Skip to main content

Big band recording

I'm doing a big band record in a couple of weeks, and I have never done it before. I have one large recording room and one small recording room in addition to the control room. I have the following mics: 3xSm58, 2x Sm 57, 4x AKG C410, 2x Shure Sm 85, 2x Schoeps and a Neumann TLM 170. I might remember incorrectly as this isn't my own studio, but that just about covers it. They all run into a Sony digital mixer and Cubase SX2. The band will record live. Any ideas to get me started?




RemyRAD Thu, 03/02/2006 - 15:17
Yup! Get some ribbon Mike's for the trumpets! Rent them, borrow them, steal them! Ribbon microphones and trumpets were made for each other. They are also great on saxophones especially soprano saxophones. You need some warmth otherwise the brassy harmonics will kill you. I was coproducing a jazz album at Maryland's largest studio, Omega, when the fool chief engineer, when I requested a ribbon microphone for the soprano singer and the trumpet solo told me " ribbon microphones are noisy, we don't have any" (a less than insightful Full Sail Grad)! What a jerk! The following day on PBS television I saw a huge GRP Big Band Jazz Festival and across the 8 trumpets stood 8 RCA 77 DX ribbon microphones! I was vindicated. So I am not the only one out of my mind about ribbons here. Maybe just out of my mind?

Ribbons for me
Ms. Remy Ann David

FifthCircle Thu, 03/02/2006 - 18:18
Ribbons and big bands are a match made in heaven. During the summer, one of my clients gets sponsored by sound companies... Our usual big band setup is Royer 122's on the saxes, 121's on the trumpets and Coles 4038's on the bones with an SF-24 out in front of the horn section. Piano usually is done with Microtech M930's, Bass gets a tube direct (usually an ADL200) with a good mic- perhaps a KM140 or something similar and a stereo pair or 3 mic or similar drum setup.

With the mics that the OP has, I'd put a pair of TLM170's in front of the horn section and try to get the main sound there. Use the Schoeps on the piano, the best DI plus mic you have left on the bass, and a good standard drum setup (stereo pair, overheads plus kick and snare, etc...). Scatter your 57's and 58 in the horns for solos, but tell the players to play out so you don't need to use much of them in the mix.

See what you can do to get some better mics, though... Even a bunch of 421's will sound better.