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Micing Saxophone for Ska/Jazz/Reggae

Discussion in 'Brass' started by soapfloats, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I recently had a ska-blend band in to do rhythm tracking, and will be overdubbing horns next week.

    For the 'bone, I'm pretty much settled on using my Fathead.
    The other horn is a sax... which has been a bit of a bugaboo for me.
    I'll begin by echoing some thoughts I found while searching this subject.

    1. The sax player (tenor) I've had the most experience micing is an animal, and not in the flattering sense. Squawks, reed bites, strange achromatic runs, etc. When he fits, it's really nice. But his dynamics and sound are all over the map. We compare having him play to letting a rabid beast out of its cage: you free it, let it go wild, and (hopefully) put it back when done.

    2. In the above, I've tried a Bluebird, a clip-on (UGH!!!), a 414, and a Fathead - with varied success. This includes double-mic techniques. Again, varied success.

    3. When micing my clarinet, I've had good success w/ a 421 near the bell and a Bluebird near the left-hand fingers. So any thoughts on a double-mic? Note: did not have the Fathead @ this point.

    My initial thought: Go w/ the FH a few feet in front and somewhat above the sax. I love it (no it's not a Beyer or Royer) on many sources (gui amp, female vox, strings). It's quickly becoming one of my favorite mics. I'm figuring it should perform well in this case, too.

    However, I do record in a large church sanctuary. 30'x40'x15-30', vaulted ceilings, of course. I have other spaces/rooms available, although all but the "control room" are subject to lively, larger spaces - to one degree or another. If you have the itch, I've got a model using Sketchup available for d/l:
    http://www.sendspace.com/pro/dl/34329i


    Point being, I am a little concerned about the space included using either a ribbon or an LDC. I like my room(s), but sometimes get too much of it(them).

    Oh yeah, and the sax player for this session will be playing mostly alto, although likely some tenor, too. He's much more disciplined and skilled, to boot. So I'll be dealing with a much tamer animal in this case.

    Any thoughts/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I would guess the Fathead is going to be your best bet. I find condensers pick up added key click and other noise without adding anything musical that I really like.

    On sax I usually start with the mic at the point of an equilateral triangle with the body of the sax as the base. If the room is good I usually move back from there and see what it sound like.

    BTW, did you check out the tests we did on ribbons? The Fat Head sounds good on sax. I've kept mine even though I got the Beyer 160/130 pair.
     
  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    This is absolutely my favorite, go-to mic for saxophone:

    Small Business Administration

    Very little off-axis coloration, and smooth at various distances; it doesn't get squonky or nasal on reeds. I like it better than AKG 414's and most other stuff. For the price, it's unbeatable, IMHO.
     
  4. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Thanks fellas.

    Bob - I did d/l the tests, which is part of the reason I was leaning towards the FH. Still lusting after that very Beyer pair...

    Joe - Unfortunately, don't own that one, and not looking to buy right now. I have eyed it in the past, but already have enough condensers for now and was a little uncertain about the MXL brand. I own the 990, 3000, and 603s. They go from very bad to very nice, in that order, IMHO. Good to know the V6 is on right end of that spectrum.

    Thanks again!
    BTW - the session's not until Wednesday, so if anyone else has any thoughts, my ears(eyes) are open.
     

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