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Thread: Recording jazz trio in small room

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    Recording jazz trio in small room

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    I'm planning on recording a demo for a trio with guitar, upright bass and drums and drums in a small (12'15') room. I'm trying to decide whether it's better to multitrack, try to get as much isolation as possible and use headphones or play live and mix on the fly to two track stereo. I'll be playing as well so the simplicity of recording to stereo is appealing, and I know the band would prefer not to use cans if possible.

    I guess my question is does it make sense to close mic instruments in a small room without using isolation or headphones? Will there be so much bleed from one mic to the next that the sound will be mushy?

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    Definitely multitrack would be my recommendation.

    If you close mic then the bleed will be reduced significantly, though that small room, if untreated, will cause everything to be in all the mics. Since you're not in a performance kind of setup, you can arrange yourselves so the mic patterns minimize bleed and room effect, and whatever you were thinking about for isolation should be placed to minimize reflections, vs. separating the performers. And, I don't see any need for using headphones - just play the way you always do, and set up the recorder/interface-DAW so the levels are good and not clipping.

    Using good mic positioning and getting good signal for the primary source will be the thing that determines how well the mix turns out. Upright bass will be a challenge in the small space because you can't really "close" mic that and capture the full sound. If they've got a pickup, I'd consider tracking that as well.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Yep - I'd do that too - and get the mics as close as I can to each source. Spill will then be as low as it can be giving you plenty of eq and balance possibilities, but sadly no real chance to edit anything as per usual multitracks. Is the guitar acoustic or amplified?

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    Guitar will be amplified but not loud. The upright bass will be mic'd as we really are not into the DI sound. The room is pretty dead sounding. One of the reasons I'm asking is I'm looking to buy a mixer for live use and am wondering if I can just get one that will record stereo usb for this demo too. If you guys think recording multiple tracks will be worth it in this situation I may just get a separate interface that can do that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbgun View Post
    I'm planning on recording a demo for a trio with guitar, upright bass and drums and drums in a small (12'15') room. I'm trying to decide whether it's better to multitrack, try to get as much isolation as possible and use headphones or play live and mix on the fly to two track stereo. I'll be playing as well so the simplicity of recording to stereo is appealing, and I know the band would prefer not to use cans if possible.

    I guess my question is does it make sense to close mic instruments in a small room without using isolation or headphones? Will there be so much bleed from one mic to the next that the sound will be mushy?
    why not do all of the above
    close mike everything
    plus set up several stereo types of miking wide spaced ABC near coincident AB and XY plus maybe a midside if you have a figure 8 mike too

    you can decide later whether to mix all of some of them and how much if any

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    Quote Originally Posted by mr average View Post
    why not do all of the above
    close mike everything
    plus set up several stereo types of miking wide spaced ABC near coincident AB and XY plus maybe a midside if you have a figure 8 mike too

    you can decide later whether to mix all of some of them and how much if any
    I'm definitely on a budget - I have a limited number of mics and am wondering if I can get away with buying a small 2x2 usb mixer or if multitrack would be a big advantage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bbgun View Post
    I'm definitely on a budget - I have a limited number of mics and am wondering if I can get away with buying a small 2x2 usb mixer or if multitrack would be a big advantage.
    budgets are always a consideration unfortunately
    i would buy as large a mixer as you could afford comfortably
    but dont mess up your finances for a hobby

    your trio could do it several times with each mike setup you can come up with through a smaller mixer
    you can not close mike 3 inputs with a 2x2 though

    and i would be very worried with all that noise bouncing around in such a small room if the performers cannot play softly enough for a good recording.

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    If you don't have a PA but you need one to play out, and your budget is limited, you have to look at the mixer option first. There are digital mixers that can also multitrack, but you'll pay more for that. Depends what your plans are.

    If it's really just for a demo, I'd do what @mr average suggests and make a few recordings with the mics moved around and levels adjusted - you should (eventually) find something suitable. And, you'll all have to be flexible as to playing volume levels, depending on the mics and channels you have available, e.g., if you've only got 2 mics (or even just 1!) for drums, it's going to mean the drummer has to be thinking a lot more about what the mic is picking up vs. playing what sounds good to their ears. If you put 5 mics on the kit, it gives you control in the mix, even if you have to do it pre-recording.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    If you don't have an interface or a mixer, I guess it comes down to your budget. A stereo mixer with USB needs decision to be made before your record, an interface with more than two inputs lets you record everything and mic later - but of course it's no use for live PA? A tricky choice.

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    The upright bass will be the hardest to capture, you need to close mic and surround the mic with some isolation.

    Alan.

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