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Guitar/jazz duo recording help with everything!
Old 4th August 2019
  #1
Gear Head
Guitar/jazz duo recording help with everything!

I have invited a great guitar player I know to come over and jam and record a few tunes. My music room is not really built as a studio that's why I post in the remote forum. My plan is to go for more of a hifi "chamber" sound rather than a typical jazz session. The room has a couple of absorbers on the walls and I have 2 1x1.5m good gobos. The questions I have is concerning mic placement and if I should go for 96k or stick to 44.1?

The mics I have are
- stereo pair of adk a51 TL (multiple polar patterns)
- Stereo pair line audio cm3
- joly modded mxl 990
- advanced audio u47
- audio technica 4033
Everything goes into a steinberg mr816

My idea is to place myself and the guitar amp next to each other and find a good stereo image and have the gobos in a V formation on the opposite wall. Inside the V i would put either a blumlein pair with the ADKs or a ORTF with the line audio mics. Then I would get that sounding good and put the mxl990 on the guitar, that mic usually sounds nice on jazz guitar. On the sax I like the advanced audio but it has a higher selfnoise than my audiotechnica. And I'm going for a hifi sound on this recording. That's why I'm thinking about recording in 96k. Any thoughts?
Old 5th August 2019
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Just to clarify...

You want to record a duo consisting of an electric guitar being played through an amplifier, and a saxophone?

Also, can you provide an approximate indication of the size of your music room in feet or metres?
Old 5th August 2019
  #3
Gear Head
I tried to upload pics from my phone but it won't work without a image host?
Anyways the room is 4x4m but in one corner there's a closet that's 1.3x1.6 so the room is not a perfect square. And the height is 2.3m so it's not ideal in any way.
Old 5th August 2019
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaker View Post
Anyways the room is 4x4m but in one corner there's a closet that's 1.3x1.6 so the room is not a perfect square. And the height is 2.3m so it's not ideal in any way.
I would stick to close miking for your situation. Some good advice has been given in another thread about that just recently, which you’ve been following.

Without a lot of acoustic treatment in your room, going for more of a hifi ‘chamber’ sound (as you described it) in that room is most likely to result in a boxy-sounding mess. It might be a good document of the event, but it wouldn’t be commercially acceptable, i.e. people would not want to pay for it. [I’m not implying that you’re making this recording to sell, I’m just using that as a point of reference for quality. It will be the kind of recording that if you paid $5 for at a gig, you’d probably regret the purchase after hearing it and feel a bit conned.]

With moderate acoustic treatment combined with some strategically placed baffles and/or good mic choice/skills and careful placement of instruments and adjustment of guitar amplifier volume, you could get a clean recording using just a stereo pair. It might be commercially acceptable to the point that you wouldn’t complain if you paid $5 for it at a gig. And if you got it really right, it could even be great if your engineering and listening skills are good enough.

With a lot of acoustic treatment you’re going to end up in a dead room, blowing your lungs out to get any perceived volume in your ears from the sax. You’ll end up with an acoustically dead recording that you might add some reverb to, and it might sound great. But you’re probably not going to be happy with the sax playing because you had to blow so hard and, as a result, the sax didn’t sound right.

Amazing direct-to-stereo recordings have been made under all the circumstances described above, but they’re more of the exception than the rule and are often just flukes. I’m reminded of good recordings that musicians have made accidentally, and when I ask them how they did it they’ve said something like, “I just put my Zoom on a stool and the two of us sat in front of it, one facing each microphone, and played. Turned out okay after we mixed it, huh?”

What’s really happened there is that they’ve used an XY pair (the Zoom) as two separate cardioid close mics, and placed themselves maybe a metre or so in front of it, each instrument facing towards one mic. Because the mics are coincident, they get no phase problems when panning the tracks further into the centre. Then they’ve treated it as a multitrack recording made with just two tracks: adjusted individual volumes, added some EQ to each track, perhaps even some volume riding in GarageBand or whatever, maybe added some reverb, and came out with a cool result - without even realising what they just did, LOL! Come to think of it, if you’re determined not to close mic, maybe you could try that? Put your baffles to the sides to minimise the early reflections from the room coming back into the mics. If the floor is wood, tiles or similar reflective material, put a rug on the floor between the instruments and mics to block that particular reflection, which will probably be the most obtrusive contributor to the ‘small boxy room’ effect. The ceiling reflection can also be a problem (as mentioned in the other thread) but without putting absorption on the ceiling your best bet is to angle the XY downwards (maybe 45 degrees or so) to minimise capture of the ceiling reflection. Whichever of the two (ceiling or floor) that creates the shortest reflection path from instrument to mic is going to be the biggest problem.

Otherwise, close miking!

Last edited by Simmosonic; 6th August 2019 at 12:19 AM.. Reason: My fragile ego.
Old 6th August 2019
  #5
Lives for gear
 
surflounge's Avatar
one really good omni microphone to capture the room without dealing with multi mic phase issues, then post production through this for stereo or multichannel mix
Old 6th August 2019
  #6
Gear Head
https://www.dropbox.com/s/van1qauu4f...AEAE.jpeg?dl=0

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6uvq2pa63f...300C.jpeg?dl=0

Thanks for the replies. I managed to post some pics of the room and maybe they can clarify my acoustic situation. As you can se I have two DIY panels above the desk made with perforated masonite and rock wool. And I also have similar panels behind the speakers. The red carpet is pretty thick and the white and blue one is kinda thin. The blue and wood panels are serious baffles, or actually they'r office dividers but they are made with perforated wood and real rock wool heavy as tanks. My initial plan was to place myself (sax) where the horns are in the picture. And place the amp on my side to get the sound centered in the stereopair. The guitarist can sit wherever he want's e plays a 335 so there's hardly no acoustic sound. Do you mean I should raise the mics further up and then point them down? I was thinking if I placed the baffles behind the mics I would minimize reflections anyway?
Old 6th August 2019
  #7
Lives for gear
So it's just sax and guitar only, no drums ? The room looks a bit ugly, from an acoustic standpoint....what does it sound like if you stand in the centre and clap your hands hard...then try the same close to a few walls ?

Do you get a clean, dry crack sound..or a rapid multiple echo, flanged one ?
It might be worth going for a more damped sound, even if you need to liven it up with reverb later.

You could bring in some clothes drying racks and drape some sleeping bags or blankets over them...that could help tame some of the 'crackle' ?

I'm guessing the low ceiling is another drawback, but short of constructing an Arabian style tent with fabrics hanging from the ceiling to kill the bounce, I don't know how successfully you'll be able to remove the room imprint from the recording ?

I think the small, boxy room dimensions, and multiple bare wall and ceiling surfaces, are your biggest hurdle thus far...so try covering them with anything of large dimensions and absorbency and see if that helps in the first instance ?

The louder the playing, the more these resonances are going to be excited, but you don't want to have to restrict your playing dynamics right from the get-go...that's an undesirable limitation to a good recording.

The fig 8 patterns of your stereo pair of ADK mics could be very helpful here, if you point the null (most deaf) sides (ie middle) towards the room boundary(s) that gives you the worst slapback echoes.... it's a pity you don't have any ribbon mics, they might do well in this sort of environment, precisely because of their fig 8 pickup pattern.

Here are some hints on gobo use from a few decades ago...but in a somewhat bigger room than yours: https://www.prosoundweb.com/topics/s...epper_and_son/

Last edited by studer58; 6th August 2019 at 05:57 PM..
Old 6th August 2019
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by surflounge View Post
one really good omni microphone to capture the room without dealing with multi mic phase issues, then post production through this for stereo or multichannel mix.
The chances that an omni mic in room that sounds wonky will sound good is slim to none, and the idea that you won't have phase issues just because you use a single mic is a myth. Tan omni will pickup all the destructive reflections coming off the walls and any other acoustic anomalies in the room.

Using close Cardioid microphones as suggested above will probably give a better result.
Old 6th August 2019
  #9
Gear Head
Thanks for the great response guys! I agree that the low ceiling is by far the biggest drawback (and the hardest one to fix). Actually there's not that much flutter echo at least not on moderate volumes. I've had some real nasty room nodes but since I got the big blue gobos it have gotten better. Thanks Simmsonic for that article I think I read it years ago but I love those recordings!

I used to have a couple of ribbons and have been looking for excuses to get a new pair but that will have to wait. Today I tried putting up my X/Y pair with the cm3s but that didn't work out. So I will be ditching those.

How do you mean I should use the fig 8? like a blumlein pair? Otherwise I would get less room sound with cardioids right? I was thinking I could use one ADK on the guitar in hypercardiod and place the amp infront of one of the baffles to minimize leak from the back wall back into the mic. Then put my CM47 opposite the ADK by the desk for the sax. That way they are facing each others blindspots. And I was thinking about moving one of the Baffles infront of the piano.

But reading your comments I might be better of if I keep the two baffles where they are and add a Duvet on a mic stand by the piano?

I don't expect leakage to be a problem so I'm not striving for isolation. But I guess the room reflections are the enemy?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Head
Now I have tried recording in two spaces and the difference was huge! The first time i recorded in the room pictured above. I had the sax and the amp opposite each other in the room. I got a workable sound but I had to work a lot in the mix. And the second time the wife and kids were out so I set us up in my living room it is quite large with a big bookshelf and opens up into other rooms so all in all maybe 100kvm with semi walls and furniture. I got a really nice natural reverb and even though I only used 2 mics a got a nice ambience in the sax mic. The bass in the guitar amp was also no issue. I didn't have time to fiddle around with the mics so the next time I will use different mics and placement. The first time I had a t.bone advanced audio modded u47 on the sax and a ADK a51 TL on the git. This time I the adk on the sax and a audio technical at4033 on the git. The next time I'm thinking of using my Joly moded 990 on the guitar I have used it on jazz guitar in the past and it usually turns out really good. And i think I'll keep the A51 on the sax. the U47s top end sounds nicer on alto than tenor. I will try and post pics and a sound clip later.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaker View Post
Now I have tried recording in two spaces and the difference was huge!
Every time we do something new, we have the chance to learn something!
Old 2 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Maniac
 
Stradivariusz's Avatar
I can't say enough how much I love my living room sound with just widely spaced omni mics, very 3D and very natural recording.
Wider then the musicians, I would say 1m left from the one and 1m right from another and around 1m obove the saxsound is where I would start to experiment. Different world...but I like it!
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