but only miss certain parts, work only on those. Close mic the perc or add overheads for them and Close mic the bass
    What is very important is to check the phase when recording with more than one mic. To do so, try to reverse polarity of one mic at the time to see if it sounds better. You can move the mics around until all mics capture a good sound and a acceptable spill from distant instruments.

    The focusrite Pro40 is a good unit, the preamps are fairly good and quite transparent. I use a 56 which is the same unit with more options.

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