I'm gonna disagree strongly with that one. I've recorded in some far less then optimum locations with good results. Probably wouldn't want to use the ribbon mic there though. Ribbons are figure 8 pattern, which means it will pick up as much from the rear as the front. Also, the 441 will be a thin and bright representation of your sound. The 87, though I'm not the biggest fan of for sax, will give you the thickest tone. Placement is more crucial when your room is tight. A nice 45 degree angle pointed at the top of the bell a foot out will do the trick.
As for your original question, I'm a big fan of the neve 1073 mic pre on sax
Thank you for sharing your suggestions and thoughts. Interestingly enough, I just bought the 441 very recently based on chatter in other forums extolling their virtues for the sax (I've also seen very positive feedback for the EV-RE20's, but ultimately decided on the 441 since majority of the opinions in the other forums appear to favor the 441.
I will note that the U-87 has indeed given me the thickest sound out of all the mics I've tried (the ribbon coming in second -- haven't used the 441 that extensively yet to be able to play around with gain and other settings) but still not quite the sound I want. In the past, I'd also tried the Royer R-122 and various AKG C414's (all of which I've since sold).
Last night, I tried to use the DPA4099s I bought about a week or so ago for live performances to record for the first time. The initial results were promising (mic pointed not directly down the bell but towards the keys immediately above the bell), although I probably need to get more familiar with it and how it interacts with the rest of my chain.
Do you have any experience with the Aurora GTQ preamps? I'm interested in it since from what I've heard and read, it outputs a darker, rounder sound, which at least theoretically should be great for counterbalancing the natural sound of the sax.
I also had the usual SM-58 and SM-57 before, but I hated my sax recordings using those mics. Too shrill/honky (especially the SM-58). They were passable for vocal recordings, though not as good as even basic condensers such as the AT-2035.