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Mic set up suggestions for recording in a small club Recorders, Players & Tape Machines
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Mic set up suggestions for recording in a small club

Hi all, so hopefully someone can point me in the right direction here, Im going to need to record a jazz band playing in a small venue, I'll also be renting for dialogue and interior interviews and the budget is limited, so hopefully I can get good results for both with one set.

I was thinking along the lines of a pair of Schoeps with hyper capsules as I've had good results with them for more standard interior stuff in the past, but would anybody suggest something different, perhaps shotguns would be preferable.
also whats considered good practice for positioning, I don't need to place any focus on the crowd.

Thanks in advance
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
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With a spaced pair I’ve always had a problem with the bass and piano being nowhere in the mix
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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For the "dialogue and interior interviews," how many people do you expect to record at a time? Are you wanting one mic per person? Are we talking booms, camera mount, fixed mic stands?

I feel like the interview/dialogue requirements may pull in very different directions than what's ideal for ensemble music recording, depending on all the specifics.

Shotguns for music, esp indoors, seems risky. Haven't tried it myself, but from what I hear, I think there's a high risk of phasey, comb filtering effects in that scenario.

My first thought was MS. Mid mic could be used as tighter mono source for recording individual speakers, while MS combo would work well for music.

Cardioid mid matrixes to super cardioid XY
Super or hyper will matrix to hyper XY or beyond

But, if you need to record more than one speaker, this may not be the right rig for that.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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shotguns will give you just a bit more damping off axis than hypercardioids so i doubt you'll gain a lot - more importantly though, how does the venue and the setup look like and what gear do you have available?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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tourtelot's Avatar
"Shotguns" are notorious for comb-filtering indoors. That's why movie dialog recordists have always put them aside for hypers or cardioids. The one exception to that rule, for me at least, was the Sanken CS3e which performed pretty well on interiors as long as there was a bit of space around them.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Is the band playing acoustically, or through a PA system?
If the latter, there's a bunch of mics there you might be able to tap into.

Chris
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chris661 View Post
Is the band playing acoustically, or through a PA system?
If the latter, there's a bunch of mics there you might be able to tap into.

Chris
I was wondering when that question was going to be asked. If the 'venue' is a 'club' with food / beverage service, etc. you can pretty much forget about a main mic pair and just go with splits off the PA. If it is a concert and the venue is 'small' (as you say), why have a PA at all? If no PA, then some combination of mains and spots will work, depending on the venue's acoustics. When asking for opinions here, "a jazz band playing in a small venue" is not enough information.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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tourtelot's Avatar
Jazz in a club is a hard job. I've "dabbled". I have not been very successful. I tried adapting my usual acoustic methods and failed pretty miserably. Had to give back the fee :(

Next time, I think I will treat that sort of job as a multi-track "pop" scenario. Take some splits from the PA; vocals, electric keys, etc. Put some mics on the kit, put some mics in the piano, horns, saxes, guitar amps, bass DI and mic. Audience mics. Just like I would a rock show. It will certainly take the "soul" out of the recording but I won't be left with too much timbales and not enough trumpet.

Hard to believe that the timbales overwhelmed the horns, but they did.

D.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
Quote:
Originally Posted by tourtelot View Post
"Shotguns" are notorious for comb-filtering indoors. That's why movie dialog recordists have always put them aside for hypers or cardioids. The one exception to that rule, for me at least, was the Sanken CS3e which performed pretty well on interiors as long as there was a bit of space around them.

D.
But outdoors then shotguns get used in the film world more than anything else.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ebeowulf17 View Post
For the "dialogue and interior interviews," how many people do you expect to record at a time? Are you wanting one mic per person? Are we talking booms, camera mount, fixed mic stands?

I feel like the interview/dialogue requirements may pull in very different directions than what's ideal for ensemble music recording, depending on all the specifics.

Shotguns for music, esp indoors, seems risky. Haven't tried it myself, but from what I hear, I think there's a high risk of phasey, comb filtering effects in that scenario.

My first thought was MS. Mid mic could be used as tighter mono source for recording individual speakers, while MS combo would work well for music.

Cardioid mid matrixes to super cardioid XY
Super or hyper will matrix to hyper XY or beyond

But, if you need to record more than one speaker, this may not be the right rig for that.
Thanks, yeah I was expecting to be warned off shotguns, I may be able to get some more mics and place them on stage, I don't trust the quality of their pics or mixer, I could perhaps get a selection of different cheapish mics to place onstage. Anything in particular anyone would suggest for each instrument that I may be able to get hold of without too much trouble?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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What instruments?
Budget?
Planning to rent or buy these extra mics?
Will you be multi tracking or need to mix on the fly?

I've had great luck doing live jazz in not so great environments using the following basic formula:
Use the best pair of condensers you can muster as stereo drum overheads - smooth off axis response is critical here, because the unavoidable bleed is going to give a sense of space, depth, and dimension that's missing from the remaining mics. I was using KM140s I think, or maybe KM84s. SM81 or KSM137/141 might be good budget alternatives. Everything else, except maybe piano, gets close mic'd with tight dynamics (57, 421, RE20, etc, depending on availability.) The individual channels don't sound quite as good as you'd like, cause they're all a little tight and boxy from close micing but when you bring up the roomy overheads, it sets a nice, open soundstage for everything else.

Don't get me wrong - this "system" won't sound as good as studio tracks or even a live acoustic gig in a really nice venue without PA, but I did tons of gigs like this in school and it worked well for me, better than anything else I tried.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
I've done many live shows in tiny clubs. Usually it's a simple setup. I use a pair of transformerless AKG 414TL's for overheads on drums, an RE-20 for kick. Percussion setups get a pair of AKG 460's.

Guitar amps get another 414. Keyboards are taken direct via Jensen DI boxes. Other stuff is close miced like horns. I use an Alesis HD24XR. The console is a small Soundcraft Delta 16x4x2. That will monitor all 24 tracks. I add an 8 channel mic pre to fill it out. Stands, cables and a couple of bar stools and I'm GTG.

Mixes are panned to follow the layout into another 24 track Delta console. Add a tiny amount of compression, EQ, Bricasti and Lexicon reverb and it's a record.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blackjam View Post
Hi all, so hopefully someone can point me in the right direction here, Im going to need to record a jazz band playing in a small venue, I'll also be renting for dialogue and interior interviews and the budget is limited, so hopefully I can get good results for both with one set.
If someone hired me for that job, I'd want to know these things:

Instrumentation.

Stage plot.

Does anyone talk or sing onstage?

Interviews -- how many people at once and where?

Interviews -- mics on stands/boom or single handheld (a la Dick Clark)?

Interviews -- interviewer on or off camera? If off-camera, interviewer to be included or edited out?

I'd also want photos of the recording areas, and mic lists from the local rental outfits.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
Too many "unknowns" to give a proper answer. FWIW
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
Seems like you're video-centric so multi-track instruments are not considered?
I would place two PZMs at front of stage L & R into a 2-trk recorder on shore power. Use a rode lyre mic on top of camera for interviews and an iPhone lav on the talent, gives you boom-ish and lav.
The PZMs are hemispherical omni and will get whatever sound comes off the stage and some audience reaction. Anything more adjustable in post needs a recordist and way more gear, shared splits with the PA, stage plots for opening and headliner act etc. Good luck.
WalterT
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Simmosonic's Avatar
 

That’s a timely question. I’ve been writing about my experiences of mixing jazz live for an Australian magazine called CX. You can read part one of the series on this link:

https://www.cxnetwork.com.au/

Go to page 50.

The pragmatic miking information given there is based on mixing live jazz in a small venue through a PA, mostly modern jazz (drums, bass, piano + sax/horns), 5 or 6 nights per week, every week of the year, for about two years. The relevance to your question is that I recorded most gigs as well, usually to a Zoom F8 connected to the console channel’s Direct Outs (I rarely needed more than 8 tracks). The miking techniques shown in that article, along with appropriately configured audience/room mics, resulted in some very useable recordings.

The audience/room mics are vital. If it’s jazz it means there will be improvisations, and that means there’ll be audience reactions (cheers, whoops, applause, etc.) that you need to get in to the recording or you will lose a really valuable part of the gig - it’s one of those things where you won’t realise you messed up until it’s too late, LOL!

You need to make sure you’re capturing a useful sound of the ensemble from those mics because they’re not mics you can just fade in at the end of a piece of music - the audience reactions captured by these mics will take place while the musicians are playing so whatever sound they capture from the ensemble on stage will be blended into the mix whenever you bring in the audience/room mics. The other thing about audience mics for jazz is that you’re probably in a small room and if the mics are too close to any one or two members of the audience, their sound will dominate and make the audience seem very small. I defaulted to a Faulkner bidirectional pair over the audience, I suppose their placement was forming something approaching an equilateral triangle with the PA speakers, but with the mics angled slightly outwards so that each mic was aimed kind of midway between stage centre and the PA speakers (on either side of the stage). This tended to give me a good capture of stage and speakers, room and audience, while nulling out the audience members directly beneath it and preventing them from making the audience sound ‘small’. And, most importantly, it was a sound I could leave running through the mix, perhaps bumping it up a couple of dB during audience reactions without any obvious change in tone.

If there are drums and an acoustic piano (grand or upright) on stage at the same time, your safest bet is to plan for spot mics on all the instruments - unless you’re planning on making a drum recording with background sounds! It can work, but I must’ve done over 250 soundchecks [edit: per year!] over two years and it was rare to see an ensemble where the piano was not struggling against the drums during soundcheck, and even rarer to see one where the piano was not struggling against the drums during the gig with an audience in the room. So my advice would be to play it safe and default to some kind of close-miking approach along with the audience/room mics I described here.

Last edited by Simmosonic; 3 weeks ago at 02:35 PM..
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
That’s a timely question. I’ve been writing about my experiences of mixing jazz live for an Australian magazine called CX. You can read part one of the series on this link:

https://www.cxnetwork.com.au/

Go to page 50.

The pragmatic miking information given there is based on mixing live jazz in a small venue through a PA, mostly modern jazz (drums, bass, piano + sax/horns), 5 or 6 nights per week, every week of the year, for about two years. The relevance to your question is that I recorded most gigs as well, usually to a Zoom F8 connected to the console channel’s Direct Outs (I rarely needed more than 8 tracks). The miking techniques shown in that article, along with appropriately configured audience/room mics, resulted in some very useable recordings.

The audience/room mics are vital. If it’s jazz it means there will be improvisations, and that means there’ll be audience reactions (cheers, whoops, applause, etc.) that you need to get in to the recording or you will lose a really valuable part of the gig - it’s one of those things where you won’t realise you messed up until it’s too late, LOL!

You need to make sure you’re capturing a useful sound of the ensemble from those mics because they’re not mics you can just fade in at the end of a piece of music - the audience reactions captured by these mics will take place while the musicians are playing so whatever sound they capture from the ensemble on stage will be blended into the mix whenever you bring in the audience/room mics. The other thing about audience mics for jazz is that you’re probably in a small room and if the mics are too close to any one or two members of the audience, their sound will dominate and make the audience seem very small. I defaulted to a Faulkner bidirectional pair over the audience, I suppose their placement was forming something approaching an equilateral triangle with the PA speakers, but with the mics angled slightly outwards so that each mic was aimed kind of midway between stage centre and the PA speakers (on either side of the stage). This tended to give me a good capture of stage and speakers, room and audience, while nulling out the audience members directly beneath it and preventing them from making the audience sound ‘small’. And, most importantly, it was a sound I could leave running through the mix, perhaps bumping it up a couple of dB during audience reactions without any obvious change in tone.

If there are drums and an acoustic piano (grand or upright) on stage at the same time, your safest bet is to plan for spot mics on all the instruments - unless you’re planning on making a drum recording with background sounds! It can work, but I must’ve done over 250 soundchecks over two years and it was rare to see an ensemble where the piano was not struggling against the drums during soundcheck, and even rarer to see one where the piano was not struggling against the drums during the gig with an audience in the room. So my advice would be to play it safe and default to some kind of close-miking approach along with the audience/room mics I described here.
I just read your excellent article - the advice is spot-on and jives with everything I have experienced in live jazz venue recording, as well as providing solutions to problems I have encountered. I look forward to the sequel - please let us know when it is published. Thanks!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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Anybody that can give a definitive advise about how to record "a jazz band playing in a small venue" based on the small amount of info that is given, probably don't know enough to be giving advise in the first place. There are just too many variables involved to have a generic, one size fits all solution.

Unless every jazz band playing in a small venue perform and sound exactly alike, much of the info here could be totally inappropriate and useless.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
Every club is different, every group is different. It is impossible to give any specific advise to a general question. If we had pictures of the club, had some recordings of the group it maybe easier to give advice. Also in today's world of the WWW everyone is an expert even if they know nothing about what they are writing about. As with anything on the WWW take it all with the understanding that not all of it is GOOD advice.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Sam, what is your problem? A lot of negativism lately. Perhaps you should read the article.
My post did not reference the article (which I did read) and I was NOT commenting about it. Why are you reading things into my posts which were not stated or even implied pray tell...sounds like you're constantly searching for something to pick at and/or someone to pick on.

My post stand as is.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
My post did not reference the article (which I did read) and I was NOT commenting about it. Why are you reading things into my posts which were not stated or even implied pray tell...sounds like you're constantly searching for something to pick at and/or someone to pick on.

My post stand as is.
My apologies then. Your comments, coming on the heels of Greg Simmon's extensive post, seemed to contradict the advice he put forward. I think we can all agree that there is no all-in-one solution to the challenges of recording live jazz in a small venue, but there are certainly best practices and Simmon's article ticks most of those boxes.

Last edited by jimjazzdad; 3 weeks ago at 06:58 PM.. Reason: Getting Greg's name right!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
My apologies then. Your comments, coming on the heels of Simon's extensive post, seemed to contradict the advice he put forward. I think we can all agree that there is no all-in-one solution to the challenges of recording live jazz in a small venue, but there are certainly best practices and Simon's article ticks most of those boxes.
My post was very clear...and I've clarified that it was not aimed at that post or the poster already...nothing else need to be said about it.

The only "best practice" that applies in the unique situation posed here is to get as much relevant information about the gig as possible...
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
The only "best practice" that applies in the unique situation posed here is to get as much relevant information about the gig as possible...
But it wasn't a 'unique situation', was it.....more a very hazily defined, very generic one, and hence all following advice had specific or general validity....in the absence of clarity supplied by the OP.

If any critique needs be levelled, it should be targeted at that opening lack of specificity....not the calibre of well-intentioned advice that followed.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #24
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
...The only "best practice" that applies in the unique situation posed here is to get as much relevant information about the gig as possible...
Agreed. It is impossible to give the OP specific advice based on the information given - as I wrote in post #7 above: "When asking for opinions here, "a jazz band playing in a small venue" is not enough information." Given that the OP is new here (4 posts and on GS less than a year) his question implies a desire to learn basics rather than someone seeking to confer with professional peers. I don't know what percentage of the posters here are novices, amateurs, or hobbyists, but there are a lot of people who come here to learn from those, like you, who are experienced. Sometimes they just don't know how to ask their questions clearly.

Greg Simmon's article is timely for the OP. I believe his article has some very pragmatic suggestions which would be applicable to almost any 'live jazz in a small venue' situation. It deals with how to integrate with the PA, thoughts about room mics, mic techniques for typical combo instruments, and methods to control bleed. As such, I believe it is a strong body of best practices that may help point the OP in the "right direction" that he seeks.

My $0.02

Last edited by jimjazzdad; 3 weeks ago at 06:56 PM.. Reason: Getting Greg's name right
Old 3 weeks ago
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Simon's article is timely for the OP. I believe his article has some very pragmatic suggestions which would be applicable to almost any 'live jazz in a small venue' situation. It deals with how to integrate with the PA, thoughts about room mics, mic techniques for typical combo instruments, and methods to control bleed. As such, I believe it is a strong body of best practices that may help point the OP in the "right direction" that he seeks.

My $0.02
I concur....and suggest that Greg Simmons (simmosonic) article/guide makes a great template for a set or series of 'how to' pieces which could address the needs of novice recordists on a variety of typical situations: solo piano, string quartet, choir, orchestra, wind band etc (with or without amplification) They could be the first point of referral in cases like those of the OP here.

Then again, there's also/always the Search function.....as so many and more of such scenarios have been already covered here over the years
Old 3 weeks ago
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
But it wasn't a 'unique situation', was it.....more a very hazily defined, very generic one, and hence all following advice had specific or general validity....in the absence of clarity supplied by the OP.

If any critique needs be levelled, it should be targeted at that opening lack of specificity....not the calibre of well-intentioned advice that followed.
The gig is a "unique situation" because OP had not done it before... and my post was not a critique (of anybody), it was a comment which pointed out the lack of pertinent information, and the fact that it is impossible to respond intelligently and definitively to the question because of the lack of info.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad View Post
Agreed. It is impossible to give the OP specific advice based on the information given - as I wrote in post #7 above: "When asking for opinions here, "a jazz band playing in a small venue" is not enough information." Given that the OP is new here (4 posts and on GS less than a year) his question implies a desire to learn basics rather than someone seeking to confer with professional peers. I don't know what percentage of the posters here are novices, amateurs, or hobbyists, but there are a lot of people who come here to learn from those, like you, who are experienced. Sometimes they just don't know how to ask their questions clearly.
Even the most basic, general response to the question that was asked require more information than was given for the response to be relevant. Telling the OP that he need to provide more info is also helping, the reasons are very obvious, and the fact that he is new here changes nothing, because we simply can't have a relevant and intelligent discussion without that info.

Quote:
Greg Simmon's article is timely for the OP. I believe his article has some very pragmatic suggestions which would be applicable to almost any 'live jazz in a small venue' situation. It deals with how to integrate with the PA, thoughts about room mics, mic techniques for typical combo instruments, and methods to control bleed. As such, I believe it is a strong body of best practices that may help point the OP in the "right direction" that he seeks.
I clearly stated that my post and comments were not aimed at this particular post and/or poster but you keep mentioning it, so I'll respond. Since we still don't have a unique definition of what a jazz band is beyond the fact that they play music that may be loosely defined as jazz or any info about the room etc, how exactly does this answer the question that was asked in the OP?

Most of the live work that I've done in recent years have been with jazz and blues bands...mixing their live sound, recording and mixing their live albums...seven (live albums) last year alone. The number of musicians, what they play, how they play and their expectations...the acoustics of the venue, size of the stage and if I have to close mic everything are just some of the variables that have to be considered.

All of the generic information in the post you keep talking about is based on doing live sound in a single venue over a two year period, therefore we can assume that all the variables of the room are well known by the poster. How does this information answer the specific question being asked by the the OP, pray tell?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #28
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I think you're setting a very high bar indeed for inexperienced newbies in terms of how much context they must supply about a potential gig and miking/recording requirements...when it's screamingly clear that they 'don't how much they don't know' ? So the chances of such folk conforming to your entry criteria of "maximal info supply" ,as their ticket to posting here, simply isn't going to happen, is it, realistically....and history plus experience in this forum bears that out ?

A few requests for 'more background info please' to the OP fell on deaf ears....but the advice flowed regardless. Coming at the issue from the tail end, what his sketchy request generated was a vast amount of (very likely) helpful, relevant and valuable guidance....in fact, very probably too much of it. That's the OP's cross to bear, as a result of insufficient initial specificity.

My suggestion: lower the bar, offer what you can and feel is appropriate in each context....and leave the moderation to the moderators....in this best of all imperfect worlds This forum is traditionally a broad and welcoming church, tolerant of newbies and generous in spirit....it's not about building Trumpian walls or shutting people out with strict gate keeping
Old 3 weeks ago
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
I think you're setting a very high bar indeed for inexperienced newbies in terms of how much context they must supply about a potential gig and miking/recording requirements...when it's screamingly clear that they 'don't how much they don't know' ? So the chances of such folk conforming to your entry criteria of "maximal info supply" ,as their ticket to posting here, simply isn't going to happen, is it, realistically....and history plus experience in this forum bears that out ?

A few requests for 'more background info please' to the OP fell on deaf ears....but the advice flowed regardless. Coming at the issue from the tail end, what his sketchy request generated was a vast amount of (very likely) helpful, relevant and valuable guidance....in fact, very probably too much of it. That's the OP's cross to bear, as a result of insufficient initial specificity.

My suggestion: lower the bar, offer what you can and feel is appropriate in each context....and leave the moderation to the moderators....in this best of all imperfect worlds This forum is traditionally a broad and welcoming church, tolerant of newbies and generous in spirit....it's not about building Trumpian walls or shutting people out with strict gate keeping
Will you stop the foolishness already, nobody can answer the question and help the OP without the relevant info, your purposeful misrepresentation here is tantamount to trolling.

It is obvious to me that this is spill over from the Scorpio thread and you're only here to pick fight, If you have something useful to contribute, do so and stop telling me what to say and how to say it...follow your own advise.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
That’s a timely question. I’ve been writing about my experiences of mixing jazz live for an Australian magazine called CX. You can read part one of the series on this link:

https://www.cxnetwork.com.au/
I, too, liked your article, Greg. Spotting piano without too much drum leakage is always a battle. I'm aware that some engineers employ sound board pickups to deal with that, but could never justify owning one myself. Your SM57 trick seems to accomplish a similar thing, but with a piece of kit we all already own. Much appreciated!

Much appreciated,

David L. Rick
Seventh String Recording
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