Live sound and recording at the same time

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by dkijc, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    Hey guys
    How are ya ? :)

    I'm new to this whole mixing thing and was wondering if you guys could help a guy out. haha

    At my church, I believe they are using SoundCraft GR4?... I think

    and from that we have either a mono orr stereo output to a regular pc to record sound and upload it to our site.

    The problem is, the live sound is perfectly fine (nice balance between the instruments and vocals) but when it is recorded, sometimes the mic is overpowering or the instrument is overpowering.

    The main issue is that the live sound I hear doesn't match the sound I hear on my headphones (monitor) on the mixer.

    From what I learnt, the gain at the top is what effects the recording but the fader does not affect the recording? IS this true?

    and if it is, when I mention 'overpowering' lot of times the source is distorted in the recording when the sound gets louder but it does not get distorted in the main speakers. So I try to set the gain at a level that the recording won't sound distorted but when I do that the main speakers gets a quieter and meaning I need to put the fader up more than '0' to get the desired sound.

    I hope I'm making sense and if anyone have a good idea how to go about this situation, it'd be greatly appreciated!! Thank you so much!! GOd bless :)

    ps. The mixer is connected to a EQ and from there to the power amp and then to speakers (speakers are passive EAW's)
  2. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome to RO,

    You've got a couple things going on here.

    FIRST PROBLEM, there is a misconception that plugging into the mixer will sound just like the live environment. If your band has even moderately loud instruments, amplifiers, and monitors on-stage you are not in complete control of everything contributing to the perfect live sound. You (and the rest of the congregation) hear the combination of the stage sound PLUS whatever you're adding to the front-of-house mix it to balance it out. The room's acoustics will also contribute to the excitement you are hearing. Or in many cases, the room has some acoustical anomaly which you compensate for, by cutting or boosting certain frequencies in the EQ.

    So what is most present in the mixing board? ... The things in the room that need the most amplification in the room. The instruments most prevalent in the room will have little or no signal passing through the board. That will cause an upside down mix, proportionate to what you hear in the room.

    Will the tone going to tape be exactly like what we hear in the sanctuary? ... Not unless everything else in the chain was perfect. If the instrument has an abundance of treble or bass you will trim some of that back for the main mix, but to the recording you're in essence cutting out part (or all) of that instrument's signature - again because it is overwhelmingly present in the room.

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: If you are using a Soundcraft GB4 it has 8 auxillaries, if you can spare one use one of those (post) auxes or the matrix outputs to create a separate mix for your recording purposes. (independent of the main mix coming through the speakers). The matrix outputs are great for this if you're strategically using your subgroups. You should be able to monitor that mix through your headphones by using the "Solo" "AFL" or "PFL" buttons next to the Aux or Matrix Volumes in the Master section.

    Often times, we will add a room mic to pick up some of the ambience in the room (and congregation interaction) and mix it into the recording (while leaving it OUT of the speakers).

    SECONDLY: The soundcard on a 'regular pc' is probably not up to the task of live sound. As you're discovering, live sound has a lot more dynamics (variations in volume) that pre-recorded sound. The output level of a pro mixer is much higher than your typical soundcard can handle.

    POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS: A lot of my church-clients record to a standalone audio CD recorder or solid-state audio recorder, which gives them better quality pre-amps made for this application. And they end up with a CD master for duplication and a format easily converted for web-streaming. If you wish to continue to record directly to the PC, you will want to look at some soundcard upgrades - possibly something by RME that will handle +4dB signals. You may also want to put a compressor between the mixer and the PC to limit the peaks. But, please don't use a cheap compressor, it will only degrade the sound. Bare minimum I would recommend is a dbx 166XL at around $260 for two channels of compression.

    I hope that makes sense and is helpful to you. Don't be shy about following up if it doesn't make sense. There are plenty of people here willing and able to help.

    Good luck.
  3. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    Hey thanks dvdhawk!

    Great stuff I could try out this weeekend.

    1. When you mean eq it for the main mix do you mean the live sound?
    2. We used to record it to the cd also but it still had the problem of distortion.
    3. So if we were to truly record without sound degradation into a computer, you were suggesting using one of the aux outs into another dedicated mixer for the comp recording, correct?

    I'm in a hurry so I couldn't read throughly of what you wrote but I'll read it more carefully when I get back home but just thought i'd ask appetizer questions :)

    Thanks a lot! God bless.
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    No, you don't need another mixer.

    The bus/aux/matrix out is a mixed down signal, you can run that into a computer instead of your mono which probably is split from the main mix (main mix = speakers = live).

    In an ideal world you could take a line from the direct out of each channel, and run that into a second mixer, giving you a clean slate to EQ/mix completely independently of the main (live) mix. However a 2nd mixer will eat up your budget and desk space.

    FWIW I do almost the exact same thing, but I use a combination of the main mix (mono) coupled with a feed of some instruments from an aux bus. I take both of those into a stereo input and then process them with software on the PC, after everything else is done.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi dkijc,

    1. That is what I was trying to say. Main Mix being the live sound through the speakers in the sanctuary.

    2. Was it a consumer grade CD-recorder or a professional grade CD-recorder? XLR balanced analog inputs are the tell-tale sign. The RCA -10dBv often are too low in signal when you get down to just the sermon - so a lot of times I see the recorders plugged into Main outputs capable of +20dBu. For avoiding distortion, it's important that you match these levels up.

    3A. You wouldn't need any additional mixer, if you want to use one of the Auxillary outputs to feed a recorder. In effect, the auxes are a completely separate mix - no mixer required. If you decide to use an Aux that is "Post" it would reflect fader and EQ changes - but you would still be able to adjust the proportionate volume with the Aux. If you're making drastic EQ changes and fader changes, that may become a problem. If "Post" isn't working for you, switch to "Pre", which will require you to put a lot more effort into monitoring the mix going to the recorder. In "Pre" your mix would only be dictated by the Aux know and would ignore your fader and EQ adjustments. Also depending on how your mixing board is configured, sometimes muting the channel does not take it out of the auxes. Having ability to monitor through the recorder is a real bonus there.

    3B. As Monsignor Monkey says, "in an ideal world" you would uses a splitter snake or take Direct Outs from every channel of your live mixer and send it to a nice quiet room in another part of the building so that someone else could remix everything specifically for recording or broadcast using a separate mixer.

    Again a decent compressor is going to help between the mixer and recorder.
  6. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    i would suggest getting another mixer.
  7. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    ahh. Never knew there were 'pre' and 'post' aux buses.
    And you can actually configure your mixer to do either one for the aux? or is it preset?

    and COdeMonkey, what did you mean by main mix (mono)? so you have one going to the amp and one going to the recording?

    I always thought the sound signal coming in is from the

    input -> gain -> aux -> faders -> main level -> out.

    and the recording is sent from the gain stage.

    Actually, we have 6 faders for the main speakers 1 -4 and 2 for the main level.

    and we use two of the four speaker outs to the recording pc. I believe that's how it's set up.

    With this in mind, I believe our recording is already "eq'd" when it hits our pc, which is a good thing because when I meant recording, I just mean we record straight from the sound source into a file and post it online (our church really isn't big or anything, but we try to upload stuff from each week. regular sermon sounds fine but when we start to eq it properly for the recording, the live sound seems to be diminished.)

    However if I can setup with post or pre aux buses that'd be cool! (as COdemonkey mentioned if I understood correctly, you mix both the main and the aux into the recording? )

    If it's possible or not out of your way do you think any of you guys can explain to me the chain of gateways that the sound is coming through (like the one I TRIED to show, like in which order the sound is coming in and where it splits and such )? haha or would there b a good resource where I can understand this input signal chain?

    thanks so much!!!!!
  8. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Let's start by clearing up one thing. In your original post you guessed it was a Soundcraft GR4.

    Did you mean GB4 as I have guessed?

    Clearing this up will make this a whole lot easier to keep explanations in terms you will recognize on your mixer.

    And please clarify this: "we have 6 faders for the main speakers 1 -4 and 2 for the main level. and we use two of the four speaker outs to the recording pc." Are these the subgroups set to feed specific speaker zones?
  9. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    o no!!! I was supposed to check the mixer today when I went to church. :( I'll check it by friday! sorry mate! BUt thank you so much for your concern!
  10. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    o no!!! I was supposed to check the mixer today when I went to church. :( I'll check it by friday! sorry mate! BUt thank you so much for your concern!
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "so you have one going to the amp and one going to the recording?"

    Yeah. What I do is chaos....
    Recording: from a spare aux bus (composed of instruments), and also from a copy of what is being sent to the main speakers.

    So I get instruments on the right channel of the recording, and instruments/lots of vocals on the left. This also means I can record things that aren't in the speakers.

    Then once the service is over, I use software to muck about with the recordings.
    **useless side note: trying to cut a sermon for web upload while people insist on making noise, is good fun**

    Every mixer is different... the one I use has an aux which is switchable from pre -> post, with a different switch for each channel. Some mixers have a single switch for that whole aux mix, some have nothing.

    dvdhawk has probably used your type of mixer (and installed systems in more churches than I've ever been inside in my life) so if I were you, I'd take advice from him instead.
    Monkey see, monkey do silly things.
  12. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    no worries mate. I'm a wanna be codemonkey:) (working at a software company lol)

    I found out that it's Soundcraft GB2!

    My mistake on the GB4. I thought the picture looked a little off :(

    Thanks and have a blessed service tomorrow bros! GOd bless.

    ps. seems like many of you guys do sound at church :)
  13. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    When you go in tomorrow, check to see if there is anything plugged into either of the Matrix outputs.
  14. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    I'm going back on wednesday so I'll check :)
    BTW. what are matrix outputs? haha thanks!
  15. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Your biggest problem is still probably sending waaaaaay too hot a signal into the relatively lightweight input card of a computer.

    The matrices provides you with two alternate mixes, which you can often use to overcome the problem you're having with unbalanced recordings, with a bit of planning. You can use them to remix the subgroups and L/R Mains, independent of what you are hearing from the speakers.

    We often use these to feed assistive listening systems, recorders, or separate speaker deployments.

    To use a matrix mix we will need to know, what (if anything) you are routing into the subgroups.

    I would also like to know how many of the 8 Aux mixes you are using, and what you're using them for.

    And finally, whether you're running your main outputs out of the mono output or L/R *(the signal to the amps driving the speakers).*

    Was this system installed by a professional? If so, did they leave you any flowchart, diagram, crayon-art, cave-painting, indicating what signals went where? There are multiple issues to deal with to get you where you want to go, so if they left you any documentation that would be a real time-saver.

  16. dkijc

    dkijc Guest

    I'm going back on wednesday so I'll check :)
    BTW. what are matrix outputs? haha thanks!

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