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Recording band practice

Discussion in 'Recording' started by SimonL, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. SimonL

    SimonL Guest

    Hi. Me and my friends want to record band practice but none of us have the slightest idea of what equipment we need. About the only thing we know is that we need mics and thats about it. So, what more equipment do we need? Any help would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. basilbowman

    basilbowman Guest

    At the risk of pulling a JoshuaRecordingstudio, I'll see if I can get away with a blind-leading-the-blind thing here...

    Simon,

    In general, you need a couple of things...
    1.) Mics (huge amounts of debate kicking around everywhere - I'm not going to touch any of it, do some reading)
    2.) Media (Something to record onto, i.e. Tape, CD, Cassette, Vinyl, MiniDAT, Computer)
    3.) Interface (A way to get the sound from the mics to the media and to get it to stick, could be the same as your media i.e. the mic jack on your computer, or it could be your reel to reel tape deck, or your little TASCAM 4 track box)

    So, there are huge amounts of variation between these three things, and many, many things that go in between them (from Pop Screens to Preamps to Plugins and beyond!) but basically that all depends on what you want to accomplish...
    Wanna be able to listen to arrangements and see what works and what doesn't? Pop a $5 mic into your laptop's mic in jack and huddle around it playing (or just scream into the built in mic on your macbook in your bathroom). Wanna have something to practice along with back home? Same thing, or grab one of those USB condensers you see kicking around for $50-$75. Wanna be able to sell your "Live rehearsal outtakes vol III" for mega cash? Dunno man, good luck... Basically do your research, google "basic home recording" and take all of the advice you get with a huge grain of salt.
    Like this for example...
    {old-link-removed}

    Just remember to have fun! Good luck,

    Nathan
     
  3. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Can you give a few more details about your situation? What instruments are in your band? Do you already have a mixer or any other gear? Why do you want to record your practices - just to work out songs, or to play back to your friends, or to shop around as a demo? How much are you willing/able to spend on recording gear? Lots of questions, I know, but they will help get you better answers...

    One thing you will of course need is something to record onto. Could be tape, but these days many people use digital - could be computer-based (PC or Mac) or a standalone workstation. Before we go much further, though, let's see your thoughts on the above questions.
     
  4. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Yeah, and what Nathan said.

    ps - if you check out that thread he linked to, just make sure you read beyond the first post! :)
     
  5. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    There are lots of ways to do this, and they will vary widely in recording quality and degree of difficulty. I'll suggest one way that I've been using that is extremely easy and gives reasonably good quality - certainly good enough to evaluate arrangements and note defects in your performance.

    1. Get a self-contained flash recorder. I have the Edirol R-09, but there are new units being put out all the time - some cheaper - some more elaborate. These units have built in mics. The units are small - the Edirol is about the size of a cigarette pack. They use standard flash media cards used by cameras, etc. Get a couple extra cards.

    2. Get the accessories necessary to mount the recorder on a stand. The Edirol mounts on a camera tripod. Your biggest task is figuring out how to position the recorder and how to arrange the band to get a good sound. You can learn a good deal about mic placement by experimenting with this.

    3. Once you are getting a good sound on the recorder, you have two options. Record in .mp3 or .wav. The advantage of .mp3 is that you can take the card from the recorder, put it in the card reader of your computer, drag the files to email, and they will be sitting in all the band's inbox when they get home. (You can use usb if you don't have a card reader.) With .wav files, you can edit them with a free program like audacity. Play with the eq, maybe add a little compression and reverb, get the volume up close to maximum, trim to length.

    Again, this is not the greatest quality, but it is really easy and doesn't require expensive equipment. And if you learn to do it right it will give surprisingly good quality.
     
  6. basilbowman

    basilbowman Guest

    Good call Mr. Rogers (and I mean that as the respectful southern youngster to the Wiser elder, not the snotty nosed kid to the TV Icon )
     
  7. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    It looks like my daughter is going to go to the Mary Pappert School of Music at Duquesne University in Pitttsburgh. That is definitely Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, and Handyman Joe Negri is on the guitar faculty there. Alice will be in the Sax studio, so I doubt she gets any lessons with him, but still...
     
  8. basilbowman

    basilbowman Guest

    Good School, congratulations! Isn't Sean Jones associated with them somehow? Trumpeter, yeah, but closer to Sax than guitar and dammed pretty with Mr. Marsalis...
     
  9. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Yes he is. Thing is, Alice plays guitar, but not trumpet. She's wants to work with James Houlik
     
  10. Todzilla

    Todzilla Active Member

    Handiman Negri?

    That's transcendent in its coolness.
     
  11. Kapt.Krunch

    Kapt.Krunch Well-Known Member

    Good sounding albums have been released captured by a couple mics, or mixed direct to stereo. A couple mics method is probably best for a few people sitting round them with more or less acoustic instruments, and good players, some good mics and a good engineer.

    1) Easiest. 2-track recorder with a couple mics.
    Pros: Quick and dirty.
    Cons: Vocals not likely to sound very good shooting from PA/monitor speakers. Have to adjust instrument levels to drum levels to vocal levels, etc., for all to be heard. No remixing, and no adding effects...it's pretty much done, except maybe a touch of EQ and/or compression.

    2) Next easiest: Mixer to 2-track recorder with enough inputs to mic all drums, and mic (or DI) all instruments and vocals.
    Pros: May be able to get vocals to sound better. More control over levels (and possibly, tonality) of all instruments.
    Cons: Have to pre-mix and make sure levels stay. Once it's recorded, no remixing or effects, except perhaps EQ and compression. May need headphones for vocals, since it might not be best to shoot them out speakers for all the other mics to capture. Anything that is only DI'ed (such as bass) may have to be fed to headphones for everyone who needs to hear it, since there may not be a speaker...but you could always DI and mic, or just DI and have bass amp to be heard in room.

    3) Next easiest: Portable digital unit with enough inputs/tracks for what you need. Which may be more than 8, which means you'll need a 12 or 16 track portable.
    Pros: Everything gets their own track, and all tracks are adjustable after the recording...somewhat...depending. Fairly easy to operate, and self-contained. Could be easy transfer method to computer for editing/BU (CHECK this).
    Cons: Unless everything is fairly isolated from each other, if you have sound from one instrument being picked up by the mic of another, there's still only so much tampering you can do to the track that has bleed from another instrument. Any time you adjust the level on, say, the guitar, and the bass has bled through to that track, you are also changing the bass somewhat, depending on how much is there. Could be lousy transfer method to computer (CHECK this).
    Difficult to edit on. Menu layers can be frustrating, and screen size may get fatiguing.

    4) Next easiest: Computer interface.
    Cons first: WHICH ONE?! That's what's hard, aside from the fact that you pretty much have to prep the computer for this task, specifically, if you really want good results from a multitrack interface. Laptop or desktop? PCI card, or USB/Firewire? How many inputs/outputs? Could be expensive.
    Computers can (will eventually :roll: ) crash, or do other weird things.

    Pros: Versatility. You could get a 2-channel one, and do the 2 mic method. Or, a 2-channel one, and the mixer down to 2-channel method. Or, a multi-channel unit (or two, if they are only 8 and you need more) that will let you do all tracks right into the computer, keeping in mind that this will be basically the same as method #3, as far as track bleed, etc.

    You could get an 8 channel interface, and a mixer, and premix some things...such as 3, 4 or more drums to two tracks, leaving 6 tracks free for other things...keeping in mind, again, that the drums are now not going to be able to be mixed further within themselves, but can still be mixed against all other tracks, mic bleeding considered.

    If you get separation, all tracks can be edited at will, without affecting others. Levels won't affect other levels, you can add reverbs, delays, etc., without affecting others. More options for more creative editing, and better mixing of levels and tonalities. (This holds for the portable unit in #3, also).

    Editing is easier, because it's already in the box, you may have a plethora of effects to choose from, and you have a better, larger screen to view.

    But that's just the recording medium. As already mentioned, keep in mind a monitoring system for the mix, stands, cables, adapters, decent headphones, possibly software, some kind of room treatment, recording and backup media, etc., etc., etc.

    Now that you've decided to enter the "Black Hole Of Recording", there will ALWAYS be "just that one more thing". (I doubt anyone here can deny that statement. :lol: )

    So, decide exactly what it is that you want to accomplish, do a bit of research, and then get opinions of your intended purchases. I would advise that you leave yourself some "future expandability" room, so you don't get stuck with something that won't serve you past three weeks after you purchase it, and you wished you had stepped up a notch.

    Just some things to think about and debate. :wink:

    Kapt.Krunch
     

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