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Recording Live Jazz – Audio Sample

May 14, 2017

The other day I stayed late at my work to record some live Jazz in the restaurant. I’ve grown to love recording live more and more, as it’s not so stifling like the modern way of recording. I took down an Edirol R44 from the office and set it up in the corner. I plugged in 3 mics and took a DI from the bass post effects.

I placed the drum microphone over the drummer’s right shoulder facing towards the kick and snare. Initially this mic was a little ride-heavy, and sort of still is in this mix. I had to angle the mic more towards the snare to reject some of that ride. The mic I used was an sE Electronics X1, which I have to say is probably one of the best mics I’ve used for its price. I’m so impressed, in fact, that I’m tempted to buy one or two. When it came time to mix, I needed to try and add some low end so that you could actually hear the kick. This was difficult, as the kick was like 18″ instead of the standard 20″ or 22″, not to mention that the kick was played very lightly. I had high-passed with kick up to about 30Hz but had added a 8dB low shelf boost at 60Hz set with an aggressive Q.

Mic’ing piano was also an issue, as there’s a huge range of tones and pitches which is hard to capture with just one microphone. I opted for a Rode NT2-A that was in the studio with the view to use figure 8 and angle the null towards the strings and hammers themselves so that the front and back of the mic would be picking up the bass and treble side. Although I decided against this, as it most likely would’ve picked up everything else except for the piano, so I put the mic in cardioid and aimed the mic towards the mid section of the piano. This mic picked up quite a bit of everything else, so in hindsight, I probably could’ve used figure 8 so that the null of the microphone was facing towards the drums, bass and sax.

For the sax, I used an SM57 pointing down the horn. This mic also picked up a fair bit of everything else, but with the sax mainly being mid-focused, it was easy to high pass and low pass everything that was causing an issue without compromising the sound of the sax.

With the bass DI, I ran it through the Ampeg SVT-VR plugin from UAD to add some realistic bass tones back into the mix. This plugin worked great, and adds some weight to the lower register to act as a cushion for the other instruments to dance on top of.

Here’s a few plugins that I used. Looking at the plugins that were included in a basic package with my Apollo, I didn’t realise that I had RealVerb Pro, so decided to try this out. The presets are very useable, although I found that sending the drums to a reverb bus altered the sound of the kick slightly, so only dialled in a little bit of it. I’m a huge fan of the Klanghelm MJUC, and will be using a whole lot more in future mixes.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 13.14.54

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