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Recording trumpet. I need some help.
Old 8th February 2007
  #1
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C/G's Avatar
 

Talking Recording trumpet. I need some help.

Hi guys. I'm recording a quick trumpet session this weekend and I've never recorded trumpet before. It will be done in my temporary recording space, which is the main level of an old house.

Live room/living room is 15' X 25' with 12' ceilings. Hard wood floors and some big windows.

Mics I have that could be useful for trumpet are: 2 Fostex Fig. 8 ribbon mics, 2 Sennheiser 421's, 2 Gefell UM70, 2 M582 tube mics (can use UM70 capsules or small nickel diaphragm capsules), Gefell UM92, Sony C-38, SM57's, Beyer M201, and a bunch of other stuff like BLUE Mouse, BLUE B6 lollies, RE20 ect.

I could probably borrow some Sennheiser 441's if needed.

Mic pres: TG-2, UA2108's, Mercury M72s, Shadow Hills Gamas ect. I'm not worried about pre selection so much as mic placement and mic selection as any of the pres I have will do the trick.

I was thinking of one of the ribbon mics about 6 feet away and a 421 or 441 closer to the player. Maybe a distant mic as well (condenser in omni)?

Should I consider gobos?

The room sounds pretty good but there are some reflections due to the windows and sheet rock on the wall, but some strategically placed gobos or furniture blankets can do the trick. There is a piano a Hammond and some guitar amps scattered about the room.

Compression while tracking? I'm thinking not but I could be open to it.

This session will be on the fly so not much prep time will be involved.

The player is in the local symphony so I'm not worried about him. I have never recorded trumpet before so any suggestions would be great. Thanks!
Old 8th February 2007
  #2
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I got a killer trumpet sound by fluke awhile ago, kind of a spur of the moment thing and used what we already had set up.

Anyhow it was the trumpet about 4ft back and slightly above a R121 into a helios pre into a TG1 (just for gain as the helios outputs app 6dB lower) but IIRC there was a little soft compression going on maybe 4dB max. Very smooth yet articulate sound.

So in your case I would try your Ribbon into your M72 but not too far back (3 - 4ft). You'll still get some ambience from the back side while maintaining a forwardness from the front (if that's what your looking for).
Old 8th February 2007
  #3
Gear Guru
Try having the player's back to the window so he is blowing into the room.

Ribbons and brass are a classic combo. For a natural sound, the ribbons at some distance should be great. If you come in closer, angle the mic back a bit so the ribbon is not perpendicular to the bell of the horn.

For a more close miced sound, any of LDCs should work, but remember a trumpet can be VERY bright, so go with a mic that does not hype the highs. And trumpets are loud, use the pad.

As to compression, if you're "on the fly with little prep time", you might want to think about a little "safety" limiting. Trumpets can put out some pretty high levels and transients, so a high ratio fast attack limiter with the threshold set above where he's playing just to catch any unexpected blasts might be a good idea. Particularly on a close mic.
Old 8th February 2007
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
Try having the player's back to the window so he is blowing into the room.

Ribbons and brass are a classic combo. For a natural sound, the ribbons at some distance should be great. If you come in closer, angle the mic back a bit so the ribbon is not perpendicular to the bell of the horn.

For a more close miced sound, any of LDCs should work, but remember a trumpet can be VERY bright, so go with a mic that does not hype the highs. And trumpets are loud, use the pad.

As to compression, if you're "on the fly with little prep time", you might want to think about a little "safety" limiting. Trumpets can put out some pretty high levels and transients, so a high ratio fast attack limiter with the threshold set above where he's playing just to catch any unexpected blasts might be a good idea. Particularly on a close mic.
Thanks. I'll keep in mind to keep that ribbon off to one side a bit and away from the bell, or should I just angle the mic slightly upward?

I was thinking of just limiting with an 1176.

The Sony C-38 is a bit on the dark side so that might be a good match with the trumpet. I'll probably throw a room mic up pretty far back just in case.

I'll keep him near the window with his back to it as you suggested.

What about dynamics like the 421 or 441?
Old 8th February 2007
  #5
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by C/G View Post
Thanks. I'll keep in mind to keep that ribbon off to one side a bit and away from the bell, or should I just angle the mic slightly upward?

I was thinking of just limiting with an 1176.

The Sony C-38 is a bit on the dark side so that might be a good match with the trumpet. I'll probably throw a room mic up pretty far back just in case.

I'll keep him near the window with his back to it as you suggested.

What about dynamics like the 421 or 441?
If you want the ribbon close (meaning about a foot and a half), on axis is fine. A bit of angle will protect the ribbon from blasts.

C-38 is nice on trumpet. And a room mic is a good idea.

A 421 in the bell is a distinctive sound. Think 70s R&B.
Old 8th February 2007
  #6
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henryrobinett's Avatar
Wind doesn't come rom the bell of the horn. Direct into the ribbon is fine for protecting the ribbon.
Old 8th February 2007
  #7
Here for the gear
 

I am a trumpet player and prefer to record other trumpet players and myself using a Royer R-121. One more vote for a ribbon...

The Royer and the Great River mic pre are an excellent combination. I doubt the difference to other mic pres of the same category is that big. Condition of the trumpet player on that specific day may be a bigger issue than the pre.

Distance of 3-5 feet to the mic, in one direction a bit off axis is great to protect the ribbon and take some spikes out.

The bigger the room, the better. Trumpet needs air around. From the middle of the room some steps backwards would be a good position of the player.

Trumpet has an incredible dynamic range, watch out for sudden peaks. Using compression during recording can be the wrong approach.

Take care for the player. Even if he is a great player, lack of studio experience may lead to overblowing the instrument and then the session quickly ends and may be resumed hours later/a day later. Taking one side of the headphone from the ear helps a lot to have a better feedback from the instrument.

Hope this helps a bit. Have fun!

Chris
Old 8th February 2007
  #8
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What style of music will and be and what kind of tone (mellow, bright, etc) is your objective? Will it be a horn section or just solo lines? This usually determines the mic and pre combo before I start tracking my horn.

cww2
Old 8th February 2007
  #9
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PRobb View Post
A 421 in the bell is a distinctive sound. Think 70s R&B.
Yeah baby. I was originaly going to default to the 421 before I started this thread.

The C38 will be good because it can take a lot of SPL before crying uncle.

The Fostex ribbons I have can take SPL and wind blasts too, so I'm good to go there.

Thanks PRobb.
Old 8th February 2007
  #10
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Does no one here use the RE20 on horns? Man, that's the default. Try it. That or the 421 will more than likely do it for you. One might be better than the other in your room. You'll only know when you've tried both.

m
Old 8th February 2007
  #11
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C/G's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by cww2 View Post
What style of music will and be and what kind of tone (mellow, bright, etc) is your objective? Will it be a horn section or just solo lines? This usually determines the mic and pre combo before I start tracking my horn.

cww2
Just solo lines with one player.

I'm going to venture out and say a more mellow tone, but the trumpet is going a song with dense guitar effects with a Moog delay and Digitech whammy pedal. Maybe a bright tone could be better suited for the song to poke out from the dense guitars. A muted tone could be cool too.

Check out the songs in my band's MySpace link below as I have a hard time describing my own music. I would you could use indie rock/experimental pop as a good description of the music.
Old 8th February 2007
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chetatkinsdiet View Post
Does no one here use the RE20 on horns? Man, that's the default. Try it. That or the 421 will more than likely do it for you. One might be better than the other in your room. You'll only know when you've tried both.

m

I will have time to try some different mics out as we are only doing tracks for one song. The player is doing it for free so I don't want to keep him there too long. I'll spend some time getting some good sounds, lay down the tracks and feed him some pizza and hopefully call it a day.
Old 8th February 2007
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisHaag View Post
I am a trumpet player and prefer to record other trumpet players and myself using a Royer R-121. One more vote for a ribbon...

The Royer and the Great River mic pre are an excellent combination. I doubt the difference to other mic pres of the same category is that big. Condition of the trumpet player on that specific day may be a bigger issue than the pre.

Distance of 3-5 feet to the mic, in one direction a bit off axis is great to protect the ribbon and take some spikes out.

The bigger the room, the better. Trumpet needs air around. From the middle of the room some steps backwards would be a good position of the player.

Trumpet has an incredible dynamic range, watch out for sudden peaks. Using compression during recording can be the wrong approach.

Take care for the player. Even if he is a great player, lack of studio experience may lead to overblowing the instrument and then the session quickly ends and may be resumed hours later/a day later. Taking one side of the headphone from the ear helps a lot to have a better feedback from the instrument.

Hope this helps a bit. Have fun!

Chris
Good info here. Thanks Chris.
Old 8th February 2007
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chetatkinsdiet View Post
Does no one here use the RE20 on horns? Man, that's the default. Try it. That or the 421 will more than likely do it for you. One might be better than the other in your room. You'll only know when you've tried both.

m
Love the RE-20, love ribbons on trumpets, would probably choose a 441 over a 421.

R
Old 8th February 2007
  #15
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numrologst's Avatar
close ribbons make for a nice intimate huge sound
Old 8th February 2007
  #16
Gear Maniac
 

ribbon mic, unless you need the track to stick out a bit more in the mix, then a good LDC, like your sony or even the gefell (I have an m71s) will work-- depends on if the player is keeping it tame or really belting-- for tame, the LDC can be perfect, but getting more agitated usually means a ribbon sounds best. I've never liked the 421 on brass (I am a trombone and trumpet player) but the 441 is a great mic for us. you have more than enough options, so just try a couple and see what works best. also, distance is more about the type of sound rather than quality, sometimes i like getting within a foot of the mic cause it has a certain sounds vs. a couple feet back... again, just different, not necessarily better.
Old 9th February 2007
  #17
Gear Guru
YMMV indeed! I have never like the 441 on anything. 421 can be cool on brass, RE-20 even cooler. The 20 is much more versatile mic than it gets credit for.

And I've said it before but one if the cool things about these threads is how varied people are in their approaches to the same situation. thumbsup

Henry- air blasts don't come out the bell, but extreme transients can. I've always felt safer with ribbons not perpendicular to the bell.
Old 9th February 2007
  #18
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The 421 set up off axis should sound quite decent at a distance of 1.5 ft to as far as 3 ft. or so.
The classic old school jazz sound was a ribbon, but modern bibbons are much brighter than the typical RCA DX77s they used.

If anything you should under-record the track before using compression.
Compression will thin out the sound pretty quick.

I also wouldn't track a room mic along with the close mic.
You should get plenty of room if the player is playing loud.

There are many variations you could use with that mic selection, but I personally try to use dynamics or ribbons to mellow out the brass.
I have even used a D112 on a bone! Interesting!

The RE20 isn't a bad choice either.

It all depends on the importance of the trumpet's sound in the track.
Most of my trumpet recording has been in brass section work and I always used dynamics on the brass and LDC on the horns (reeds.)

Yes, trumpets can be loud and FOUR great players blowing full tilt in big band stuff is REALLY LOUD!
I used to record a big band once a year and we would overdub the trumpets because their parts were hard.
When they were blowing full tilt it was easy for them to split a note here and there, so we didn't want it to blow a take with the full band.
Now before anyone comments about how "decent trumpet players should be able to play stuff without splitting a note"... these were 1968 NTSU One O'Clock Lab Band alumni. Do your homework and figure out who these guys were.
This was cutting edge big band stuff... kinda' like that lead GTR player going for that ultimate solo except they worked as a section. It was hard work!

RiBBON or DYNAMIC
OFF AXIS
1.5' to 3' BACK

Have fun!
Old 9th February 2007
  #19
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The last trumpet I recorded was Lee Thorenberg (Tower of Power, Tonight Show band, Jack Mac, etc). We used a Royer ribbon and he insisted on getting the bell right up on it. Awesome.

-R
Old 9th February 2007
  #20
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You could, of course, throw up a ribbon and a dynamic and see which you liked best (or blend them). I've also gotten nice trumpet sounds from an R-121, but at times, depending on the proximity or the axis, the sound can get a little compressed. (Don't know for sure, but I think the ribbon might flatten out when hit with a blast of air.) If going the ribbon route, make sure to find the sweet spot, with both distance and axis, and then try to keep your player there. Some of those trumpet guys like to bob up and down when they play, which messes with the recorded sound. Personally, I'm curious to try some sort of FET47 on trumpet--haven't done that as yet.
Old 9th February 2007
  #21
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PlugHead's Avatar
 

Hey Colin,

I agree with most everything here: go with the ribbon mic first, and move it and/or the player around till you get the sound you want. If you want 'close-miced' sound, don't be afraid - unless he actually blows directly into it, it's extremely unlikely to damage the ribbon.

Barring that, I'd try the C-38 if the ribbon isn't the flavour you want. I've heard awesome trumpet tracks with various mics, so sky's the limit. My pref. is Coles 4038, but that's a personal fave for a long time...

Also, I agree completely with Danny - go easy on compressing on the way in. Using the comp as a limiter is the better option. Too much compression, esp. if the attack is too slow, gives a 'blatty' sound that's extremely disturbing. This often ruins the instrument's natural sound. Who knows, maybe someone likes that sound?!?

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!
Old 9th February 2007
  #22
Gear Head
 

RCA 44 about 6 inches from the bell right on axis.......you won't blow it up and it will sound big and warm. 2nd choice is a Coles 3048 miked the same way. Ive been recording trumpets this way for over 30 years and have never had a problem and never blown a mic. If you're looking for a fat trumpet sound you need to be close to a ribbon mic and again you won't hurt it. You'll obviously need some nice reverb or a room mic if the room has ambience.

Good luck,

Joe
Old 9th February 2007
  #23
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I'm curious as to why this thread was moved since the tracking is not going on in a remote location. The house is my studio.

No big deal since I got some good info. I'm just wondering.
Old 9th February 2007
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by classicalrecord View Post
ribbon mic, unless you need the track to stick out a bit more in the mix, then a good LDC, like your sony or even the gefell (I have an m71s) will work-- also, distance is more about the type of sound rather than quality, sometimes i like getting within a foot of the mic cause it has a certain sounds vs. a couple feet back... again, just different, not necessarily better.
I am thinking of putting the ribbon a foot or two away from the bell and the condenser about 6 feet back in cardioid since the ribbon will be picking up in fig. 8. The room is long so that could work with helping some reflections I will get from the sides of the room.

I'm not going to compress, just limit the peaks a bit.

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. I still have a day or two before I track the trumpet player.

If I remember to snap a few pics I will post them here when it's all over.
Old 9th February 2007
  #25
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by C/G View Post
I am thinking of putting the ribbon a foot or two away from the bell and the condenser about 6 feet back in cardioid since the ribbon will be picking up in fig. 8. The room is long so that could work with helping some reflections I will get from the sides of the room.

I'm not going to compress, just limit the peaks a bit.

Thanks to everyone who has commented so far. I still have a day or two before I track the trumpet player.

If I remember to snap a few pics I will post them here when it's all over.
Sounds like a plan, good luck!thumbsup thumbsup
Old 9th February 2007
  #26
Gear Head
 

Why put the cardioid 6ft further back? Figure of 8 mics and cardioids pick up identical ratios of direct sound to reverberant sound.
Old 9th February 2007
  #27
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Lots of good advice here as usual. But, if I were you, I'd take Joe Ferla's advice and do what he does as similarly as you can with your tools (definitely get a 44 or Coles if you can). He makes it sound great and look easy every time. Nice ribbon up close and a well placed room mic (or stereo pair) should sound great.

Have Fun,
Silas
Old 9th February 2007
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Ferla View Post
RCA 44 about 6 inches from the bell right on axis.......you won't blow it up and it will sound big and warm. 2nd choice is a Coles 3048 miked the same way. Ive been recording trumpets this way for over 30 years and have never had a problem and never blown a mic. If you're looking for a fat trumpet sound you need to be close to a ribbon mic and again you won't hurt it. You'll obviously need some nice reverb or a room mic if the room has ambience.

Good luck,

Joe

I don't have a 44 or even access to one. I am using a Fostex M88 ribbon mic. I will bring it in close as you suggest as the Fostex is pretty tough and won't collapse under high spl or wind blasts if there even is any.

There will be a room mic as well.

Thanks for the tip.
Old 17th February 2007
  #29
Gear Head
 

Correction guys. It's a Coles 4038 not 3048. Sorry about that.

Joe
Old 17th February 2007
  #30
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Daedalus77's Avatar
Colin,

Any pics from the session? I gotta do a trumpet on Monday and am curious about your results.

Thanks,
David
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