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Post-Producing Live Shows...

Discussion in 'Composing / Producing / Arranging' started by Arvida, Mar 30, 2006.

  1. Arvida

    Arvida Guest


    So...as some of you know, I had some issues getting our church's live setup together...Finally though, I'm pleased to say that after trying one last thing, I now have all 24 needed tracks going into our HD24 and most of those tracks sound pretty good raw.

    There are a couple vocal tracks that end up clipping pretty bad, but I tried adjusting gain on the mixer to no avail. I turned one down pretty far, but still nothing. Can mics clip out at the mic? Before even being boosted by the pre? Anyways....

    My question really is in regards to workflows on mixing down live shows. I made the initial mistake of recording the whole music service to one song. So, I've got this 1 hour and 45 minute song that has 24 tracks. Needless to say it takes about 30 minutes to import all 12gig of data into Adobe Audition.

    I realize that in the future I should probably start a new song whenever the groups start something new, but in some of our services that is rather quick.

    Is there a way to chop up all 24 AIFF/WAV files at the same time and save them out as seperate files for each song that is within the huge file?

    Did that make any sense? =)

    I guess I'd like to try to salvage my efforts on this first recording, but every time I go into Audition to load up the session I have to wait 45 minutes for it to import all 24 500meg tracks.

    Let me know what you think as well as if there is a better way! Thanks!

  2. gilligan204

    gilligan204 Guest

    Yes, mics can definatly clip , thats what -10 db pads are made for on mics. As far as the import goes, you could import the whole thing, chop up individulal songs, and then export those files to a folder, open a new session in audtion and re import the files, its a lot of work , but you would be able to work on individual songs,

    the other option is to record the tracks back into the computer. I used to do this with ADATS, I would record a live show, then use the optical outs into my MOTU MK3 , record each song in a separte session file.

    and the third option is to mix it analog , which is probaly the easiest, just reroute the tracks back into and console and mix down to dat or a cd burner.
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    Congratulations! Welcome to the world of the time-consuming drudgery of postproduction! I think my " little buddy", Gilligan has summed it up correctly for you. I don't think he really want to be starting and stopping your multitrack machine during a live recording? Not recommended! You can also import everything into the computer, highlight each individual song and save those highlighted songs as individual projects within Adobe Audition. It will eat up a lot of disk space since you will be duplicating the entire recording as separate chunks/songs while leaving the original 24 track dump alone and intact until you are finished, just in case?

    Regarding the microphone overloads, Gilligan is correct if they are condenser microphones. If perchance they are dynamic microphones, you would have had to pad the input to the microphone preamplifier which is probably built into your console, since there are no pad switches on dynamic microphones.

    Ms. Remy Ann David
  4. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    It's certainly possible to overload a mic, but let's clarify your procedure. You say you adjusted the gain on the mixer - are you talking about the main channel fader, or are you talking about the trim pot? If the trim pot is too high, you can overload the mic pre even though you keep the channel fader low. So make sure that you're adjusting the signal level at the trim pot if you want to avoid clipping the mic pre. (I apologize if this is rudimentary for you, but I have no way to tell from your post.)

    It is possible to overload some mics, but it usually takes a pretty loud signal. If you're really overloading it, perhaps you need a different mic. The mic may have a pad, but if your signal is loud enough, even that may not solve it - you could be overloading the capsule itself.

    I work with long 24 track mixes all the time. If you've got plenty of disk and a decent CPU, it works out fine. I regularly record long shows and just mix them in their entirety. It may take 30-60 minutes for the computer to render the mix once you've got it set up correctly.

    Once you've got it mixed to a 90 minute stereo track, you can edit that to your heart's content.

    BTW, I've never tried to do a mix like that using Audition, so I don't know how it works in that regard. Are you saying that Audition insists on loading all of your raw tracks into memory before you can mix them? If so, no wonder you're frustrated! That would take forever! I use Sony Vegas to do my mixes - it mixes directly from the raw files on disk so there is no delay at startup.
  5. Arvida

    Arvida Guest


    Thanks for the replies. From what I understand in Audition, each time I open it up and open up my session it imports all the files that are involved in that section. even if I already trimmed a track down to only a few minutes, it opens the whole 500meg file.

    So, maybe something like Vegas may be the way to go. I'm looking for something relatively simple, but I don't really know what yet. I am actually only on the tryout version of Audition right now. What I don't like is that I've tried to cut hole sections of all 24 tracks at once, so that timing matches up, then I'd like to export that to it's own session, well, sometimes it lets me open up a new session and sometimes it doesn't. =0

    I'll try Vegas. =)

    As far as the mics...I know that a few of the mics have zero buttons or on/off switches on them. They are just mics...w/ an XLR and that is it.

    Next service I'll keep an eye on the meters and see if they are clipping at the board or not. Oh, and I am adjusting the gain knob (trim pot?) and not the fader. Maybe a pad is necessary for those mics though. I actually think that the two mics clipping out may be the same model. =)

    Okay, well thanks for your help, let me know if you have any other suggestions! I'm going to try Vegas to see if I can edit these files down a little!
  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Audition doesn't "load" audio into RAM - that wouldn't be possible except for the tiniest session - too much data.

    I think Audition sounds better than Vegas and I like the native effects in Audition a lot better. Vegas can be a decent tool for a quick mix, so whatever works - but don't be afraid of Audition because your files are large. It will handle that just fine.

    Depening on what file format you are using in Audition, it might not save PEAK files - the graphical representation of a WAV file that makes the next load go ZIPPY. 16 bit and 32 bit float files are the only format that Audition will save PK files for. If you have 24 bit files it will rescan every time and loading up a session will take a while. It's worth doing a batch conversion to 32 bit float if you're starting with 24 bit data.
  7. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    Hey Zemlin,

    Thanks for the reply. Maybe that is my problem. I exported from the HD24 via AIFF, thinking oh that must be the standard format. Also, when I import the files into audition it is taking about 2 minutes per file. So if I do all 24, 2 hour files it is taking close to 45 minutes to get the session opened up.

    If I export from my HD24 to WAV and then convert to 32 bit things will go alot easier? How do I go about converting from 24 to 32?

    I appreciate your help. Thanks!
  8. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    In Audition's EDIT VIEW, go to FILE and choose BATCH CONVERT. You can select all your files at once and take them from whatever format they are now and save them to 32-bit float in one step. It will take a while for AA to chew through all the files, but once it's done they'll be saved with PK file and will load in a snap.
  9. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    If this is something that is really serious I would suggest you look at purchasing Samplitude or Sequoia if the budget permits to do your ediing and post production in.

    We do a live one hour radio show with 12 to 16 microphones and post produce it using Samplitude.

    It works great and we have no problems working on a one hour show with 16 tracks.

    As RemyRAD pointed out a lot of post production is very time consuming and very boaring. It has to be done if you are to get a superior product and you can correct lots of mistakes that would otherwise get into the final two track product.

    We normally use one file for the whole radio show because to break it up would be hard to do especially when you wanted to do the final mix. Samplitude and Sequoia have no problems working with very large files with multiple tracks. I have run as many as 24 tracks on our DAW without a stutter or sync problem. Oh yes one more thing Samplitude and Sequoia sound very neutral and have lots of great plugins that come with them.

    Best of luck!
  10. Arvida

    Arvida Guest


    I'm going to give Audition a try again and convert everything to 32-bit float like Zemlin mentioned. It is running right now. As far as file extension, should I stick with a WAV or what? The batch processor defaulted to Windows PCM WAV. Is this acceptable?

    I'll let you all know soon how it went. =) Also, I'll look into the other programs mentioned as we have not made a decision yet. The majority of our shows will be live large scale. 24 channels and normally 2 hours. So, the easier to record the better. =)
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I do most of my mixing with Samplitude now. Check out their SFR program. I did a competitive upgrade of my VEGAS to SAMP Pro and I pay $30/mo.

    I love it. Audition is a good program and almost everything I do runs through it, but it doesn't have the mix power of Samp.

    I use Vegas only for tracking - and you've got that covered with your HD24.
  12. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    Well, I'm doing the convert right now and already my file sizes have doubled! My original files were about 500mb a piece. Now, they are pushing over 1.0gig a piece...Did I do something wrong in the convert? There was a quality slider and it was set close to low, so I bumped it half way up, could that cause the problem?


    Well, I bumped it down from 500 to 100 and the files are coming out about the same. I used AIFF this time and I'm still getting double file sizes. Is this normal?
  13. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    16 bit files would double if going to 32 bit.
    24 bit files would increase 50%.

    If you're getting doubled file sizes, you're probably starting with 16 bit data. Does the file size worry you? You'll be better off working with 32 bit data.
  14. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    Nah, file size doesn't really worry me. You had just mentioned quick loading into Audition and I was trying to rationalize how a file a lot larger would be easier to import.

    I just read back your post though and it mentioned a PK file, is this like a snapshot of the full file? So, maybe it make it a quicker load?
  15. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    'zactly :cool:
  16. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    Wow, I've never heard anyone make a remark like that before. Use whatever works for you, I guess. I use both Vegas and Audition, but Vegas is definitely my tool of choice for multitrack work. Audition is just a toy in comparison. I use Audition for simple two-track editing and quick fixes, but it can't compare to Vegas in terms of mixing capabilities and quality.

    In any event, Vegas doesn't have any problem keeping track of its peeks into a 24-bit file. Nor does it take very long to create them in the first place. So for someone bringing in data from a 24-bit recorder, it's a pretty good match. I wouldn't recommend it to someone who needs MIDI sequencing, but for someone who is mixing a lengthy live recording, it's a perfect fit.
  17. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it's largely what one is used to. I started way back with Cool Edit, so the Audition environment is sort of my "native language" for audio work. For multitrack mixing, AA (before 2.0) had plenty of gaps, which is why I went to Samplitude. AA2.0 added a lot of tools, but I haven't messed with it enough to know how it holds up for horsepower with effects.

    Vegas just never "clicked" with me - I've had it for years and have tried mixing with it - never satisfied with the workflow or the results. I still track with it because it's the most reliable data collector I have, but once I close the project I'll not likely open it in Vegas again.
  18. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    I can understand that - I had a similar reaction when I first tried Nuendo. There were things about it that were just awkward when compared to the tools I normally used. What I like most about Vegas is the ease with which envelopes can be used. It is extremely easy to set or gradually change the settings of nearly any parameter through the course of a track or bus - even those in FX plugins. I've tried to work in similar ways using other tools and found that while they usually offer a similar mechanism, it is never as simple to use as the Vegas model.

    And, yes, it is a very reliable tracker as well.
  19. Arvida

    Arvida Guest

    What's an envelope? =) What are they used for? I guess I can just flip open the help tab huh?
  20. Gilliland

    Gilliland Guest

    An envelope is what allows you to do "automation" using software in a DAW mixdown. The software shows you each track in a long narrow window. It then overlays that track with a line that represents the level of any given parameter for that track - volume, panning, effect send, EQ, etc. You can then adjust those parameters by moving sections of the line up or down over the track to give you control over the mix that changes as the track proceeds. It's probably easier to demonstrate than to describe, but that's it in a nutshell.

    So let's say I'm mixing a concert recording with multiple songs. I can vary the settings for each individual song according to its needs. I can raise or lower the volume of the track according to whether the singer on that track is singing lead or backup - I can center the lead singer and pan the backing singers as needed, perhaps changing it again for the next song. I can lower the reverb on the vocal mic during the spoken introduction to the song, then raise it again for the singing. I can mute any mic that isn't being used for a period of time, or briefly mute a mistake that happens on one track. I can fade up the audience applause quickly at the end of the song, and then gently lower it as the applause fades away.

    Some settings can be made once and left alone. But others need to be varied across the time domain of the recording. Envelopes provide that ability to vary the settings over time. If you mix outside the box, it would be your mixer's automation that provides the corresponding capability.

    Of course, the same basic concept may have different names in different applications. Most multitrack applications offer this functionality, but I've found Vegas to be the easiest and most flexible to work with. Hope that answers your question.

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