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Preamp for sax recording

7244 Views 21 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Woody Reed
What preamp do you guys use to do sax recordings? I currently use a Daking pre with EQ and a Daking compressor but am wondering if there might be a better option out there. My mics are a Coles 4038, a Sennheiser MD441-U and a Neumann U-87 a i (yup, the one with a space between the "a" and "i"). I had a Royer R-122, but I sold it an decided to keep the Coles (sometimes I wonder if that may have been a mistake).
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A quick follow-up: how do you folks EQ the various frequency ranges (boost, cut, etc.) when doing your recordings?
That is impossible to say. It depends on every variable of the recording situation: the player, the horn, the room, the mic, the mic position, the pre, the mix, etc etc etc

In general, though: Use as little EQ as possible. Cuts are better than boosts. I don't EQ during tracking, only mixing. When reaching for EQ, ask yourself if you might be trying to solve a problem that might be properly solved with better balances or dynamics control or a better musical arrangement.

These days, I only ever use tiny bits of EQ (+/- 3 dB is a lot for me), and sometimes none on any track.
PS: I';ve found that using the U-87 and setting the stand up to be at the level immediately above the bell (with the mic tilted downwards at 46 degrees) and standing 3-4 feet away while recording has greatly improved the quality of my recordings. Almost no honkiness now and the sound is much smoother and fuller.
In my experience the 87 does like a bit of distance like you've got, but it sounds like you have it a bit low. Bell height and 3 or 4 feet out pointed down at a 45 would probable be pointing at your feet. Imagine there is a laser pointer on the mic. You really want it pointing at the G key, back of bell. Tip of the bell will make it honky. Try your head height for the mic pointed down at a 45 next time. Also, 3 to 4 feet away will bring more of the room acoustic into the picture. If it's a bad sounding room, you'll pick up more of the that. I prefer a more "intimate" sound. Which requires a closer micing. That's probably why I like a 414 so much. They don't mind being close to the source.
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