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Live Jazz Band Recording - Thoughts?

Member for

21 years 2 months
I am recording my son's HS Jazz Band concert Thursday evening. Instrumentation is pretty typical: 5 saxes, 4 bones, 4 trpts, piano, bass, drums, & 3 vocals.

I am recording into Sonar XL (PC) through a MOTU 24i using a variety of mics including 58's, 57's, RØDE NTK, AKG & Peavey handhelds. I'm not worried about the DAW, I've done live recordings successfully at church quite a few times.

My questions are more technique:
Mic everything individually? That's my plan yielding 23 tracks using 5 for the drum kit (kick, snare, tom, tom, overhead).

Should I trade out a mic somewhere and use a stereo overhead to get a room recording? (as a back-up and/or ambience)

Other thoughts: besides the experience, I would like to provide a recording (CD) to raise funds for the band. What set-up and mix-down considerations will help yield a decent product?

Is there enough room here to answer these:^? Thanks!


Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Wed, 12/04/2002 - 12:13
How you approach this is entirely commensurate with the talent level of the band. Do you think it will require a lot of fix's and lipstick to make it presentable? Or is the band really hot and at the top of their performance chops? If you think it will need work at a later point, micing everything individually will be the easiest way to accomplish this. But if you can, for this type of music, the purest approach is to use stereo or Decca tree methods.
I am sure you are familiar with most of the stereo techniques and I will describe the Decca tree here. Decca Tree is a 3 mic set up employing omni large diaphragm mics, set up above the conductor in am equal triangle space at 3 meters apart. Some times the center mic is set a little lower in height in comparison to the other two. Very stable image and great mono compatibility (no phasing problems). Additional spot mics may be used sparingly if needed. ……………. Fats

Member for

21 years 2 months

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 12/06/2002 - 06:09
Thanks Fats. I spent all day yesterday gathering/borrowing/stealing equipment and setting up so I just got your reply. Since I was doing live sound as well and don't have the correct mics and stands to do what you suggest, I mic'd each instrument individually. While I got a great live mix, it was a struggle (not really-just my desire to do well) to keep levels from clipping on the punchy fast tunes and hot enough during the softer tunes. Any suggestions?

I record direct to disk through a MOTU 24i which are the level meters I fret over. I would like to eventually be confident enough to charge for these services to supplement my addiction. The single stereo mic or the three mic setup you suggested sure would be less effort and stress on both sides of the recording.

My thought would be to record as you suggest for concert bands but for jazz bands which allow for improvisation, mic individually to allow for fixes if needed.

My next step is to export tracks as .wav files. The engineer will import into Nuendo and probably lay them down to tape to mix & master. We will see how this process goes.

Thanks again for your words of wisdom.

Member for

19 years 5 months

Kurt Foster Fri, 12/06/2002 - 11:24
Recording levels on a DAW at -10dB is acceptable. Set the levels so that peaks reach -6dB and your average levels run around, as I said, -10dB. This will leave enough headroom to allow for the occasional peak and allow room for processing at mix. "Let It Breath" ..... Fats