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Live/On Location Recording Rigs

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Dan_Pence, Mar 2, 2005.

  1. Dan_Pence

    Dan_Pence Guest

    Hello All,

    I just wanted to get a feel for what is currently being used in the live recording market. I wasn't sure whether to post this under Recording Studio or Live Sound, so maybe I'll do both. Anyway, if any one is currently working in on-location recording, what systems and formats are you recording with? What is your setup like? What is the going rate for this type of work? Any help from anyone with any experience in this field would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
  2. drumrob

    drumrob Active Member

    Jun 2, 2004
    Eugene, Oregon
    I do some location recording. I do audio-for-video as well as normal audio (audio-for-audio?). I presume you are talking about the latter, such as bands or speakers?

    For bands, ensembles, choirs, etc., I use a Yamaha AW4416 as my recording device. For those that are not familiar with it, it is a 16-track all-in-one recorder/mixer. That way I can take a direct feed from each channel of the P.A. mixer (or from my own Mackie 1604 if there is not a house mixer), and mix down later. This assumes that 16 or fewer channels are being used of course. I have also used it on bands in their own rehearsal space (obviously then it's not live and we can track one instrument at a time if we want.) I have also done recording of a choir in their own church setting, but not during a church service. This obviously makes life easier. I could take time to set mics where I wanted them without worrying about what it woould look like to the congregation, and we could do multiple takes. As for mics, it depends on what I am recording and what the house already has on the performers (if it's a live situation). I have a bunch of different stuff at the ready.

    For a speaker or seminar or whatever, I have used either DAT or MiniDisc. I have a Panasonic SV-3700 DAT mounted in an SKB case. Obviously this limits me to stereo, but for most speaker/seminar setups, that is fine. I also have a Sony 4-track MiniDisc recorder that I have used in those situations. For speech, MiniDisc works just great, even with the inherent Atrack compression. If I am not able to patch into the house system, I will often clip my own wireless lavalier to the speaker - or to the gooseneck on the podium if they don't plan to move around. (Word to the wise - if they have the opportunity to leave the podium and carry that mic with them - even if they've said they will not move - they will and you better be ready for it!)

    And finally, for audio-for-video, I have a Shure FP-33 field mixer, several lavalier mics, a shotgun, boom pole and various accessories, cables, etc. It is fairly specialized, and most of the gear used for bands, etc. does not translate well to the audio-for-video world (unless you're doing sound of a live music show, of course).

    As for the going rate? That really depends where you are, how much experience you have, what kind of gear you have. Like the project studio phenomenon, it seems there are a million people who have a laptop with an audio interface and are now offering "location recording". Many will do it for little or nothing. I just encourage people to take a look at what is being charged in their area to start with (by the actual "pros".). Then think about what it costs you to actually do the job - overhead costs like telephone, office space, the gear, the maintenance, upgrades, etc., driving time, setup, etc., then the actual time of recording. Many of the folks who charge $10 or $15 an hour don't realize they are probably not even breaking even at those rates. And they drive down the rates for everyone else.

    I know I've rambled - hope that something in there helped.

    Have fun!

  3. DaveRunyan

    DaveRunyan Active Member

    Dec 13, 2004
    Live and location recording is just about all I do. I have a rig that is working very well for me. Basic pent 4 3.4 processor with motu 24 I/O and for right now I am using 3 Focusrite octi pre preamp units. Sonar 4 producer is what I use for software. I get great results as long as where I am recording sounds good. There is no mixer and everything fits into one rack. I have a good collection of mics too. As for rates I have gone to a price per project set up. I consider how far I need to travel, how long is should take and actually if I want to do it or not. I could charge some people $1,000 an hour and I would feel like I was getting ripped off and others I would do for free. (almost)

    An average rate works out between $40 - $60 an hour.

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