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Author Topic: Micing up a Jazz Quartet  (Read 9088 times)

Mark McFarlane

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 12:41:29 AM »

Hi Mark,

Since they are using wedges, I would skip the band shell.

Can the venue provide a basic curtain behind the band?
Could be good for visuals and acoustics.

Good health,  Weogo

Hi Weogo,

The band shell (here: http://www.wengercorp.com/Acoustic/Shell_Travelmaster.html) is about the only visual thing I have available to hide some sets for a current production that can't be moved.  The only curtain available is the main stage curtain and its ~5 feet back from the apron edge.  I asked about curtain  before I went sourcing the shell (borrowing from a local junior high.)

Is you primary concern feedback and/or early reflections?

I'm only going to have access to the front 12' of the stage, so basically the band is on the apron.  (I need to drive to the venue today with my tape measure)  The 'shell' is a series of ~4 foot wide by 10' tall diffusers and the top 3 feet can be tilted down or made straight.  I can set up the drum and piano wedges facing the audience, and the sax and bass wedges could be side facing rather than facing into the 'shell'.  I'm hopeful the stage volumes are going to be extremely low so I can get away with some LDCs and ribbons.

The stage area, with wings and shop is almost as large as the theatre, maybe 30'*90' with a 25' ceiling. Concrete cinder block. I am hoping that any sound i can keep out of backstage is a good thing.

Thanks for pitching in.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 01:14:22 AM by Mark McFarlane »
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Mark McFarlane
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2011, 12:44:43 AM »

I'd do the 4050 on kick and the 2 SM81's for overheads on the drums, the fatheads on the piano, The sm7 for sax, and a 57 on the bass amp just in case. I don't think they will object, and if they do it's nothing to pull a couple mics off the stage.
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Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Mark McFarlane

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2011, 03:14:35 AM »

I'd do the 4050 on kick and the 2 SM81's for overheads on the drums, the fatheads on the piano, The sm7 for sax, and a 57 on the bass amp just in case. I don't think they will object, and if they do it's nothing to pull a couple mics off the stage.

Tim, have you used the Fatheads before?  They sound a live 'veiled' to me for piano.... but I actually haven't tried them on piano.
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Mark McFarlane
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Weogo Reed

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2011, 09:46:38 AM »

Hi Mark,

"Is you primary concern feedback and/or early reflections?"

Yes.

I would consider setting up the shell backwards, with the concave side facing upstage  - it might work well.

Let us know how it works!

Thanks and good health,  Weogo
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2011, 11:15:46 AM »

Tim, have you used the Fatheads before?  They sound a live 'veiled' to me for piano.... but I actually haven't tried them on piano.

Not the fatheads, but ribbons yes. Like all ribbons they have a rolled off top end, but lucky for you we are talking about live sound here. Go ahead and EQ them puppies until they sound good. They will give tons of detail from the piano.

On the other hand you could use the NT1 and something else on the piano. I just hate using 81's on piano which is why I'm leaning towards the ribbons. If it were me, I'd want a matching (not matched pair necessarily) set of mics for the piano.
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Bullwinkle: This is the amplifier, which amplifies the sound. This is the Preamplifier which, of course, amplifies the pree's.

Mark McFarlane

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2011, 03:14:10 AM »

Hi Mark,

"Is you primary concern feedback and/or early reflections?"

Yes.

I would consider setting up the shell backwards, with the concave side facing upstage  - it might work well.

Let us know how it works!

Thanks and good health,  Weogo

Thanks Weogo.  Concave upstage is an interesting idea, and could actually help project into the house which is much wider than the bands space.  Unfortunately, it looks like I'm only going to have 12' of stage depth (there is a set on stage that can't be moved), so a straight shell might be the best I can do.  The gig is on Wednesday (our Friday in these here parts).
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Mark McFarlane
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 10:55:36 AM »

Thanks everyone for your help.  The show was Wednesday night (virtual Friday where I live) and all-in-all the show was a huge success.  The band played well and the audience enjoyed the show.  Everyone in the band, and the manager and Darius' wife were all very gracious.  A great experience.

I ended up using:

Piano: pair of Fatheads just inside the lid
Drums: pair of SM81's in X-Y
Bass: JDI on the send of an Eden head, Rode NT1a in front of the speaker
Sax: SM7b
About 25' of portable band shell behind the band.
4 separate monitor mixes
I brought my own setup, and just hooked into the theater's side surrounds with a 50ms delay and some EQ to help in the back of the room.
All they traveled with was a sax, drum sticks, and a few cynbals so I had to source the equipment and then spent most of the 1.5 hour sound check time readjusting the action on the bass, working on drum sounds, borrowing other snare drums from friends,...

I got great recordings and live sound from everything except the piano.  The piano sounded OK live, probably because 1/2 the sound was acoustic (Yamaha C5 Conservatory). Using the Fatheads on piano was a mistake for a couple of reasons:

- I have never worked with them live
- The figure 8 pattern caused me grief: too much sax. The sax player set up in the front of the open lid and wanted his monitors at rock concert levels (a stand-in sax player for this brief 2-city tour), so the sax monitor went into the piano lid into the backs of the mics and was almost louder than the piano.  The sax guy insisted the monitors be on his left (I guess he had a bad ear), so they essentially had to point up into the piano lid
I got some distortion from the Fatheads when Darius hit the keys hard.  The preamp (ISA828) wasn't clipping (but was fairly hot) and I was well below digital level,  I'm not sure yet what the problem was, I need to run some tests on the mics.
- I got some feedback during songs 3 & 4 in the first set after responding to a request from the sax player to turn up his monitors.  At intermission I dropped the piano out of the sax  monitor and moved the monitor a little to get more volume for the sax player, but in the second set the sax started over shadowing the piano in the Fatheads.

Please don't take this as me dishing the Fatheads, I accept the blame as an amateur.

I'm not sure if its possible, but the recording on the Fatheads sounds worse (more occasional distortion) later in the evening, after the feedback.  I'm not sure if I damaged one of them.

In retrospect, I should have used the second pair of SM81s on the piano.

Well, it was my first jazz gig, and the band was either very polite or they really were happy with the sound. I'm pretty picky.  The bass, drums and sax sound awesome on the recording.

Lessons learned:

Don't try new mics in an important show
Don't use figure 8's inside the lid when there is a monitor pointing in there
Uh, don't point a monitor in there, duh
Don't listen to the sax player when he sends me the 'backstage monitor runner' after the second song to say 'turn up the sax monitor'.  Only respond to requests to turn something down :)
Make sure the star sounds great and screw the other players.  I suspect Darius was a little whacked because he too was in front of the sax monitor.  He never said anything, gracious man that he is.
Solo instruments during the show into headphones.  Had I done this I may have picked up the intermittent distortion on the piano.  I usually use my phones briefly.  They were laying next to the desk...

All in all it was a great experience with a gracious band, and a good education for me.  I'll try to post some pictures later of the setup.

Thanks again to those who helped me,

« Last Edit: February 04, 2011, 10:58:56 AM by Mark McFarlane »
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Mark McFarlane
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Turn down what's too loud.

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Micing up a Jazz Quartet
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2011, 10:55:36 AM »


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