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Recording Jazz trio

Discussion in 'Recording' started by nicola74, Feb 26, 2010.

  1. nicola74

    nicola74 Guest

    Hi everyone!
    I'm a professional jazz piano player, I'm from Italy and my english is not so good, so excuse me in advanced.
    My goal is this: recording professionally a jazz trio (piano, double bass, drums) in my room with only two microphones.
    I know it could sound absurd, but:
    -I put some Vicoustic panels on the walls.
    -I have already recorded a CD in trio (with more or less 14 microphones) and the result is great!
    -I know I will have some limitations in mastering after recording, but I don't mind: I want a "live" sound with no artificial reverb or anything else.

    Jacky Terrason, a great jazz piano player, recorded a trio CD in this way and I love that sound, then I know it is possible.

    Then the question is this:
    Wich microphones, preamp, and audio interface (or anything else) do I need to reach my goal?
    I would like to know only about professional gear that I would be able to collect also over the years, if very expensive.

    I hope everything is clear, despite my english.
    Thanks in advance,

  2. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    You can record a trio with two microphones provided they are the correct microphones for the job. Your first step is to forget about your acoustic panels. You need to find a very nice sounding room or hall. Look at the local universities or theaters or churches or wherever might have a large room with natural ambiance. This is the toughest and most important part. Once you have a good room then the rest is easy provided the ensemble plays sensitive and well together.

    What microphones do you have? Can you hire some microphones? Your easiest solution might be a mid/side microphone but only if it is good quality. Another good option would be to use the ORTF technique. Your microphone stand should be centered and back from the trio around 4 meters. If the bass is amplified make sure it is not too loud.
  3. nicola74

    nicola74 Guest

    Hi JackAttack,

    thanks for replay...
    I don't have any mics for now.
    I made some rehersals with two schoeps and two Neumann (using ORTF technique) and I like the result.
    Anyway I would like to record in my house, because I have my piano and I like the sound of the room.
    I know that a theatre could be better, but I don't have a theatre in my house :)
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Hopefully the room your piano is in is a large room. You will want to move the piano away from the walls. You will also need a fourth person to move the mic stand around the room until you find a place that sounds the best.

    Step 1-with the trio playing, have the helper walk around the room listening for sweet spots. Those spots are not always at head height so it is important to move the head up and down while doing this.
    Step 2-after you have found one or three sweet spots then try your microphone stand and elevation at these points. Try them all because the microphones will not respond exactly like your ears. Again the trio needs to be playing for this. If only the piano or only the bass is playing things might be very different.

    Schoeps and Neumann are good brands. There is quite a bit of variation in the designed response of the Neumann line though so be careful which ones you choose.

    Good luck. Some of the other acoustic guys will poke their thoughts in here sooner or later.
  5. nicola74

    nicola74 Guest

    Thanks again,

    you've been very useful!!!
  6. Aural Reject

    Aural Reject Guest

    Just curious, can you explain what you mean? Thanks :)
  7. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Neumann mics are famous because of several factors. They are generally well made and last a lifetime. Each model sort of has it's own flavor. Sometimes this was by design and sometimes not. That isn't a bad thing. Folks like the different models enough that they are workhorses and industry standards. Mostly that the majority of Neumann microphones are not very transparent. The most common ones used for classical recording are probably the 149 or 150 (or M49, M50), the KM84, KM140 series, KM184 (slight rise in the high end), the TLM 193, and the U87. Most of the other mic's have a very pronounced aural signature to them that might be better suited to a different sort of music. Sometimes one wants a little color over a particular section so different choices might be made for spots. In the past I have used TLM 103s and 127s and 170s for orchestral and symphonic wind ensemble jobs. Of the two, I felt they suited the band more than the orchestra. Really, at this point we're getting into an area that Cucco or JoeH et al are better equipped to answer. Few folks know their way around an orchestra better than me, but they have the greater recording engineer knowledge. There are also some older threads that discuss the "coloration" of Neumann mics some of which were kind of shouting matches but never the less useful.
  8. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    He means that the Neumann line of mics are specific designed for much of the models. Only a few are intended for all purpose use. That does not mean you cant use any Neumann for ANY source, its just that some are better than others for specific situations. Really, all mics are this way, its just that Neumanns are complete engineering packages....thus the price.

    (*note to self........type faster)
  9. Aural Reject

    Aural Reject Guest

    Ah, OK - you're talking about coloration (or colouration over here :) ).....I misinterpreted what you'd written - sorry about that.
  10. Aural Reject

    Aural Reject Guest

    Indeed, but then the same argument can be applied to the Schoeps capsules - hence the need for MK2, MK2S, MK2H etc.
  11. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    I think there is generally a much greater spread in the tone palette from Neumann than from Schoeps, but I confess to having had much more hands on time with the Neumann line.
  12. Aural Reject

    Aural Reject Guest

    In as much as there's a greater range when taking into account the LDCs and the valve mics I'd definitely agree with that. There are times when I prefer Neumann to Schoeps SDCs and vice versa.

    It'd be useful to know which models the OP has access to.
  13. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    Schoeps, as a brand, are much more specific about their mics than Neumann. A smaller company, if you will, and a smaller footprint on what their specialty is. In large orchestral presentations you will find both of these being used hand and hand. B&K included. High end high-fidelity.
  14. Aural Reject

    Aural Reject Guest


    I tend to prefer Schoeps omnis over Neumanns (although I use KM183s a fair bit), am leaning towards KM143s over CMC621 (although the MK21 makes a very nice ORTF-like pair through M222s)....it's all down to choosing what works for what you want....however, for a fairly general purpose stereo pair that the OP might require, the options become more standardised IMO.
  15. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    True. We maybe should have had most of this discussion in your thread Aural Reject! :wink:
  16. planet10

    planet10 Active Member

    you may look into having your mics in different polar patterns if the one you get allow this. that will greatly increase your ability to get a better sound. also the room room room is of great importance. im my live room i can record a drum set with a kick mic and a single overhead all the way up to full micing. so its a must to have a solid room
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    +1 on the room.
  18. Robin.bjerke

    Robin.bjerke Active Member

    The room would definitely be my concern. As has been suggested, put alot of time and effort into placement of instruments and placement of microphones. I might suggest trying to rent a couple of nice ribbons for the job. Set the up as a blumlein pair (correct me if the name is wrong, two figure eights at 90 degrees?).

    Good luck, would be cool to hear the recording when its done if you feel like posting it!

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