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Old January 28th, 2004, 11:01 AM   #1
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What mic to use for live Brass recording?

Hello group,

I need to record a brass ensemble (Trumpets, Trombone etc) with my GL1 and GL2. I currently own the Sennheiser K6/M66, wireless 100 Series and the handheld E865. This will be recorded at a church.

Since they want to me make a CD out of the recording I was wondering what mics should I use to make sure I get Studio Quality sound?
I'm thinking of running mics through a Mackie board tweak it there for best sound then go to the GL2. Is there a better way to do this? Please make suggestions. Also any tips on how to set up the mics for best recording will be appreciated.

Are the mics that I currently own good enough?

I'm willing to spend some money on new mic if necessary, I prefer to stay with Sennheiser but I'm also willing to switch to another brand. I also would like to use the mic for Trumpet solo recording in the future, so when you make your recomendations please take that into consideration.

Thanks!
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Old January 28th, 2004, 11:15 AM   #2
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Get an SM57 or SM58 (Shure) depending on where your mics will be.

If you are allowed to stick the mics directly near the instruments - go with the SM57. If it's a little father away...the SM58.

However, you can go a few other ways to - check out some condenser mics too.

Murph
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 02:38 PM   #3
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<<<Since they want to me make a CD out of the recording I was wondering what mics should I use to make sure I get Studio Quality sound?>>>

Ah, the old want of pro quality? Well, the SM57 and SM58 are okay.
One of Chicago's (horn band) former audio engineers loved to use 57s, BUT . . .

Most studio's would ask about the sonic quality of the instrument your
are trying to capture. Do you like your brass bright and biting or
smooth and mellow? For a bright sound I love the AKG 414.
Expensive, but also good for many other instruments and even vocals.
You'll need phantom power for this condensor. My FAVORITE trumpet mic.
Also produces a really biting sax sound (for those metal mouthpiece guys)

Smooth and mellow (flugel horn and smooth sax)
I like the Beyer M88 and also the EV RE20 (PL20 now?)
Another all around good performer is the Sennheiser 421.
These are all dynamic mics and sound good on lots of other
acoustic instruments besides horns.

Ribbon mics are also popular on horns, but good ones are probably out
of your ball park. Maybe Beyer still makes the 500?

<<<I'm thinking of running mics through a Mackie board tweak it there for best sound then go to the GL2. Is there a better way to do this? Please make suggestions. Also any tips on how to set up the mics for best recording will be appreciated.>>>

You'll probably do best by setting up a separate recording mixer,
but IMO there are probably TONs of people you could hire to do this for
you.

No one I know uses a shotgun to record horns, but that is up to your clients'
purse strings.

Best,
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 05:46 PM   #4
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You also need to determine if you will simply record with a stereo pair for the whole ensemble or whether you need to mic each individual.
A stereo pair would be the simplest and would work well for going to video.
If you want more control than that for editing to the CD, you're going to need to mic each individual and use a mixer and for best control a multi-track recorder.
Your e865 could probably stand up to brass if you're backing it away to use as half of a stereo pair. This would mean you'd only need to buy one more mic. The closer you get to the instruments, the more likely you'll need to go with lower sensitivity dynamic mics. A couple of e845, or e855 mics could work as a stereo pair and the other mics that have been suggested are also good.
One other thing, a stereo pair will pick up a substantial amount of the character of the performance space. Hopefully, it's got great acoustics for brass.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 11:33 PM   #5
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See if you could get your hands on an SM81.
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Old February 2nd, 2004, 11:46 PM   #6
 
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SIR has a lot of great mic rentals, they have a location in Fresno, I believe.
The SM81 is a good choice, same for a pair of SM57's in a Y config. It all boils down to budget and access. To try to do this without a sound engineer is fairly unreasonable. You've got to worry about the visual aspects, if they want a CD, you CAN'T do both. The only way I'd ever attempt to do this alone is if I could:
A. Feed a computer or multi track deck straight from individual pre's and mics for each instrument in addition to the brass.
B. Have 2 mics per pair of brass instruments, ie; 2 mics for each 4 players.
C. Have multi input splits so I could have 2 channels of discreet audio for each instrument, one dialed in -12dB from the other so I've got 2 tracks of each mic, at 2 different levels for safety.
D. Good pre-show rehearsal time.

I do this sort of work fairly regularly whether it's the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for the Olympics, 3 Tenors in Mexico City, or my own band live. It takes 32 channels to get my own band, we do this to a laptop, using a second laptop synced to the first via a USB box. It's a PITA. Now with firewire, it's easier.
Without discreet channels, without a sound guy, this is wirewalking with out a net. Brass only makes it much much more difficult. Find a guy that knows his way around a board. Feed one cam from the board, let the other cam work of it's onboard mic for sync. Run an MD, DAT, or MP3 recorder from the board as a backup. Don't try to do both yourself unless you've got good rehearsal time. This can't be a run n' gun gig. Not if you're aiming for good vid and good audio.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 11:38 AM   #7
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Thanks guys for your suggestions and recomendations.

Things are getting too complicated and challenging for me to do the audio/CD part and also the Video. I found out today that there's going to be a solo performance (Trumpet/Piano) done by the director of the brass.
So I think I'm going to hire a sound engineer to deal with the sound and just concentrate with the video as you guys suggested. But in the future I would like to do the sound and video for minor jobs. So if you guys don't mind I would like to know the following:

I'm wondering what setup should I use to record Trumpet/Piano performance? (that's a small job compare to a whole brass section and probably would be easier for me to start at that level) How far the mic should be away from the trumpet and also the piano to get the acoustics of the church building?

As to use a MiniDisc recorder (I like this idea, I could use it as a backup for all my videos) what particular model is great for this sort of recording?

Someone recommended the Sharp MD80. Is this a great one to buy? Is there a newer model?
Please make suggestions/recommendations.



Thanks!

--William
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 12:40 PM   #8
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<<<I'm wondering what setup should I use to record Trumpet/Piano performance?>>>

Boy, there is a book's worth of info one could suggest.
The largest issue by far is budget. High quality audio gear
comes at a premium and there's no way to get around it.
So, the plan is to get the highest quality at the lowest price.

Mics? Personally I love the Neumann TLM103 large capsule
condenser mic. NO BELLS OR WHISTLES, just super sound
at a reasonable price. I've used them on everything
from voice to acoustic guitar and they make an excellent "anything"
mic. TLM103s go for around a grand new and $700 used.

AKG C414B/ULS. You'll find this mic used on piano on many of the major tours
including Tori Amos (and she can afford anything). You'll need two for stereo.
Many times a third one is used for getting the piano's bass/low end.

There are TONS of other choices, but these will rock.

Capture system: Again lots of choices. Tape is still king in my book.
I'd look at Tascam DA-78HR 8 track digital machine. Records in 24bit/96Khz.
I know many pros who are using this deck on the road. You'll need a mixer
with "direct outputs" to send each mic's signal to its own individual track
for recording. The low price alternative would be some kind
of mackie or behringer, but again price would help us figure this one.
We can continue this later with more info. You could also purchase
a digital audio workstation such as Protools, MOTU and Steinberg make.
This allows for editing and mixing of your product with a computer,
but is more risky for live recording (like when it crashes).

<<< (that's a small job compare to a whole brass section and probably would be easier for me to start at that level) How far the mic should be away from the trumpet and also the piano to get the acoustics of the church building?>>>

Not really. Everything depends on the depth and level you wish to attain.
You could cover a whole horn section with a couple of mics and get great
results. You could mic each instrument AND have a stereo pair, etc.

The distance you set a mic from an instrument depends on LOTS of factors.
Too close and the player can overload the mic, too far and you get a ton
of room ambience that you may NOT want, not to mention the
leak into the soft sax players mic from the ROARing trumpet behind him
for instance.

As far as ambience, most pros will go for close mic placement and
then ADD a couple of mics somewhere in the back of the
hall to record the room sound.
In most cases, a ton of room "wash" isn't a good thing because you can
always add reverb in the mix later, but you cannot easily remove ambience.

<<As to use a MiniDisc recorder (I like this idea, I could use it as a backup for all my videos) what particular model is great for this sort of recording?>>

MiniDisc is NOT considered high quality in the professional realm as it is a
"lossy" format and AFAIK, does not take a +4dBu signal. But hey, if that's
all one can afford, then one has to do what one has to do.
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