One Hell of a night!!!

Discussion in 'Location Recording' started by Cucco, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Okay, so this is my REALLY busy time of the year where I do a LOT of school recordings. I mean, A LOT!!!

    Almost every year, some recordings are scheduled at the same time in different locations. No problem, I've got:

    Laptop (Tracktion)
    Portable Machine (Sequoia)
    Alesis HD 24
    Analog Tape

    So, it's usually not an issue. I just pay somebody to monitor the recording and press record at the right time and it's all said and done.

    I like to always have 2 rigs running though in case one fails. So, for the bigger concert, I'll usually use the Portable PC with the Alesis as backup and then the Laptop with the DAT as backup.

    So, I had 2 gigs scheduled for tomorrow (Saturday). 1 was a high-school band at 2 pm, the other 3 choruses back to back at 5 pm. The venues were about 6 miles apart - so, totally do-able. Record the band then have an assistant pack up as I head over to the choruses. My intent was to set up the chorus tonight (as it would likely be an elaborate set up consisting of over 10 tracks). Then, I would set up the band tomorrow with a simple ORTF pair.


    Well, there's the forecast of snow for tomorrow...SSSOOOO, both groups decided to reschedule for tonight at the same exact time!!!!! Here's the real problem - they rescheduled for 6:30, but couldn't notify me of this until 1:00. I was over 60 miles away and hadn't packed up any of my gear yet!!!! Now, I had to drive home (on one of the busiest highways in the world on a Friday afternoon.....arrrrggggghhhh.. :evil: ), pack EVERYTHING up and then go set up 2 different groups. All told, after getting to the studio and packing everything up, I had 2.5 hours to set BOTH of them up.

    So, I FLEW to the band gig. It should have been simple. Set up an ORTF pair, run the cables to the mixer (a new Mackie Onyx 1220 which was plugged in for its virgin run into my laptop) which was redundantly plugged into the DAT. Well, the DAT failed!!! :evil: (Consequently, if anyone wants it, I'll give it to you for FREE for the cost of shipping. It's of no more use to me once it fails once!)

    So, I was left using the laptop and the Onyx for the VERY first time with software I was unfamiliar with and I wasn't even going to be able to monitor this recording....(Fortunately, I do trust my back-up engineer to handle crisis situations.)

    So then, I broke at least 7 laws getting to the next venue, which, thankfully, I had NO issues with. Truth be told, the guys that I was working for were so helpful, they helped me load in equipment.

    I got set up with 3 minutes to spare....whew!

    The great news is - other than some wierd crackling and popping which cropped up in the Tracktion recording, everything went smoothly....

    The other great news is, the choir recordings, albeit high-school choirs, turned out quite nice. I'll say one thing about this area, they do take their choirs seriously (in a modest but professional way - completely unlike their band programs, which are mediocre at best but they feel are THE best in the country... :lol: )

    For the choral recording, I used the DAV BG2 pres for my 4 mains (2 AB mains - Schoeps CMC6 MK2s and 2 flanks - MG M296), Langevin DVC for piano (with Audix M1290 mounted internally with Audix's piano mounting system), Summit 2BA-221 (x2) with Soundelux U195s (x2) for soloists and Aphex 107 with AKG C414s in XY for percussion section.

    How I got all that set up AND the band in 2 and a half hours, I'll never know...

    Oh well, sorry for the ramblings, just thought I'd share a bit.

    Good night...

    J. (y)
  2. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    Apology not accepted, nor required, IMHO...

    I love a good yarn, especially when it is a story of truimph over adversity. Outside of the 'net, where else can you chew the fat with a global bunch of 'knowing' audio nerds who will not only listen to your story but will also actually 'geddit'?

    Do you know what the cause of the crackling and popping in the Traktion recording is/was? That would be driving me batty.
  3. BigRay

    BigRay Guest

    i will take that DAT, J.

    Ive never played with one and want to check it out.

    What model is it?

  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I'm not sure what caused it - I only played with it for about 5 minutes after all was done - around 10pm - I hadn't eaten yet, so I heard it, threw some waves plugs on it to fix it and was on my way to eat.

    I suspect it was a series of buffer underruns.

  5. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Sure thing. When you get back stateside, it's yours!

    It's the Sony A6 (which I believe was a Euro model to begin with.)

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Good job Jeremy! Doing jobs like that will keep you young! I've had nights like that, years ago, which is probably why I'm feeling old now?!?! Did anybody get the number of that truck???

    The old one
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    I reckon packing a back-up rig changes the karma of the job...

    As far as I can remember, the only times that I've had serious (i.e. 'recordus interruptus') type breakdowns have also been the times when I've taken a back-up rig. And so I sit there using the back-up rig, patting myself on the back and thinking, "Gee, it's a good thing I brought the back-up rig!" But then I start wondering, "Would this have happened if I *didn't* bring the back-up rig?"

    Other times, on really big jobs, I'll take a comprehensive back-up rig, all the way down to mic splitters, go to all the trouble of loading twice as much stuff in and setting it up and running it in parallel with the main rig, and nothing goes wrong. So, at the end I sit there exhausted, looking at twice as much stuff as I actually needed, pondering the inevitable prospect of packing it up, lugging it out, and so on, and asking myself, "Did I really need to bring all of this stuff?" Then I start wondering, "If I didn't bring all this extra stuff, would the main rig have failed?"

    And, on other occassions I've taken the full rig and the full back-up, and, you guessed it, a flown microphone or its cable or winch fails in the middle of a concert recording. Doh! Or, the performance is hopeless because the singer has a sore throat or similar, and the recording never gets used.

    How far 'back' does one go 'up' with a back-up rig? To the microphones? To the instruments and players? To the venue itself?
  8. rcastiglione

    rcastiglione Guest


    Thanks for the great story. A bit off topic but have you come to a concluded view about the DAV BG-2 yet? I know that you are a grace design afficianado (me too, love my V3) so how do they compare?

  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Great story and a good ending. Keep up the good work!
  10. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    No STRONG opinions yet, but so far I've been VERY pleased.

    With my True Systems pres, I was very seriously considering getting rid of my Schoeps CMC6 MK2s's. The two together were strident and downright offensive to the ear. Since I've used the DAV, there hasn't been even a HINT of stridency. I've only noticed a smooth, clean, liquid sound.

    The only way I can think to describe the sound so far is to suggest it sounds as clean and open as any pre I've heard yet, somehow has that magical sound similar to most older tube pres - you know, the ones whose transient response was slow and slew rates were too. They had a smooth, glossy character that was unbeatable, but smeared the image terribly. Now, imagine that smooth character with a lightning fast response with a beautiful image and that's what I've gotten so far.

    I have two big recordings that are coming up later this season.

    1st is a recording of Judy Collins in a live performance. Unfortunately the venue SUCKS ASS! Otherwise, I would use this as a determining performance.

    The 2nd is a local pro choral ensemble. We will be doing a full 8 hour session for a new disc they're putting out. The venue has yet to be determined but it is being selected for its acoustic properties. This promises to be the REAL evaluation performance for this piece! I'm REALLY looking forward to this recording! (Not that Judy Collins is anyone to sneeze at... :lol: )

    Now look - you've got me off topic too... :oops:


  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I loved reading your "horror" story, Jeremy. So many times, no matter how we prepare, things like this do happen. (BTW: In addition to buffer issues with your Traction software, make sure you're not running with a battery in your laptop, esp if it's a VAIO. I am the poster-child for that problem; my vaio would add a loud, spurious "PFFFT!!! every three minutes - to the second, in my early ONYX recordings. Turns out the battery-charging cycle was the culprit. I removed the battery, ran it on AC only, and all the problems went away.)

    I had the opposite of your problem happen, in a way, just this past Saturday night. It was going to be an easy day, a great gig, in a well known space (Kimmel Center in Phila) with a great crew (IATSE guys who know the venue, the gear and the house system.)

    It's a small-scale jazz series gig: Live PA with multitrack recording for delayed radio broadcast. I bring a Wireworks 27 pair stage box with transformer splits - I get the Direct side for my recording rig, and the house gets the iso feeds. The only thing to be concerned with is that "I" supply the phantom power for all the mics, and if MY rig goes down, so does the show. (Hey, No pressure, right?! )

    I've been using the ONXY 1640 for over a year now, with zero problems (once I got everything talking to each other, of course!) All was well, until my laptop began locking up.

    Suddenly, a relatively easy, calm day (setup and sound check at 3, dinner break at 6, doors at 7, show at 7:30) turned into several hours of nearly white-knuckle trouble-shooting.

    Long story short: No matter what I did, my laptop (running Sequioa) crashed and locked up when I armed more than two tracks to record. Reboot/tweak after reboot/tweak (including a system restore) would NOT fix the problem. I was resigned to running with my CDr and DA-88 tape backup for the show. (Which would be FINE, but I hate the extra tape transfer time, etc. Tapes are usually for backup, and I rarely ever use them anymore otherwise.)

    Earlier in the afternoon, I HAD considered turning the ONYX off and back on, but nixed the thought knowing it would put a loud "POP" on every single open mic - not to mention destroy the sound check in progress. I forgot about it for several hours at that point, missing the dinner break and constantly playing with the laptop & software almost till 7 p.m. with no luck. (we're all a tenacious bunch when it comes to this sort of thing, eh?)

    Finally, just before doors open, it hit me again, that the ONLY thing I didn't try was repowering the and back on. I told my FOH sound guy to mute everything, and I gave it a shot. VOILA; problem solved. (I had NEVER had a problem like this before with this rig, but there's of course a first time for everything!)

    Funny how sometimes the simplest of things can nearly ruin your day.


    The show was fantastic, though.... Geri Allen trio, with Ravi Coltrane sitting in on Tenor Sax. Can't wait to mix this one!
  12. BigRay

    BigRay Guest

    I have owned grace products(v2, used a v3 for a while)..and the DAV Pres sound much smoother, not as clinical or harsh, especially in the HF the lunatec.I suppose they do what they do very well as an all in one(they are really popular with tapers), but to my ears(and to clients that have done blind tests) the DAV just sounds a lot better..clean and detailed as you can ever hope for, but lacking the sterility/thinness that the grace products have. They have a rich, "finished record" sound. I have a millennia in my kit as well(HV-3C) and the DAV sounds every bit as good, if not a little better. Mick hit a grand slam with this one..and for the price. heck...Im going to order a BG2 as soon as I get the funds. I forsee no need to own any other preamp for this purpose...the DAV has it all. If it was anatomically correct id sleep with it.
    :cool: :lol:
  13. rcastiglione

    rcastiglione Guest

    "If it was anatomically correct.."

    Big Ray, what about the mic pres?

    But seriously, you have me very interested in them particularly as you favour them over the grace design stuff.

  14. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    I think Ray and I have similar tastes, but we differ on the Grace stuff. I find the Grace to be beautifully clean and open whereas I find other pres out there (such as the Trues and the Millennias) to be rather sterile.

    Heck, I named my dog Grace - twas no coincidence!

    As for sleeping with the gear, wellllll, that's what they make speakon connectors for... :wink: :oops:

    But seriously, I do get a half-chub over detented controls. That's why I love the Grace AND the DAV both. Both pres are detented and closely matched. There is nothing I hate more than having to normalize signals back in post production because my preamp levels were .5 dB off. :evil:

    Next thing for me to get excited about is the Langevin. I'm here to tell you, this is a real sleeper for acoustic music. I might be letting a HUGE cat out of the bag, but GODDANG this pre sounds good!

    Joe -

    Thanks for the tip on the battery. I recalled that you had mentioned this in the past, but I couldn't find the thread for the life of me. I did run it on battery and I'm willing to bet this had a little to do with it. I'm going to do a lot of experimenting with it in the near future and make sure the same thing doesn't happen.

    Oh, BTW - the question I left on your machine - I was asking if the "stereo" inputs could be assigned to individual "mono" inputs inside the software. I found out that this is indeed what is done. I was quite pleased to find out that the firewire portion of this mixer simply takes the input which is coming in, bypasses EVERYTHING on the board and records STRAIGHT to disc. Much like a 12 channel AD with 4 pretty darned nice pres built in.

    My next experiments are to test the caliber of the A/D conversion. My suspission is that it is more than adequate for most any gig I'll encounter. And when it's not, I'll reach for the Auroras...

  15. BigRay

    BigRay Guest

    you know, I was sort of weirded out when Plush was fluffing them a lot to the point of where it sounded like he was a rep for the company, but then I got a BG1 and was wowed! It is ugly as homemade soap but man does it bring the goods! Grace products are excellent, but to my ears , in a side by side the DAV had the advantage. I think Gefell and DAV should sponsor me. I do enough advertising for them! :cool: :cool:
    :cool: :cool:

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