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MD421 or SM7 for Jazz Bass Drum? Condenser Microphones
Old 25th May 2006
  #1
Talking MD421 or SM7 for Jazz Bass Drum?

On Monday 5/29/06 I'm recording a trio (pno, bs, drums) "live" (no audience, just playing together with no iso). Which of these two would you prefer for a be-bop (actually, Bill Evans-esque) recording on a little jazz bass drum with the head on? I know both are good, but do you have a preference?

If anyone does this jazz trio stuff and has other recommendations I'd love hearing about it.
Old 26th May 2006
  #2
Gear Nut
 
JazzYoda's Avatar
 

My preference would be leave out the bass drum mic. I record lots of "live in the room" jazz and rarely have need for a bass drum mic. It only seems necessary when the room is too small and the bass drum booms around between the walls. It then comes over every mic (which is usually good) in a bad way. I then prefer to have a rather close mic on the bass drum just to make it appear to be coming from the same place as the rest of the set. I guess I'd go with the 421, but the SM7 would work too.

JazzYoda
Old 26th May 2006
  #3
Whoa, thanks for the reply. I'll try leaving the mic out in the mix and see what that sounds like.

In fact, I'm going to try to get a good balance in the main pair (prob.xy) and use the close mics just to fill in the holes.

Except the bass, which always disappears ime. I bought a DPA 4021 compact mic to hang behind the bridge, which I'm hoping will help.
Old 26th May 2006
  #4
Gear Nut
 

Hello,

I'd use a mic on the bassdrum anyway.
421, sm7, re 20 whatever.
You can always add some attack when you need some clarity of what the bassdrum is doing.

Didn't get many good results , picking up the bass under the bridge.
Try a good condenser or tubecondenser just above the bridge, under where the fingers hit the strings. about 6 inches away.
This should work in a Oscar Peterson kind of set up.

greets
Old 26th May 2006
  #5
Gear Maniac
Good advices here...

Right, you don't really need some BD mic in such a situation, but might help. Recording in a small room is always a Bass-mid nightmare.

As far as upright bass micing, I too had often bad results with micing inside the bridge (with km84). Though it might be an other story with a DPA omni SDC, but this is luxury! I've never tried this personaly, as I don't own such a good (and expensive) mic.

I get good results with a LDC 6 inches away as proposed, MIXED with the direct sound comming from an inboard Schertler stat cell. The DI from cell gives some precise bass sound (no room bass sound) plus a electrical sound à la 80's, the LD sound is acoustical and natural but often muddy sounding in the bass range (room bleeding) so I'm used to High Pass filtering this chanel. You have to experiment blending both signals, the result might come close to "best of both worlds" in such a situation.

Any other comments?

Good luck!
Old 26th May 2006
  #6
Gear Maniac
Oh yes and the Bass itself has to be a good one and the player as well. Close micing is rarely a good idea on such an instrument, even with a SDC: Bass frequencies need to BREATHE. This is the law of physics.

"The law of physics is cruel, this is the law nevertheless". [French singer/componist Georges Brassens]
Old 26th May 2006
  #7
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
Either mic or no mic would work for me. I would start with the MD421 and use it if necessary.
Old 26th May 2006
  #8
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitney
On Monday 5/29/06 I'm recording a trio (pno, bs, drums) "live" (no audience, just playing together with no iso). Which of these two would you prefer for a be-bop (actually, Bill Evans-esque) recording on a little jazz bass drum with the head on? I know both are good, but do you have a preference?

If anyone does this jazz trio stuff and has other recommendations I'd love hearing about it.
Where are you recording? Big room, small room, good room, jive room? Listen to JazzYoda and put the 421 on the bass drum, but don't use it in the mix, unless there is an imaging issue.

Speaking of imageing, how do you plan to pan stuff? The old Van Gelder method is to pan drums hard right with reverb returning to the left channel only. Piano and bass up the middle without any reverb. For trio recordings without horns, it is best to pan the piano to the left Columbia 30th street style. Avoid panning drums and piano full left-right for jazz unless you want it to sound like an early 80s fusion record.
Old 26th May 2006
  #9
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber
Where are you recording? Big room, small room, good room, jive room? Listen to JazzYoda and put the 421 on the bass drum, but don't use it in the mix, unless there is an imaging issue.

Speaking of imageing, how do you plan to pan stuff? The old Van Gelder method is to pan drums hard right with reverb returning to the left channel only. Piano and bass up the middle without any reverb. For trio recordings without horns, it is best to pan the piano to the left Columbia 30th street style. Avoid panning drums and piano full left-right for jazz unless you want it to sound like an early 80s fusion record.
Or like I said before the famous Oscar Peterson setting.
stereo image same as recorded convenient for the musicians because they're close together (no headphones needed)
Drums: left bass :middle piano: right
used it a few days ago .Actually I use it as often as possible.
Doesn't work with a loud drummer tough.
Attached Thumbnails
MD421 or SM7 for Jazz Bass Drum?-afb055.jpg  
Old 26th May 2006
  #10
Thanks for these great responses! I've always had poor results placing the LDC there in a live situation. It becomes a room mic for the drums usually. But I think I'll set one up just in case the attached mic doesn't do it for me. I just received the DPA 4021 and the holder today, and I'm very anxious to discover how it works. I'll post an example of the results here.

Thanks for that photo! I don't know if I'll want to set up like that this time because my plan is to get a good stereo pickup of the group, which I think will require a semi-circle arrangement, no? I'll get them close, though. I will try that arrangement in the future, though.

This recording will be on the stage of a medium size (empty) recital hall. Although I generally like to avoid walls, I've recently liked placing the sources closer to the back of the stage so as to reduce the huge reverberance from the empty hall in the pickup.
Old 26th May 2006
  #11
I take that back. I think I'll go with this "Oscar Peterson" setup this time and try something else another time.

You've helped so much!!
Old 26th May 2006
  #12
Gear Nut
 
tas chris's Avatar
i would prefer the md 421. very often i use a dpa 4007 or sometimes a tlm 170.
i also would recommend the oscar peterson setting as described above, it gives you soundwise, and more important, musical very good results, because the musicians don´t need to wear headphones and keep a good acoustical balance.
Old 26th May 2006
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by tas chris
i would prefer the md 421. very often i use a dpa 4007 or sometimes a tlm 170.
The TLM170 has been one of my fav LDCs for BD. The M149, too, when I have a spare one.
Old 27th May 2006
  #14
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tool
Or like I said before the famous Oscar Peterson setting.
stereo image same as recorded convenient for the musicians because they're close together (no headphones needed)
Drums: left bass :middle piano: right
used it a few days ago .Actually I use it as often as possible.
Doesn't work with a loud drummer tough.

That setup looks good, tell the drummer not to play loud and you'll be fine.

The "Oscar Peterson setting" as you call it, was the standard setting for years. I prefer it because everyone in the rhythm section is closer together. Billy Taylor, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Reed and others favour this set up today.

If you wish to see pictures of Dr. Van Gelders 60s set up at his studio, visit Creed Taylor's website at: www.ctijazz.com
Old 27th May 2006
  #15
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber
That setup looks good, tell the drummer not to play loud and you'll be fine.

The "Oscar Peterson setting" as you call it, was the standard setting for years. I prefer it because everyone in the rhythm section is closer together. Billy Taylor, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Reed and others favour this set up today.

If you wish to see pictures of Dr. Van Gelders 60s set up at his studio, visit Creed Taylor's website at: www.ctijazz.com

Telling a drummer no to play loud?
(i'm only using it when I know he can play soft)

Thanks for the pixlink. Great.
I like the pic of the Billy Strayhorn orchestra.
I'm using this setting a lot for bigband (only studio of course)

Here in europe there's a blue note cd out called: "perfect takes"
also a free dvd with an interview with Rudy van Gelder
Not technical but inspiring though.

greets
Old 27th May 2006
  #16
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

Dr. Van Gelder thinks he's some kinda genius, so he won't be giving out any valuable information. The CTI photos will have to do.

The Strayhorn big band set up is a good one for medium size rooms.
Substitute ribbon mics for the Schoeps in the brass section.
Old 27th May 2006
  #17
Gear Nut
 
JazzYoda's Avatar
 

Check out that pic of Grady Tate to see a close up of classic jazz drum mic technique, 2 mics! (and not 2 overhead )
Old 27th May 2006
  #18
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

[QUOTE=tool]
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber
That setup looks good, tell the drummer not to play loud and you'll be fine.

The "Oscar Peterson setting" as you call it, was the standard setting for years. I prefer it because everyone in the rhythm section is closer together. Billy Taylor, Cyrus Chestnut, Eric Reed and others favour this set up today.

If you wish to see pictures of Dr. Van Gelders 60s set up at his studio, visit Creed Taylor's website at: www.ctijazz.com[/QUOT


Telling a drummer no to play loud?
(i'm only using it when I know he can play soft)

Thanks for the pixlink. Great.
I like the pic of the Billy Strayhorn orchestra.
I'm using this setting a lot for bigband (only studio of course)

Here in europe there's a blue note cd out called: "perfect takes"
also a free dvd with an interview with Rudy van Gelder
Not technical but inspiring though.

greets
Here is a photo of a RVG style big band session. No gobos, headphones or isolation.
This was for a TV commercial and we only had an hour so we used U87s and RCA44s.

I usually like TUBE mics over the U87s but it's just a commercial.
Attached Thumbnails
MD421 or SM7 for Jazz Bass Drum?-big-band-right-track.jpg  
Old 1st June 2006
  #19
Here's a sample from the recording without any processing. The bass is a big, cheap boomy box that sounds terrible. I used the DPA 4021, but I liked the TLM170 above the bridge about 5" out the best, which is the mic in this example. There's a MD421 on bass drum.
Attached Files

Triosample.mp3 (1.02 MB, 2140 views)

Old 1st June 2006
  #20
And the setup was (especially thanks to Tool):
Attached Thumbnails
MD421 or SM7 for Jazz Bass Drum?-haymertrio-setup.jpg  
Old 1st June 2006
  #21
Lives for gear
 

I always use a bd mic, although often don't wind up using it in the mix. I've had great results with both the SM7 and 421 or just a d12 or 112 on kick. I've always been happy with 1 or 2 ribbons (lately royer 122) for OH and usually a 451 for snare.

Hope that helps.
Old 19th January 2007
  #22
I'm going to record another trio in the same space, and I'm thinking about switching places of drums and bass from the "Oscar Peterson" setup that Tool suggested. So the bass would be behind the pianist's left shoulder (Al Schmidt style), and the drummer would behind the piano lid (a Steinway D, this time, as opposed to the little Yamaha used on the recording above).

I think the drums would bleed less into the piano that way. They want to use headphones, so hearing shouldn't be a problem.

Any objections to this arrangement?
Old 22nd January 2007
  #23
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitney View Post
I'm going to record another trio in the same space, and I'm thinking about switching places of drums and bass from the "Oscar Peterson" setup that Tool suggested. So the bass would be behind the pianist's left shoulder (Al Schmidt style), and the drummer would behind the piano lid (a Steinway D, this time, as opposed to the little Yamaha used on the recording above).

I think the drums would bleed less into the piano that way. They want to use headphones, so hearing shouldn't be a problem.

Any objections to this arrangement?
If they're gonna use cans, you might as well baffle the bass and drums off a bit more than usual.

Why would anyone want to use cans in this situation?

Anyway, the set up shouldn't present any problems.
Old 22nd January 2007
  #24
Lives for gear
 
The Listener's Avatar
Ever tryed a Sennheiser MD441 on jazz bass drum? Sounds smooth and detailed.
Old 22nd January 2007
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by ajfarber View Post
If they're gonna use cans, you might as well baffle the bass and drums off a bit more than usual.

Why would anyone want to use cans in this situation?
...
I think this trio is used to recording completely isolated, so they're used to using headphones. I'll talk to them about it. I agree, although I'm sure they want to be precise, headphones do produce unnatural performances.

Good point. Thanks!
Old 22nd January 2007
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Listener View Post
Ever tryed a Sennheiser MD441 on jazz bass drum? Sounds smooth and detailed.
I've wanted one or two of these mics forever. Someday...
Old 22nd January 2007
  #27
Lives for gear
 
ajfarber's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitney View Post
I think this trio is used to recording completely isolated, so they're used to using headphones. I'll talk to them about it. I agree, although I'm sure they want to be precise, headphones do produce unnatural performances.

Good point. Thanks!
A piano player might actually dig playing with cans. He can play as soft as he wants without having to battle a drummer. And if the bass player has no sound, you can baffle him off with just a mic, and the other cats can still hear him.

So there are two sides to the headphones issue. I still prefer no cans.
Old 22nd January 2007
  #28
Here for the gear
 
Remoteworld's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rwhitney View Post
Here's a sample from the recording without any processing. The bass is a big, cheap boomy box that sounds terrible.
RWhtney... don't knock yourself out! This little sample sounds great!! It is a rare thing, indeed, when one has the opportunity to work with truly magnificent-sounding instruments, but no one would have difficulty identifying the bass as "being a bass" in your sample.

So much of what we think "ought" to sound a certain way has little to do with your choice of transducers (as I'm sure you're aware), but has MUCH to do with the instrument and performer (actually this "sound bite" presents a bass sound that is FAR from bad... I think it's quite good, actually, or at least reasonably common.)

Chuck Berghofer (sp?), bass player extroadinare, is a session "ringer" in the LA scene. More than anything else, he has a "sound" that is very uniform (level from lo to hi), and has a "pulse" that everyone appreciates. It's not an aggressive thing, but supports a tune like few bassist can. Ray Brown had a sound that was instantly identifiable and very aggressive. Ray liked the "bite" that he could develop (sometimes the terms "wood" or "point" are used), but frequently settled for something a little "rounder", I think in an effort to placate other people's idea of what bass "ought" to sound like (I am no exception.) The point is... there's no such thing as "good" and "bad" intrinsically from an instrument. But capturing the notion, or intent, or the perception of quality (both from the point of reference of the artist, composer and listener) CAN be objectively rated on a scale of "1 - 10." What does the artist think??

Thanks for sharing in your experiences... very interesting.
Old 22nd January 2007
  #29
Whao, nice post. Thanks for the compliment. The upcoming session is on another level entirely. The big challenge for me when recording on a hall stage is getting isolation while keeping sight lines.
Old 17th February 2007
  #30
The results of the session may be instructive. It is probably the worst recording I've ever made. The headphones encouraged them to disregard all stage levels, so basically, we have a huge, washy, drum solo over everything but the softest passages. Here are some examples that, even eq'd, demonstrate the phenomenon. BTW, the bass was miked with a DPA 4021, U87s on piano, 414s for OH, C451B on snare, TLM170 on bass drum. (This is so bad, I think it's funny.)
Attached Files

Track.mp3 (1.58 MB, 1852 views)

Pno.mp3 (1.58 MB, 1494 views)

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