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Recording trumpet with harmon mute
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Recording trumpet with harmon mute

I was recording a jazz band the other day and the trumpet player wanted to use his harmon mute and wanted to record it with it actually touching the microphone (and he insisted on a SM58 as well). I was just wondering if that was a standard practice or not? I know it would be common live but mainly to get enough volume and bass to be able to hear it. Anyway we compromised by doing 2 takes -1 with mute touching the SM57 and another with my schoeps some inches away. I haven’t had a chance to fully evaluate the results yet - SM57 sounded warmer but haven’t properly matched for eq and volume. I was mostly just curious whether it was just a bonkers trumpet player idea or actually the accepted and correct way of recording Harmon?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
'working the mic' can indeed become part of the artist's performance and i think this should be taken seriously.

if i would have been in your position, i would have gotten the artist the sm58 he asked for (and not a sm57) and would have asked whether it'd be okay to add the mic of my preference; i wouldn't have done a second take either but would have recorded 'my' mic onto another track...

...but then i think my job first and foremost is to make the artist feel comfortable in the studio or on stage; for this, i'll do pretty much anything as i think it's way more important than what gear we're using!




p.s. of course you'll hear a difference between the mics: a dynamic and a condenser will always behave differently, not only in terms of 'eq'...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
I believe that it was a Miles Davis trademark to “eat the mic” with a Harmon mute. In the studio, he was probably doing that with a Neumann M49.

Also, an interesting audio factoid: trumpet with Harmon mute is one of the few audio sources that produce acoustic energy in the range of 50 kHz. (Of course, neither the sm57 or the Schoeps will pick that up. If you really need to record those frequencies, you’ll need to ask your dog to help you.)
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
'working the mic' can indeed become part of the artist's performance and i think this should be taken seriously.

if i would have been in your position, i would have gotten the artist the sm58 he asked for (and not a sm57) and would have asked whether it'd be okay to add the mic of my preference; i wouldn't have done a second take either but would have recorded 'my' mic onto another track...

Sorry he got the 58 he asked for (’57’ was a typo in my post). I did take him seriously which is why I did it his way. I would have put up another mic but there wasn’t time. My concern was that even a tiny bit of bashing the harmon against the mic would ruin an otherwise good take and (when recording 9 tracks in 4 hours with quintet) there wouldn’t be enough time to even find out let alone redo it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
...but then i think my job first and foremost is to make the artist feel comfortable in the studio or on stage; for this, i'll do pretty much anything as i think it's way more important than what gear we're using!
Well yes, but when musicians have ideas that are plain wrong it is probably better not to go along with it. I didn’t know then (and still don’t) if that was one of these situations. It seems to have worked out ok anyway, which is a relief.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Honkermann ➡️
I believe that it was a Miles Davis trademark to “eat the mic” with a Harmon mute. In the studio, he was probably doing that with a Neumann M49.
There is a great photo of Miles recording with Trane in the background using his Harmon (I think). He is definitely not touching the microphone and is maybe a foot away (hard to tell exactly)
I hadn't seen that before the session though, luckily.

https://jazztimes.com/features/colum...-of-1955-1956/
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #6
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeboss ➡️
Sorry he got the 58 he asked for (’57’ was a typo in my post).
i see...
Quote:
I did take him seriously which is why I did it his way. I would have put up another mic but there wasn’t time.
no time to put up another mic?! dunno about you but i'll always have a spare mic reday to go within seconds... - possibly more of a live thing but it doesn't hurt in the studio either!

Quote:
My concern was that even a tiny bit of bashing the harmon against the mic would ruin an otherwise good take and (when recording 9 tracks in 4 hours with quintet) there wouldn’t be enough time to even find out let alone redo it.
I think you were a little overcautious; musicians usually do not 'bash' their instruments and a track doesn't get 'ruined' by a soft bump against the mic...

Quote:
Well yes, but when musicians have ideas that are plain wrong it is probably better not to go along with it. I didn’t know then (and still don’t) if that was one of these situations. It seems to have worked out ok anyway, which is a relief.
in a rather controlled setting of a studio, imo there isn't anything 'plain wrong' musicians could attempt other than smashing gear...

...but in terms of sound? no way! it is what it is and as long as musicians like the results, there's no reason to change the mic position or swap the mic: it's their sound!

i had producers force me to use but a pair of blm's to pick up an entire orchestra because the conductos felt disturbed by the mics flying above/behind him - and this just minutes before i went on air!

___


short: i think our focus and gear and how to use it mostly gets highly overrated! if it'be so damn' important, we could tell from listening to a mix which gear would have been used and how - however, we can't! (except for some very, very rare cases and even then, only the most trained ears with decades of hearing experience can make somewhat more accurate estimates...)



p.s. i used ramsa clip mics on miles in the 80's for his live work...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 10 years
Some trumpet players like to hear the bass tip up it creates on solos, but arrangers on the other hand......................
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
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king2070lplaya's Avatar
It’s the proximity effect we’re after with the eating of the mic. Definitely going for that Miles “Round Midnight”, “My Funny Valentine” sound which has become idiomatic, achieved by playing close into Neumann condensers for those specific recordings.

The leaning on a 58 is a cool trick that’s often learned on live gigs, when we’re young players, so we assume that’s how the sound was achieved in the studio.

You can lean a 58 to do it because the 58 is intended for very close use. A similar effect can be achieved without such close proximity on directional studio mics, which exhibit a more pronounced proximity effect at slightly greater distances than “leaning on the mic”.

You might try putting out a 58, with foam screen on the mic to prevent any tapping sound when they lean in, and then add the studio condenser or ribbon close by, and compare the sounds for the client.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
I think you were a little overcautious; musicians usually do not 'bash' their instruments and a track doesn't get 'ruined' by a soft bump against the mic...

It is not normal proceedure to record an instrument by having it actually in contact with the microphone though. I had no idea (and still don’t) about whether that is really a good idea or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
in a rather controlled setting of a studio, imo there isn't anything 'plain wrong' musicians could attempt other than smashing gear...
The ‘musican is always right’ is of course fine if you are dealing with experienced professional musicians who know how to achieve the results they want. This trumpet player was good but quite inexperienced in the studio. I think his reason for wanting to touch his mute to the SM58 was jsut that is what he had done on gigs (as you have to) and that produced a nice sound in that context rather than it being a conclusion based upon having spent time experimenting in the studio with different mics and approaches. I figured what he really wanted was a kind of exaggerated proximity effect low end boost that could easily be approximated with post eq.
I will revisit the audio and maybe post a clip or 2.


Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
p.s. i used ramsa clip mics on miles in the 80's for his live work...
Wow. I remember seeing Miles a few times in the 80’s, that must have been amazing. I notice from photos though that the mic is like an inch away from the mute, not actually touching it.
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #10
Gear Guru
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by beeboss ➡️
It is not normal proceedure to record an instrument by having it actually in contact with the microphone though. I had no idea (and still don’t) about whether that is really a good idea or not.
if it sounds good, it is good!

Quote:
The ‘musican is always right’ is of course fine if you are dealing with experienced professional musicians who know how to achieve the results they want. This trumpet player was good but quite inexperienced in the studio. I think his reason for wanting to touch his mute to the SM58 was jsut that is what he had done on gigs (as you have to) and that produced a nice sound in that context rather than it being a conclusion based upon having spent time experimenting in the studio with different mics and approaches. I figured what he really wanted was a kind of exaggerated proximity effect low end boost that could easily be approximated with post eq.
I will revisit the audio and maybe post a clip or 2.
of course i haven't witnessed your session but imo your a bit stuck with ideas how things 'should' work - not that i'm exempt from this but in 40+ years i've experienced a number of situations that i would never have believed in my life could even come close to leading to good results - and yet that's exactly what happened!

Quote:
Wow. I remember seeing Miles a few times in the 80’s, that must have been amazing. I notice from photos though that the mic is like an inch away from the mute, not actually touching it.
most folks don't do this with condenser mics, at least not live and certainly not with mini-mics, not even miles! although... - there were plenty of occasions when he hit the mute with the mic or touched the mic with his hand or the clip came off etc. so i'm pretty sure that those who mixed 'we want miles' had to cut out a few bumps!

not much different from the occasional bump of roger daltrey's sm58 which hower can be heard on various live recordings :-)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Not for nothing, SM58s sound quite good on trumpets. It may not be my first choice, but I'm rarely disappointed if they are used.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
It may sound obvious, but I think it's often overlooked - looking at session photos with the M49 in use, there is no way to know what pattern it was set to. Makes a big difference in how much proximity effect was being produced at the micing distance seen.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
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RobAnderson's Avatar
 
15 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
This is how I've come to handle it (live at least):

Give the trumpet playa the Beyer ribbon to aim for/blow into/get right up in his bell/however you wanna say it; and then position the Royer where you would actually want the mic to be if his bell were right on the Beyer.

If you have the channels, plug both in and record both.

If not...

Attached Thumbnails
Recording trumpet with harmon mute-trptribbons.jpg  
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya ➡️
You might try putting out a 58, with foam screen on the mic to prevent any tapping sound when they lean in, and then add the studio condenser or ribbon close by, and compare the sounds for the client.
Thanks, that is what I will do next time
Old 4 weeks ago | Show parent
  #15
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobAnderson ➡️
Give the trumpet playa the Beyer ribbon to aim for/blow into/get right up in his bell/however you wanna say it; and then position the Royer where you would actually want the mic to be if his bell were right on the Beyer.

If you have the channels, plug both in and record both.
And this.

That for all the advice, I have learnt some stuff from this thread.
I will be more prepared next time
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