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Location Recording Advice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dm4501, Feb 22, 2001.

  1. dm4501

    dm4501 Guest

    Next week I'll be recording a female acoustic folk duet. One musician is a vocalist/ fiddle player, and occasional guitarist, the other a guitar accompanist.The venue is a small dinner club. There will be sound reinforcement.
    My original idea was to use a pair of small condenser mics in stereo array to a mic pre, with a limiter, into a portable hard disk recorder. I want the recording to pick up the ambience of the gig. After talking to my friend, the guitarist, I'm not sure this will work.She plays through a preamp into the board to the mains (she doesn't want to work a mic at a live venue). She thinks the stereo mics won't pick up a balanced amount of guitar, fiddle and vocals from the stage. The fiddle will be miced into the board and by it's acoustic nature will be louder in my mics.
    I have the technology to add tracks of the individual instruments and vocals, although I'm not sure about the sound reinforcement mixing board and won't know until sound check. Would it be adequate to add a track of the lead acoustic guitar and mix it with the stereo mics? Should I record a track of everything just to cover my butt?
    The artists are pros and they usually are recorded by experienced engineers, not a relative beginer like me. I'm doing this for the hell of it, and the experience, although we would like to achieve a successful result. I'd appreciate any advice offered.
    Dennis Meredith
  2. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    That's a tough call to make without actually hearing them. Is there any chance you can get them in during a time when the club is closed and try out some different options?

    My first choice would be a pair of mics set above them and try for a good acoustic balance. If they're about 2 feet away, you should pick up enough ambience. If needed, I might add a mic at guitar height. I think the fiddle will cut thru enough in the stereo pair.

    My first choice would be a trial run in the club with nobody else there, possibly before the club opens for the night.
  3. dm4501

    dm4501 Guest

    I'll have a small amount of time during soundcheck to experiment the night of the gig. How do you recommend setting up the stereo mics? Xy? Spaced pair? Other? Also, since it's a performance, What's the discreet way to place the mics above the performers? Beside my small condenser cardioids I have a TLM103. Would that fit in the picture as a third mic favoring the guitarists side of the stage? Or would another small condenser be preferable?
    I know that ultimately I'll be the one to decide what setup to use (after all I'll be the guy at the gig) but the advice I get from the experts at this board is priceless. I usually just lurk and listen, but this beginner's page is a great venue for some of us to ask questions.
  4. Mixer-man

    Mixer-man Guest

    After giving this some thought, the way I figure it, no matter what, 2 mics and you're good. If she doesn't want to work a mic, does that mean she doesn't want to sing directly into one either?

    OK, she's probably right, that fiddle is going to cut like mad, it won't be in need of amplification, but you still want to have it coming through the mains to support the mix, if nothing else for cohesion.

    The way I see it, you could put a mic over her shoulder like in Harvey's tip #2, and angle it slightly towards her mouth slightly. That would pick up the guitar and the vocal. You could mix that with the direct signal of the acoustic guitar, (I'm assuming that's what you mean) and the little bit of the mic that picks up the violin ambience. I would put the violin mic high above the violinist, so that it picks up more direct ambience from it then anything.

    I'm also assuming the venue is fairly small since it's a dinner theater. So adjust the mics and the levels on the mixer, until the mains give just enough amplification to make it sound good. You can do it. Just trust yourself. Currently in my estimation, you have a good plan.

  5. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    How does it sound from the audience?
  6. hargerst

    hargerst Active Member

    Jan 28, 2001
    It won't make any difference to the audience; this is strictly the recording setup. They'll use the normal house setup for the audience feed. That way you don't hafta deal with some bozo deciding the guitar is too low, boosting the $*^t out of it and messing up your recording. The only times I would ever use a house feed is if I were running the house board, or absolutely trusted the house guy's ears, or there was no other way to get the recording.

    As always, MixerMan's recommendations are right on target.
  7. dm4501

    dm4501 Guest

    The guitarist won't be doing any vocals, so that's not a problem. I havn't heard any musical performances in the room but I have seen it. It's about 40 x 40 with relatively low, slightly pitched ceilings. I've been in the room when it was full of people at a banquet and it was difficult to hear someone trying to speak to the audience without a mic.
    The performers will be in a corner.
  8. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    I didn't say he should take a feed off the board.
    Dennis already answered my next question, so I'll pass.
  9. GZsound

    GZsound Active Member

    Mar 20, 2001
    Near Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    The last three CD's I've done were for acoustic bands. I think the only way to make it easy on mix down is to use individual mics. If you have the channels go ahead and use the stereo pair but you need to pick up the PA speakers and then you're at the mercy of the sound person.

    I would put a small condenser in front of the guitars and over the voilin and tell them they have a choice of playing like they always play or trying to get a good recording. Have them just ignore the mics you place and at least you will have some control over the individual instruments when you mix.

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