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Why Performance and Source Tone are the Winners

May 14, 2017

Today I posted a blog post about a jazz session I did in a restaurant a few nights ago. I think as audio engineers, myself included, we get too caught up in what mic/pre/converter sounds better, rather than focusing on performance and source tone. What I’ve found through my 10 years of recording experience is that the less mics I use, the better the overall result and the more proud I am of the completed product, but this is especially true if the performance and sound sources are good.

I was genuinely surprised with the jazz recording how well it worked with just three microphones. Okay, it wasn’t perfect, as I could’ve done with a kick mic to reinforce the low end and have another mic on piano to capture its sonic spectrum, but working with limitations makes you work smarter, and makes you think about how you can yield the best possible result with as few options as possible. The trap that we can fall into is that with using more microphones, we’re not listening to the mics we originally put up. We’re using more microphones as safety nets to make up for what the other microphones didn’t capture, but why not see how much of a completed sound we can capture with as few microphones as possible, then set up additional microphones after to make up for what’s lacking?

The reason why this is more advantageous and will yield greater results is due to the lack of phasing issues. Phase is the number one killer for potentially great recordings. Instead of multi-mic’ing a guitar cab, or placing mics on every single drum, listen to what you can achieve with just one or two mics, then add more if needed.

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