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Thread: Best microphone for recording my saxophone

  1. #21
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    For brass and including sax I usually use the Sennheiser MD441 - two of them in X-Y are really good for a small brass section from about 15 feet in front

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    I did a new test. This time I increased the distance between the saxophone bell and the microphone. Also, I included a new contender, a cheap Audio Technica Pro 25.
    Perception 200
    Tascam LD-74
    MXL 990
    Audio Technica Pro 25

    I noticed increasing the distance improves the microphones performance but there's more ambient sound, my new favorite is the Tascam LD-74 because it picks less ambient reverberation. I'm excited about how could one of these SE Electronics Reflexion Filter Pro Ambience Control reduce the ambient reflections in my recordings.

    I included a cheap kick drum microphone to this test, the Audio Technica Pro 25. Before comparing the 4 mics I got a positive impression because I perceived fuller than the condensers. But after comparing all mics I realized it lacks of low end and sounds shrill and harsh but it convinced me that a better dynamic microphone could work.

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    I've use my Reflexion Filter quite a lot for spoken word recording when forced to work in less than perfect rooms and can attest that it works well. Never tried it on a sax though but I suspect it would likely do what you want.

    My one concern is that, for the full effect, the relative positioning of Filter/Mic/Sound source is critical--difficult enough with a talking head but probably a curse-word-inducing fiddle for your sax. Not impossible...jut a fiddle.
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    The SE Electronics Space is really built like a tank and works better than the other filters I've used. But it requires a very sturdy stand (one built to hold a reflection filter as well as microphone).

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    Hi,
    Over the last 45 CDs that I have recorded in the last seven years, about 20 have had horns. For saxophones I usually use a Neumann TLM 103, for trumpets a U87, for trombones I use AKG 414 XLS. Or, if a trombone player is timid, I will put an AT ATM 350 onto his horn.These seem to be about the most transparent for these instruments. For a clarinet and baritone sax I also use the TLM 103. It seems to show the sonic qualities of the instrument. It all is in the positioning the microphone however. That is the key. You can get a lower level microphone this sound good but it needs to be positioned correctly.

    But, the toughest instrument to record is the female voice. I typically am now using U87 or an Avantone CV-12. For male vocals I will use either a Neumann M149 or U87.

    Double bass I will usually use two microphones. A Cascade FatHead and an ATM 350.
    Tom

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    image-jpg
    These are some photos of a few old-timers doing some sessions. The saxophonist is Detleff Eisman and the one booth and Del Carver on the trombone. TLM 103 on the saxophone, ATM 350 on the trombone.
    The album is called Crosscut Saw, the band is The Fabulous Savoys. This will be released in the next few months In Southern Oregon.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas Hartkop View Post
    Hi,
    Over the last 45 CDs that I have recorded in the last seven years, about 20 have had horns. For saxophones I usually use a Neumann TLM 103, for trumpets a U87, for trombones I use AKG 414 XLS. Or, if a trombone player is timid, I will put an AT ATM 350 onto his horn.These seem to be about the most transparent for these instruments. For a clarinet and baritone sax I also use the TLM 103. It seems to show the sonic qualities of the instrument. It all is in the positioning the microphone however. That is the key. You can get a lower level microphone this sound good but it needs to be positioned correctly.

    But, the toughest instrument to record is the female voice. I typically am now using U87 or an Avantone CV-12. For male vocals I will use either a Neumann M149 or U87.

    Double bass I will usually use two microphones. A Cascade FatHead and an ATM 350.
    Tom
    wow that's some really nice microphones you've got there! interesting that you use a tlm103, I own that mic, have never understood the hate it gets, if you move it around it's capable of some great sound.

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    Thank you very much for your replies.

    I'm still trying to find out the best way to do it with the resources I already have before to decide to buy a new microphone. I moved to a different room, bigger and quieter, with less reverberation. And did the recordings at three different distances for comparing how this affects the sound quality. I did this recording with only two of my microphones, the LD-74 and the Perception 200. I realized the Perception did a better job in this new conditions, I also realized my ATM50 headphones tends to darken the sound, mostly in the low register. Sadly, I used a different saxophone (Buescher Big B) which is a bit brighter than the Holton 241 I used in the previous recordings. Here are the samples:







    You opinions and advices will be highly appreciated.

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    Sax recorded live with the band in the studio. Some bleed on the track. Here is a short sample.

    Big Smoke sample

    Mike = $50 Behringer C2, poked roughly at the sax from about a foot away (Sax player moved around a bit).

    I'm not sure what value you will get from your experiments, because there is context to be considered: how does the sax fit within a mix?

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    At some point you get to where all those clips are meaningless.

    Most of them have their own charms and lots of them sound good, just in different ways.
    I've been playing and recording sax for 50 years ..... for session work studios have used ALL kinds of different mics. Every engineer has his own favs . All the sax tracks I've ever done in sessions sounded fine regardless of the mic used.
    I never tell an engineer what mic to use ..... because I don't think it really matters that much.
    You usually end up sounding like you ...... just like with guitar a lot of the tone is just in the fingers.

    In my own studio where I'm the engineer I tend to grab whatever's handy and work with whatever it sounds like.

    Lately I've been having a preference for small diaphragm condensers but I'll eventually get bored with that and use something else.
    Prior to the SDC I was preferring dynamics to LDCs.

    I don't believe you can decide that one particular mic is THE best for recording sax ..... your taste changes and you hear differently from day to day.
    Use a decent mic and play something compelling is all I look for personally and I have significant experience at it.

    You can drive yourself crazy obsessing over all the differences from one mic to the next.
    If you know the secret codes you can get by the mastering boss on level 8.

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