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TV and Film Composer David Schwartz Relies On Neumann TLM 49

Los Angeles–based television and film music composer David Schwartz (pictured) uses a large diaphragm Neumann TLM 49 microphone in his work. Schwartz began composing for television in 1990 and has written themes, scores and songs for Northern Exposure, Arrested Development, Deadwood, Wolf Lake, Leap of Faith, The Two Of Us and Magic in the Water .

Schwartz purchased the TLM 49 through Coast Recording in Hollywood and primarily uses it to record upright bass, which is his first instrument. “It’s become my upright bass mic,” he says. “It’s very tight, it’s very focused and it’s very full. I love it for that. Being a bass player, it’s made my life easy.

“The TLM 49 is consistent,” he continues. “Recording the upright has always been a formidable challenge. We could leave it set up and the next day it would be different, but this mic seems to be a good solution every time. I tried a lot of mics just for the string bass. I’ve made some changes to my bass rig, too, but I’ve always had two great basses, and now I use very little of the pickup. I just use the TLM 49.”

Schwartz adds that the TLM 49 has also streamlined his recording workflow. “I normally go in and record my parts after the other players leave. Before the 49, I would have three mics up and I’d be EQ’ing and compressing them. But with this mic, I just put it in front of the bass in the classic miking position—by the f-hole—which I never was able to use before. It’s great that way; not only is it a great sounding mic, but it’s easy to set up. And now, when I’m writing, a lot of the time I keep it set up, and instead of doing it in MIDI first, I just record it, so I only have to do it once.”

Schwartz has also used the TLM 49 to record other instruments. “It performed well as a kick drum mic and sounded great on vocals,” he says. “I feel there are some voices that we’ll use the TLM 49 on over other mics. The TLM 49 is big but it’s very tight, and that’s a nice combination.”

Schwartz is often called upon to provide songs for the shows that he is scoring. “Right now I’m doing Runaway, then there are two ABC comedies, Big Day and In Case of Emergency, which will be broadcast soon. And there’s a great little USA Network television movie called Underfunded. It’s a dramady about the Canadian secret service. I used the mic a lot on that. We’re having a very busy period here.”

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