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What would you do? Telefunken ELA 251F, Gefell UM900 on live jazz
Old 10th December 2014
  #1
What would you do? Telefunken ELA 251F, Gefell UM900 on live jazz

Hello!
Soon I'll be recording a jazz quartet in a beautiful big studio (400m2 live room big). I've never been there (I record a lot of live shows besides studio gig, so that's fine with me). I have a question about microphones which are available to us. We will have as many U87s, U47FETs, DPAs as we ever need, I used all of them and know how they sound, they all are transistored condensers. But there are two tube LDC pairs that I don't know that well, a pair of Telefunken ELA 251F and a pair of Gefell UM900. The music is improvised jazz with pre-written themes, moody but in real and raw way. There are drums, double bass, trombone and baritone saxophone. I'll probably not use artificial reverb, the room has 1,2 seconds of decay on it's own. I want it to sound real but pleasant - we will records all instruments in the same room with a goboed bass. Cannot decide if Telefunkens would be better used on trombone and sax and Gefells on overheads, or the other way around? What's your experience?
Cheers!
Old 10th December 2014
  #2
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There's only one way to find out ...




Henk
Old 10th December 2014
  #3
yes I know, but I need some starting point. I guess Telefunkens will be brighter? So maybe I should start with them on the overheads as I like horns/reeds rather neutral or dark
Old 10th December 2014
  #4
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Before I get beaten for being a smart @$$, I'd better elaborate.

It can't cost all that much more studio time to swap the pairs and listen.

And although there are many experienced sound engineers here, I guess not all that many will have tried a pair of Ela M251s vs. a pair of Gefell UM900s on those exact instruments in said setting. But I might be wrong.

OK, I'll eat my words.
Let's discuss.
Old 10th December 2014
  #5
thanks, actually we will have just two days for 5 songs, each day is 8hrs studio time. That includes setting up all the instruments and recording gear as I probably will be with them in the room and not in control room, headphone feeds, gobos and stuff, AND disassembling everything after the second day. Every minute counts
Old 10th December 2014
  #6
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Oops, my second post was just too late.

Anyway, the difference that comes to mind right away is the edge terminated CK12 mylar capsule vs. the center terminated PVC M7. Theoretically the first will give you the (subtle) smiley face curve, while the latter will give you a subtle frown curve.
The CK12 has lots of air (more than the M7), but in the Ela M that's tamed a little when compared to the AKG C12 microphone that came before it.
The UM900 is not dark, I'd say, but it ain't super airy, either. Also, it's leaner on the bottom.

My gut says put the Ela Ms on overheads and the UM900s on trombone and sax, for highlighting.
The opposite for compensating.
Still, the proof is in the pudding.
Old 10th December 2014
  #7
Great info! Is it lean, or just leaner than ELA? I would like to have open low end on both sax and trombone, but it could be problematic with drums in the same room.
Old 10th December 2014
  #8
BTW I used Neumann CMV563 with M7 capsule for few years and I'm familiar with it's sound, but I never liked it on saxophone, too midrangy when sax was played loud.
Old 10th December 2014
  #9
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Yup, that's when you'd compensate rather than highlight.
The circuit in the the UM900 is different, though. More headroom (as opposed to the CMV563), no doubt. That can play a part, too.

But I'll let the real experts chime in now. I mean the guys who've worked with those two mics a lot.
Old 10th December 2014
  #10
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unit7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post
Before I get beaten for being a smart @$$, I'd better elaborate.

It can't cost all that much more studio time to swap the pairs and listen.

And although there are many experienced sound engineers here, I guess not all that many will have tried a pair of Ela M251s vs. a pair of Gefell UM900s on those exact instruments in said setting. But I might be wrong.

OK, I'll eat my words.
Let's discuss.
Seems any choice you'll make will be just different nuances of heaven I believe my taste is a bit different, because for jazz I avoid bright mics on OH. This because in the typical jazz combo there isn't much more up there in the high end, so any 2 bus/mastering processing aiming to give the whole mix a nice sheen will bring the cymbals forward a lot. So my choice would be Gefell on OH, 251 on sax, and U87 (or even better a ribbon) on trb.
Old 10th December 2014
  #11
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Oh, and BTW:
Quote:
We will have as many U87s, U47FETs, DPAs as we ever need
The tube mics are very classy indeed, but it's not a given they're the best choice. Again, the proof is in the pudding.
And then there's ribbon mics. Nice, especially for jazz.

Does the studio come with an engineer or will you be at the helm?
Old 10th December 2014
  #12
I'll be recording, but there will be someone to help with technical problems (not assistant). The choice of ELA and UM900 is in half just my pure slutiness, always wanted to try them. Second half is that the most of the time I just put U87i on horns/reeds and they are fine, but lack a little of magic dust on top (it's maybe more about the lushness than brightness). Recently I use DPA 3521 quite often on OH, but during the mixing I add some sparkle on top anyway, so I guess bright LDC will be the ticket. No ribbons there unfortunately, but I had a pair of Coles 4038 (and Beyers M160s but I hated them for sax) for 4 years and never liked them that much on sax, on trombones they were fine. I dislike Royers R121 and all the usuals besides AEAs, most of them are too dark for my taste.
Old 10th December 2014
  #13
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unit7's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
most of them are too dark for my taste.
I was guessing that you're the bright kind of guy
I just turned 50 and I only hear up to like 12k these days, and I'm a bit surprised I tend to like more and more dark and strive to capture/retain the body of instruments incl cymbals. My latest theory is that because of the limited hearing, too much information up there is more than my ears can handle Kind of 'bad frequency headroom'. Have no idea if it could be the case though.. edit: I prefer to look at it as a developed taste
Old 10th December 2014
  #14
Too dark, means that they are darker than reality they record. It is fine for me in some rock, pop, indie production as a part of big mashup of microphones, but not in this kind of music. Also the jazz albums I like the most, were recorded mostly with just tube LDCs in front of musicians, be it 50s/60s or modern stuff like CIMP Records.
Old 10th December 2014
  #15
I would suggest that you can open up the applications with the UM900's compared to the ELAM251's because they offer more pattens. The other thing to remember is that the Gefell doesn't want to travel over a really long wire in my experience, this mic is very sensitive to Phantom power. You might even want a mic preamp close to it. Just something to be aware of.
Old 10th December 2014
  #16
I did a very similar thing here for a play station game recently. The brief was that they wanted it to sound like it was a live jazz band in the room with the listener. Main room mic was a Royer SF12 so don't discard the idea of using a pair of ribbons if you have them. Here's the sound track to the game:

Pure Pool OST Available - Etch MusicEtch Music
Old 10th December 2014
  #17
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
Cannot decide if Telefunkens would be better used on trombone and sax and Gefells on overheads, or the other way around? What's your experience?
The 47 fet's would be my first choice for Bone and Bari Sax [even before 4038's which I love for Tenor & Alto Sax but not so much for Bari].

The UM-900's might work rather nicely as a pair of "ambience mics" for the entire room if the set up permits. Are you setting the band up so they are in a "straight line" like they were "on stage" -- or are you having them set up in more of a circular thing so they can all see each other?

If you're setting them up in a line [like they would on a stage] -- the UM-900's often work exceptionally well when you put them up about "shoulder height" at the ? and ? points looking at "the stage" from the front [and about ?rd of the stage back from the front of the stage]. If the drummer is in the middle of that line what I will often do is put the 900's into "Figure 8" and aim the band around the capsule at the drummer [so the drummer is sitting in the null of the ambience mics as that instrument can often overpower the rest of the orchestra when used in that configuration].

If you're setting them up in a more circular manner then putting them in the center of the room in a Blumlein configuration usually works well.

The ELA M 251 F was a pretty cool package -- its the same mic as a 251 E except it was delivered with a "modern looking" power supply [translation: the metal work for the PSU housing was less expensive to produce], and no flight case -- more importantly -- they are very often the balls for drum overheads -- or from the description of the band you're recording -- in a "3 mic" drum setup [which frankly is the way that I would go if the drummer is actually worth a ****... as in plays the drums like "one instrument" and can balance his kit within the context of the music].

Best of luck with the session... if the room sounds good and the orchestra can play it sounds like you have all the weapons in the arsenal to come away with a stunning representation of the music.

Peace
Old 10th December 2014
  #18
Thank you!
I will set them up in a circle, I want them to see each other well.
I'll start with 251s on overheads, or actually as you said 3 mic setup. The drummer is definitely worth a lot, one of the best I ever heard in that style. I recorded him many times and he sound great through anything, from KM184, to SM69 or 4038. I've never tried U47FETs on TB/SAX, but that could be something interesting.





Old 10th December 2014
  #19
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Looks like the room won't be the problem.
Old 10th December 2014
  #20
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... unless you want that low ceiling, night club feel.
Old 11th December 2014
  #21
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by cyjanopan View Post
I recorded him many times and he sound great through anything, from KM184, to SM69 or 4038.
Yep... the good / great ones can do that... what a lot of people don't seem to realize on this board is that we don't do "alchemy". We can hide things, we can obscure things... but we can't turn **** into ice cream.

If you're working with a drummer that knows how to balance the kit so it sounds like a single instrument... and knows how to tune the kit so it sounds like a very good sounding single instrument... then I have generally found that 3 mics is the way to go [as in you're recording the instrument as a single instrument and not like half a dozen unrelated sounds that you'll try to process and balance with machinery in the hope to make it sound like "one instrument"].

If you have an extra 47fet around try it in front of the kit... I usually have the drummer hit the kik drum as hard as he can playing ¼ notes... then using my hand to feel where the "air blast" from the drum diminishes -- that is the starting point I usually use for the position of the "front of kit" mic... from there I bring up the overhead and the side in "one speaker mono" until I get a full sounding, properly balanced representation of the kit... once you have achieved that [shouldn't take more than 5 - 10 minutes of mic moving to achieve] you're on to the next sound.

Quote:
I've never tried U47FETs on TB/SAX, but that could be something interesting.
Doooooood -- after you try it chances are pretty good you'll never want to use anything else on those two particular sounds!! An 87 is also something to try for the Bari-Sax... but as far as I can tell the 47fet was designed with Trombone in mind.

Hope you have some fun with it!!

Peace
Old 11th December 2014
  #22
Thanks! All great info I need
Old 17th December 2014
  #23
Little update! Telefunken ELA 251s on overheads are super sweet, not dark nor bright, just spot on, rich and real sounding. Gefell is very good on trombone, but was too thin on saxophone, tried U47fet but still to thin (too much high mids), U87 was just the ticket. I'm using U47 on bass, it's ok but nothing to talk about, I have DPA 3521 on neck and it helps a bit to cut through. Overall it is pleasant so far, I like 251s more than I thought I will
Old 19th December 2014
  #24
A little sample how a 251s sounds on overheads is below (no EQ or compression, but with AKG D30 on bass drum). We actually ended using them on horns, they sounded much classier than UM900 or U87 and horns were more important. A lot of low frequencies, even if quite far away from drums, like 1,5 meters from the snare.
Attached Files

DR.mp3 (4.29 MB, 935 views)

Old 19th December 2014
  #25
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Thanks for the update. Like I said, the proof is in the pudding.


Quote:
Telefunken ELA 251s on overheads are super sweet, not dark nor bright, just spot on, rich and real sounding.
Nothing is certain, but I'm not surprised they did well in that application.


Quote:
Gefell is very good on trombone, but was too thin on saxophone
Goes to show that not all brass is the same.
Well, actually a saxophone is a woodwind instrument.
Old 19th December 2014
  #26
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Remy Leloup's Avatar
great DP 250

In the same experience , I am totally blown away by the Dave Pearlman 250 ( which is in the Elam area )

Vocals were awesome , but when I tried on wooden percs

Same as a C 12 but with a touch of satiny and velvet , clear and detailed at the same time.

I made the test of Glass and knife " ding ding " with the same stunning results ...

I decided to get another one for Overheads ..Brilliant mic

It's just my opinion , yours may differ
Old 20th December 2014
  #27
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Quote:
In the same experience , I am totally blown away by the Dave Pearlman 250 ( which is in the Elam area )
Yup, some pretty great things have been coming from boutique builders, lately.

I know a guy in Europe who makes a stunning solid state 250.
I'm a tube and tranny guy, but this is something special.
Old 20th December 2014
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by legato View Post

I know a guy in Europe who makes a stunning solid state 250.
Who and where ?
Europe is big like the States.

Thanks !

R.
Old 20th December 2014
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rolf Ebitsch View Post
Who and where ?
Europe is big like the States.

Thanks !

R.

He's in The Netherlands, like me.

But I don't want to hijack this thread, so I'll start a new thread soon for those interested.
Old 20th December 2014
  #30
Gear Head
 

Have any Schoeps mics to try (like M221 or 222 series)? Very clean....
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