Academy Dashboard Forum Studio Gear Talk Recording Horns

  • This topic has 9 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 4 years ago by Kevin.
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      Anyone have any suggestions for affordable microphones for recording horns in a jazz or other context?

      face (chris) Janton

        The MXL ribbon mics might be a decent start. Inexpensive. Something like the R144 ($85 at Amazon these days)

        I really like this one - but 10 times the price

        The Royer R-10 looks really promising, too, $500, 160 dB SPL capable

        Depending on your pre-amp(s) you might need to put a FETHEAD or Cloudlifter in the circuit to get some tasty gain.

        For my first attempts I would get out my Advanced Audio DM20 - - and work with the rolloff settings to hear if I can get a sound I would like.


          Awesome, thanks Chris! I've checked out the Royer but haven't heard of the MXL R144 or the AA DM20. Do most ribbons need a cloudlifter or gain boost with a regular interface preamp?

          Also have you tried out any Large Diagram Condensers with horns? Do some of them sound good at all on them?

          face (chris) Janton

            The MXL R144 is very inexpensive, and very "colored". Many ribbons need "extra" gain, as well as mics like the SM7B. Active ribbon mics (VR2) don't need the extra gain.

            I have a Cloudlifter. I put it in front of the R144 and get easy levels to work with. I got the DM20 to use as my voice-over mic. Similar to the RE20, but a lot less money. Lots of flexibility on the rolloff settings. I *really* like it. Works great on voices. Works very nicely on fiddle (bluegrass), haven't put it in front of horns, but from the sounds I get when I use it I would be happy to use it on horns.

            Large diaphragm condensers on horns is tricky. They pick up *everything* and can be overdriven by brass - easily.

            An SM58 can sound good on horns - all depends on context. If you are doing separate, isolated tracks for an individual horn a condenser might work. If you are doing a section, or live room recordings the dynamics/ribbons might be better.

            What's the planned recording setup?


              The band would track live for the recordings, in my basement basically, I have a homemade drum booth for drum isolation. I still need to run some tests to see how an upright bass and saxophone would do in the space.

              Matt Graham

                How did your sessions go? Did anyone suggest the Shure SM7b?


                  I haven't heard of people using it on horns before, but I guess it would work! That bands had to postpone for a while, but I'm doing a session with a friend who plays trumpet on Saturday. I got a really good deal on a C414, and also got a Lewitt LCT 440. I'm excited to get recording!

                  Dave Le Sange

                    Hey Chris,
                    Hope you're having great recordings with your 414 & that lovely Lewitt.

                    I'd just like to suggest the Cascade Fatheads might suit your future needs for recording horns.


                    Stereo set of matched ribbons for under $500.

                    I love love love them on horns, strings & acoustic guitar. They're phantom safe, & have a fairly high output level, so you probably won't need a Cloudlifter or special ribbon mic pres.

                    Can't specifically speak to that, I've personally only used them through my AEA RPQ500 pres.

                    Hope your trumpet session went well!



                      Hi Dave,

                      Thanks it went well. The 414 had to go the shop to get fixed, but at least it was under warranty.

                      I haven't checked out the Fatheads but they look awesome! Might think of this for my next purchase, whenever that may be haha.



                        Last time I recorded brass, I used LCT440’s too and it worked great. It was trumpet, sax, and trombone. One LCT about 1meter distance facing the instrument. Yes, you don’t get total isolation that way, but you don’t need that.

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