Help! - Recording for Live Sound

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by AnalogFreq, Feb 24, 2008.

  1. AnalogFreq

    AnalogFreq Guest

    Right now, I have but a single piece of hardware to my name, seeking some help getting started as a live sound engineer.

    I have a whole wishlist of dependable gear I'm looking at to get me started to be able to set up a gig solo, but one thing still gets me because of my inexperience in the field...

    I need some clarity and/or suggestions on what type of mixer i should get (not so much the brand, but practicality and cost, given i have a budget to start at of around 5,000 - and i work at Guitar Center *Big Discount*) to be able to eventually record to multitrack.

    Some things are still very cloudy to me - i want to get either a hardware multitrack of some sort, or if more convenient, a means of laptop software for recording.

    If anyone has any helpful, constructive input, I would love to hear from you (*please try not to criticize/be a smart-ass), and thank you in advance!!
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Laptop will be used for multitrack recording?
    A few people have doubts about the capacity of a laptop (same with USB 1.1 interfaces) to record more than a few tracks.

    A cheat I learned (but haven't tried yet) having no direct outs on our Church mixer, is to use the insert jacks to provide an output (send, just doubling the signal to the return). Although with your budget, a mixer with direct outs should be easy enough to get.
    You'd need to tell us the number of channels you'd need, plus what else you'd like to get. I suspect you'd want some EQ units or whatever, which all has to be worked in somehow.
  3. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    If you want to record live sound, the most stable recorder for a laptop, proven on tours and some Vegas shows for years is SAWStudio.

    There is a software console that you could consider from the same maker, when combined with outboard micpres/converters provides:

    "72 inputs... 72 outputs... Front Of House Mixer... 24 Stereo Monitor Mixers... 6 Stereo Aux Sends On Each Mixer... Networking modes to control the system from Front Of House, Monitor and Musician positions (via Ethernet)

    All mixer views available for each mixer... that means you control the monitor mixes with Full, Zoom and Wide Mixer views... the monitors can use their own reverb sends and returns, separate from the FOH mix, or pull from the FOH mix...

    Each mixer will carry it's own snapshot and automation engine, so each monitor mix can be independently automated per song for each musician's preference...

    Special internal busing designed to link directly to SAWStudio so the live performance can be recorded directly to the SAWStudio MultiTrack...
    And More!"

    So, imagine a couple of cheap laptops. They are connected with an ethernet cable. One is for recording, running a 72 input (mono/stereo) recorder and the other is running a 72-input FOH console, monitors, etc.

    Could put you on the map in your market. Sure would make touring a bit easier on you, the crew and the budget. Job security if you can really mix.

    Really, aside from this, I would make sure that you own SIA SMAART, a flat mic pre and the reference mic. Maybe attend some SynAudCon training events and be taught how to use it to it's max.
  4. AnalogFreq

    AnalogFreq Guest

    sorry.. i guess i should clarify a bit...

    I'm looking at spending around 5000$ on a complete live sound set-up (mics, rack units, mixer, monitors, ect)...

    so... with that said, i still want a live mixer for running sound through PA and everything with an additional, be it Hardware Multitrack or laptop without delaying sound to monitors (is laptop strongly discouraged?).

    So - you tell me what seems more practical (in cost and practicality).
    - another question i have (maybe showing a little too much of what i dont know), How would i go about running a console to my laptop without an immediate usb/firewire connection available on the console??
    *BTW Codemonkey, i appreciate the tip - i think I'll tinker with that in a friends basement, see what comes out of it.
  5. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    5 Grand?

    Where are you gonna take this rig?

    Two of my small center fill cabinets cost 5 grand...
  6. AnalogFreq

    AnalogFreq Guest

    small venues in nearby area to start - interning to give me a better grasp of what to expect.

    ...and please... constructive criticism at the least
  7. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    you can get something smallish going for 5g's.

    i'd say that if you're looking to record and do live sound, you need a mackie onyx mixer with the firewire card. it'll give you up to 18 simultaneous tracks (inputs 1-16, plus main out L+R). that whole thing will be close to 1000$

    for small venues, look into powered PA stuff .. maybe the jbl eon's or the mackie srm speakers. a bit more money , but they're super convenient and fast. there's another $2000 on your front end and a snake

    monitors means another $1000 .. either for smaller active speakers (again... eon or srm) or for passive speakers and a power amp.

    so don't forget about cases to keep all your stuff safe!!! set aside $200 or $300 for a mixer case, a mic case, and a rack case.

    that leaves you with $700 -- the perfect amount for some used microphones on eBay.. buy some SM57's, some Audix OM2's, a beta52a, and some inexpensive condenser microphones for overheads.

    if you have money left over, get an effects unit like a tc m300 or lexicon mx100.

    THEN... when you get some more money you can get some more rack gear ... compressors and an EQ.
  8. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member won't get anything that people with money are going to rent. Anything that small people will buy after they see themselves spending the money on rentals.

    What you need to consider is buying what YOU need for you to do YOUR job on someone else's rig and that is all. Only buy what is so specialized that you can't rent it. That would be your laptop, your acoustic analysis software, preamp and measurement mic. Buy and extra of those and you can record stereo into your laptop.

    I would take some of that money and live on it while working for free as an assistant for an A1 with a major sound company in your region, or a band engineer for a major. Go see what it is REALLY like to do a REAL show before you waste resources. Network. Find all of the smaller guys and buddy up so that you guys can collectively get bigger events when you yourself don't have the inventory.

    People with lots of inventory and excellent service get rentals. Engineers working for the bands that book the rentals make the desisions. Find where you are on the food chain. It is much easier to put money in your pocket as a full time church, corporate or successful band engineer, than it is to recoup rental gear expenses in the low end.

    Unless you do work for an indie band that does all originals, there isn't going to be much market for recording. Club bands would have to pay too much in fees and royalties to release it. I bet if you do some research you will find most small club bands don't record live or have a need for it. Maybe you have some niche market you aren't telling us about. But, recording is not all that hot of a business anymore. It's just as easy for the bands to go buy the stuff themselves, take it home and mix, then sell it. Or they use what they have already.
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    "Constructive criticism"?
    How about clarifying your specific goal? How about walking into a local GC and picking up a Guide to Sound Reinforcement Systems handbook? You're question is way too vague and naive.
    Try canvassing the local live music scene (bars and churches) to see who might be able to use your God-given skills. It's called "sweat equity", "backbone", or "balls". You don't get experience by walking onto a site and saying, " Hey, fellas! Here I am with my new mikther and thpeakerth. Where do I plug in?"
    Hard, ball-busting work hauling gear (is a minivan in that $5K budget?), pulling cables ( and not the cheap $*^t GC sells), tracing down bad connections, dealing with players' egoes, arrogant venue managers, and the slew of other hurdles that you'll inevitably run into, are but a small sampling of what you can "expect" to deal with. 5 grand is nothing, don't come here and act like you're King $*^t with a few bucks in your pocket.
    And don't get smartass to a professional who gave it to you straight.
  10. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    ouch. haha
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Also the thing about the insert cables, I intended to make mine. Normal inserts etc. wouldn't work although playing about will get you somewhere in the end.
  12. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    wow you guys are dicks!!!

    remember when you guys were getting started?

    dropping $10k+ may be easy for some of you guys, but i sure dont have it. obviously he doesnt either.

    this guy is getting started so dont be such haters to him
  13. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Positive thinking rockstardave?
    Our whole church system probably cost less than 5Gs although
    A) we're in £
    B) ours was done in drips and drabs and is both amateur and incomplete

    However...(guesswork and doubling each figure to convert to $)
    $1200 for mixer
    probably $300 per speaker + $250 per "monitor" which are our old speakers really (2 of each)
    $600 for snake + 2 boxes of cables/extension cords etc.
    $200 for monitor amp
    $300 on mics/stands

    plus, i suppose $600 for old powered mixer which we sometimes use but doesnt count

    I get $3000 including the old mixer and everything we have, for a fairly small Church setup.
    Although once you take the UK price - VAT and then convert using 1.8 or whatever, it works out less.

    So I'd say it can be done but remember, we have no outboard, fairly lousy but functioning speakers and a half broken mixer. Oh, and Shure PG58s so yes, you will probably want to spend nearer the $5k mark.

    Although I agree with the idea of joining with some other small setup and making a slightly larger setup between you both. Hell, you could do gigs separately but with a pool of equipment.
  14. donthaveone

    donthaveone Guest

    In my limited experience it is not a good idea to spend a bunch of money without the experience to a) use it properly or b)know for shure if you really need it.

    I would def take the advice above and get in the game by finding ways to run sound at some of your local venues. Sound guys need a day off too. let them know you run sound and offer to sit in when needed.

    Use what different gear is out there before you make a purchase decision. Find out what you really need and like in order to recoup your investments and actually start making money.

    One thing that realy got me about your second post is the amount of work involved in what you want to do. Bringing all that gear to a location, setting it up, running sound, recording, breaking it down, and packing it all back up. That is alot of work my friend. No to mention the truck and trailer you will need to ge tit there.

    This business is a long road, start slow.
  15. AnalogFreq

    AnalogFreq Guest

    **for some extra clarity (and not to waste any more breath posting on these forums..)*

    *To SHEET and all the other pessimists:

    I have all these books mentioned
    I'm going to a Recording school
    I do work at Guitar Center
    I'm looking at any plausible means to get started (which to me, 5k$ with a good 50% discount from working at guitar center looks very plausible)
    I DON'T plan on buying yet, because i know how inexperienced i am, which is why I'm on this forum, getting everything together now before i ^#$% up my life.

    And yes, i do have an slight understanding of what i should be doing before jumping in with the big dogs - I am currently interning with a few people, one of which walked me through the Battle Of The Bands in my area.

    .. I guess what I'm asking for now from this thread is ANY suggestions or tips, regardless my inexperience or how much money i have - so any useful information would be much obliged!
  16. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Always eat your greens.

    Well, you said ANY tips!
  17. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    1) Find a band you like locally and run sound for them.
    2) Run sound for other bands when they play gigs with the band above.
    3) Look for a house gig at a nightclub or bar.
    4) Slowly accumulate gear.
    5) Build a resume so you can land a decent job.
    6) Build a resume so you can have a functioning business whose services are in high demand.

    The first three build experience, the latter 3 are the result of that experience.

    What more do you want???
  18. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    What most people want is the quick fix solution.

    Thankfully the people with sense who did it however will say "I wish I did it slower". I'm glad our Church started with basic gear, if I'd been landed with a massive rack of something, along with some Mackie Onyx 3280 I'd have went through so much hassle.
    Granted that learning equipment and learning the business are different but there's definitely a comparison to be made there.
  19. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    oh hey i forgot that you work at GC..

    her'es a GREAT money-saving tip..

    DONT BUY FROM THE STORE!!!!!!! contact each manufacturer directly to get better deals.

    when i worked at GC i was a sucker at first and brought the stuff home after the AM approved the sale.

    BUT you really see the savings when you call the supplier directly. also you dont have to pay tax!!! i got my Onyx 1640 mixer for $832 SHIPPED directly to my house, directly from mackie. if i had bought it at the GC store, i'd have to pay more, PLUS there would be tax.

  20. AnalogFreq

    AnalogFreq Guest

    thanks. wouldn't have thought to talk directly with manufacturers.

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