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Recording Clarinet

I have to record a clarinet. does anyone of you know any tips for mic placement and types of microphones (dynamic or condenser)?

Comments

FifthCircle Mon, 12/12/2005 - 10:50
Cucco wrote:

Ben Maas would be the dude to ask on this - he's got a lot of experience on this AND he's a clarinet player (don't hold that against him though...)

J.

Hey now... 'dems fitin' wordz... :twisted:

Ok... anyways, yes guilty- I'm a clarinetist...

Cucco has some pretty good advice here, but I'd modify it a bit... I would never place a mic within 18" of a clarinet unless I was absolutely forced to (ie in a live sound reinforcement situation). Ribbons can work very well- I'm a fan of Royers and Coles, but the Beyer 160 is also quite nice. As for condensers, Schoeps is great as are a number of other mics like Sennheiser MKH 40, Microtech M930, Shure KSM44 and a few others. I also like the Sennheiser 441 dynamic as well.

I generally like the sound when you are at least an arms length from the instrument and at about head height aiming down to about the mid point of the instrument. If you aim up a bit more towards the mouthpiece, you'll get a brighter sound and if you aim towards the bell, you get a slightly darker sound.

Of course if this is solo clarinet or clarinet and piano in a classical setting the rules are completely different. In that case, use a stereo pair and position about 6-8 feet out and 6 or 7 feet high. You'll be capturing the sound in the room, not just the instrument.

--Ben

Cucco Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:53
FifthCircle wrote: I would never place a mic within 18" of a clarinet unless I was absolutely forced to

I'm thinking along the lines of say a Pete Fountain thing. Bright, forward, loud.

Obviously, for classical, totally different.

Aggressive, err, progressive jazz and rock, I've gotten kinda close in before.

Now, for live sound reinforcement, I thought that the microphones were used out of phase so that the sound of the clarinet wouldn't be so loud and piercing to the front 32 rows of audience. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

All kidding aside - the loudest note I've ever heard produced from any instrument - ever - came from the instrument of Mr. Fountain. That dude can project!!!!

J.

hociman Mon, 12/19/2005 - 16:42
oh really?

Cucco wrote:
Do you know the true definition of the word "Gentleman?"

It's a man who knows HOW to play the sax, but chooses not to.

j
As a classically trained saxophonist, those are fightin' words! :evil:

However, if you cannot play an instrument...they take it away and make you a drummer. If they want to keep the drummer quiet, they put music in front of him. If the drummer still bites, they take away one stick and make him a conductor. :lol:

Cucco Mon, 12/19/2005 - 19:19
Re: oh really?

hociman wrote: ... a classically trained saxophonist...

Isn't that an oxymoron? That's kinda like an operatic euphonium player... or a philharmonic kazooist. Perhaps even on par with studying accordian at Eastman.

(Sorry, I have a lot of latent hostility towards saxophonists. Damn if they didn't ruin a lot of good horn parts in wind ensemble... :evil: )

J. 8-)

PS -

What's the difference between a bull and an orchestra?

On the bull, the horns are up front and the ass is in back.

Calgary Wed, 12/14/2005 - 05:24
All kidding aside - the loudest note I've ever heard produced from any instrument - ever - came from the instrument of Mr. Fountain.

I've got a tenor sax player for you to meet. He rents my basement. He's toured/played with Dr. Hook, Albert Collins, Carl Perkins, Big Miller, and tons more. This guy is outrageously loud but in a good way. His Selmer Mark VI tenor sax is the loudest acoustic instrument I've ever heard. We used to go down to the river and play sax across the bank. It's a few hundred feet wide over choppy water but the sound of that tenor would still echo crystal clear 2, 3 sometimes even 4 times. With huge gaps in between. By contrast if you were to yell as loud as you could you'd get one or maybe two muffled echoes. :D

One time he was doing an outdoor gig for a huge parade, they were being featured on the main stage during the headline segment and suddenly the power died. The whole band stopped because they had no juice but he just kept playing, didn't miss single beat. He was playing funky blues licks but keeping with the rhythm of the tune. He kept playing the entire time the power was out (10-15 minutes) without stopping, just incredibly intense and tasty sax licks too which just seemed to keep getting more intense with each minute. He was loud enough to carry the crowd no problem, which is amazing because this is in the center of a huge parade with tons of noise. The audience went wild, they were clapping in time with him and screaming/whistling, etc. The intensity level just kept going up and up. Then suddenly the generators came back on and the band fell right in with him and right back into the bridge of the song they were playing without missing a beat, incredibly seamlessly as though it had all been planned. The audience went beserk and it ended up being one of the coolest musical things I've ever seen. People were raving about that one for long afterward but of course, ever the humble sax player, he politely sidestepped any credit for what he'd pulled off as though it had never happened. 8-)

Cucco Wed, 12/14/2005 - 06:21
Calgary wrote:
ever the humble sax player

You had me going there with quite an amazing story. I only figured out at the end that it must be made up ---- there is no such thing as a humble sax player... :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: (Just kidding - it's cool when people get excited over music like that.)

BTW -

Do you know the true definition of the word "Gentleman?"

It's a man who knows HOW to play the sax, but chooses not to.

j

hociman Sun, 12/11/2005 - 16:56
mic it

Try a condenser. I know when I had to set a mic up for a clarinet that I had 414's, U87s, and KSM32s at my disposal. I cannot remember what I used though. Do not position the mic at the output of the bell, as that is not where the sound truly comes from. It comes from the body of the instrument, much like a saxophone or a flute.

Cucco Sun, 12/11/2005 - 18:34
Very true - the sound emenates from the sound holes, as it does from all woodwinds.

A condenser placed around 2/3s down the instrument and 14-18" out will do well. If you aim it back towards the mouthpiece, you'll get a little more wind noise (more from the mouth than the body of the instrument as many clarinet players let air escape from their mouths or the mouthpiece whilst playing). If you aim it downwards, you'll get a much darker sound. I like to aim it only slightly up the instrument (maybe 20 degrees in relation to the body of the instrument.)

My favorite mics for this are the Schoeps CMC 6 MK 4 and my new favorite is the Beyer M130 ribbon.

Of course, all of the above is assuming that this is not for a clarinet recital or soloist. If it is, I take all of the above back. If it's for a soloist, you want a little more distance and room sound. I still like the Schoeps for this, but back it up a bit - maybe a couple or few feet.

Ben Maas would be the dude to ask on this - he's got a lot of experience on this AND he's a clarinet player (don't hold that against him though...)

J.
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