recording and mixing saxophone (soprano)

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by GentleG, Sep 24, 2004.

  1. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    Hi all

    Yesterday I recorded someone playing the soprano saxophone.

    He's a very engaged player (for over 50 years) using both every dynamic range available and using every corner of the recording space available.

    Of course the good thing is: he can play
    The bad thing is: I didn't get a stable recording level
    He just closes his eyes when playing and he slowly drifts around, while swinging his sax....
    So it becomes very difficult to place the mics properly.

    Luckily I placed two mics ( Rode NT1A) a couple of feet apart, so most of the time at least one mic captures his playing.

    The recording has a dynamic range of 80-something dB...and swings from left to right....

    Why I write all of this?
    Maybe some of you have an idea what to do:
    -the next time I record this guy
    -with this recording (how to mix it in)

  2. dabmeister music

    dabmeister music Active Member

    Jan 11, 2003
    Woodbridge, Va
    Home Page:
    Well, I'm a former sax player myself. I'd look into getting your hands on a miniature condensor that mounts on the bell. That way you'll capture everything and not have to worry about any inconsistencies with the recording itself. AT ( Audio Technica) is a well know manufactuer of these types of mics. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a platoon of mics made by others so the choice is yours of course.
  3. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    Jul 2, 2002
    77 Sunset Lane.
    The ATM Pro35X is what you are thinking of .. but I wouldn't use it alone .. It would be fine for a live performance but as I have mentioned several times, the sound from a sax not only eminates from the bell but from the soundholes as well ... Distance miking is the only way to capture it.

    Use a LD condenser like a U87 in omni pattern, about 4 to 6 feet in front of the player. of course, if your room sounds like sh*t, you're gonna have a problem. Sax can be difficult to record in a bad room.

    Regarding soprano saxophone, Kenny G. ruined it for me ... nowdays I think the best way to get a good sound from a soprano saxophone is to run over it with a truck ... a very large truck ... twice. In this scenario, it really doesn't matter how you record it! Just be sure to get it on the first pass .... retakes can be difficult.
  4. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    thanks both of you

    "the sound from a sax not only eminates from the bell but from the soundholes as well "

    sure, but what about pointing a clip-on mic towards the lowest soundhole' (of a soprano)? wouldn't that capture the combination of bell and the holes?

    (I might be able get a AKG C419 for cheap)


    In case you're interested, this is the song with the sax recording:
    sax in slow song (dutch lyrics) (3.5 Mb 128kbps mp3)
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