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How do you prefer to mic a Leslie?

 
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mjt335
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:07 pm    Post subject: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

My band recently purchased a chopped M3 and leslie. We've been touring with it for a few months, but I just got a chance to mic it up and cut some tracks last night. I got a nice sound with two dynamics (a 57 and 5Cool on the high rotor, the lows even came through pretty nicely.

I've also used a single ribbon a couple feet back and thought that was nice as well. You don't get the stereo sound to play with, but it still sounded nice and big.

I know there are a lot of different schools of thought on how to mic them, so I'm just curious... what's your preferred method to mic a leslie? What mics do you like? Do you prefer the 3 mic method? (stereo high + 1 low)

Anyone ever tried anything unconventional on a leslie that sounded cool?

I read this article prior to the session and thought there were some nice ideas there:
http://blog.shure.com/miking-the-legendary-leslie-tone-cabinet/
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Nick Sevilla
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

The trick about the three mics (two high and one low) is how you mix them into a Stereo recording channel.

This is how I've done it well enough:

Two mics up, facing opposite ends of the cabinet, and also perfectly aligned to each other, and you have to measure the distance, as well as do a bit of test recording so you get phase cancellation as much as possible. How to do this quickly? I hope you have a console with group channels. Otherwise search around for doing it inside your DAW... it can be done, but requires some thinking on routing.

Take three channels on a console, labl them LEFT, CENTER, RIGHT.
Pan hard Left, Middle, and hard Right, and assign them to two groups, say groups 1+2, which will be your final Left and Right recording channels.

Bring up each one of those Left/Right channels separately, and get them to be the same level as equally as possible. Make sure you can record POST FADER so that you can get your levels to that Stereo group with the channel's faders, not with the mic preamp trim knobs... that is for getting the main input level into your channel, not for setting the final recording levels.

Then, center them, and play with the DISTANCE of each microphone from the cabinet until you get MORE phase cancellation, not less. This will help your brain and others brains pretend they are "stereo". Once you get this right, pan them back to full Stereo and behold the nice sound. You will be able to tell really really well the movement of the speakers. this is best done with two people, one manning the speakers in the control room, one moving the mics around (very slowly and carefully!)

Lastly, start bringing in the center channel, until you get the fullness you want, but still retain a bit of the "Stereo" field effect from the other two channels. Depending on the song and what the musician will play, say if the organ will be backing a singer, you would get a bit less of that center channel to create a "hole" in the middle for the singer to sit in. If the music is an instrumental with the hammond as the main instrument, then you would bring that center channel up more to get a bigger sound.

That is why most of the time people who try this recording method don't get it right: They don't know that trick. They don't spend the 5-10 minutes it takes to get it right at the source, and then they fuck with their crappily recorded sound for days with plug ins trying to get that magic. Which is impossible. LOL.

Cheers
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drumsound
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 7:21 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

I've done a bit of everything with Leslie. I used to always do stereo top with SDCs (first with SM81s, then Pro 37r, and even Octava MC012) with something on the bottom, usually a dynamic (PL20, M88, TGX50). Then I went into a phase of using an LDC (4050, U87) about 3 feet back, pointed at the front picking up a lot of the wood of the cabinet. I still do a good bit on mono Leslie, like above and also closer to the horn. It depends on the production and the role the Leslie (organ or guitar, sometime even voice) has in the song. I've been digging dynamic mics more lately, using M88s or vintage EV dynamics. They are often less peaky than a condenser mic when close micing.

I don't often mic the bottom these days, because there is bass guitar and bass drum happening and there's a lot of woof down there, especially recording organ.

About 6 months ago a guy brought in his live rig and kind of has a fit that I was only going to mic the top, so I put a mic on the bottom, and one on the top (both M88s). Yes, the bottom mic is a nice warm sound, but I can see needing to cut a lot of that out. I didn't get to mix that record (which still bums me out) so I can't comment how it went at mixdown.

I think the big thing to know is that Leslies just sound awesome, and you can do just about anything and get cool results.
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mjt335
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 12:40 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

Cool. Thanks for the feedback, guys.

I'm tracking directly to tape on a 388 so I really like doing mono to save channels, or stereo, but I'll probably rarely use three mics (unless I was recording an organ trio or other small combo maybe). We also have a super-short leslie, it was a custom chop and it's even shorter than a 145, so I found I actually hear a lot of the low end making its way up to the top mics anyway.

At this point we are using the leslie for organ exclusively... not vox, guitar, etc. Once we invest in the Trek preamp we'll probably experiment with that more!
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A.David.MacKinnon
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:03 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

I usually go mono with an LCD of some kind anywhere from 3-10' back. If it's on the closer end of that range moving the mic up or down changes the bass to treble mix. Once you start getting farther away that becomes less of an issue.
That said, I will still sometimes do 2 mics on the top even if I'm going to mix them both to mono. Two well placed mics in mono will give the impression of doubling the speed of the rotors.
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joninc
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 4:18 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

i almost never mic the bottom unless it's meant to be a bass heavy part.

used to use SDC on the top a lot - then used 414 a lot - lately been using COLES and WOW = that's a dream combo. so rich and not to fizzy or top heavy.

i am a sucker for the stereo swirl so i always mic it in stereo to feel the movement.
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vvv
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:39 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

There's this:
http://mixerman.net/recording-a-leslie/
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Waltz Mastering
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2016 10:12 am    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

I had a 900 series with the pre-amp pedal so it was easy to run guitar or whatever through it as well.

Usually miced the highs with a stereo pair of 414's or similar (1 or 2 feet back) and blended in a mono 421 for the bass. Some times add stereo room.
For Reggae, you need a pretty defined bass for the bubble,
so I got used to committing to a stereo blend with mono bass and stereo highs
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The Real MC
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 12:50 am    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

Experiment with microphones. I found that they really make a difference on the tone of the upper rotor.
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Scodiddly
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

Two useful bits of information about the standard Leslie design:

1) Sound only comes out of one of the two horns up top. The other one is just there for mechanical balance.

2) The crossover point between top and bottom is 800Hz. So you're getting more mids out of the top than you might have expected.
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:02 am    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

drum sound wrote:
It depends on the production and the role the Leslie (organ or guitar, sometime even voice) has in the song.


Good Lord, this!

I've been recording Leslies for over 20 years now and my technique changes all the time, about 90% based on the role of the organ (or other source from the Leslie) has in the song. The other 10% is about spatial/setup considerations and mics and outboard available if I'm working at a place that's not my own.

I used to work at a studio with a VERY large live room (where "Papa's Got A Brand New bag" was recorded) and they had TWO 122s in there. I used to set those things in opposite corners of the room at nearly full blast with a pair of U47s in the middle. Man, that was a nice way to record a pair of Leslies!

Chris Garges
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vvv
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:19 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

cgarges wrote:
... a pair of Leslies!


Sounds like a, eh, dream.

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drumsound
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 21, 2016 11:26 pm    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

cgarges wrote:
drum sound wrote:
It depends on the production and the role the Leslie (organ or guitar, sometime even voice) has in the song.


Good Lord, this!

I've been recording Leslies for over 20 years now and my technique changes all the time, about 90% based on the role of the organ (or other source from the Leslie) has in the song. The other 10% is about spatial/setup considerations and mics and outboard available if I'm working at a place that's not my own.

I used to work at a studio with a VERY large live room (where "Papa's Got A Brand New bag" was recorded) and they had TWO 122s in there. I used to set those things in opposite corners of the room at nearly full blast with a pair of U47s in the middle. Man, that was a nice way to record a pair of Leslies!

Chris Garges
Charlotte, NC

I
ll bet that was something to hear in person!
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cgarges
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2016 10:27 am    Post subject: Re: How do you prefer to mic a Leslie? Reply with quote

It was amazing! I wish I had room for another 122 at my current place. I bet that would sound completely fantastic in there, too!

Chris Garges
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