Jazz trio w/ DPA 4061s

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Sonarerec, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Since the DPA4061 is often a topic, I thought I would put up a snip-- but you will have to take a short trip to hear it:


  2. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    Sounds nice, Rich. How are the piano mics positioned?
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    VERY nice, Rich! Love it, sounds fantastic, very smooth and well rounded tones. (I was just looking at a pair of DPA's on their website for piano....you're pushing me in that direction. ;-)

    Just curious about a few things related to this....what was the piano? (I'm assuming a Steinway, but what size/model?) And, I'm also assuming it was a session vs. a live gig with PA. Big room? Little room?

    My main curiousity is how well they work with a PA system in play, and with open/closed lids. Very often, the jazz gigs I do are live events, and I've got to fight with them to keep the lid open, etc., for a "Real" piano sound, vs. the boxed-up sound so many live PA guys end up with....using brand X mics, etc.
  4. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    In no particular order here are some details:

    This was a live gig (with PA) and it was a 9-ft Steinway, adn the positioning is what Mark Kramer (the notable jazz pianist) worked out-- mics on magnets with on where the harp frame intersects near the hammers around 2 octaves above middle C, and the other down near where than same metal frame member intersects near the sound holes. A picture would be nice-- and I will try to take one late today. The silly mics are so small they will be hard to spot.

    BTW I have used the same setup with a closed lid and the sound certainly was not as good, but far from bad. As usual it depends on how good the instrument is to begin with.

  5. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Yes, top recording Rich, its got ambience, a great stereo image and beautiful neutral but exciting piano tone. Your examples of jazz piano sound with the little DPA's have stuck in my mind more than any other talk or examples about jazz piano miking. Its the way to go, no question. Thanks for the pointers on it all.
  6. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Being a fan of the 4060 series, this tip is definitely going in my book under 'how to record jazz piano'. Thanks!

    Were you happy with the sound of the acoustic bass?
  7. David French

    David French Well-Known Member

    I'm still not quite getting that position. A picture would be great.
  8. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Very much so-- especially as the sound is the same regardless of the physical position of the bass. This is always a major PITA on live gigs. I also placed a small acoustic gobo on a short boom between the bass and cymbal that was about 2 feet away.

    Bass sound is personal, but I like the balance between finger sound and fundamental. There is also a little bit of compression.

    Would I prefer this to a U47FET? Don't know, but I already own this!

  9. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Agreed, that's why I asked - I wasn't being critical, there are too many variables involved in a live recording for someone not involved to be critical. Besides, it's a great recording!

    I did a handful of live jazz recordings a few years ago, mostly Conservatorium student stuff, very little of this calibre, and always found the bass the hardest bit to get right. Clip on mics were the only option, a mic on a stand was never in the right spot long enough because the bass' soundboard is always leaning back, forth, left, right and sometimes even rotating slightly as the player looks/plays to the drummer, pianist or audience.

    Would that be the ride cymbal? And what was the gobo - one of those reflection filter things? If you can place it on a boom arm, it must've been small!

    I've been thinking of using those reflection filter things for some of my folk recordings in the Himalaya, where the only way to get it right is to have all the musicians playing at once, sitting on the floor in close proximity to each other. Normally I'll try and capture it with a single stereo pair, but sometimes it just doesn't work that way and I have to use close mics. I'm thinking of getting three or four of those SE Electronics things for that purpose, one behind each mic. But I'm moving on to a different topic now...

    It sits very nicely with the lower notes on the piano, tonally and dynamically. My personal preference, fwiw, is for a little more finger noise for articulation, but not everybody likes it that way - including many bass players!

    I noticed also that you used a Royer SF12 on the drums. I've had great luck doing that, treating the drum kit like an orchestra and the drummer like the conductor - miking from about 18" above and behind the drummer's head, forming a diagonal line over the drummer's head to the centre of the kit. In fact, one drummer I recorded in that manner came into the makeshift control room, took a listen and said, "That's the first time anyone has recorded my drums how I want them to sound". That made sense to me, being a Blumlein pair positioned behind his head, each drum was where he heard it.

    But you have the drums mostly to the right side. Did you use only one side of the SF12? Or did you rotate (or otherwise position) it to put the drums to the right of its stereo image? Or did you simply pan both sides of the SF12 appropriately?
  10. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    I have not met a bass player who will allow me to clip a U47 FET to their instrument.
  11. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I was using the SF12 at that point (almost 2 years ago) because as a stereo mic I could "fold it in" without phase problems and then steer it-- in this case to where the kit was physically. I have now changed my drum setup to a pair of Schoeps CMC64 in a genuine X-Y (crossed capsules) with a 4061 on snare. The SF12 simply did not have enough transient response or "air" on top for good cymbal sound, and the snare was always a little lacking. This way I don't need to top HF lift as on the clip. As I think about it-- I could try a spaced pair of 4061s but don't know what would happen on the top end with the need to fold them in a bit. Guess there's only one way to find out!

    The positioning of the drum mains are similar to yours-- about a foot over the drummer's head and slightly forward so it hears the kit the same way he does. I also put this on a boom from the rear so he is not even aware they are there. I once had a jazz drummer object to the single micstand in front-- "the audience will have trouble hearing me, man." WHATEVER.

    My 3-week music festival gig (that includes jazz) begins in about a month, so I can put up a snip with the "evolved" drum rig and you be the judge!

    I mention the U47FET as it is usually the preferred bass mic amongst the really well-heeled engineers. Even if I had the $$ I am not sure I would give up the 4061.

    And the gobo is 15 inches square of plywood with carpet on one side and Sonex foam on the other--- just small and light enough to position so the omni bass mic isn't a drum mic. Of course it still does somewhat, but I pan things so that leakage is not the enemy.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  12. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Those little 4061s sure are versatile...

    When I read that you used an SF12 on the kit, I was expecting the drums to sound tonally out of perspective with the piano and bass - the latter two being very close miked with tiny diaphragm condensers, the former being relatively distant miked with a ribbon. But, surprisingly, the drums sat nicely in the excerpt you posted. Was that due to the EQ you're about to mention, perhaps? (see below)

    I'd even be inclined to try a single 4061 in mono over the whole kit, for what it's worth. Would anyone notice the difference? Especially if you were able to get a couple of room mics happening at the same time.

    Yes, bring the boom up from behind the drummer. Makes for a very clean stage, and also makes sure that pesky stand is not going to block the drum sound from the audience... :shock:

    Looking forward to it...

    Thanks very much for that info. It has been very informative and interesting so far. I have considerable interest in the potential of the little 4061s in particular, I don't own any yet but they're relatively cheap, and they've been on my list of useful things for quite a while now. Your recordings have reinforced that notion.

    I don't know if this is of any interest to anyone out there, but... My current interest is for recording a particularly tricky form of music from Southern India, called Carnatic music, which rfreez recently introduced me to. From my Western perspective, it is conceptually very much like Miles Davis' era Modern Jazz, where you have a small number of virtuoso musicians playing together, for five to 15 or so minutes per piece, and each has their solo parts and so on. Very dynamic stuff, too. It is interesting and exciting music to hear live, but difficult to record with a single stereo pair because it kind of evolved with PA systems. So you have, for example, a vocal, a violin and a two-headed hand drum (mridangam? rfreez correct me if I'm wrong here) playing together - not really a good combination for a stereo mic!

    My current thoughts are to clip a 4061 on the violin and one on the vocalist (using one of DPA's head mounting things, allowing head movement and so on, which appears to be quite necessary in this music), and then a pair of [whatevers], one on either side of the mridangam, and finally a stereo pair to capture the air to glue it all back together again. Time align and pan each close mic to the stereo pair (as closely as possible, anyway) and blend in as much of each as is necesary.

    I suspect this will be the best way to properly represent, and therefore do justice to, this unique form of music.
  13. rfreez

    rfreez Active Member

    congratulations to sonarerec on a great recording, and very enjoyable music. do you think the 4060s will be a better choice for recording softer sources such as solo violin? do you ever find the lower sensitivity of the 4061s to be a problem?

    this is definitely off topic, but unlike in other boards, i feel like nobody is going to pounce on me if i stray a little bit :wink:

    my intuition is that a mic such as the 4061 (which, as i understand, already has a rising HF response with the soft boost grid) is bound to sound very bright and thin when close micing potentially strident sources such as violin and vocal. comments from more experienced users? i'm actually quite surprised that the piano sounds as pleasant as it does in the linked example, was any HF rolloff applied?

  14. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    When I return to your part of the world in December (hopefully), I'll try to bring some along, and we'll try it. They might be just the ticket when sparingly blended in as spot mics into a traditional stereo distant mike recording. That piano in Rich's recording sounds lovely, for sure.
  15. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    Very nice.
    Every thing sonicaly sounds great.
    However, I am not a huge fan of how upfront the piano sound is. The piano sounds impressive to say the least, but I am just a personal fan of having the piano sound further away. Keep in mind most of my jazz records are ones done with 2 mics. So i am just used to hearing the piano sound like its coming from the corner of the room.

    Its just personal preference, and not a knock against you at all.
    keep up the awesome work.
  16. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    The lower output of the 4061 is exactly why these were chosen over the 4060. A rhythm section is a loud animal.

    The intuition expressed above is why graphs are sometimes not helpful. The mic was designed as a body mic, hence the 3dB HF boost to make up for the off-axis placement. All one must do to have ruler-flat response is remove the grid (as the 4090/91 does). Even with the HF rise this mic never sounds like a typical electret clipon. It sounds like a really good DPA omni.

    As I recall some mid EQ was dialed in but don't remember if the HF was rolled off. And the recording was produced to sound like the listener was on stage rather than in the house. Personal taste! PLus, the pianist is the star, although I think that the drums could have been a TOUCH more-- especially in the mp3 version.

    As for one mic over the drums-- because the set is 5 feet wide I do not think that would work for me. THe SF12 had significant HF shelving EQ added.

  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'm curious to know where the mid EQ came into play.

    My biggest beef with the 4061 is that, for some reason, around 800 Hz, there seems to be a bottle neck. While I think the linked recordings sound fantastic, I can hear the faint hint of that bottleneck.

    I'm assuming you used linear phase EQ (likely Algo Orange or Blue...)? I don't hear the traditional artifacts from a mid EQ on this recording.
  18. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    That makes sense - match the mic to the music.

    This is all very good information. Graphs can indeed be deceiving. For example, some time ago on this board we discussed DPA's 4041, which has an on-axis HF boost, and yet the consensus was that it doesn't sound as bright as the graphs imply - probably because the boost is only on-axis, rather than throughout the polar response. But if the only information you had was the on-axis frequency response, you'd expect it to be very bright...
  19. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I am looking at the VIP (or EDL to the non-Sequoia users) and am surprised how BAD my memory is!

    The piano EQ (which is standard Sequoia and not the Algo Orange which I own) has a HF shelving set to -6.2dB @ 9.7 kHz with a Q of 1.00.

    IOW it is counteracting what the grid is doing.

    The drumset SF12 is also HF shelving (same Sequoia EQ) set to +11dB @ 7.7 kHz with a Q of 1.00.

    I am also wondering what a synonym for "bottleneck" might be?

  20. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Well, that ought to put rfreez's mind at rest! It also justifies his concerns over using the 4061s on violin for Carnatic music, as I was suggesting...

    I love the fact that you can do that to the Royer without the sound going bad...

    According to MS Word, your choices are: block, blockage, restricted access, hold up, traffic jam, tailback, jam, log jam...

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