Recording the Keswick Jazz Festival

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by jonny9720, Apr 11, 2008.

  1. jonny9720

    jonny9720 Guest

    Hello all, in a few weeks I have been asked to record a live jazz band as part of the Keswick Jazz Festival. Basically we don’t know where to start.

    In the band we have:
    Drums, Bass, Electric Guitar, Keys, Brass Section and Woodwind.

    This is a very hard mix to work with as some are loud like the drums and the brass section but then there’s the quiet sections with little to no sound heard.

    To record the band we have a whole load of equipment e.g. presonus FP10 with cubase, Behringer C-2 x2, C1000s x2, Rode NT5 x1, SM58 x1 and a whole load of cables and stands.
    This is the biggest project I’ve done so far as i usually do studio work and some smaller bands!

    What advice do you have.. How do I do things..?

    Thanks in advanced

    PS. I also have a 16 channel mixer. Could this be used as a mix down for say the drums?
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Hi Jonny,

    You are presumably talking about the Jennings Jazz Festival in Cumbria, but which venue is this particular gig being held in? Do you know whether you can get a wire across the hall to fly a pair of microphones roughly above the first row of the audience?

    Basically you have to decide whether you go with a main stereo pair of microphones (with the possible assistance of a few spot mics), or you close mic each instrument and you balance at mixdown.

    However, the challenge is going to be getting either of those techniques to work with the number and type of mics that you have listed. There are not really enough of the right sort of mics for close work, and given a free choice, I wouldn't use either the C-2s or the C1000s as a main stereo pair. In this case, there isn't a free choice, so the C1000s it may have to be. Bear in mind that a good band will balance itself acoustically on stage, so really a stereo pair is your first option here.

    I get to do a fair amount of this sort of work, but I'm based at the other end of the country from Keswick. If you would like to talk about it further, PM me a phone number and I'll give you a call.

  3. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    What kind of festival? Will the band be amplified through a PA? Will they get a soundcheck? Will you have time to set up and soundcheck a load of your own mics and cables? Will you be able to do so without unduly annoying the FoH engineer?

    Assuming the band will be amplified, and that the PA system comes with a competent engineer, I suggest the following:

    Badger the FoH engineer to give you a feed of everything he is sending to the PA stacks. Stereo if possible, but the PA may be mono anyway... record this via line inputs on your FP10.

    Now set up a mic or two at the front of the stage. These should be arranged to pick up the drums and brass etc while picking up as little as possible spill from the wedge monitors . Badger the FoH engineer to give you a spare line or two on the mulitcore so you can plug these into mic inputs on your FP10.

    If its a good sounding room, try adding a pair of ambient room mics (plugged directly into mic inputs on the FP10) ... If its a field don't bother.

    The theory behind this technique is: the audience do not hear the sound from the PA alone, they hear a mixture of the PA and the sound coming off the stage from the band's intruments or backline amplifiers. The mix for the PA is therefore affected by how loud those intruments are on stage: a trumpet usually doesn't need amplifying as much as a quiet female singer for example, as its much louder to begin with.

    If you record the mix that goes to the PA stacks, then mix in the sound coming off the platform via mics at the front of the stage, you should end up pretty close to the balance the audience was hearing in the room.

    You will probably need to time-align the PA feed with the mics afterwards to get the best results however... and this technique assumes that the band sound good in the room to start with: you will have very little leeway to fix things if the FoH engineer doesn't set a good balance for the show.
  4. jonny9720

    jonny9720 Guest


    hey, well thanks for that boswell got it spot on but IIRs. the band is an acoustic school band playing in Southey Street Methodist Church. no amps apart from the guitars and i am the FOH guy too!

    all that is going through the FOH is vocals from the singer so not much to think about there.

    its a bit hard to get some flying mics above the audaince as there is no beams in the church. so a stereo pair is gonna be on hand i think!

    we are doing a rehersal in the school hall next week so i am going to get the C1000s and see what we can get there. it may be a possibility that we have to mic/di the guitars and the keys but we will know by next wednesday.

  5. basilbowman

    basilbowman Guest

    Can you tie into the wall with a wire running parallel to the front of the stage and hang off of that? That's really what you want anyways, it's much more stable than just dropping mics from the ceiling.
  6. jonny9720

    jonny9720 Guest

    Hey Guys, well we did a "mock" recording the other day and the recordings are actually rather good!

    here is a link to one of the recordings that we did. 4.wav

    sorry about the size! its the kinda the raw stuff. ive just edited it down a wee bit!

    some things that i think need changing are.....DIing the guitars and the keys! (i cant even tell there there!) still dont no what to do about woodwind? anyideas?

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