How to Record a Saxophone


Invented in 1842 and closely linked with the trombones and trumpets is the saxophone, the most expressive instrument of all time. Music from the saxophone touches the soul, a profound effect on most people. Why is that? The saxophone creates sound that brings out emotion. This instrument is the sound of love.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATo make a perfect recording of a saxophone depends on the great sound coming out of your horn, even with the best recording equipment and studio. Before hitting the studio, get your fundamentals right! Get a good engineer who is well experienced in working with the sax. Also take time to learn a little about the recording process, to get a masterpiece. Here are some recording techniques you may need during your studio time.

The first piece of equipment important to recording a saxophone is a microphone. It records well with a condensor mic. Condensor mics may suck on stage because of the feedback but, they offer a pick up pattern that is broader. Different from dynamic mics which are flatter and specialized to record voices, condensor microphones require a battery and you can work with them 3 feet away. Another great mic is the Nuemann U87, a standard mic specialized for sax recording. Its large diaphragm gives a warm sound. However, it is quite expensive.

The next piece of equipment that is important to the recording process is the pre-amp. It boosts your signal to the computer and recording machine giving you a hot sound. When recording, crank the input knob close to red. Gaining it all the way to red will distort your sound. Depending on your particular sound you can experiment on the amount of boost.

You may also choose to experiment with the compressor. It amplifies spit on the reed, breath and the note pads’ clicking sounds. Compression brings each note to climax. Be careful on your compression, depending on the song, make sure you don’t go overboard with the compression.

Use the equalizer to add sizzle and body to beef up your recording. Try out some high end frequency, but with a good mic you may want to go for midsas boosting and low end equalizing. This is to avoid a honky tone. Hear some reverb too and add it to your recording if you feel its vibe. To create the wah-wah effect, connect a wah-wah pedal to your mic, and move it to create the effect. Have fun experimenting during studio time.


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