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Brass Quintet Recording

Discussion in 'Brass' started by JimboJ, May 1, 2006.

  1. JimboJ

    JimboJ Active Member

    I am recording a concert this Sunday by a brass quintet for radio broadcast. Most of my recordings are of mixed ensembles that change configurations for each piece during a concert, so here I have a chance to really dial in a set-up and stick with it for the duration. I can’t remember the last time I recorded a brass quintet so I would appreciate some recommendations on mic choices and set up.

    Instrumentation: 2 trumpets, 1 French horn, 1 tenor trombone, 1 bass trombone

    Concert Hall: 450-seat recital hall, not particularly live since it’s partially carpeted

    Microphones available:
    2 DPA 4006TL omni small diaphragm condenser
    2 Audio Technica AT4050 multi-pattern large diaphragm condenser
    2 Studio Projects SP4 omni or cardiod small diaphragm condenser
    2 Rode NT5 cardioid small diaphragm condenser

    I have 8 channels available to me via a Presonus Firepod into Samplitude. I need to leave 1 channel free for a wireless announce mic. That leaves 7 channels for music.

    I would almost certainly start with the DPAs as my main pair, but where to go from there? Thanks for your advice.

    -- James
  2. Plush

    Plush Guest

    I'd vote for using cardioids as your main pair principally because using omnis
    in a less than great room only shows off the room's drawbacks.

    Move back with an ORTF pair and just use that.

    A famous Dutch engineer, working for Philips, used to call for me to set up
    "real microphones." By this he meant omnis. IF the room was no good, he'd just cancel the session, leave and tell the group to re-schedule in a good acoustic.
  3. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I would normally tend towards XY, maybe ORTF since brass quintet requires or lends itself well to getting good stereo placement. Then I would use the DPAs as flanks to open the sound up a bit. I can't imagine using more than those 4 mics for brass 5tet.

  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    For a moment there, I'd thought you'd stolen my mic locker. ;-)

    No question at all on this one: I'd use the AT 4050's in an ORTF pattern, and the pair of DPA 4006 TL's as outrigger/flanks. (just about what Jeremy said already.)

    Track them separately live, and mix to taste in the studio. I can't imagine it not working ok for you. (Oh, you may need a touch of Reverb or room sim at mix time, but you should be ok in general.)

  5. BigRay

    BigRay Guest

    Id throw the DPAs up on a jecklin disc and call it a day.

    I did a woodwind quintet like this and it came out very well.
  6. JimboJ

    JimboJ Active Member

    Thanks for the advice. I'd like to try a Jecklin disk someday but haven't had time to make one. I ended up recording the concert with the two AT4050s in ORTF and the two DPA 4006TLs about 18" to the right and left of the 4050s. I mixed the two sets of microphones about 50/50 in the final mix. I also used two Rode NT5s about 2/3 of the way back in the auditorium to record some room ambience and get good applause sounds. I haven't used any EQ or room sim. Below are a couple snippets. Please feel free to critique.

    Scheidt - Galliard Battaglia

    Monteverdi - Ah dolente partita

    -- James
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Congrats on this James, it sounds wonderful.

    I would have gone wider with the DPA's, but it's all according to taste and room size. (This sounds like a fairly good, tight space?). I hear a little metal/mechanical noise (the trpt valves, perhaps?) but that's tough to avoid with a recording with this kind of detail. I think it's an acceptable tradeoff for the results you got.

    Also can't help but wonder how you're enjoying the DPA 4006 TLs. (I LOVE mine, they just never cease to amaze me with their detailed response.)
  8. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    one more congratulation on a good sounding recording. Whish I had been there, beeing a bass trombonist myself I do like to listen to a good brass group.

  9. JimboJ

    JimboJ Active Member

    Thanks for your comments.

    I would have liked to go wider with the DPAs but didn't want to put up two more mic stands. I put the mics on the ends of my homemade stereo bar, which clearly isn't wide enough. I'm going to have to tackle the issue of a proper stereo bar soon because I'm really liking this type of setup. I also should have backed up the mic stand about a foot or 18" to get a better blend and a little less noise from the instruments.

    The space is a little dry, but fairly quiet except for constant HVAC wind.

    Joe, about the 4006TLs. What can I say? I may have to marry these because I love them so much and my wife has threatened divorce over the cost. Such clarity and detail and pretty forgiving of my so-so preamps. I use them on everything.


    -- James

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