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Free jazz duo recording Condenser Microphones
Old 23rd August 2007
  #1
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liuto's Avatar
 

Question Free jazz duo recording

Hi!
I have been asked to record a "birthday party concert" with two world class European free jazz musicians (sax and drums). This will take place in a medieval fortress in a big room (18x7m, about 4m high at an average) with about 200 people in it, so it will be rather dry acoustics. It is my first recording of free jazz (normally I do mainly baroque and classical) and I have some questions, regarding the setup. I want to keep it quite simple so I thought about this 5 or 6 mic setup:

2 Neumann KM84 in front of the drums 2m high (waist level?) capturing the overall drums sound
possibly AT4033 or Schoeps MK2s in front of bassdrum
KM84 or Schoeps MK4 or MK21 for the sax appr. 1m from player
2 Schoeps MK21 (KM83) room mics, about 2,5m from the musicians for some ambience and blending.

Does this sound like a sensitive approach?
Would an overhead position give me a better balance of the drumkit?
I don't know if the sax player is moving around a lot, so would it be better to back him up with a clip microphone on the belly (edit: of the instrument of course ;-) )?

I have:
4 Schoeps CMC5s with 3MK4, 2MK21, 2MK2s, 1MK8 and active cables
4 Neumann KM84 (plus 3KK83 capsules)
AT4033
4 Oktava MC012/all capsules

Thanks for your help
Hermann Platzer

Last edited by liuto; 23rd August 2007 at 06:47 PM.. Reason: my english ;-)
Old 23rd August 2007
  #2
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Roland's Avatar
I would use a couple of Mk21's overhead of the kit, possibly in the classic 3mike approach (i.e. one too the left of the kit approx just over the hight of the floor tom and the other over the drummers left shoulder pointing towards the snare both about 4 foot from the snare. 4033 for the bass drum, and a Mk4 for the sax, trust me on this one, you won't be dissapointed. Then why not sling a couple of KM84's for the room, maybe even all four of them to give you two different perspectives that you can decide which you prefer in mixdown. I would also spot the snare with whatever you have left over and you think will work. Placing the mic's in front of the kit has two dissadvatages, one they may get knocked by the sax player or someone else moving around, and secondly depending on how the drummer plays or has his cymbals set you can get the on axis off axis swing plus it tends too lack the stick definition you would want from a great player.


Regards


Roland
Old 23rd August 2007
  #3
Gear Head
 
JP66's Avatar
 

I agree wtih roland. a classic three mic setup for the drums would probably be best with the 21s as over heads and the 4033 on the bass drum. I'd also use an mk4 on the sax.

as far as the room mics go I'd suggest a km84 pair at the stage lip in ortf. be sure to place them closer to the sax player, but you want the outside of the drum kit to be within the angle of the mics. I'd also place a km84 pair strategecially in the room. if you can't fly them and don't want to just setup a mic stand in the middle of the room then I'd suggest that you just run a stand at FOH. preferabbly at 7-8 feet high unless the PA is lower than that. if you have the extra channels throw up the Oktavas with hyper caps as room mics too. then you can decide if the cards or hypers worked better in post.

just my $.02
Old 23rd August 2007
  #4
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liuto's Avatar
 

Thanks, you're very helpful! JP66, fortunately the concert will be without PA, making my work easier, I guess. Really nice idea to set up two different pairs of room mics, let's see if there will be enough time for the setup.
Best regards
Hermann
Old 23rd August 2007
  #5
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who

who are the players, i have worked with a lot of the great european free jazz players and different people have different ways of playing? If its someone i have seen before i could perhaps give you more specific hints.

All the best,

K
Old 23rd August 2007
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by macleod View Post
who are the players, i have worked with a lot of the great european free jazz players and different people have different ways of playing? If its someone i have seen before i could perhaps give you more specific hints.

All the best,

K
Hi, the players are Peter Brötzmann (sax) and Paal Nilsen-Love (dr). I don't know them, as I said, as a lute player I am more into renaissance and baroque music. But I have heard they have very good names. This is a highly interesting job for me and should be quite some fun!

Best regards
Hermann
Old 23rd August 2007
  #7
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blaugruen7's Avatar
i would look for a microphone with pad in combination with peter...

Old 23rd August 2007
  #8
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dynamic

hi i have recorded peter before but not the drummer, i used a re20 and a 414 and got pretty good results. I know some free jazzers that swear by the 414 as ther mic of choice. Otherwise if you have a coles ribbon you cant go wrong.

K
Old 24th August 2007
  #9
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liuto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaugruen7 View Post
i would look for a microphone with pad in combination with peter...

You don't tell me he puts out more than the 132dB quoted for a Schoeps MK4, do you?!! (...or did you mean it metaphorically? )
This is a live act, so the player will not stay at a fixed 30cm from the mic. It seems more realistic to have him at about 1m to smooth out the changing distances of the moving player. I don't have any of the dynamic mics mentioned above but I could rent a 10dB pad for the Schoeps to reach a max. SPL of 142dB. The Oktava with 10dB pad would give me the same rating, but I would like to stay with Schoeps of course.

Best regards
Hermann
Old 24th August 2007
  #10
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my comment was not overly serious.

if you dont have listened to peter until now maybe you will have
a small smile in your face with my comment in background
when you hear him the first time.

maybe i would consider two mics just in case? last time i have seen him he moved
quite a bit.

congrats!
Old 24th August 2007
  #11
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liuto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blaugruen7 View Post
my comment was not overly serious.

if you dont have listened to peter until now maybe you will have
a small smile in your face with my comment in background
when you hear him the first time.

maybe i would consider two mics just in case? last time i have seen him he moved
quite a bit.

congrats!
So, you really make me very curious
Will report about the size of my smile in a week or two...

Best regards
Hermann
Old 24th August 2007
  #12
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The Listener's Avatar
Here's a sample of Peter Brötzmann with drummer Zlatko Kaucic from Slovenija. The disc is called Tolminski punt and it is out on Splasch records in Italy...
www.satoration.org/audio/tolminski/tolminski1.mp3

He is loud, so the advice about dynamic is not so out off line - you might catch some more "warm agression"... Ambient mics should take care about him moving around and some compression on the close mic (in my case EV RE20)...
For the drummer try to keep it simple as you said you will - Paal is really energetic and loud - Quality overheads - maybe apply some tasteful compression on them, snare mic, kick mic (we used RE20 on Zlatko's small jazz kick), and another pair of "underheads" - we used a pair of AKG 414 positioned beside the toms - not above the skin - but pointing towards the wood of the drum - to get more "meat" of the toms - otherwise the drums were to "washy" for the tight free jazzing thing...
One pair of ambient mics was ok - some custom tube stereo pair... Jazzers usually don't like as much reverb and ambient as classical.

best
Old 24th August 2007
  #13
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Matti's Avatar
Well that sounded nice!

Matti
Old 24th August 2007
  #14
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liuto's Avatar
 

Fine sound, indeed! It's also a good appetizer for my job.
Thank you
Hermann
Old 24th August 2007
  #15
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The Listener's Avatar
Thank you.

It was also a life gig in a medium sized concert hall - including a string trio - two cellis and one violin...

Have a nice recording!
Old 29th August 2007
  #16
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niquest's Avatar
 

yet another recommendation

Hi,
a couple of months ago I spent a day mixing a multitrack live recording of the exact same thing you are planning to do. The thing I missed most was a real grip on the sax. The guy had been moving away from his stationary LDC a lot and all the ambience I needed already came out of the drum OHs. When he played too softly, bringing up the sax screwed up my drum sound.
So the next time I recorded something similar (larger band but live and in a pretty reverberant place, too) I got a clip-on miniature for the sax (accidentally a sanken). This totally saved my day. I mean it never sounded great on its own but together with the stationary (dynamic this time) it was cool and no phase issues either. Hope you find this useful, if you haven't already done the recording anyway.
Old 2nd September 2007
  #17
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liuto's Avatar
 

So, this is the day after the concert and all your comments came in very helpful. It was great fun and as blaugruen7 already predicted, my smile was a big one when I first heard Peter play saxophone. He is real loud (but no pad necessary )! My setup was Schoeps MK21 for the overheads, AT4033 for kick drum, MK4 for sax, an additional MK4 set low for the clarinet and a pair of Neumann KM84 as room mics on multitrack (laptop with Fireface800 and LakePeople F35II preamp). Here is a short clip of my mix (no processing):

Hermann Platzer. Wien

Keep your comments coming!

Best regards
Hermann
Old 2nd September 2007
  #18
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Old 3rd September 2007
  #19
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The Listener's Avatar
Why does it sound so familiar to me?

Nice job.. Already nice sound when played loud... Maybe use some more ambient mics in the mix and some processing to make it a little more spacious and "louder" at average volume knob positions... It's a bit "dry" (not meaning as without reverb, but in a figurative way) as it is. But I like it overall... I imagine that some mixing and processing will make it more clear and lively and it will be a nice free jazz recording...

best
Old 3rd September 2007
  #20
Gear Nut
 
liuto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Why does it sound so familiar to me?

Nice job.. Already nice sound when played loud... Maybe use some more ambient mics in the mix and some processing to make it a little more spacious and "louder" at average volume knob positions... It's a bit "dry" (not meaning as without reverb, but in a figurative way) as it is. But I like it overall... I imagine that some mixing and processing will make it more clear and lively and it will be a nice free jazz recording...

best
Hi Listener,
I also have the feeling that a bit of compression on the overheads might give a better punch at average listening levels. The ratio between the peaks and average loudness is quite extreme there. I am not quite sure about the ambience mics though. Due to their position at the lip of the stage (the drums appearing at the very left) they give different localisation cues than the overheads (all the way from left to right). I reduced them a bit in the mix which made it sound clearer for me.

Best regards
Hermann
Old 3rd September 2007
  #21
jje
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A request - once you've mixed it and have it done (or at least ready for mastering) maybe you could post what you did on each channel and re post the same clip with your final mix. Sort of a before and after with a small tutorial for us newby's.
Old 3rd September 2007
  #22
Gear Nut
 
liuto's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by jje View Post
A request - once you've mixed it and have it done (or at least ready for mastering) maybe you could post what you did on each channel and re post the same clip with your final mix. Sort of a before and after with a small tutorial for us newby's.
I'd say I'm definately a newby with this kind of music too . But I will post my personal work in progress. It was my job to record that "birthday party" and burn 2 CDs as birthday presents at the end of the evening. Naturally there was only some basic mastering. But of course I want to try out for myself to get the best out of the material.
Best regards
Hermann
Old 4th September 2007
  #23
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Matti's Avatar
I tryed to compress and some convolution reverb and
it was ok. Now that you have the elements to mix...
Nice to hear a different staging or what is the word.

Matti
Old 9th September 2007
  #24
Gear Nut
 
liuto's Avatar
 

I've worked a bit on the raw material and created this mix:

Hermann Platzer. Wien

I mainly compressed the overheads, added some EQ on the saxophone and added a little reverb (SIR2). A limiter in the master channel took care of the peaks.

Regards
Hermann
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