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Old 08-26-2003, 09:51 PM
Sean Rathman Sean Rathman is offline
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Default Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placement?

I'm used to working with all kinds of groups (choirs, jazz bands, rhythm sections, etc...) but tomorrow will be the first time I've ever had a brass quintet.

The room is nice, resonant and warm... It's rectangular, though, so I might have to play a bit with standing waves. I'm considering using a couple of nice stereo pairs... One up close for the ensemble and one placed for ambience... Maybe another in the extreme back of the room for natural reverberation...

Anyways... Should I consider close miking any of the instruments? These are real pros, so I would think that well-placed stereo pairs would be the key to catching their performing sense of balance and blend. But, should I play it safe and have an individual mic on each performer?

I must admit, I've never recorded a french horn and I'm trying to determine how I would place a mic... ? It would seem un-natural to have something on-axis with the bell since they hold the bell away from the audience in performance.

Anyone have any experience they would like to share with a young novice?

Thanks to all for your time!
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Old 08-27-2003, 03:02 AM
Doug Ring Doug Ring is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placement?

With a good room and good players, you're 90% there. The players should balance themselves, so multi-micing won't be necessary. Your job is to capture the instruments and the room, so two stereo pairs will get it done.

BTW a french horn is often played with the player's hand inside the bell, so you don't need to worry about that! Think of it as getting a snapshot of the sound from the position you would usually listen to the instrument from, i.e. several feet in front of the player. So with several players it's still the same deal. Listen to the quintet in the room, find the spot where the balance is best, put the mic there.
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Old 08-27-2003, 09:00 AM
sdemott sdemott is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placement?

If the room sounds good & the players are pros...I wouldn't get too close. I might do 1 of 3 setups:

1] an ORTF pair a few feet in front of the quintet and then a couple omnis farther back and flanked out more for ambience.

2] a Blumlein pair (XY setup with figure-of-8 patterns)

3] a decca tree (if your comfortable with the setup). I find these to be great in good rooms (but not when there is an audience!)

Any of those will capture a nice balance of direct and room sounds. Getting too close to brass instruments can be harsh (not to mention a trumpet can put out 140 dBSPL without a problem).
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Old 08-28-2003, 09:39 AM
Digiquick Digiquick is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placem

On the French Horn---I once sang in a chorus with a symphony orchestra. As luck would have it I stood in the front row of the chorus directly behind the French Horns. Believe me, there's a good reason that the bells face backward. Sound very smooth from the front - very "blaaaaty" from behind.
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Old 08-29-2003, 06:02 AM
Doug Ring Doug Ring is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placem

...and you wouldn't want to record any blaats, would you Sean ?
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Old 09-10-2003, 03:30 PM
urumita urumita is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placem

It's probably all over by now. Is this in a studio or remote? First you have to figure out where in the space you're going to place them, the best place is where it sounds best to them, find this first and then adjust it according to your needs. Second, how many tracks can you record and what's your delivery format? If you can record 16 tracks you'll have no problems in setting up enough mics. where you'd believe they'd be necessary even before the players arrive. My favorites are 1 omni and a crossed figure 8 almost in the center of the ensemble and various pairs of A/B omnis in different time alligned locations and a set of omnis that act as boundary mics. (as close to parallel walls and as close to the ensemble as possible, even behind them, BASS). You can put up 11 "ambient mics." and still have room for 5 spots, if it's not live to 2 or live to 5.1 then you can always listen, set delays and mix later.
There's always lots of [blank] flying around about how it sounds to you and how you should capture that sound but if you don't have any idea how it should sound then you're [blank] out of luck. Trust the advice of the musicians who know their music and sounds but don't give in to destructive egomaniacs. Capture what you can. Keep accurate records of the takes and edit points and attempt to make test edits for the ensemble to hear so they can remain confident during the recordings.
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Old 09-03-2018, 01:41 PM
federico federico is offline
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Default Re: Tracking a Brass Quintet Tomorrow - Mic Placement?

Hello, I am sorry that I reply to this old thread. I just can´t find the new thread button, And avid people tells me my account is ok and I can post a new thread. Don't know what's happening.
This is the thing, I´m tracking a brass quintet with drums. I have tried to track one in the past separately, but when the whole song is done, the instruments are very out of tune from each other. Now it´s another band and I don't wanna make more mistakes. Do you recommend a live recording of the whole band? As there are no tempered instruments I think tuning might be better if they play together. However, I will not be able to edit each insrument if there are mistakes on the takes.
Should I track the tuba and drums together, perhaps?

Thank you very much.
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