Hi.... I just recieved a forwarded E-mail subject and reply regarding
recording the trumpet. I am a Studio Engineer/ Producer and my forte just
happens to be Horns!! I have much experience in this field as I am a horn
player myself ... nobody here hold this against me...BUT I'm a saxophonist!!
Anyway I just read Steve Wrights reply and felt that there were things to further add and also to explain.
In Steve's reply he mentions the Neuman U-87 and the AKG C-414 as well as the RCA 77...these are all fine microphones for trumpet with the latter a little schetchy due to the age of the microphone and who knows what condition the one you might use is REALLY in!! These aforementioned microphones are not your project studio microphones either due to the price associated with them. They ARE extremely good and recomended in the horn recording process if available! Some other more affordable microphones include the RODE NT 1 and NT 2, the LAWSON Tube microphone, The Groove Tubes series ( they all are fine!!), Audio Technica's 4033, and 4050 microphones and my favorite the CAD Equitek E-100, 200 and 300. If you are looking to additionally add a room
ambience Stereo mic. pair...I would use either the SONY or Shure Bro. VP-88. These are wonderful for getting off-axis sound or Out-front ( say maybe 8 or 10 feet) sound. I have not used the Soundelux U series microphones but have heard from various engineers that they are superior microphones as well. I personally use the CAD E-100 for ALL horns that I record as it will accept and handle large SPL's, (Sound Pressure Levels) we all know trumpets as well as other comparable horns will knock out some of those!!!!
To address the Digital recording and the "lack" of warmth...Well most of us grew up listening to Albums...Tapes...45's and 8 Track tapes. Those mediums could only capture "part" of what the performer was playing as the frequency spectrum was not serviced completely. Some of the "older" microphones were not designed to be recorded using such a high tech. format thus the microphone's inherent flaws show themselves. Our ears were and have
been only accustomed to hearing part of the recorded frequency range as well and sometimes with the new CD and other digital platforms....it seems harsh to our ears..as we are not used to hearing those frequencies coming out of a
recorded medium. ( I hope I'm not rambling..it's hard to describe and explain this so that ALL, regardless of experience, may understand ) Sometimes faulty recording techniques can cause an undesired result regardless of the
Now I shall share a small fragment of placement knowledge I have found to work best while recording trumpets. First of all...make sure the microphone is situated where the performer is very comfortable playing. A consistent signal is VERY important in capturing the sound. Next place the microphone about 12 inches ( 1 foot) away from the end of the trumpet. At this time have the performer play as loudly as he/she will play during the session....use the attenuator (trim) control on the console (mic/pre) to turn down the input so as to prevent any and all overloaded signal (clipping). Try to keep the signal going in as HOT (loud) as possible without clipping (overloading). The next thing is EXTREMELY important....RECORD THE TRUMPET WITH NO EQUILIZATION. This will allow you to affect the sound in an objective way LATER. It also has been my experience that recording FLAT (without EQ) will stabilize the input and gain control in the Console or Mic/pre.
I think have have gone REALLY LONG on this....but have been rather thorough. If anyone has further questions regarding this subject...Equipment questions..Microphone questions or whatever...just E-mail me at
RMBSAX@AOL.COM (MARK BLACK)