Recording Tip: Brass

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The trickiest thing about recording brass sounds is capturing the warmth and natural sound of the instrument, avoiding that clear and brittle sound so often heard on cheaper recordings. If possible, use an older-style ribbon mic, although a large diaphragm condenser mic will also serve.

With both the trumpet and the trombone, place the mic up to half a metre away from the bell, slightly off axis to the bell (the closer the mic, the more intimate the sound). If you are seeking a more classical sound, place the mic one to two metres away.  With the tuba, the mic should be placed at least half a metre away from the bell.

Avoid tuning problems by asking the players to warm up for at least ten minutes before you start recording, as it takes this amount of time for pitch to settle, especially in cold weather.

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