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Need quick mic placement advice to record live jazz venue
Old 31st August 2007
Lives for gear
drumzealot's Avatar

Talking Need quick mic placement advice to record live jazz venue

I have had a great regular gig with a Brazilian group, but tomorrow night is our last date at this club so I plan to record it. Nothing fancy, just 2-4 mics into a 4-track tape deck. I’m trying to decide on the best micing placement. This is a small jazz venue with an L-shaped stage. The mains are a few feet in front of the stage and the singer likes to pump as much as possible through the PA. There is one monitor that the drummer uses just to hear the guitar and vocal. Stage volume is pretty controlled.

If you are facing the stage the line-up is (left to right) guitar, bass drum set. The singer stands on the floor in front of the stage directly in front of the guitar player. I play percussion and stand on the part that extends toward the club in front of the drums. Once I get the levels set I won’t be able to monitor the recording until we break.
Here’s what I’m thinking:

XY LDCs to get guitar, bass and drum set. The higher mic will face the drums and the height will be slightly above the bass drum. The other mic will face the guita amp and the bass amp will be between the two. The XY mics will be between the perc/singer and the guit, bass and drums (mic facing away from perc and vox). In cardioid mode they won’t get much perc.
Vocals will come from the PA line out from his channel (just his signal).
A cardioid OH for perc. (probably an M260).
I am concerned that the perc OH will introduce phase issues as it will pick-up plenty of drum set and bass.

I was thinking of putting the 2 LDCs in omni mod and possibly not using the perc OH track.
Will I introduce fatal phase issues with the XY mics in omni mod? Do you think that the perc OH will even be usable in this scenario?

Are there better options I am not considering?

My meager mic collection consists of:
Matching pair of SDC (cardioid only)
Matching pair of LDC (cardioid and omni)
One figure of eight ribbon
2 unmatched cardiod ribbons
A few other unmatched LDCs

Old 31st August 2007
Gear Head
JP66's Avatar

if all I had was 4 tracks I'd do the highest quality pair of cardiods at the stage lip as you have suggessted. If they were LDC's I'd run coincident. if they are SDCs I'd run near coincident. The other two channels I'd just take a stereo feed from the soundboard. Mix it down in post and you should be able to get decent results.

I record with exactly that setup for a local jazz group pretty regularly, and get decent results. what I find is that the drums are practically non-existant through the SBD because they are loud enough on their own to fill the space so I don't have to worry about phase issues there. basically the PA just fills in the gaps in the stage-lip mics (i.e. vocals & unamped instruments).
Old 31st August 2007
Lives for gear
Jim vanBergen's Avatar

Couple of thoughts-

1) The solution to your perc mic may be to use a gobo of some fashion to reject spill from the other instruments. Careful mic positioning and even a piece of cardboard taped to a mic stand can do a search here in the Remote forum for "gobo" to see Steve's examples, which are world class compared to mine!

2) if you pull the X/Y pair back, you might get plenty of everything. I'd listen back after soundcheck to see how just these two tracks sound before adding other tracks.

3) Because a LOT can be induced by a console, if you have an outboard preamp I'd consider doing a passive or active split on the vocal microphone. If you don't have the preamp, forget it- but try to go pre-fader, pre-EQ on the direct out.

Hope these help!

Old 31st August 2007
Lives for gear
drumzealot's Avatar

Thanks for the input.

I’ll read Steve’s post today.

Sound check is the first tune.

To get the mics in front of the perc and vocals requires moving the mics off the stage and into the audience because the stage is L-shaped

The board is probably mono so I could get all that onto one track. It may work as I am sure the vocals are mixed much louder than everything else.

I have never had to mess with the board at this club so I am not sure what it can or cannot do.

Splitting the mic chain is great idea. But I don’t have a splitter and only have three good mic pres. How does one run a line out as you described? Is the process relative to the board? Or do all boards with this option utilize a similar process? I have no experience running live sound and know very little about consoles of any kind.
Old 1st September 2007
Lives for gear
Jim vanBergen's Avatar

Mic Splitting 101

The best way to split a microphone is to use a dedicated, transformer-isolated splitter. These can be had in single channel boxes up to rack mount units that handle four to eight channels each up to rack mount units to handle 56 channels or more.

If you don't have a mic splitter handy but have a handful of adaptors, you MIGHT have an XLR "Y" cable and an in-line transformer like a Sescom IL-19. Using this ou can run one output from a line direct and one post-transformer.

There are lots of great threads here that cover mic splitting in great detail. Please do a search and you'll find this topic covered in a way that will be illuminating.
Old 1st September 2007
Super Moderator
Remoteness's Avatar
You can also click on the TAGs at the bottom of this forum's main page...

That will yield you a lot of threads.

Just click on the "splitter" TAG and you're golden.
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear

Couple quick questions for the original poster:

Is the bass an upright or electric?
Is the guitar nylon string, archtop hollow body, or solid electric?
Aside from drum kit, what kinds of percussion instruments will there be--pandeiro, tamborim, cuica, etc?
What type of Brazilian music are you playing: tradtional Bossa Nova/Samba, more modern MPB, or other?
Singer is a male?

I've done some work with Brazilian groups in the SF Bay Area and depending on the instrumentation and type of music would vary my setup.
Old 2nd September 2007
Lives for gear

Just realized that it's last minute and you may already be out on the gig, so I'll make my few suggestions now. If the music you are recording is in the Bosaa Nova camp, then I'd suggest using two LDC on the room as others have recommeneded for the whole band sound (I'd try ORTF), but I'd also place a mic on the guitar (assuming that it's a nylon string) and on the vocals. In Bossa Nova, guitar and vox are the two essential instruments. Everything else is just icing on the cake. Out of what you have, I'd try an SDC on the guitar and a 57 on the vox. Or, if you've got a clean line out of the guitar, try recording that to its own track. As long as bass, drums, and percussion are balanced in the room, that should be fine as a bed for the vox and guitar to sit in.

Good luck!
Old 6th September 2007
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drumzealot's Avatar

Thanks! Here's a sample

Wadaya think?

A very short MP3 attached.

XY LDCs in front the the guit bass and drums
Singer: line out from the board
Perc: M260 mobile OH angled toward the audience a bit and away from the rest of the band.
Tracked to a Tascam 4-track cassette deck and then dumped into my DAW. I found that the dry tracks lacked definition so I EQed and added a bit of hard knee comp to each track individually. The mix bus also has a bit of EQ to juice up the bass, comp and reverb. Any input is welcome! All compression is very light. The recording levels were as high as I could get before significant tape distortion so some of the comp you here is that awesome tape sound. I really love tracking to this 4-track.
Attached Files

Aquelle Abraco.mp3 (1.48 MB, 602 views)

Old 7th September 2007
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drumzealot's Avatar

Just trying to solicited some input on this. I may have another chance at this (in a different club) so your impressions will be quite useful.
After a few more listens I find the lower frequencies too predominant on most stereos.
I could post the untreated tracks if that would be a better source for criticism.
Old 7th September 2007
Lives for gear

I don't find the bass too loud when compared to other MPB recordings of this genre. If you are looking for alternative setups, I'd try using a pair of SDC in ORTF for the band sound, taking a line out on vox as before, and perhaps giving the guitar its own channel as well (either DI or maybe a 57 on the body if it's an acoustic nylon string). I hear the lack of definition that you are referring to and that might be cleaned up a little by using a different configuration for your main pair. XY, while being phase coherent, doesn't always yield the nicest stereo image. Although, there's only so much you can expect from a 4 track cassette. You could also try a mid-side setup and decode it in your DAW later. In general, I'd say try for a little more spatial definition in your main pair, giving each instrument its own space in the stero field, and that could help the overall sonic defintion. As it is now, it seems to me a little bunched up on the right side and a little empty on the left.
Old 7th September 2007
Lives for gear
drumzealot's Avatar

Originally Posted by Jungle Jazz View Post
In general, I'd say try for a little more spatial definition in your main pair, giving each instrument its own space in the stero field, and that could help the overall sonic defintion. As it is now, it seems to me a little bunched up on the right side and a little empty on the left.
Thanks! The XY mics were placed with (the lower) one facing the guitar amp about 3.5 feet away. The other (higher) mic was facing the drums dead center and was about 5 feet away . The bass was set-up in between and the cone of his amp was in a line that bisected the 90 degree angle between the two mics.
When I panned the two tracks the "body" of the sound seemed to dissiapate. So, I moved each track toward the center to find an acceptable tone at the cost of the spacial aspect. I then panned the guitar side a wee bit more to the side.

For the next gig I will not be plyaing so I can focus on the tech stuff.
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