Recording - October 2015 - 20

6

AKG C451 condensers were chosen
for the hi-hat and ride. Also classic, these
pencil condensers sound great on anything. I did have issues placing the hat
mic, though, as the drummer placed a
small splash cymbal right where I normally place the mic. As a general rule, I
always work around the drummer's
needs, and I found a suitable replacement location. The hat received copious amounts of EQ via a vintage outboard Pultec EQP-1A3.
A ride mic was also deployed. In all honesty, I rarely like the sound of
close-miked cymbals, and I will only use the ride mic when necessary in
the mix. This said, the AKG C451 sounded good with significant console EQ. See Figures 5a-5c on page 18.
Overheads and rooms
Two additional mic pairs wrapped up the drum-miking extravaganza.
For overheads, I was blessed with vintage Neumann U 67s. Produced
between 1960 and 1971, the U 67 is the one of the world's truly classic tube mics. On this session their sound was creamy and delicious.
Placement was fairly low, a few feet above the drums, spread about a
foot on each side of the drummer's head. See Figure 6.
As in almost every recording session, a few challenges had to be overcome. In this case the live room, while fabulous-sounding, was a bit too
huge. Bright and ambient, its significant reverb was overly apparent
upon initial listen in the overhead mics. While ideal for a more roomy
rock sound, both the drummer and I felt it inappropriate for the intimate
jazz approach of this project. Luckily it's easy to temporarily deaden a
live room: the assistants and I placed carpets, gobos (portable acoustic
panels), and packing blankets near the drums. This helped the closer
mics, specifically the overheads, to sound tighter, while still allowing the
farther room mics to bathe in reverberant goodness. See Figure 7.
To mic the room, a pair of Coles 4038 ribbon mics were spaced wide,
about twenty feet apart and an equidistant fifteen feet or so from the kit. At
first the pair seemed uneven in tonality, but I did not get to adjust them due
to being behind schedule. Then, after recording the first song, the band took
a break and I was able to move the mics closer to each other by five or six
feet. Pulling the microphones away from the walls reduced modal issues
and gave a more similar frequency response and stereo image.
Bass
Both electric and upright bass were recorded on the sessions, alternating between the fusion and acoustic jazz tunes respectively. Electric
bass was fairly straight ahead, running direct. We did try out several DIs
before the bassist and I were satisfied. We started with an A-Designs
REDDI, an amazing all-tube direct box and preamp known for its warm
tube sound. Oddly, we found the bass a bit overdriven through the
REDDI, and ultimately we settled upon a Retrospec Juice Box.
For upright bass, I chose one of the most famous mics of all time: a
Neumann U 47 large diaphragm tube mic. It sounded great, but did
require position experimentation. As a general rule, large instruments are
more challenging to mike, as their sound emanates over a greater space
and significant sonic differences exist throughout their large near field.
With an acoustic bass, miking near the F hole produces subwoofer-like
boom. Alternately, sliding the mic upwards near the fingerboard captures
more top end and articulations. Finding the ideal balance, while simultaneously staying out of the way of the player and his or her bow, can sometimes be difficult. See Figure 8.
In this case the challenge proved to be buzzing within the bass itself.
This forced several mic movements, and ultimately I had to accept the
20

RECORDING October 2015

buzz. Luckily, a second bass player was used for several songs, and his instrument was less noisy. Other
than the buzz, both basses sounded good, individually
unique, and both musicians were fantastic.
As a redundancy measure, I recorded both upright
basses' pickups through a Retrospec Juice Box DI.
While not natural-sounding, a pickup can sometimes
offer a useful color when mixed with a mic.
Piano
I was initially unhappy with the studio's piano. NRG is
known for hard rock, and the piano is a super-bright
Yamaha C7. The pianists on the session loved the instrument, but I feared it would not be mellow enough in tone
for Drew's music. Luckily, we employed a talented piano
tuner to tweak the piano before both tracking days, and I
eventually grew to dig its bright tone.
In search of a mellower sound, I compared a pair of
Coles 4038 ribbons with a pair of original AKG C12s. The
C12s ultimately won. Extremely expensive and highly
sought after, the C12s sounded great. One of the mics
showed its age, though, as its built-in clamp would not keep
the mic at the desired angle. To solve the problem, we used
a second mic stand and gaff tape to rig extra support. See
Figure 9.
Miking a piano is an art itself, and this article is too short
to explore the topic. This said, I tried multiple positions, balancing phase coherency, tone, and stereo imaging.
Ultimately I placed the mics wider than normal, and now,
7

8

9



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - October 2015

Contents
Recording - October 2015 - Intro
Recording - October 2015 - Cover1
Recording - October 2015 - Cover2
Recording - October 2015 - 1
Recording - October 2015 - 2
Recording - October 2015 - 3
Recording - October 2015 - 4
Recording - October 2015 - 5
Recording - October 2015 - Contents
Recording - October 2015 - 7
Recording - October 2015 - 8
Recording - October 2015 - 9
Recording - October 2015 - 10
Recording - October 2015 - 11
Recording - October 2015 - 12
Recording - October 2015 - 13
Recording - October 2015 - 14
Recording - October 2015 - 15
Recording - October 2015 - 16
Recording - October 2015 - 17
Recording - October 2015 - 18
Recording - October 2015 - 19
Recording - October 2015 - 20
Recording - October 2015 - 21
Recording - October 2015 - 22
Recording - October 2015 - 23
Recording - October 2015 - 24
Recording - October 2015 - 25
Recording - October 2015 - 26
Recording - October 2015 - 27
Recording - October 2015 - 28
Recording - October 2015 - 29
Recording - October 2015 - 30
Recording - October 2015 - 31
Recording - October 2015 - 32
Recording - October 2015 - 33
Recording - October 2015 - 34
Recording - October 2015 - 35
Recording - October 2015 - 36
Recording - October 2015 - 37
Recording - October 2015 - 38
Recording - October 2015 - 39
Recording - October 2015 - 40
Recording - October 2015 - 41
Recording - October 2015 - 42
Recording - October 2015 - 43
Recording - October 2015 - 44
Recording - October 2015 - 45
Recording - October 2015 - 46
Recording - October 2015 - 47
Recording - October 2015 - 48
Recording - October 2015 - 49
Recording - October 2015 - 50
Recording - October 2015 - 51
Recording - October 2015 - 52
Recording - October 2015 - 53
Recording - October 2015 - 54
Recording - October 2015 - 55
Recording - October 2015 - 56
Recording - October 2015 - 57
Recording - October 2015 - 58
Recording - October 2015 - 59
Recording - October 2015 - 60
Recording - October 2015 - 61
Recording - October 2015 - 62
Recording - October 2015 - 63
Recording - October 2015 - 64
Recording - October 2015 - 65
Recording - October 2015 - 66
Recording - October 2015 - 67
Recording - October 2015 - 68
Recording - October 2015 - 69
Recording - October 2015 - 70
Recording - October 2015 - 71
Recording - October 2015 - 72
Recording - October 2015 - 73
Recording - October 2015 - 74
Recording - October 2015 - 75
Recording - October 2015 - 76
Recording - October 2015 - 77
Recording - October 2015 - 78
Recording - October 2015 - 79
Recording - October 2015 - 80
Recording - October 2015 - Cover3
Recording - October 2015 - Cover4
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