Recording a Live Jazz Trio w/vocalist...unobtrusively

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by tribecasound, Nov 6, 2005.

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  1. tribecasound

    tribecasound Guest


    First-timer here....

    I'm recording a friends jazz band this week as a non-paying favor...basically they are looking for a live demo in a wine bar, so this is really limiting the setup. The band is:

    1. pianist - on a yamaha digital piano
    2. upright bass - no pickup
    3. saxophone (changing to flute on some songs)
    4. female vocalist on 50% of the songs

    The vocal mic and the piano are amplified through a single amp. I don't really have all the info yet, but the main thing here is that I can't really get too crazy with mics/stands/equip as its a small place and we don't want to complicate the gig or the bar.

    So, here's what I'm thinking:

    Two MC012 overheads
    MD421 on the upright bass
    Sennheiser 865 mic for vocals, split with a direct feed for recording. (this depends on the vocalist...she may have a specific mic she uses, if so I'll just split her usual mic)
    I should also be able to get a direct from the piano split from a DI as well. (I can't do any room mics further away due to wiring concerns. It's a wood floor/brick wall room so it should be pretty lively as-is)

    Right now I plan on putting the MD421 and 865 through the preamps on a Presonus Firestation, and the overheads through an M-Audio DMP3 and then into the line inputs of the Presonus along with the piano (hopefullly!). From here I'm going ADAT to 24/48 HD recorder.

    Placement of the overheads will obviously be critical. I should be able to get them just to the front of the band on each side. The MD421 on the bass should be facing away from the amp so thats a relief. I'm concerned about possible phase issues but again, I'm limited because this is a live, paying gig for the bad.

    Any thoughts on swapping the preamps for the overheads with the bass/vocals? At this point I don't think I'm going to add any of the tube drive on the Presonus, but maybe a little on the vocals and/or the bass?

    (I also have in my closet: two Rode NT3s, Rode NT1A, CAD M179, two more MC012s, MD441, SM57, Senn E835, DBX mini-pre, and a Soundcraft Compact 10 --haven't recorded with the mic pre's yet...might they be better than the above?

    As I said I'm new here. I've primarily recorded rock demos as a hobby but I'm pretty excited about the opportunity to record a live jazz band so I'm looking for some advice. I've been searching for a few days and found some good info in the threads here, which is where I got my preliminary setup above.

    Any advice greatly appreciated!


  2. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    Since you have the tracks available, consider adding kick and snare mics. You can always delete later if they prove unneeded. I think that you will probably find them useful.

    In live situations, I have always found it near impossible to prevent the other instruments from bleeding horribly into the bass mic. Pick-ups provide great isolation, but unnatural sonics. Besides, you already said that is not an option. Another option would be to take a sd condenser and stuff it in the f-hole. This works surprisingly well, and provides a useable degree of isolation.

    I would leave the Presonus tube drive thingy alone. If the tracks need further processing, do it in the mix. Start clean. If you decide to get dirty, do it later in a more controlled listening environment.
  3. tribecasound

    tribecasound Guest

    Thanks for the input, Zilla. I've used the tube drive on some rock vocals but as you suggested probably not needed here.

    There are no drums for this gig, so that eliminates one more thing bleeding into the bass mic. I'd read about putting an SD condenser into the bass, so I'll bring one along in case the bassist is OK with it.

    Also, from continued reading I see that I should probably be tracking at 24/44.1

    thanks again for your suggestions.

  4. Zilla

    Zilla Active Member

    Mar 29, 2005
    WY / CA
    Home Page:
    Somehow I did not absorb that there will not be drums. That will definitely give you more freedom on bass mic selection and positioning.

    If your equipment is capable, I would suggest tracking at 24bit, 88.2kHz.
  5. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2005
    This is a bit confusing...You mentioned "overheads" a couple of times. This would imply that there is a drum kit in the picture. No? why do you mention "overheads" ( not on the digital piano :wink: )?
    If you are referring to "room mics", you said that there wouldn't be any room for them....more on that later...
    You have an MD421 AND a 441? You lucky dawg, you! Put them on the sax-and-flute guy. The 441 is smoooooth!
    As an alternative, the 441 makes a great vocal mic for jazz chickies, if they just walk up to the mic and sing. Wouldn't risk it if it's handheld (bet you knew that already...)
    I doubt that there is much difference between the mic pre's in the Firestation and the Soundcraft...whichever is easier for you to maneuver with.
    As far as splitting the mic(s) going to the PA and the recording pre's, I know that you are on a tight budget, but beg, borrow, or steal (we call that "renting") a decent splitter. Those crappy little Behringer/Rolls-type boxes suck right out of the box. This is where the Soundcraft might come in handy. You can assign an Aux send to be a feed to the PA and the direct outs from the channels to be the tracking. That would negate the splitters altogether..dig?
    Zilla's recommendation of the SDC in the upright is spot-on.
    MD441 on sax, 421 with a windscreen on flute
    865 on girl
    MD421 on sax, 865 on flute
    MD441 on girl
    Use the second SDC on the audience. You CAN rig a cable along the wall somewhere to go out a bit...I know you can! Part of any successful live recording is convincing others to get on your side to make it work...GOOD LUCK, you lucky dawg!

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