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Recording a Jazz Ensemble in an Awesome Hall Condenser Microphones
Old 10th September 2007
  #1
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PheelTheMusic's Avatar
 

Talking Recording a Jazz Ensemble in an Awesome Hall

In a couple of weeks I will be recording my buddy's jazz ensemble at one of the most beautiful sounding small halls in the Boston area. I have never made a jazz recording before so I think it might be a good idea to hear some of your varying approaches to recording this genre. The room sounds incredible but is definitely very live, a little bit too live for jazz in my opinion. The house piano is a 9 foot Steinway grand.

The band consists of a drummer, pianist, upright bassist, and a small horn section.

I will be recording into Pro Tools HD through a 192i/o but I can only use eight simultaneous channels.

A stereo pair of cardioid AKG 451Bs are hanging in the center of the hall both right in front of the stage and towards the rear of the hall.

I have access to the following additional mics:

2X AKG 414B-XLS
2X Neumann TLM103
2X Neumann KM184
2X Rode NT2A
4X Rode NT1A
2X AT3035
4X SM57

I'm thinking less will be more in this situation. A stereo pair to pick up the band with just a spot mic here and there. Sound like a good plan?
Old 11th September 2007
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

it usually doesn't hurt to have options later, but that's a good starting point.
i might do...
-stereo mains
-cardioid condenser on bass
-condenser (maybe a pair) on piano (maybe the 184s?)- you probably don't need a pair, actually.
-pair on drums, plus a snare mic
-pair on horns

yeah, that's 8 channels if you don't put a pair on piano.
Old 11th September 2007
  #3
IME, it's a good idea to take a direct feed off the bass in addition to the mic(s). Most jazz players have a pickup installed. If not, I'll attach a DPA 4021 mic to the strings below the bridge, but you could alternatively place an SM57 close to an f hole, or even wrap it in a towel and shove it inside. Otherwise the bass notes can "defy definition".
Old 11th September 2007
  #4
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hle144's Avatar
 

Eight ins is not that much for a 'great jazz ensemble in a great hall'. I hope your doing 88.2k or higher.

I would try:

Stereo drums +snare mic =3 ins
Stereo piano =2 ins
Stereo horns =2 ins
Bass mic or DI =1 in

This makes the most sense. I would bag the room mics. The natural ambience + some digital reverb should do the trick.
I believe in clarity over room tone. Too much room can haunt you in the future especially when you have 8 open mics to pick up the ensemble.
Sometimes the image gets a little mirky and muddy if you don't have a more direct signal.

thumbsup
Old 11th September 2007
  #5
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pkautzsch's Avatar
 

My approach would be:

Stage 451s as main pair if they sound good or you can position them to sound good.
Augment those with:
1 LDC (probably 103 or 3035) near the drummer's right ear - this is for impact, as the room sound will come from the 451s
1 KM184 for the piano - try miking from below the soundboard to get a little less drum spill, you could even put up a low-height baffle there (or use a 414 in Fig-8 with the null towards the drums) - again rather as an "impact" mic
2 414s (or, if 414 is on piano, use the 103s) for horn impact
1 DI from bass for clean sound

Leaves us 1 channel for an additional mic wherever is needed. Could be another horns mic or a 57 in front of a bass cabinet or a 184 in the bridge or whatever.

Plenty of stereo feel from the main pair.
Old 11th September 2007
  #6
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travisbrown's Avatar
And try a couple different configurations to see which is going to work best. Record some test tracks.

Wander around the stage while they are warming up an *listen* to where things sound best. Some baffles around the drums and piano help clear some things up. Might try repositioning the players a bit if need be.

I'd bet you'd pick up enough ambience just from the instrument mics and mix the room mics right out. You could try recording the room to an additional two track and get another 2 channels into PT. Line them up afterwards.
Old 11th September 2007
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

First of all,

I Have Done lots of lots of those kinds of recordings.

Even if you had 128 ins, there Would be NO USE in taking a DI from the bass.

It will never, ever in a million years sound good, You HAVE too Isolate the Bass from the rest well enough to make it work with one Condenser, or in the worst case , but still better than Line, a SM57.


So My Setup Would Be:

BD: KM 184
Glyn Johns/Recorderman type OH Left: 414
Glyn Johns/Recorderman type OH Right: 414
Bass: KM 184 or SM 57
Piano Left: TLM 103
Piano Right: TLM 103
Horn I:AT
Horn II:AT

Be prepared to cut som high end on the horns if those AT's are to bright.
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