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Tuba spot mic...clip onto bell or stand overhead ? Dynamic Microphones
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
Lives for gear
Tuba spot mic...clip onto bell or stand overhead ?

Anyone who's recorded a wind band in a less than stellar acoustic (ie one which is overly damped and sucks the bass out of the audible spectrum) knows the importance of a tuba spot mic, to bring back some solidity and foundation to the mix.

My typical tuba spot is an NT5 cardioid 0.5m above the bell, somewhat offset to the side (ie not dead centre)

I'm wondering if that's a typical approach here, or whether it might be feasible to add a DPA type of clip-on mic to the rim of the bell...either with the capsule snug against the clip mechanism, or with it on a short thin gooseneck, as is the typical DPA way, to locate it more centrally above the abyss ? Wide cardioid, hyper-card...omni maybe ?

Looking through their (DPA's) "Microphone University' it's significant that there's no mention of the tuba as a spot mic candidate (trombone, French horn, trumpet all get a mention....not tuba. Ditto for any specific DPA tuba mounting clip hardware.
See list at bottom of this page: Acoustical characteristics of musical instruments

Maybe they just dislike the instrument..... or consider it so unworthy of mention that it's omitted altogether ?

Last edited by studer58; 2 weeks ago at 10:54 PM..
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lightbulb

Hi Studer - For wind band (not Ethopian , klezmer, jazz, or hip-hop brass), it is not necessary to put a mic in the bell.

My preference is a ribbon microphone a foot or two from the bell: try a Mesanovic Model 2 or a Cascade Fathead. But I've also used: u87s, 414s, 441s, 421s, 8040s, 8020s, 8090s, 8050s, 800s.

While I love the NT5, it would not be my first choice for tuba, since the purpose of the tuba mic has been to restore heft (not HF detail) that may have not reached the main pair.

With regards to whether clipping a mic to the tuba is possible - yea sure. Try a DPA4099, 4060s, or comperable mics from Audix, AT, Shure, etc. But what will happen to your mic when the tuba player puts their instrument down? Or leaves stage for a piece? Just not worth the hassle unless you have live sound needs that dictate it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
Thank you Christian...yes the case of a tuba player placing the instrument face (bell opening) down on the floor, with a clip mic attached to the rim edge is a problem waiting to happen.....

I agree an omni like the 8020 (or even NT5 omni) would be better than NT5 cardioid, for true extended LF capture...but wouldn't an omni a foot or so away from the bell also pick up much spill from the rest of the band ?

When you mention a foot or two from the bell...would that be above, or out to the side (ie beyond the rim edge) ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
Arrow

Above, "in the path of" the direct sound. For solo CDs, you may have a performer who is particular about side angles to archive a particular sound, but in the context of a wind ensemble, straight on is the cleanest and most reliable. Ears on Wheels on Instagram: “Recording #sousa marches with the #marineband. @Mesanovicmics on #tuba. #recordingstudio #recordingengineer #brass #recording #windband…”


Yes, an omni will get more bleed in the same spot, but it may or may not be a problem for you. And the ratio of direct-to-ambient will depend on your distance and placement anyway. You might find that an omni at 1' sounds better than a cardioid at 2'. If you put your mic (of any type) at 4 or more feet, I think you'll find the signal becoming less and less useful in the mix.

From Audio-Technica:

"Distance Factor
A directional microphone’s ability to reject much of the sound that arrives from off-axis provides a greater working distance or “distance factor” than an omni. As Fig. 10 shows, the distance factor (DF) for a cardioid is 1.7 while the omni is 1.0. This means that if an omni is used in a uniformly noisy environment to pick up a desired sound that is 10" away, a cardioid used at 17" from the sound source should provide the same results in terms of the ratio of desired signal to ambient noise. Among other microphone types, the subcardioid should do equally well at 12", the hypercardioid at 20" and the bidirectional at 17".

If the unwanted noise is arriving from one direction only, however, and the microphone can be positioned to place the null of the pattern toward the noise, the directional microphones will offer much greater working distances. "
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Tuba spot mic...clip onto bell or stand overhead ?-cba-2018-10-293534.jpg  
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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Plush's Avatar
A ribbon mic is necessary. Move it around until it sounds really good. Fairly close in but not in the bell. Above the instrument.

I was taught this by Shawn Murphy.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Thank you Christian and Plush for specifics....got it now !
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I will agree with Christian. For a tuba spot I usually use either a very nice large dynamic mic, like an RE20 or a large condenser mic. I haven't had the chance to use a ribbon yet. But I would stand mount it over the instrument within 3 or 4 feet from the end of the bell. Talk to the player and make sure that it's not going tobe in their way, but that it will be in whatever their playing location is going to me.

Even with the more pop oriented groups like jazz and bras bands, I don't like taping the mic to the bell of the instrument. It sounds too...woompy. But those guys seem to like it.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #8
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBigler View Post
...Even with the more pop oriented groups like jazz and bras bands, I don't like taping the mic to the bell of the instrument. It sounds too...woompy. But those guys seem to like it.
My son's tuba teacher plays in a New Orleans-style brass band. He often needs to be mic-ed through the PA at bigger gigs. He told me that he once asked Benjamin Jaffe what he does and the answer was: "wrap a 57 in some foam and put it down the bell of the tuba" so that's how Preservation Hall Jazz Band gets their low-end woomp... FWIW, my son uses a Beta 98 clip-on when he needs to be heard through a PA. So far, he has always remembered to un-clip the mic when he stands the instrument on its bell (he has a special parking stand). When I recorded auditions for him, I pretty much followed the recipe that Plush and NorseHorse offer.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #9
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
My son's tuba teacher plays in a New Orleans-style brass band. He often needs to be mic-ed through the PA at bigger gigs. He told me that he once asked Benjamin Jaffe what he does and the answer was: "wrap a 57 in some foam and put it down the bell of the tuba" so that's how Preservation Hall Jazz Band gets their low-end woomp... FWIW, my son uses a Beta 98 clip-on when he needs to be heard through a PA. So far, he has always remembered to un-clip the mic when he stands the instrument on its bell (he has a special parking stand). When I recorded auditions for him, I pretty much followed the recipe that Plush and NorseHorse offer.
There's a bit of a difference in the micing of more pop oriented groups like that than classical symphonies and wind band.

I did a show with the Hot 8 Brass Band a couple months ago. Tuba miced with a 58 taped to the bell. It sounded awful. I couldn't get a clear accurate sound to save my life...all it was was just low end mushy woofing... I would have much preferred to have a DPA 4099 or a nice large dynamic mic (RE20, Heil PR40 etc..) a couple feet from the bell.

(To be fair though, I didn't get a sound check with them. They flew in late and walked on stage as their show was starting).
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