The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Overhead Mic placement for Live Jazz Recording
Old 20th February 2020
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Overhead Mic placement for Live Jazz Recording

This is not an entire newby question, but I did not find another forum that said something like "Recording Techniques".

This week, I will record a Jazz Trio playing live in a small club venue. The acoustics are surprisingly fine, though it's a tiny club. But the walls are nicely uneven, bended, but also low. The trio will be piano, upright bass and drums. Since it's going to be filmed, I want to have the band in the stereo panorama as "seen" on stage = piano (left), bass (center), drums (right).

I have two questions:

1. Drum Overhead Technique
Even though many engineers favour ORTF for jazz drum overheads, I feel it tends to stretch out the drumset too wide for the classic mixing approach described above. And narrowing the panorama introduces phasing issues to my ears. Placing the mics further away would help, but will also capture more room + spill and might not complement the close mics on the piano in the mix. So I am thinking about XY, because of mono compatibility (and maybe even go mono). Do you think this is a good idea, what about AB?

2. Piano Second Mic option
The pianist is worried about the DPA 4099s being too bright and therefore miss that "washed" sound/weight, a dynamic might can introduce. Good point – so we set out to put another pair in to have the option in the mix. He's telling me about colleague pianists' good experiences with SM57 in the grand piano. I've never tried and have a hard time believing.. but well..
Since we do not have a lot of time setting up and testing, I would love to hear if someone has experience here.


My recording rig is limited to 12 mic preamps + 1 additional hi-z input. Channels are setup as follows:
1. Kick (RE20)
2. Snare (SM57)
3. OH (L) (TLM 170)
4. OH (R) (TLM 170)
5. Bass mic (built in DPA)
6. Bass DI
7. Piano (low) (4099 piano)
8. Piano (hi) (4099 piano)
9. Piano (low) (SM57 / MD441)
10. Piano (hi) (SM57 / MD441)
11. Main L / Atmo (KM84)
12. Main R / Atmo/Room (KM84)

Thanks in advance!
Julian

PS: I will attach a picture showing the stage upfront from when we visited the venue. Did not ask the artists for permission so I blurred the faces..
Attached Thumbnails
Overhead Mic placement for Live Jazz Recording-jazzkeller.jpg  
Old 21st February 2020
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I might misunderstand you. But if you are going to pan the drums to the right (as they are seen on screen) then I suppose you will be mixing the drums in mono not stereo. Which means, you may consider a single mic pretty high, looking straight down at the center of the kit.

I wouldn't add more mics and introduce possible phase issues if you aren't going to get the benefit of their stereo image.

Same goes for piano. Unless you find that the sound recorded from the piano is uneven from low notes to high notes, one mic might do it.

Alternatively, If you decide to mix this a little more traditional and have a regular stereo image for the drums, check out Glyn Johns technique. Since I see you have 4 inputs selected for drums, you could add a snare mic to that technique and be pretty good.
Old 21st February 2020
  #3
Gear Nut
 

@ Korcraft : What's wrong with narrowing a stereo image, but still have stereo? I.e. pan the piano channels like hard left and centered, drum center and hard right? Shoulder mic in mono could still be a nice option, though...

When going AB on the drums, you could even try hypercardoid (works great with the Beyer M160s). As for the piano, you could try sticking one 57 (or RE20, if you have a second one) into one of the holes to add to the DPAs.

Cheers, Peer
Old 21st February 2020
  #4
Lives for gear
 

I didn't say there was anything wrong with it. But that's not what the OP describes. He said "piano left, bass center, drums right"

Personally though, I wouldn't do that. I'd mix the drums in full stereo, bass centered mono and piano full stereo. But, I'm just boring like that haha.

But no, there is nothing "wrong" with what you suggested.
Old 21st February 2020
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by herrturtur View Post
This is not an entire newby question, but I did not find another forum that said something like "Recording Techniques".

This week, I will record a Jazz Trio playing live in a small club venue. The acoustics are surprisingly fine, though it's a tiny club. But the walls are nicely uneven, bended, but also low. The trio will be piano, upright bass and drums. Since it's going to be filmed, I want to have the band in the stereo panorama as "seen" on stage = piano (left), bass (center), drums (right).

I have two questions:

1. Drum Overhead Technique
Even though many engineers favour ORTF for jazz drum overheads, I feel it tends to stretch out the drumset too wide for the classic mixing approach described above. And narrowing the panorama introduces phasing issues to my ears. Placing the mics further away would help, but will also capture more room + spill and might not complement the close mics on the piano in the mix. So I am thinking about XY, because of mono compatibility (and maybe even go mono). Do you think this is a good idea, what about AB?

2. Piano Second Mic option
The pianist is worried about the DPA 4099s being too bright and therefore miss that "washed" sound/weight, a dynamic might can introduce. Good point – so we set out to put another pair in to have the option in the mix. He's telling me about colleague pianists' good experiences with SM57 in the grand piano. I've never tried and have a hard time believing.. but well..
Since we do not have a lot of time setting up and testing, I would love to hear if someone has experience here.


My recording rig is limited to 12 mic preamps + 1 additional hi-z input. Channels are setup as follows:
1. Kick (RE20)
2. Snare (SM57)
3. OH (L) (TLM 170)
4. OH (R) (TLM 170)
5. Bass mic (built in DPA)
6. Bass DI
7. Piano (low) (4099 piano)
8. Piano (hi) (4099 piano)
9. Piano (low) (SM57 / MD441)
10. Piano (hi) (SM57 / MD441)
11. Main L / Atmo (KM84)
12. Main R / Atmo/Room (KM84)

Thanks in advance!
Julian

PS: I will attach a picture showing the stage upfront from when we visited the venue. Did not ask the artists for permission so I blurred the faces..
one mostly gets enough cymbals into any of the other mics and with the wall nearby (and drums to the right - which is quite typical), the image of the stereo overheads is mostly off so i'm almost always using but a single overhead on the drums.
regarding the dpa's: well, you've got filters! and you'll need them anyway 'cause you'll get tons of cymbals in them! maybe use plexi to dampen some of the spill...
i often use three mic on the piano, two for stereo pickup and one specifically for the lows (with a steep lpf).

so i'd skip an overhead and one mic on the piano but add a pair of widely spaced ambis (for crowd noise actually).
Old 21st February 2020
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thanks for the advice all of you! I did not make myself too clear, when saying piano left, bass center and drums right. I would like to have it more like PeerSoe suggested: Drums Right–Center, Bass Center and Piano vice versa drums. Still, a Mono Overhead for drums might make most sense, since piano and bass will capture cymbals too and therefore "drag" the drums to the left. I hope I have the time to try against XY. With Glyn Johns I have so little experience.. hard to tell. But the 0 of the side overhead facing the rest of the band might work..

Pianowise I don't think we have Plexi at our hands, but the DPAs have great isolation and the piano lid is almost closed. Not too worried about spill here.

For ambience/main we planned to have sort of an ORTF hanging from the ceiling to capture both audience and stage, maybe works good as room feed.
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump