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Micing a B3 for live recording?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by rockinrocker, Apr 22, 2007.

  1. rockinrocker

    rockinrocker Guest

    Anybody have any tips for this? I'm thinking we'll take a DI right off the organ, then I'll put a 414 on the leslie (my only other available option for mics would be a 57).

    I'm wondering if i should use the pad on the 414? i'm thinking i want to get the mic as close as possible to minimize bleed, and these guys play at a fairly loud volume...

    Anything else i should take into consideration?
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Distinguished Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    I have not played with this (God, I want a Leslie) But I would take two matching mics on either side of the Leslie and mic it in stereo. I'd try with the mics near the upper horns.
  3. rockinrocker

    rockinrocker Guest

    thanks for the response,
    i hadn't even thought about doing a stereo pair, but that makes sense, give that much more space to hear the rotation.....
  4. Boswell

    Boswell Distinguished Moderator Resource Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The last time I miked a Leslie I used an MS pair, since I had previously found that capturing the rotating sound field with an X-Y pair did not translate well in mono.

    If you only have a C414 and an SM57, you could try the 414 in fig-8 as the S mic and the 57 as the M. Not a usual combo, but it might work. Do try listening in mono before you commit to mic positions.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    I have an M3 spinet that my parents bought new in '58 and in the early '70s I rigged it to a 122. I'll never sell it, even if it takes a truck and 4 stevedores to move it! There is nothing like a Hammond through a Leslie, I don't care what Sweetwater says!
    Why do you want to DI it? Just curious...
    I don't know if you've noticed this, but no matter what the speed selection is for the top rotor ("slow" or "fast"), the bottom drum is ALWAYS "slow", and they spin in opposite directions. While it's great to have a Leslie mic'd in stereo, personally if I only had the (2) mics you listed, I would try the 414 on the drum to get that "growl", and put the 57 on the top rotor. I use a Sennheiser 421 on my drum, and the 57 on the horn to get that "bite" without blowing the diaphragm off a nice LDC...also watch your placements to be sure to minimize wind noise from the louvers and the spinning...
  6. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    Keep in mind how you want it to turn out...in stereo or in mono?
    Also, the apparent speed and depth will be different with one mic or two for each the top and bottom.
    This is logical and basic physics:

    One mic top, one mic bottom; apparently slower for each, because it only catches the horn/rotor in basically one area, each. Also, the pitch/volume (doppler effect) change may be more dramatic, because nothing's catching it from the other side, and the mic's only catching what is bouncing around the room...and THAT depends on what mic and where it's at.. When it's directed completely opposite, it'll probably catch the minimum...depending on the room.

    Two mics top, two bottom, stereo record; Obviously, will be apparently faster because you're capturing it from two points in the same time period. The pitch/volume (doppler) from each MAY blend in with the other in the stereo field more, possibly making it appear that it might not have QUITE as much depth, but that's dependant on a lot of factors, such as mic choices/placements relative to each other, and to the speaker. But the stereo field should still be lush. The closer they are to the speaker, the less room effect for each. And, the more noise. But, the further they are from the speaker, especially in a live situation, the more other instruments the mics will catch.

    Two mics top, two bottom, mono record:
    Nearly twice the speed of one mic, depending on mic placements. Probably less doppler effect to one track, mono, because it's catching each mic as it leaves the other, without benefit of channel separation. Something like that might freak you out...maybe sound more like a pulsating thing, than a swirling thing.

    This may freak out the Hammond player, if the player hears the recording and say's "I KNOW my Leslie was spinning faster (or slower) than THAT!", depending on how you mic it up. He (or she) is back there hearing that thing swirl around the room, bouncing off everything. That's the beauty of a live Hammond/Leslie in a relatively small-to-medium space. The Hammond/Leslie is one instrument, especially, that could benefit from surround sound...done right.

    I have a friend that insists he wants to put four mics on top, and on bottom. I told him he'll probably take away a lot of the character, and possibly give the effect less depth. Besides, I ain't doing you in surround, you DON'T need four mics for stereo! Plus, I told him, it's just MORE noise I'm gonna have to deal with.

    Gotta balance all that out for what you want to record in that situation.

    I THINK I got that straight. Any corrections welcome :wink:

  7. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2003
    Kansas City, KS
    Home Page:
    First off, there is only one horn opening on the top that passes sound. One is a dummy just there for balance.

    If you do one mic, and the player's style requires slow spin, then you might not like the result. I would do two mics. We are talking B3 in a live concert setting, right?

    There are many debates about this. I personally do not like two mics placed on opposite sides of the cabinet hard-panned L/R. Then the doppler effect gets two wide. I try to make it sound more natural. I always used a large diaphragm mic on the bottom end. If I am in a good room, I will use a stereo mic config and try that in the far field.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Dec 10, 2001
    Pacific NW
    I always mic with two mics. One on the lower and one on the upper rotor. Stereo micing of a leslie has never been a great success unless you are in a really controlled room in which a quality stereo array can work at distance. Usually in a live situation, for stereo imaging, there have been two leslies available.

    In your case I would use the 414 at about mid-cabinet height out a couple of feet , aimed down a touch in cardioid, and the 57 right at the rotor openings edge with the diaphram pointing away from the rotor wash. You would be micing it as it goes by eliminating the air sounds and effectively capturing some of the 'cabinet' sound.

    There is no such thing as a 'direct' Hammond or Leslie sound...despite what they say. Unless we're talking Jon Lord and a Marshall with a DI off the preamp...
  9. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    I think I may not have been clear enough :( . I realize the top rotor has a counter-balance horn. The rotor passes sound through only one horn, while the other horn balances it's weight. The cabinet, however, usually has front and side slots/openings that the sound can pass through as that one working rotor horn passes by. Same with the spinning drum at the bottom. You could stick a mic in front of any or all, or away from any or all.

    I'm confused on this, but I think it makes sense later. Wouldn't two mics opposite each other, instead of just one, actually make the spin APPEAR faster, because it's picking it up at two points? Instead of Whaaa.....whaaa.....whaaa...(mono), you'd get (L)wha..(R)wha..(L)Wha..(R)wha...stereo, sounding nearly twice as fast?

    Yup, I do agree. If you were to take them closer out toward the front edges of the cabinet, one mic will start to catch, earlier, where the other mic left off. This should make the speed APPEAR slower, since instead of catching L...R...L...R...L...R equally, it would be more like L..R.....L..R.....L..R, with some good movement and stereo spread. This is possibly what you were referring to in the previous paragraph? I think that may be the real benefit of the effect, not having it ping-pong evenly?

    Space to set them up is one consideration. Other instruments bleeding into them is another...the further from the Leslie, the more other stuff it's likely to catch. Not a problem in a studio with the Leslie isolated. May cause problems at mixdown if a lot of other stuff is bleeding into the Hammond/Leslie tracks...if you want to bring those tracks up and down in volume during sections. If not, then it may just add some good ambience. It all depends.

    I was just throwing out some stuff that he may want to be aware of, and odd things that can happen with stuff like this. Your points are well taken, and I hope I've understood the causes of your concerns about my post. My friend and I debate this all the time. How many mics, and where you place them make a big difference in the effect, overall. Someone won't know what's exactly right for their stuff until they experiment, and record it.

    I'm always willing and interested to learn, and to dispel my old beliefs.

    Cheers, :wink:

  10. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Back in the mid-70's I used a chopped and modded B-3 into a Hiwatt 100 head powering a JBL speaker for the drum and the stock leslie 122 amp powering an Altec driver for the rotor. We just used a pair of SM-57s, one on the drum and one on the rotor about 2 inches into the cabinet just off of the corner angled away from the band to provide some isolation from the rest of the stage noise. It sounded awesome. I later switched to a Korg CX-3 using the same amp and mic setup; you could barely tell the difference in a live situation.


    Excerpt from - The Hammond Organ: Beauty in the B by Mark Vail

    Want to mic your Leslie? Well, who do you want to be today? Keith Emerson would have you take the Leslie cover off and place four dynamic mics so close to the rotating horns that you can pick up the wind noise. Steve Winwood uses just one mic per speaker, with the louvers open but still intact. Phil Spector? Stick your cabinet in a small bathroom with a single large-diaphragm AKG hanging from the ceiling.


    I would have to dig it out, but I remember reading an article in Contemporary Keyboards (now Keyboard) magazine about the '76 ELP tour. The FOH Leslie was in an iso-booth under the stage with, if I recall correctly, a dozen mics to accomidate the quad sound system.
  11. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sep 26, 2005
    I'm sure everybody will appreciate this one. A good friend of mine has a six-foot tall Leslie cabinet with 4 psychedelic, Day-Glo painted rotating speakers and built-in florescent black lights! It has a petal box and can accept other input sources such as guitars! It's totally psychedelic! Totally awesome! Timothy Leary LSD! 1970! It's like deja vu all over again!

    I'm getting too old for that. Better if I stick to organics.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  12. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Nov 21, 2005
    My debate buddy must have read that somewhere to want to use four mics....

    ...and I ain't gonna show him this.

    Kapt.Krunch :shock:

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