Best way to record trombone + piano

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Elow
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Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by Elow » Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:21 pm

What’s the best way to record a trombone solo with piano accompaniment? I’m recording something for an audition and would like to get the best possible recording. The recording requires video too
ithinknot
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by ithinknot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:51 pm

A good space! The room is part of the instrument. Specifically, a good space that has a good - and recently tuned - piano. Churches (ideally of the uncarpeted denominations :wink: ) may be good local options - but make sure you can turn off the central air.

A longer and tech-ier answer depends entirely on how much you want to spend, at which point hiring a pro very quickly becomes financially preferable.

Honestly, you'll get further with a well-placed iPhone (/Zoom recorder, similar low-budget options...) in a really good acoustic than with a lot more kit in a worse space, and in a worse space, you need to really know what you're doing both at capture and in post. (It's only been a side gig for the last couple of years, but I say this as someone with a few pro production credits and a lot of expensive toys :good: )
ithinknot
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by ithinknot » Tue Jun 08, 2021 1:09 pm

The other thing to bear in mind for unedited audition/competition videos, especially if you get pro assistance with the audio, is to keep the video simple. Just a single shot from a decent camera, with no more than 'normally good' lighting. Any more starts to look suspiciously slick.

I've often helped colleagues with this sort of thing - we might be well into $$$$$ on the audio gear, but sync it up to a straightforward iPhone video.

Great audio/normal video seems unpretentious and musically compelling, good video/bad audio is pointless, and pro AV all round will just make people assume you edited it, even when you didn't.
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robcat2075
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by robcat2075 » Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:13 pm

ithinknot wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:51 pm
...Honestly, you'll get further with a well-placed iPhone (/Zoom recorder, similar low-budget options...) in a really good acoustic...

Idea: Book the site and your accompanist for some day several days before you need to record it for real.

Use that occasion to record a characteristic 30-60 second passage that shows off both piano and horn and do it ten times, with the mic in a different location each time. Near... far... left... right... high... low... front... back... different directions if it's a directional mic... etc.

Make a careful note of where/how each one was recorded so you can reproduce it. You could announce it at the start of each take, "Row 3, seat 5!"

Take all the clips home, decide which circumstance best serves your purpose and use that one one for the real recording.
>>Robert Holmén<<

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patrickosmith
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by patrickosmith » Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:52 pm

If I were to do this myself, here is what I would do:

1) Choose a reverberant room that makes it easy for you to sound good.
2) Place one stereo pair using small condenser mics about 6 inches above the piano sound holes of a grand piano with the lid partially open
3) Place a second stereo pair using large condenser mics about 15 feet from your bell (and about 6 to 8 feet above the ground assuming you are standing or 4 to 6 feet if you are sitting). Place yourself closer to this stereo pair than the piano. You and the pianist should be able to see each other but the pianist can face the back (it's not a recital) while you face the front toward the camera. The camera should show your face and slide action (i.e., it should be from your right side).

Put the 4 mic inputs into a mixer. Create a 2-track stereo output to feed the video camera. Be sure to adjust mixer gain levels for individual mics on piano and on trombone when performing at the loudest levels. Adjust the relative mix between piano and trombone to your liking. Feed the stereo mix into your video camera and be sure to adjust the gain levels on the camera too.

If you can keep the setup in place, you can do multiple recording sessions on different days and chose the best one.
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Doug Elliott
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by Doug Elliott » Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:00 pm

Good suggestions, but for most auditions they're going to care a lot more about how you play than the recording technique you use, as long as it's reasonable.
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imsevimse
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by imsevimse » Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:11 pm

robcat2075 wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 2:13 pm
ithinknot wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 12:51 pm
...Honestly, you'll get further with a well-placed iPhone (/Zoom recorder, similar low-budget options...) in a really good acoustic...

Idea: Book the site and your accompanist for some day several days before you need to record it for real.

Use that occasion to record a characteristic 30-60 second passage that shows off both piano and horn and do it ten times, with the mic in a different location each time. Near... far... left... right... high... low... front... back... different directions if it's a directional mic... etc.

Make a careful note of where/how each one was recorded so you can reproduce it. You could announce it at the start of each take, "Row 3, seat 5!"

Take all the clips home, decide which circumstance best serves your purpose and use that one one for the real recording.
I think this is good advice. I have made a few recordings at home during the pandemic and the audio- and video settings is something that takes a session in itself.

I have everything set up in my living room just awaiting the right moment when I think I'm ready to record.

Besides all settings it is very important at what distance and angle the mics are placed and also where in the room you record. To make notes of all settings and where the mics are placed is exactly what I did to find out what gives the best result My experience is a change of one parameter might need correction of other parameters and in the end another placement of the mics.

You do not want to think about these things when you record so you have to do it separately, and it is not easy if you are an inexperienced sound engineer (amateur sound engineer like me). If you plan to record multiple tracks then don't change in between. Once you start the recording session keep the settings, or else it will be heard in the final tracks as confusing.

I use one or two Nauman U87 mics. When recording classical trombone then my experience is not to aim straight at the mic and not to be to close.
If it is jazz I instead aim right at the mic (one mic) and go close, about 20 cm.

/Tom
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My webbpage: https://sites.google.com/site/brazzmusic

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Savio
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by Savio » Tue Jun 08, 2021 11:54 pm

If you have a big nice sounding room I would just put up a zoom recorder or something like that a few meters away. Then you don't have to mix balance, just check the input volume is ok.

Leif
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harrisonreed
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by harrisonreed » Wed Jun 09, 2021 4:00 am

The best way is like this:

Get a four or eight input audio interface and four or six microphones. The piano needs two SDC mics, and the trombone needs two LDC Omni mics. If you use six mics, the final pair should be two LDC Omni mics.

You need a DAW like FL Studio or Cakewalk.

Close-mic the piano, nearly inside the lid with the two SDC mics. This is one stereo, or maybe two mono inputs.

Mic your trombone at a 45 degree angle from the front of the bell, 6-8 feet away, and higher than head level. 9-12 feet of the ground is best. The mics should be about 1.5-2 feet apart, in Omni mode.

Mic the room with the last pair, if using. Where the audience would be, and the mics far apart. Or use fake reverb.

Clap your hands where you will stand to play the trombone and press a few keys after you set everything up on an initial recording. You'll see that there are slight delays between where the piano mic is picking up around, a longer delay for the trombone, and a much larger delay for the room. You might have to tell the DAW to adjust the piano track a few milliseconds so the delay matches the trombone mic, and you might want to shift the room left a bit, to taste.

Done
Mikebmiller
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Re: Best way to record trombone + piano

Post by Mikebmiller » Wed Jun 09, 2021 9:34 am

Doug Elliott wrote:
Tue Jun 08, 2021 3:00 pm
Good suggestions, but for most auditions they're going to care a lot more about how you play than the recording technique you use, as long as it's reasonable.
What he said.

A Zoom recorder with the built-in stereo mics will give you a good recording without getting too complicated. You can synch it to a video recording and mute the bad audio from the camera in post production. Or just get a decent little external mic for your phone and go for it.
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