Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Codemonkey, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    So, a choir has just arrived from Bentonville, Arkansas, to our church. I went along tonight and the place was filled with flight cases.

    I swear I could've jumped through the roof with joy, I honestly cannot believe that 12 flight cases of audio gear are sitting alongside our tiny little setup of err, a Phonic mixer and some PG58s.

    The audio guy seems nice and knows his stuff, and the choir is great.
    I'm absolutely buzzing about this week.

    Anyone ever feel like this anymore, or does the feeling of "WOOT, GEAR!" wear off quickly? (Like, when you have to lug the snake?)

    FWIW, I wouldn't be in this position if it wasn't for RO. Thanks for over a year of tips and advice :cool:.
  2. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Heh, Code, I just walked into the Goo Goo Dolls studio here in Buffalo, NY last month, and just about crapped my pants when I saw their Fairchild 670. I think for anyone that doesn't deal with the big-money gear, or new gear, every day, its always a fun experience.

    So let's hear the run down on your gig?
  3. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    From Arkansas to Scotland...there has GOT to be a song in there!

    Good for you CM, hold on to that joy, it's a wonderful thing.

    Show 'em what you know, but watch out for the accent, the women can be very enchanting when they speak :)

    Wait, is that Southern women or Northern women? No matter, they all get your attention!
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Actually Space, it's a youth choir. So I'm not going there.

    The gear is all rented, and apart from some Behringer DIs I'm amazed the stuff even exists in Scotland.
    The desk is a Yamaha LS9, digital affair which is a total novelty. Even watching them set levels is so different to the analog-with-100s-of-knobs I'm used to.

    I do feel like a hack though, our band played a few songs at tonight's service and the choir sang a few as well - so they set up their system around us and well, I can hear the headroom. Our gear sounds muddy and ugly compared to their LDC's and whatnot.
    (I have no idea what model the LDCs are, but there's 2 of them covering the choir - they're AKG, square in build and have about 5 different pickup patterns, and they sound awesome).

    BTW, musically they're great. Really impressed by the sound and tightness of all of them (drummer, 2 keys, guitar and bass, and a 30 strong choir).

    Now, do I want to get up at 8am tomorrow and help them set up or should I stick to helping set down at 9pm...
  5. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I always learned a lot more during set-up than tear down, people have more time to talk and answer questions. Tear down is always in a rush and no one wants to discuss anything 'cause they are usually exhausted.

    The LS9 looks like fun I just googled it, nice. Sorry did not understand abbreviation LDC, what did you mean?
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Large Diaphragm Condenser.

    These things come with their own case and look incredibly expensive.

    Oh, and I got to hear/touch a SM58 tonight. They're so much smaller than our PG58s, and have something better about the low end.
  7. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    My guess would be C414s. They are workhorses. We have about fifteen of them at my school here, they are all different. There are 4 that the seniors consistently steal from us. Those are the originals that sound the best.

    I say go to the set-up. You will learn more.
  8. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    A youth choir? Ain't you is a youth?

    It's the chance of a lifetime
  9. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Iamfrobs, I'm really considering it. But I gotta be at uni like an hour or so later...
    They're also setting up at various schools as part of a tour this week, I wanna go to at least one.

    Just checked AKGs site, they do appear to be a C414XLS edition.

    Space, I'm 19. Just past the "youth" line. The choir is almost entirely <18. There's one that's 19, but that's a dude.
  10. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    LS9? <hawk, spit>

    Could be worse though, could be a PM5D. :twisted:

    Here's a proper digital mixer:
    (My local 02 Academy has three of them! :D)
  11. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member


  12. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Unfortunately not the easiest of things to lug around in a van for a week. :p
  13. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    But did have fun and learn anything?
  14. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Definitely had fun.

    I helped them load up/set up/tear down on the Friday (the last gig). That was definitely a learning experience.

    There are other ways to set up, but this worked for them, seems logical, and they had it down to a fine art.

    When setting up,
    - place your House speakers roughly where they'll end up.
    - place the snake's stagebox.
    - lay out risers + monitors/amps.
    - run power lines.
    - place instruments + run mics.
    (meanwhile) run the snake, connect to the desk.
    - obviously, turn on the desk first, then amps.
    - get a signal generator/music CD and test your monitors.
    - test all input signal paths (click fingers on mics).

    When carrying flightcases up/down stairs the person further down should carry from the bottom, not using any handles that might be there. Keeps the case flat and lets you get a better grip.
  15. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    19??? A mere child and still wet behind the ears.... :)

    but, hell... anyone younger than 40's about a kid...

    You pay for uni, right? Well... you CAN'T buy experience... Sorry, but unless it was a major exam... I'd have to blow it off in favor of experience that's ultimately more valuable.

    Does the woody ever wear off from puttin' yer' grubbies on a sweet piece of iron?? Oh hell no! (If it does, I hope to either be dead, or out of my Alzheimer's laden mind.)

    There's no better feeling than looking a stack of knib-knob T5A 92000's and knowing;
    A) That they ARE going to do what you need them to.
    B) You KNOW how to operate them to get them to do what YOU want them to do.
    C) They're yours!

    I cuss a snake every single time I gotta run it out or line it back in the trunk... I especially hate it when you gotta run TWO 48x8 trunks out, all 300' of em... I also cuss every time I gotta coil a 100' mic, DMX or duracat.

    3 phase 00 and 000 feeder will make ya cuss like a sailor too... especially in 90'F temps...

    Steel flyware and chain motors ain't exactly that much fun and giggles either...

    But when you light it all up and make it through the soundchecks... Oh yeah man... It's worth it.

    On an aside... 414's are pretty pedestrian/utility mic's. Nuttin' all that fancy. Good solid sturdy mic, sure... but not much to get all that excited over... a C12 on the other hand.... WOOOOOOT!

    Just a bit of a guess, mind you, but what you experienced with this group is what I routinely work with in my remote tracking work... a tad on the smaller size, but essentially that's a routine tracking session.

    I only hope you were able to get in there and watch them do their thing and lend a hand where you could. Good will and a learning experience all in your own back door is worth taking advantage of the opportunity.
  16. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Not sure I would agree with that. They are ubiquitous in much the same way as a '58: because they are really good. But they cost a lot more than SM58s!

    That reminds me of my first sound engineering gig, back when I was even younger than our friend Codemonkey: I was working for a shopping centre TV station, and was responsible for the sound for the daily live show, which took place in the "Oasis" food court... it wasn't originally planned that way: they had a little TV studio to do the shows in, but they moved it into the food hall when they realised no-one paid any more attention to it than they did to the looping tape that played for the rest of the day.

    As a consequence the stage was in front of the main PA stacks (which were either side of the big TV screen) and the presenter was wandering around with a radio mic in a huge echoing cavernous room with a time-delayed network of in-fill speakers pointing at him. You can imagine how much fun that caused!

    My first task was to amplify a string quartet. My mic box contained three 414s and nothing else... obviously that first time had more feedback squeeks than I care to remember, and I think I did a more succesful job of amplifying the cleaners emptying the bins behind the stage than I did the musicians.

    The next time the string quartet came back a few weeks later I had managed to scrounge 3 SM58s* (one borrowed from the clown troupe!) and had stolen a shotgun mic from one of the cameras. I well remember the doubtful looks on their faces as I set up SM58's over the left shoulders of the violin and viola players (I wasn't sure myself that I knew what I was doing!), and the subsequent look of suprise and delight on their musical director's face when it sounded great (for the first time ever in that room, apparently), with no feedback squeals or un-scored clangs from the bins.

    * I got hold of the '58s after another of my early gigs down there, after the producer had booked a full rock band and blithely assured them that "yes we've got a PA system, don't worry." That was a difficult gig...
  17. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    MadMax: "You pay for uni, right?"
    In Scotland, the taxpayers pay for uni. We just need to pay back about £2200 of "Graduate Endowment tax". There's rules but generally anyone going to uni for their first course can get fees paid.
    Agreed though, I should've said "to hell with uni" and gone to my old primary (elementary) school and helped them set up.

    I long for the day I can get some SM58s (with no switches on them*). If 414's are a decent mic then I look forward to this year's church panto...there's a plan to hire 2 for use as stage mics (taping 3 dynamics to the low archway doesn't work).

    IIRs, that sounds like hell.

    Btw, I had a dream this morning, that there was a concert in our church hall, and I wasn't the sound guy, but I was still worrying, and still having to set up stuff, cause no-one had told me what was needed.
    (Annoyingly, that dream isn't that far off reality).

    *no switches: the guest speaker at church this week had the mute switch active on his radio mic. The number of times I've seen singers wonder why there's nothing in the monitor because the mic had been switched off.
  18. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    I guess pedestrian probably wasn't the best choice of descriptors...

    I just think that as far as the "be all, end all" mic that some profess the 414 to be... I just don't see it.

    When it's the right mic, or when you are limited in your choices, then a 414 is the best "Swiss Army knife" of microphones to reach into the mic locker and find.

    I know of few self respecting studios that don't have a pair stashed somewhere.
  19. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    I've been holding my breath on this, waiting for the real pros to have their say. I can't wait any longer.

    I own 2 of the 414-XLS. It's my favorite mic. It's also my only mic over $300 (or so). I use it especially for OHs, vocal mic, inst mic (esp. strings), and a room mic.
    For room, you can use 1 in omni, or 2 in a 135 degree spread (near-coincident). A guy who does a LOT of school orchestra/choral recordings uses his KSM-27s in the latter manner.
    I think that would be a nice setup for room mics in your church.
    They typically run around $1k here in the states, though.

    Caveat: I don't own any of the real nice mics others have mentioned here. I've also noticed that the 414 is real hit-or-miss on vocals, esp male vox. It seems to have a little weaker bass response than some other mics. Plus, it's pretty "pristine", so not a lot of warmth imo.

    That's my say. Anyone wanna pick it apart?
  20. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Are you a musician?
    What instrument do you play?

    When I was 19 I had just started playing in a band with my new Ensoniq eps sampling keyboard that I worked almost a year to buy.

    At the time the Emulator III keyboard was the real fancy instrument. I worked at Rodger Doger Music here in Minneapolis at the time it was introduced. It sold for $16,000 and sounded like it was worth every penny. Anyway, its fun to have access to nice gear, but its what you can afford that is what is important. Often times its easy to be intimidated by the prices for all this fancy stuff.

    It was really fun to play in a band. We did one performance and then the band split up. Funny how that works.

    Have you considered soldering your switches to always stay on? I don't know if you are familiar with soldering but you could always try practicing on some wire before tackling the job.

    414's are great mics, you know from your own experience. That is, we all know from our own experiences.

    Thats part of what makes this forum so great, we can benefit from sharing what we have done and observed.

    I had used the 414 the first time in the midi project studio at Film In The Cities back in 1990. I fell in love with all the equipment in that studio because it was great but not too expensive.

    The 414 was plugged into a 16ch. Soundcraft 400 series board fed to a 1/2" Otari 5050 Mk.III 8track analog deck and I recorded my voice for the first time by myself. It was a spiritual experience.
    I think at that point I was hooked like a fish swallowing a lure. Every now and then I find that experience happening all over again.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences,

Share This Page