CS70 wrote:Gonna record a (tenor) saxophone next Wednesday and I'm going to use my AT4047/SV because I think it'll fit the sound and it has a pad. :-)
The 4047 It also has a low cut switch (80Hz), which I think to engage - but suddendly wonder if is there any sonic benefit on leaving it off and hipassing in post. The tenor sax should range from well above 100Hz but dont do it very often so appreciated experience from the esteemed members.
I also bring along the U87 as it's always a safe backup and - as I've resurrected my Focusrite Forte + PC combo, I have to channels anyway.
I'm also vaguely wondering if it's better to use the Focusrite Forte preamps (that's the plan so far, traveling light) or take with me the ISA One. I also have an old Safesound P1 which sounds great and has a compressor/limiter and I've used to great effect on vocals, any advantage in compressing the sax on the way in?
It's been a little while since I tracked a sax player, but from what I recall your mic options are........BAD!!!!!
Going from memory (I could be wrong but this is what I remember) stay away from condenser mics, they will be awful.
What I remember settling on was either an RE-20 or a 421 (You could substitute an SM7 B)
A LARGE diaphragm dynamic is the way to go. Brass is much too abrasive to use a condenser on, you'll overload the capsule guaranteed.
Some may disagree with me on this but I say 100% DEFINITELY compress it on the way in, brass players use a HUGE dynamic range...but it won't just be "set and forget"
You'll have to take some time and work with the player on the dynamics and his/her mic performance, to ensure you get a natural performance but one that is within an acceptable dynamic range for recording. Some "Band" type players are so in love with their use of dynamics that they fail to understand recording is different.
Tell them they have to "Play" the mic, any dynamic drops mean they need to move closer, huge dynamic swells means move away (Not too much, and this is where a transparent compressor becomes your last line of defense, I could see a FMR RNC working well for this application. That compressor, in "Real nice" mode is actually THREE compressors in series, each takes the signal down a notch before passing it to the next, that's how it stays transparent, no one compressor has to "Snap into action") You'll have to experiment and take the time to listen to the compression kick in on any loud parts, make sure it sounds natural, do not just "Let it do it's thing" I would also suggest using MULTIPLE compressors in serries. This makes for a more natural sound, I mentioned how the RNC works (And I assume you own one, everybody does) Use the RNC in serries with whatever else you have and now even MORE of the load has been taken off any one compressor.
BTW I would be looking for the compression to kick in only on those parts that exceed a certain dynamic range, I'd have the first compressor with a low ratio and slow attack, threshold low enough to make it the first compressor to kick in. So that compressor starts taking the signal down gently, then the NEXT one kicks in at a higher threshold and so on. Use a LOW ratio on multiple compressors, be careful with the attack, it has to be fast enough to catch the transient of the loud part, but you don't want artifacts, again MULTIPLE stages of compression are preferable.
To summarize: LOSE the condensers, get a large-diaphragm dynamic, and use as many compressors as you can manage, making sure no one compressor is working hard. Low ratios (2:1,3:1) Attack getting faster with each compressor. The threshold set higher with each successive compressor, so they kick in one after another, and each makes the job of the next one easier. The release is program dependent, you'll have to see what works best for the music you are recording, but NEVER TOO FAST!
I would suggest no EQ (Maaaaybe a low shelf at 50hz) a sax is a naturally good sounding instrument and should sound good as you record it. If you are reaching for EQ (Which you will later on as you mix it with the other instruments) in the tracking stage, there is a problem.
I now see you are happy with the results you got, using what you had. Hey, if it works....IT WORKS!!
Still, I would be interested in you hearing the same material recorded with a 421 or RE-20 and cascading compression....ah well, the session worked, and that's the important thing.
(Still, have no idea how you didn't overload the U87....where was it placed?)