Novice Looking for Advice

Discussion in 'Live Sound' started by Danielle, Dec 28, 2004.

  1. Danielle

    Danielle Guest

    Hi ALL,

    Happy Holiday!
    Just join the forum, reading some really helpful information here.
    I am new at recording acoutic music, and I'm absolutely fascinated with mic techniques. I would really appreciated if I can get some advices on the following questions:

    (1) I'm about to record a Jazz trio, which consists of drums, bass, and piano. The studio I'll be recording at is pretty 'live', and there are no baffle or gobo available. I was wondering what kind of mic technique should I use to achieve the best isolation from each player?

    (2) For sometime now I've been trying to get a good kick sound, not too bassy, but still have a full body sound. Besides using the D112 or RE20, what other mics should I try?

    (3) Is the Avalon Pre good for Classical/Jazz singer? I'm also trying to experiment with different types of Pres, but most of the studio that I've been able to get into are equipt with Rock/Pop gears. In general, what should I go for when recording Classical/Jazz vocals?

    Thank you all in advance for your help!!!


    Danielle :)
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Fredericksburg, VA
    Hey Danielle, Welcome!

    I'll jump right in and start answering your questions.

    1. Tough to say, depends on the situation, but for most jazz combos, sound bleed is a good thing. Trying to isolate each instrument really takes the intimacy away from jazz. Of course, it really also depends on what kind of piano you have, what type of bass, etc. If it's a baby grand/grand, a stereo pattern for the piano (too many possibilities to even list here) would be good. The string bass, again, many options. I personally like to use omnis for almost everything. (I'm not a one trick pony, I just really like how they work. Of course, I have cardioids et. al and ain't afraid to use them.) Personally, I like putting an omni under the bridge of the bass. You can wrap some foam around it so it tucks in nicely and won't hurt either instrument or mic.

    As for trap - just keep in mind, jazz ain't rock. In rock, you would easily be able to mic each piece of the kit. In jazz, fewer is better. Stick with 3 or so mics - an overhead, a snare and a kick or room mic. For the snare, obviously use a tight pattern. I like condensers for snare over the standard 57. They tend to be a little less "colored" and give you some cool articulations with a good drummer.

    For the overhead and the kick/room mic, I again like omnis. The sound you'll get from the kick with a good omni is hard to beat. Ultimately, play around with the setup until you get what you like.

    2. Oops, I just answered that above.

    3. The Avalon line of pres is generally considered quite good for virtually any type of recording. While you won't find many classical engineers using them, they certainly aren't "bad." Personally, I like to go with even more transparent gear, such as stuff from Grace, Benchmark and Millennia.

    Do you have an Avalon, or are you looking for a pre and you like the Avalon? If you have one, use it without fear, you'll get a good sound from it (provided the signal chain and the singer are good too). If you don't, feel free to keep shopping. There is better for less. Check out the Sytek stuff. It's cheap and apparently quite good.

    Just some thoughts...

  3. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    First of all, Welcome! :cool: :D

    When recording Jazz, I tend to go with a pretty minimalist setup, but it turns out well...

    1- Embrace your bleed, if you isolate everything completely, you'll end up with a rock album.... Seriously, though, while you'll want to try to isolate the drums a bit, you can get a lot done in your setup in the room without gobos. Place the piano with the lid facing away from the drums. Make sure that the bass acts as a gobo towards the drums (good players do this naturally). You may want to use a direct as well (a good tube direct can sound nice) to add a bit of body to your bass sound. In general, I much prefer a microphone's sound to a direct, but sometimes the direct can give you the "teeth" a sound needs. A crappy pickup, though, will sound horrible and it is best to have a bleedy sounding mic and no direct.

    2- For the drums, I'd recommend going with a small setup. I use a stereo microphone or a stereo pair a couple feet in front of the kit "looking" just over the toms under the cymbals towards the snare. You can get a beautiful drum sound and not need another mic. Remember in Jazz, the kick is basically like a large tom. It is not like Rock where the Kick is the center of time. In Jazz, the center of time is the bass player, the high-hat and the ride cymbal (note snare and kick were not in that list). I like the 421 and the e602 on kick. They have a bit more transient response than the D112 or RE20. The M88 can be great on kick, too, but if you use it on a kick, forget about using it on anything else ever again.

    3- I'm actually not a huge fan of Avalon's pres. They certainly are good preamps, but not the sound I generally like. For similar cash, you can get a pre that does a specific job much better. I found the Avalon clear, but sometimes almost edgy, but with a touch of warmth as well. For the money, I'd rather buy Hardy, Great River, or any one of a number of other preamps. When my clients pay their bills I'm going to get a dav electronics preamp and give that a go as well...

    I'd say for your jazz singer, a microphone that fits their voice would be much more help to your sound than the preamp that you use. For handheld use, I'd look at the AKG C535, Neumann KMS105 or Audix OM7. For studio use the list grows very long.... Blue mics can be great, old Neumanns (esp. U47's), Microtech Geffels, etc...

  4. Danielle

    Danielle Guest

    wow... thanks guys!!!
    I'm so looking forward to try all your suggestions!!! :D

    Happy New Year 2005 :cool: !!!


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