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Micing Clarinet

Any ideas on how to get a great clarinet sound? I have a Shure KSM27 or a SM57 available I just don't know where to start.


Markd102 Mon, 03/10/2003 - 12:36

I'd start with the KSM about 2-3 feet above the keys.
Understand though that the player and the room have as much to do with the recorded sound as the mic and placement.

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Kurt Foster Mon, 03/10/2003 - 12:39

With all woodwinds the sound emanates not only from the bell but the soundholes (keys) also. The approach is to aim the mic at the player from a few (2 or 3) feet in front of them and ask them not to point the bell directly at the mic. Aim it slightly towards the bell but about 1/3rd of the way up the clarinet. I would use a large diaphragm condenser for this application. Kurt
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audiowkstation Mon, 03/10/2003 - 13:09

What Kurt said is very true. I cringe everytime I see a sax or a clarinet mic-ed at the bell. The bell only propagates the lowest note (all pads closed) and it is 7 to 10 dB louder during the lowest the bell sounds awful if you put your ear down there.

I personally record instruments in stereo with 2 microphones. This is how you get the sound your ears are accustomed to. Would you listen to a horn with one ear plugged?

Hope this helps..

lorenzo gerace Mon, 03/10/2003 - 23:31


I agree with the comments above, but I found that for some more "rock" or aggressive sounds with brass and woodwinds adding, a second, even if dynamic, mic down at the bell really helps getting that in your face sound of some players; I once did a session with a great clarinet (and sax) player here in town for a Coltrane tribute and the double mic approach made me think I was hearing a Hendrix piece :D !!



TimOBrien Tue, 03/11/2003 - 04:31

Yep. (I'm a sax/clarinet/flute player among others)

Dynamic mic out from the bell and a condenser mic a couple of yards out and head-high. Mix 'em together until sweet.

K-Sound Studios Wed, 03/12/2003 - 09:49

I'd agree that the KSM will be, hands down your better choice, and I'd move it around a bit to see if and where the sound becomes more even to you for the particular player.

I also mic horns in stereo like Bill mentions, mostly using two Sennheiser 441's. The combination is very real .. watch out for that bell .. it's important live since anything you hear is better than nothing (most of the time??), but it's really not the sound of the instrument at all .. the sound needs a bit of space to happen .. so it has to escape that bell 1st!

Ognjan Kiossovski Fri, 03/14/2003 - 13:20

Hi guys !!!
I'd like to ask Bill Roberts:If I must to micing the sax with a two mics/ stereo/,how i can put the mics to write sax,trumpet and trombone together-like brass section? Now i'm mixing the project of bulgarian swing band/ some like "Cherry Poppin Daddyes" and "big Bad Voodoo Daddy" /, and i have a problem whit puying the brass into the mix, and i dont know where is the problem.

Thank U !
Best regards !!!


audiowkstation Fri, 03/14/2003 - 13:45

Got cha..

Sax on left, bone in the center, trumpet on the you face them. Use two condensers that are as far away from the bells as the sax center is from the trumpet center, pointing between the sax/bone, bone/trumpet and let it fly. About 7 feet away from the bells actually. Playback, pan them full left and right.

droog Sat, 03/15/2003 - 11:45

i have a beyer m69 which, when combined witha large diaphragm condenser in a manner described above, fits the job perfectly

Ognjan Kiossovski Sat, 03/15/2003 - 13:02

Thank U Bill ! That's the interesting idea to recording the brass. The trumpet,"bone" and sax staying on the triangel in acustic room, and i put the 3 Neumanns/u 67, um57X2/ near by the bells. After first take, i record a more one for boubleing. In the mix put two bones extremely left and right, sax on 10 and 14 oclock, and trumpet stay almost on the center. I'll try your advice !