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Old 5th August 2019
Gear Maniac
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Originally Posted by Jaker View Post
Anyways the room is 4x4m but in one corner there's a closet that's 1.3x1.6 so the room is not a perfect square. And the height is 2.3m so it's not ideal in any way.
I would stick to close miking for your situation. Some good advice has been given in another thread about that just recently, which you’ve been following.

Without a lot of acoustic treatment in your room, going for more of a hifi ‘chamber’ sound (as you described it) in that room is most likely to result in a boxy-sounding mess. It might be a good document of the event, but it wouldn’t be commercially acceptable, i.e. people would not want to pay for it. [I’m not implying that you’re making this recording to sell, I’m just using that as a point of reference for quality. It will be the kind of recording that if you paid $5 for at a gig, you’d probably regret the purchase after hearing it and feel a bit conned.]

With moderate acoustic treatment combined with some strategically placed baffles and/or good mic choice/skills and careful placement of instruments and adjustment of guitar amplifier volume, you could get a clean recording using just a stereo pair. It might be commercially acceptable to the point that you wouldn’t complain if you paid $5 for it at a gig. And if you got it really right, it could even be great if your engineering and listening skills are good enough.

With a lot of acoustic treatment you’re going to end up in a dead room, blowing your lungs out to get any perceived volume in your ears from the sax. You’ll end up with an acoustically dead recording that you might add some reverb to, and it might sound great. But you’re probably not going to be happy with the sax playing because you had to blow so hard and, as a result, the sax didn’t sound right.

Amazing direct-to-stereo recordings have been made under all the circumstances described above, but they’re more of the exception than the rule and are often just flukes. I’m reminded of good recordings that musicians have made accidentally, and when I ask them how they did it they’ve said something like, “I just put my Zoom on a stool and the two of us sat in front of it, one facing each microphone, and played. Turned out okay after we mixed it, huh?”

What’s really happened there is that they’ve used an XY pair (the Zoom) as two separate cardioid close mics, and placed themselves maybe a metre or so in front of it, each instrument facing towards one mic. Because the mics are coincident, they get no phase problems when panning the tracks further into the centre. Then they’ve treated it as a multitrack recording made with just two tracks: adjusted individual volumes, added some EQ to each track, perhaps even some volume riding in GarageBand or whatever, maybe added some reverb, and came out with a cool result - without even realising what they just did, LOL! Come to think of it, if you’re determined not to close mic, maybe you could try that? Put your baffles to the sides to minimise the early reflections from the room coming back into the mics. If the floor is wood, tiles or similar reflective material, put a rug on the floor between the instruments and mics to block that particular reflection, which will probably be the most obtrusive contributor to the ‘small boxy room’ effect. The ceiling reflection can also be a problem (as mentioned in the other thread) but without putting absorption on the ceiling your best bet is to angle the XY downwards (maybe 45 degrees or so) to minimise capture of the ceiling reflection. Whichever of the two (ceiling or floor) that creates the shortest reflection path from instrument to mic is going to be the biggest problem.

Otherwise, close miking!

Last edited by Simmosonic; 6th August 2019 at 12:19 AM.. Reason: My fragile ego.