Jazz - This Should Be A BLAST!

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Midlandmorgan, Apr 11, 2005.

  1. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member


    Got a great gig tomorrow evening...a jazz quartet, featuring trap set (small cocktail kit), upright bass, classical guitar, and rhodes....

    Except for the trapset, I'm not going with any isolation - just mic positions, careful gain structure, etc...no headphones, let the guys mix themselves to a degree....

    Here's the plan:

    Drums: (modified Glyn Johns setup)
    - front of kit: ADK A51 Ser III to Mindprint Envoice
    - OHs: ADKs to a pair of Presonus Firepod pres
    - snare (just in case): AT 831 to Octo channel

    Rhodes: - Peavey Special 130 head only to semi open back cab, JBL D130 (original gray framed). mic'd with AT4033 into Focusrite Octo channel

    Bass: Josephson C42 into OSA 1C
    Guitar: Josephson C42 into OSA 1C

    Open to any/all suggestions to improve what we got planned....

    MAN! Am I looking forward to this one!!!!
  2. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Unless your artist wants a tighter sound on the drums, I'd recommend only using 1 or 2 mics on the kit. Position the mic(s) in front of the kit. A bit higher than the toms "looking" at the snare and a couple feet out in front. Position as you listen to get a good pickup on the whole kit. You can get a fantastic open drum sound this way.

  3. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Thanks for that tip, Ben...I think I'll try that, as producer is really going for the era correctness...
  4. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'd just add MAYBE a little DI on the Rhodes, just in case. In case you want a little "Bite" from the Rhodes (which can get mushy depending on the type of hammers in there...vintage or otherwise), a DI could be helpful.

    Othewise, it sure sounds like you've got it covered. Have fun!
  5. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Just a thought on your upright bass--

    I recently made my life much easier by building a small adjustable baffle about 18inches square woth Auralex on the bass side and carpet on the drums side. It really helpd to prevent the nass mic sucking in the nearest (and farthest!) cymbal. I attached a short length of pipe to one side and keep it placed with a low stand with boom adapter.

    And I second what Ben said. My drums fave lately is an SF12-- you can make the kit as narrow as you wish with no phasiness plus it accepts EQ very gracefully.

  6. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    We set up ala Ben and tested the drums last night...still needs some fine tuning, as this particular player keeps his cymbals very low...on a quick playback, I put a bit of hi end roll off to keep things below 16K, with a touch of UAD LA2 to smooth it all out....but I think actually lowering the front of kit mics down to tom height and dropping a ribbon as a catchall overhead will do the trick....

    Bass is behind a 4x4 GOBO, so no real problem there...(funny - they player is 6'9" tall, looks like he could play the thing under his chin like a violin....)

    We ran the Rhodes with and without the DI anyway, just to see what it would do...but using the JBL speaker and a 4033 on it just seemed smoothest to all of us in the CR...

    Just for kicks, we all talked about it last night, and are going for the 60s vibe...lava lamps (of course), jazz weasel beenie for the bass, very bohemian...I known and worked with this bunch for decades, and while we take the gig VERY seriously, we also like to throw some silly fun in it...shoulda seen it for the 30 second disco spot we did for a radio station...
  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    For the excessive cymbals, try a light multiband compression. Set the high curve at 5kHz or so and only do a 2:1 ratio. Make the lights "dance" with the cymbal hits and I think you find it might sound a bit more natural than a rolled off eq.

    Just a thought. (Maybe even a bad one at that :-? )

  8. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    If the cymbals are too excessive, then move the position of the mic down a bit. Even if it ends up behind or aimed through the toms, you'll get enough snare. The vertical position basically ballances your kick versus the cymbals.

    Moving it out a touch will also give you more of a "kit" sound if any one part seems a bit strong.

  9. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    J...your multiband comp idea was a real gem...I owe you one for that!

    Ben...we moved the 2 mics out a bit more, and (as always) you are right as rain...

    I've done several jazz gigs in the past few months, but none all live minimal setup like this before....I guess this is where I'll find out if I have a clue about engineering or not...
  10. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Glad it worked out... Next time, get a kickin' stereo mic for the drums and you'll hear them come alive. My favorite mic for this kind of work is the Neumann SM69 tube. Fat sound with just enough top end to make the snare and cymbals sparkle. It isn't my favorite mic for a lot of stuff because the top end is rather present, but for this it is a beautiful thing... Also, try a m-s pair in front of the kit sometime. You'll find you'll get much more "dig" into the snare without sacrificing the rest of the kit.

  11. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    I'll do that, Ben...

    OK folks, pay attention to the "Lessons Learned"...hopefully someone else will be able to use this information:

    - Mic gains all needed to be pulled way down in this setting...they were so low as a matter of fact no one noticed the AC was running...

    - Even though proper mic positioning can really reduce bleed, there's no real way to get rid of it...instead, position everything so that bleed compliments instead of distracts...hard to explain, but co-locating sources of similar timbre can help ...

    - I ended up putting a DI on the acoustic bass and classical guitar to help give a cleaner volume during their rides....each DI went through UAD Pultecs to smooth out the grit and keep them relatively level and free of typical pops and noises from DI acoustic intruments...

    - With NO monitors to the tracking rooms, I was able to listen to pure playback...semi-mix on the fly...

    - I need more space...5 guys, full drum kit, upright bass played by a guy 6'9", acoustic guitar, 6 GOBOs...in a 21X19 tracking area...

    - Drummers should not eat a burrito shortly before a closed room gig.

    Once these things are finished and ready for airing (TV/radio spots), will post on my site.
  12. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Yes! I always say that when recording jazz (especially older styled stuff), embrace the bleed. Work with your mics so that you end up with a good ensemble sound rather than a collection of individual instruments that have been recorded.

    Did you also use a microphone on these instruments as well and blend the two sounds? I find that when you do that, you get the best of both worlds... More often than not, I'll use tube DI's for such things (either my ADL200 or my Demeter)


  13. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    For those interested...


    Any DI signals were blended in at no more than 35-40% for rides...other than that its all mics....

  14. recordista

    recordista Active Member

    This is my go-to choice for drums.

    If you're doing a single mic out front, you may find that a wide-ish cardioid works well. I like the BLUE Lollipop for this.

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