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Odd jazz trio advice needed
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kingrhythm
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#1
1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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Odd jazz trio advice needed

I'm going to be recording a free jazz trio for the first time. It will be drums, vibes, and pedal steel.

Here are the mics I have:
414
c1000s (2)
sm57 (2)
sm58
shinny box
re20
senheiser e602 II
oktava mk-012 pair
shure sm81


I was thinking of a stereo pair for the room using the oktava's, the senheiser for the kick and the sm81 for a single drum overhead. The c1000 pair on top of the vibes and either the shiny box or the 414 for the pedal steel. Also doing a di pedal steel track if possible.

What do you guys think?


Also, how would you set them up? Me facing them - Drums in the middle, vibes on the right, pedal steel on the left* or Drums on the right, pedal steel in the middle and vibes on the left? They said they have no preference. *My thinking was to have the pedal steel and vibes on opposite sides of the stereo spread so their frequencies wouldn't compete. Is it safe to say that drums in the middle is a more modern sound while drums off to one side is more traditional?

Thanks!
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1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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I would suggest trying to get a second 414 or pair of sdc.

Set the group up in a triangle. Have the PS amp behind the player and pointed into the middle of the triangle so everyone can hear it.

Baffle for good, but not complete, isolation, esp. on the vibes which are the quietest of the bunch typically.

Make sure the group is balancing themselves as well as possible in the acoustic. Is this a good sounding room?

Then, I'd mic, with what you have, like this:

Drumset: recorder man with SM81 overhead, 414 over the shoulder. Kick with the e602

Vibes: spaced pair of Oktavas over top.

Pedal steel: RE20 on the amp

If the room sounds good, like really good, get the pair of c1000 up high to mix in as ambience mics. They are pretty bad mics, though, so I would probably defer to artificial reverb myself.

Easy!
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1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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I'm not sure I can get any other mics at this point…

I'm confused about this triangle. So everybody is looking into the triangle facing each other from his or her own corner?

In your description you don't have any room mics (excluding the c1000s) and are focusing on only blending each instrument closely mic'd?

The room is basically dead, it is a basement treated with basstraps and broadband absorbers. I realize this is not good or appropriate for jazz but it's all I have and my plan was to add reverb later. I hope you don't tell me that because of this the recording is going to be garbage no matter what I do
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1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingrhythm View Post
I'm not sure I can get any other mics at this point…

I'm confused about this triangle. So everybody is looking into the triangle facing each other from his or her own corner?

In your description you don't have any room mics (excluding the c1000s) and are focusing on only blending each instrument closely mic'd?

The room is basically dead, it is a basement treated with basstraps and broadband absorbers. I realize this is not good or appropriate for jazz but it's all I have and my plan was to add reverb later. I hope you don't tell me that because of this the recording is going to be garbage no matter what I do
This is a-ok man! I would just say room mics aren't going to give you anything great, and I wouldn't use em. Add a studio or room-style verb later for a nice room ambience w/early reflections, width, etc.

Yeah, the band is set up in 3 points of a triangle, looking at each other. Nothing overly complicated about it. You probably don't even need to use headphones and it might help them balance better if they don't.

Also, remember "close mic" in the studio is very different from "close mic" for stage isolation. They are pulled back a bit for a light blend of room ambience. You know what I'm talking about?
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1st January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingrhythm View Post
I'm going to be recording a free jazz trio for the first time. It will be drums, vibes, and pedal steel.

Here are the mics I have:
414
c1000s (2)
sm57 (2)
sm58
shinny box
re20
senheiser e602 II
oktava mk-012 pair
shure sm81


I was thinking of a stereo pair for the room using the oktava's, the senheiser for the kick and the sm81 for a single drum overhead. The c1000 pair on top of the vibes and either the shiny box or the 414 for the pedal steel. Also doing a di pedal steel track if possible.

What do you guys think?


Also, how would you set them up? Me facing them - Drums in the middle, vibes on the right, pedal steel on the left* or Drums on the right, pedal steel in the middle and vibes on the left? They said they have no preference. *My thinking was to have the pedal steel and vibes on opposite sides of the stereo spread so their frequencies wouldn't compete. Is it safe to say that drums in the middle is a more modern sound while drums off to one side is more traditional?

Thanks!
I would just have them setup in the most comfortable way possible. Try not to re-invet any wheels. Set them up whichever ways feels natural to them and how they perform well. And I would assume you know the sonics of the space better then they do, so just coach them around as they setup, on where best to position themselves. I would recommend having some moveable isolation panels handy, if you need them.

I think the line of sight and audibility is hugely important for both your artists and for the mic technique. Their setup sounds cool, and simple, so just cover all the instruments with the single mic that you think will sound best for their instrument, and especially important, how it will sound in the room next to the other players. Bleed can be a real asset if you manage it correctly. Use those figure eight nulls wisely!

But overall, I would have a dialog going with each artist while they are setting up, to keep my mind in motion about the best choices. Its really a game of clever intuition and problem solving at every moment. I find that even though I have plotted and plained out sessions for weeks, maybe even months, it is always better to fly by the seat of my pants and constantly modify my technique around what is happening in real time. This seems to breed the most palpable result, before the magic moment happens when you lay back and let it roll. You simply have to "get out of the way" of it all.

I would go three mic drums, and spot mic the other instruments. Then stick a Stereo Setup somewhere in the room. Recording the DI outputs of the pick-ups is always a safe move. Even if I know it would never get used, I do it anyway.

Happy recording!
and new year!
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#6
1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post

Make sure the group is balancing themselves as well as possible in the acoustic. Is this a good sounding room?
+1

I would mic the drums a close as you will get plenty of distant drum sound in the other mics.

one overhead, one for snare and hi-hat, and for bass drum (bass drum mic may not even be needed depending on the room)

Have fun.
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2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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I'm not that keen on close-miked drums for jazz (sweeping generalisation but usually how I'd go). With a trio that plays and balances well together, I'd start with the pair of Oktava 012s and see how that sounds. The drums are hardly going to be 'distant' unless your room is huge. If you have time to do a test recording and add some 'verb to see how you all like it, do that, too. I'd have the triangle as mentioned but the vibes would be nearer the mikes than the other players as I do like the vibe sound to be fairly 'present'. But if you have the triangle and put a pair of 012s up you can move the stand around to get the best balance and sonic quality.
Against all that it has to be said that I like my jazz a touch 'unpolished', sounding as if the players are making great music wherever they happen to be. If you like it more organised, you might want to take a different approach. And of course your idea of jazz may be closer to my idea of rock, in which case I'd be miking the kick and stuff which I don't normally do for jazz ensembles smaller than a big band.
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2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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I agree with Alex... you're going to want to mic the drums a lot closer than you'd think - same with the vibes. Especially in a room you and the players aren't used to or isn't ideal, and/or if you don't have good isolation.

The 'recorderman' technique will work with some modifications depending on the drummer. I would place the overhead a little more to the left... typically, there will be a left hand ride and the drummer will play left hand to right hand rides and the snares, other cymbals, and kick are less important. I'd use one of those C1000 as a snare mic that will likely be super low in the mix if at all. A stereo pair in the room will only add phase issues if you decide to use it.

Drumset: 414 over the right ride, SM80 over left ride/hat in recorderman-ish setup. Kick with shinybox on beater side under snare, C1000 on snare
Vibes: XY pair of Oktavas
Pedal steel: RE20 on the amp (and get a DI post pedal, pre fx)

I think the 'idea' of a live jazz group tracked with a minumum of mics works great ONLY if you have a patient band who can balance themselves and are willing to try stuff (over and over), and you can monitor on a real system and make changes and retake ad nauseum. Otherwise, minimize bleed and phase issues and the 'liveness' will come from the fact that they are recording the takes live and they can concentrate on the performance.
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2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tacitus View Post
I'm not that keen on close-miked drums for jazz (sweeping generalisation but usually how I'd go). With a trio that plays and balances well together, I'd start with the pair of Oktava 012s and see how that sounds. The drums are hardly going to be 'distant' unless your room is huge.
IME, the larger a room, the further away you can mic up an instrument without it sounding 'roomy'. In smaller rooms, close micing is almost always a requirement for a properly balanced ensemble sound.
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2nd January 2013
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This is a track I did for some folks at my school. Sextet, no baffles, shitty rehearsal room at school (Steinway B with 2 cracks in the soundboard :-/ ....)all set up in a big circle. This was a rough mix I cut before holiday break, I'd like to tweak the bass a bit more when I'm home from the holidays, but I think you'll get the gist of how the approach works in less-than-ideal environs and with fake verb to fill it up.

Drums are a spaced pair of overheads and a kick mic.
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kingrhythm
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2nd January 2013
Old 2nd January 2013
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You guys are showing me a new way to look at this. I was thinking to get an overall sound of the room with a stereo pair and then use the spots mics to support that sound, but since my room is almost non existent maybe it is better to work in the opposite way…

Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
Also, remember "close mic" in the studio is very different from "close mic" for stage isolation. They are pulled back a bit for a light blend of room ambience. You know what I'm talking about?
Could you elaborate a little bit more on this for me?



I have 2 OC703s on stands that I use for baffling. Should I put them in front of the vibes as baffles to block the other sounds or is it better to put them in front of the PS amp? I'm a little concerned about blocking the vibes players view of the others…


Quote:
Originally Posted by scottwilson View Post
The 'recorderman' technique will work with some modifications depending on the drummer. I would place the overhead a little more to the left... typically, there will be a left hand ride and the drummer will play left hand to right hand rides and the snares, other cymbals, and kick are less important. I'd use one of those C1000 as a snare mic that will likely be super low in the mix if at all. A stereo pair in the room will only add phase issues if you decide to use it.

Drumset: 414 over the right ride, SM80 over left ride/hat in recorderman-ish setup. Kick with shinybox on beater side under snare, C1000 on snare
Vibes: XY pair of Oktavas
Pedal steel: RE20 on the amp (and get a DI post pedal, pre fx)
Just for clarity purposes:
When we talk about the left side of the drums are we talking about the drummers left or my left facing the drums?

When I tried the recorderman setup in the past I was never able to get the kick to sound dead center. I watched this: Recorderman Drum Mic Technique - TheRecordingRevolution.com - YouTube
What am I doing wrong?

Also Scottwilson, if I move the overhead a bit more to the left (sm80?) don't have to move the 414 further away as well to keep the phase relation correct?
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2nd January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingrhythm View Post
I have 2 OC703s on stands that I use for baffling. Should I put them in front of the vibes as baffles to block the other sounds or is it better to put them in front of the PS amp? I'm a little concerned about blocking the vibes players view of the others…
Line of sight is important in jazz for sure. At least there's no horns in the ensemble... You could probably be creative with the (what I assume are) 2x4 panels. The panels will be more effective the closer they are to the mic rather than the source... for example - a panel in front of a guitar amp really isn't going to help.

Get both panels (overlapping some as necessary) in front of the vibes such that the vibe player can see the drummer on one side and the steel player on the other... then put the 012s in a spaced or xy pattern between the panels and the vibes. Then the nulls of the 012s will be facing the drums and steel and there will be a layer of 703 to add to the isolation.

If possible, move the steel amp as far away as you can... like in the hallway? in a closet? drape some blankets over? or worse turn it down (dare I say it?)

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Originally Posted by kingrhythm View Post
Just for clarity purposes:
When we talk about the left side of the drums are we talking about the drummers left or my left facing the drums?
Always drummer perspective. Especially in jazz - left ride is (generally) played with the left hand.

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Originally Posted by kingrhythm View Post
Also Scottwilson, if I move the overhead a bit more to the left (sm80?) don't have to move the 414 further away as well to keep the phase relation correct?
To a degree I suppose. It's a balance for sure. Here's a link to a video and a track that is from a session where I miked the right hand ride about 1.5ft up and the left side about three feet over the hat where the hat and left ride intersected. I didn't even phase check the snare. Eyeballed it was close. Very very very little kick in the mix at all. When you hard pan the overheads, phasing is less important as long as it's close. recorderman has some weird panning I don't necessarily agree with. Remember that phase is one clue your ears use for acoustic position.



https://soundcloud.com/scottwilson/s...-snare-session

Don't want to ruin the illusion, but the bass is 100% DI and the guitar is about 80% DI with a little decapitator, eleven and a little sansamp.

I set the sax up so that the horn was facing a little away from the kit but they could still make eye contact... you can see him looking over at the drummer a lot. Guitar amp was facing everyone, but only loud enough for everyone to hear... this is not the time for getting good power amp saturation tone... just add some decapitator after the fact :P

s
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3rd January 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post
This is a track I did for some folks at my school. Sextet, no baffles, shitty rehearsal room at school (Steinway B with 2 cracks in the soundboard :-/ ....)all set up in a big circle.
Sounds pretty good, by the way. Makes me wonder what it sounds like with a little less verb... There's some sections that sound like for clarity that could use a little automation - like the horn players are stepping on each other a little bit hiding who should be the lead.

-s
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4th January 2013
Old 4th January 2013
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scottwilson - I did a quick test on the drums with your setup and it sounds great. I have to say that putting the mic on the beater side of the drum has blown my mind, I never thought to do that and it sounds so good! - Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by scottwilson View Post
Get both panels (overlapping some as necessary) in front of the vibes such that the vibe player can see the drummer on one side and the steel player on the other... then put the 012s in a spaced or xy pattern between the panels and the vibes. Then the nulls of the 012s will be facing the drums and steel and there will be a layer of 703 to add to the isolation.
s
In order to utilize the nulls in the mic to my advantage I have to point the 012s straight ahead at the player correct? Not pointing downward at the bars because that would make the nulls facing the ceiling?
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4th January 2013
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I guess I imagined them facing more 45 degrees down rather than straight down, but I admit that I have not had the opportunity to record mallets. Seems you'd want to aim where the player's arms moving around won't cause weird side effects.

The nulls to face out the back, but at 90 degrees a cardioid will be down 3dB (I think?) so between 90 and 180, you'll be what, 6 db?

Then add a little isolation from the panels and I think you'll be as good as you can get in that type of space.

-s
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