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Live recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Twood, Jan 1, 2010.

  1. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    I`m recording live from a club next week. Medium sized venue. I`ve been thinking a lot back and forth on how to do this and I need some advice/input.

    The band consists of drums, bass, 2 electric guitars, acoustic guitar + 5 voices.

    I have an Aurora 16. So I only have 16 channels available.

    I am planning on bringing 8 preamps of my own and use 8 preamps on the FOH mixer (Midas).

    The whole thing will line up as follows:

    1. Kickdrum - AKG 112 - API 3124
    2. Snare - SM57 - API 3124
    3. Bass - VHT DI - API 3124
    4. Hihat - AKG 451 - API 3124
    5. Drum OH - DPA 4011 - Great River ME-2NV
    6. Drum OH - DPA 4011 - Great River ME-2NV
    7. El-Guitar - Royer 121 - Chandler TG2
    8. El-Guitar - SM57 - Chandler TG2
    the last eight channels will be from the FOH mixer;
    9. vocals - SM58(Probably) - Midas
    10.vocals - SM58(Probably) - Midas
    11.vocals - SM58(Probably) - Midas
    12.vocals - SM58(Probably) - Midas
    13.vocals - SM58(Probably) - Midas
    14. Acoustic Guitar - Klark Teknik DI - Midas
    15. Drums sub group from FOH mixer
    16. Drums sub group from FOH mixer

    I`m kind of running out of spare channels so I though about maybe routing the tomtoms (4) to a stereo output on the Midas record all 4 tomtoms on a stereo track.

    What do you think so far? Maybe I should skip the Hihat and set up i mic in the audience in stead?

    Any comments/advice?

    What about levels? I`ve always heard to you should set the levels really low to be absolutely sure that you avoid any clipping on the inputs..

    How do you usually set the levels?
  2. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Looks pretty good so far; the drums are going to be the trickiest for you, I suspect. (Can you live without tom submixes, etc. etc.) The type of music and sound of the drums will help you make these decisions, most likely.

    Don't rule out a live stereo capture of the band in the room (esp for audience reactions, applause, etc.) I hate so called "live" recordings that make it sound like the audience was out in another room somewhere, because no one thought to put up ambient mics on the room itself. Even if you only bring the appluse up and down for ins and outs of songs, it's far far better than leaving it out entirely. (This is the whole point of a live recording, yes? )

    Perhaps you can track the stereo live mic on a portable recorder and sync it up later. I use my M-Audio MicroTrack II for this sort of thing from time to time, esp if I run out of tracks, or have to use a completely different feed.

    And speaking of a two track recorder, make sure you run a safety overall stereo mix of the whole thing as well. YOu never know when that will save your butt should the multitrack crash or a channel drop out, etc. etc.

    Good luck; sounds like a fun gig.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Where's the split for your external pre-amps? Are you splitting at the mic inputs or the pre-amp outputs to feed those 8 channels into the FOH mixer? Are you the FOH engineer as well as the recording engineer?

    I agree with Joe that the drum kit will be the difficulty, but it will be a similar problem for the FOH mix as well, assuming the drums are going through the PA. Your best bet may be to use a basic 4-mic drum setup (kick, snare and 2x overhead) through the API as your individual tracks, and then a submix of toms, hithat and anything else from the kit taken out as a ready-panned stereo pair from the Midas. You can get really nice drum submixes from a Midas, but they do depend on having a good monitoring system at the event (preferably with acoustic isolation from the stage) to get the sub-mix right.

    You really ought to take a stereo audience pair (not mono) when recording live events. You don't need to use up boutique pre-amps for these, but you do need to assign a pair of channels in the recording.
  4. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    There is no splitter besides the bass. The remaining 7 channels going to my preamps are my own mic`s. That means that the Kick, snare, OHs and the two electric guitars will be mic`ed with two mics each. One for the FOH and one for my setup.

    This is just for making sure that I have good mics/preamps on the basics. (The Midas is not heritage/XL-series etc.. I think its a venice)

    I would really like to have a stereo audience pair but right now I dont see how thats possible. I could put the Hihat in the submix, that will give me a spare channel, but I dont see where I would fint the second spare channel... What do you think?... What would you have done?

    And no, I`m not the FOH engineer.
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Whew, the stage is going to be really cluttered! My advice would be to start with a basic 4-mic drum setup. I think you will find that any drum submix done for FOH will not be balanced for recording needs, so it may not be worth committing two of your channels for that.

    Take the 5 vocal channels and the acoustic guitar from the Venice as direct outs from the FOH channels, and also ask for direct outs from a pair of muted Venice channels for the stereo audience mics.

    Along with the two electric guitar channels, that comes to 14, leaving two channels via your boutique pre-amps to add any mics you feel you want. You could choose one on the toms and maybe one on the hi-hat for these if you wish.
  6. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Yeah. That's much more of a problem than I thought. I've seen a kit with 16 mics attached and it's not pretty. Have you thought through the stands and clamps?
  7. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Looks like I didn't count the bass in the list, but that still leaves a spare channel for your choice of drum enhancement mic.

    I would like to emphasize the point about the drum sub-mix from the FOH board. If the FOH engineer is up to scratch, he will rough mix, EQ and pan this sub-mix at soundcheck so that it sounds good in the venue and combining with the direct sound from the stage. This is likely to result in a very different mix from what you might need for blending in during post-processing.

    It seems to me that if you substitute an ambient audience pair for the drum submix in your original channel list and are prepared to experiment a bit with the mic you have put down for the hi-hat, you have the basis of a usable set of tracks for mixing to CD. You may find that practical considerations of mic stands and mic positioning force some compromises on the day.

    By the way, I have had some really excellent live gig results from taking direct outs from a Venice (and also its larger sibling, the Verona). In these cases, I had the luxury of being the FOH engineer while recording to a pair of Alesis HD24XRs at 96KHz. It was handy to use the level metering of the recorders as a meter bridge for the analog desk.
  8. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    Thanks for all feedback...

    I just got a phonecall from the FOH engineer. I`m meeting him tonight to check out things. Turns out it`s not a Venice but a Verona.

    Since I dont have a splitter I kind of have to use my own mics if I want to use my preamps.. Its a pretty big stage so I dont think the space will be a problem. I`ll have a look tonight and then make up my mind..

    maybe I`ll end up with using 16 directs out from the Verona and leave my preamps at home?.. I dont know yet.
  9. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    Ok.. So me and the FOH engineer checked out the venue yesterday. We also manage to put up pretty much all my equipment. The stage is huge som no problem to put up some extra mics. Turns out its 6 vocals.

    So fare I have set things up like this:

    1. kick (D112 / API3124)
    2. Snare (SM57 / API3124)
    3. OH (4011 / Great River ME-2NV)
    4. OH (4011 / Great River ME-2NV)
    5. Bass (Klark Teknik DI Splitter / API 3124)
    6. Acoustic Guitar (VHT DI Splitter / API3124)
    7. El-Guitar (SM57 / Chandler TG2)
    8. El-Guitar (SM57 / Chandler TG2)
    9. Vocal
    10. Vocal
    11. Vocal
    12. Vocal
    13. Vocal
    14. Vocal
    15. Spare
    16. Spare

    That gives me 2 spare channels..... Either a stereo submix from the verona of the 4 toms.... or... a stereo audience pair.

    What do you think?... toms or Audience??

    I start recording in 5 hours...
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    I would go for the ambient audience pair, but then I like a measure of atmosphere and natural venue reverb in my live recordings. As I mentioned before, I believe that any drum kit stereo submix from the FOH desk is suspect for your purposes, as it will have been mixed in conditions very different from those you will likely use when mixing for the CD. Position your OH mics taking into account that you may not have tracks from the individual tom mics.

    Good luck with the gig and let us know how you got on.
  11. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    I went for the ambience pair. And boy am I glad I did!!!.. The crow was going wild... I`ve never heard so much noise from an audience in a long time. The place was packed.

    I had some trouble with the bass on the first 2 songs.. A lot of cracklingnoises and the sound dissappeard a few times. So that has to be fixed afterwards.

    Other than that I think it went really well. (I havent heard trough it yet.)


    Thanks for all help.
  12. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Corvid appreciation is quite rare, so you did well to capture it. Was it a tribute band for The Eagles, or maybe The Byrds?

    Well done, anyway. How did you rate the feeds from the Verona versus your own pre-amps?
  13. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    The feeds from the Vewrona where actually really really good. I got all the vocals from the Verona. They where captured with SM58s on a noicy stage but after a bit of work they sound surprisingly good. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be possible to make an exellent recording using only the Verona.

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