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Your favorite mic for tracking Sax ?

Discussion in 'Brass' started by Kirk Candlish, Jun 25, 2002.

  1. I've used a few different mics for tracking Sax. I'm wondering if I missed the best one ?
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    two that i like depending upon what the end result (relative to the context) is supposed to be:
    Neumann U67
    Royer 121
  3. Like RO said, depends on the context. I am far from an expert on saxes, but my friend and I have been recording sax parts latley, Mostly stabs along with a Trombone and trumpet. I don't have a Royer yet (if I did, thats what I would reach for), but I have gotten Good results with a 57 @ the bell and an Blueberry @ the valves, then MS decode. It is not the (royer) truth, but it sounds pretty full. I really don't know if that would work that great if you were using the sax as the focal point. Just something to try with any combo of dynamic and condenser.

    Hey RO, what pre(s) are you using with the Royer?
  4. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Back at ya' Corny. I used, most recently, the UA 2-610. I'm a big fan of the originals...and they can impedance match to ribbons. As do the avalon 2022's and the vipre's. I'd really like a pair of the vipres and a pair of royer 121's. I'm pretty sure (99%) that I'm picking up a pair of 121's in thre next week or two.

    Back to topic. Typically, Large Diaphram tube condensers are the ticket for saxes. Bones also get large diaphram condensers and trumpets usually get the ribbons. That's what Bones Howe or Al Schmitt would use. That's some of who taught me...so from them to me to you.

    Typically (there's that word again), the mic half way between the bell and the valves. at a 45 degree angle to the floor. For bones, usually, if there sitting, the mic is down a foot or two off the floor and pointing up towards the bell at a 45 degree angle. Trumpets get those ribbons (if you got them) or a large diphram condenser a few feet away from the bell, pointing straight at it. For both the Bone's and Horns, use a pad on the condensers.
    Dinamics can also work. Mic placement is key for getting the note and not too much "air"(all the breathy sounds...on sax's, clarinets, bass clarinets, etc). The reason ribbons are so good is they are warm. Condensers on Bones and horns (trumpets) can be a bit harsh.
  5. Thanks for replies.

    I realize that context is key, but I was looking for advice on mics that would give me the more accurate/natural sound, not an effect.

    I don't own a good ribbon mic like the 121, sounds like I need to move that one up higher on the infinite list of mics to buy.

    I'll have to give my Soundelux U95S a try, it's a recent purchase and I'm finding it sounds great on a lot of things. I could try the MS approach with it in a figure 8 pattern and then put an SR-77 or a B&K 4012 at the bell.

    My best pres right now are Avalon M5s, so from there into my Apogee A/D would be the setup. I'm thinking that could be a pretty good sound.
  6. Screws

    Screws Active Member

    Feb 16, 2001
    Home Page:
    Recently a sax player came to lay some tracks on a CD I'm working on. He happens to work at a stroe that sells audio stuff, so I suggested he bring a few of his favorite Large Diaphragm condenser mics to try. I'm not exclusive to LD condensers for sax, but the particular tracks I was working on required the sax to take up a lead vocal type space, hence the preference for ld condenser.

    I own a few decent ldc's [CAD E-300, AKG C4000B, Rode NTK, GT AM11, Oktava MK319], so I asked him to bring some of the Marshall mics - 2001, 2003, V67G and V77 tube. I was very curious as to how different these could possibly sound to what I already owned.

    We spent a couple of hours comparing mics before we started laying the tracks, and out of all the mics we tried, the one that worked nicest on HIS sax in MY room on THESE two songs was the V77 tube. Rich and full tone with just the right amount of edge and air. The NTK sounded nice and the V67G was a close third. The 2001 was too edgey, 2003 was a little better. AM11 was too dark, C4000B had some weird peaky thing happening, and Oktava was way too honky. CAD was nice but sort of eh sounding. It didn't make my hair stand up, ya know?

    The most fun was getting to hear all this stuff side by side, and oh yeah, the tracks came out great.

    Steve Cruz
    Cruzified Music
  7. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    What are you talking about? What "effect"?
    I gave you the tip on how to get as natural of a sound as possible.

    I honestly don't get some of you guys....you have better gear (Avalon M5) than most of us who've done this for a living for years-contrary to popular opinion, not every studio or session has the latest and greatest gear or gizmo....just people (if that session is lucky) that know how to use them- and you can't use your ears (apparrently) to save your lives. What was unclear about my response?

    Talk about "effects"....anybody that has to go to the degree of thinking about using an M/S technique to record sax has too much time on thier hands.
  8. Woah RecorderMan, take a moment here and re-read what I said.

    I understood your post to suggest that different mics would be used in different context/genre of music. Hence my comment that I was looking for a natural sound, not an effect.

    I appreciate your advice, didn't take it for anything beyond that and I don't know where you got that take on what I said.

    As for using an M5, well that's what I have. I worked my butt off to afford it and have spent many years in the studio with a lot less.
  9. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    forgive me please for being an asshole kirk.
    I miss reread your comment.

    Using cans can help you find the sweet spot out in frony of the horns.
  10. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I'm eagerly awaitng the moment when i can spring for a Soundelux U99 so I can have something in the vein of a U67 in my arsenal. I can get a new one for under $1700, so it's ohhhhhhh so tempting - but having just done a PT HD2 swap/upgrade along with the various necessary plug-in upgrades (like $750 alone to Waves for an upgrade to their HD Platinum package) it looks like I'll have to wait a bit longer.

    Meanwhile, I use my Lawson L47mp alone on most sax recordings, except soprano - where I often use a second mic on the bell. I totally agree with Recordman's positioning on sax - the key for natural sound is to capture the whole horn, not just what comes out the bell. I'm usually very pleased with the results, but I will be interested to compare it to something in the U67 genre. Also- very interesting tip about putting the trombone mic low to the ground - I'll have to give that one a try - thanks as always R.M. for giving me some new stuff!

    If there is one horn that I have had a little problem with, it would be baritone sax - not so much in a jazz context (treating it like a big tenor works fine there) but for those honking classic Rock and R&B low parts. Any tips Recorderman? I was thinking maybe I should just stuff a dynamic into the bell! I'm a little hesitant about shoving my Royer in there - in case he moves!
  11. sign

    sign Guest

    Neumann M149!

    Peace, Han
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    I wish I could draw pictures. For more positioning info:

    picture each of the following subjects siiting in chairs for this description.

    saxes: 45 degree facing down
    bones & bass clarinets: 45 degrees facing up (trobonists bells point towards the floor)
    trumpets: facing horn.

    definetly give some room...do noy be right up on the bell...as mentioned earlier you want the whole instrument.

    I can't say it enough. For me the ticket is moving the mic while listening with cans...you can REALLY find those sweet spots. The caution for this is, that while your in the learning curve you may need to flip phase on the mic your moving TEMPORAILLY, beacuse the sound of the instrument in the room coupled with the sound of the mic in your cans can ply tricks (untill you get a handle on this) and you can find exactly the wrong spot (phase wise)...it'll really help you find the spots where the note(fundemental) blooms.
  13. RandomGuest

    RandomGuest Guest

    Feb 10, 2001
    I should just tattoo that on the inside of my eyelids - it's more or less the universal answer to any mic'ing question. To find the super-honk in the bari I just need to get up off my ass and look for it.

    Thanks for the phase tip - that might not have occurred to me on my own!
  14. So I have too much time on my hands playing with a M/S technique? Crap, I guess I should just keep my F'n mouth shut. And here I thought recording was a creative process!

    I did not "recomend" the process.
    I just stated what I did with good results to make my brass sound larger than it had on limited mic's.

    Sorry to "waste anybody's time".
  15. I'm not sure what that attitude was about, but I for one appreciated the idea and I started the thread.

    I've never minded putting some time into finding a great sound, even if it means going off the clock with the artist during that time.
  16. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Hey Corny...I all ready appologized for being an ASSHOLE...I'll do it again if necessary.

    Less is More (except as an exception to the rule).
  17. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
  18. Sorry RM,

    I did not read your other post.
    No need to apologize twice. :D

  19. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    No prob's here....

    OH...and I vote for the U67 AGAIN!
  20. Mad John

    Mad John Active Member

    Nov 25, 2001
    Love, dear friends........it's ALL LOVE! :tu:

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