Recording An Album Live In The Homestudio
I'm setting it up with some friends to record an album live in my homestudio. Right off the bat I will say there is literally nothing special about my living room, no acoustic treatment, just a living room. I've tracked drums in there by hanging a bunch of rugs over windows and walls... I was pretty satisfied with the result. What I plan to do now is track an entire band live, meaning drums, bass, one guitar, vocals. I'll be using an 8 channel interface and the two digital ins of a 6-channel recorder, giving me a total of 10 ins. Based on the mics and cables and stands available, I'll be happy to use 9 of those. Basically: mono OH (large diaphram condenser), Kick, Snare, Guitar Amp, Bass DI, Vocals, Stereo room mics (pencil condensers). Or I could go Stereo OH and mono room mic. My main concern is with the vocals. I'm gonna be using an SM58 (don't own an SM7 yet) and the vocalist (myself) won't be playing as he sings. What do you guys think? Improvised gobos? Isolate the vocalist? Space everything far apart? Or let it bleed?
Any reply is much appreciated.
With stereo room, it will be hard to get a good stereo field for the whole band.
Other thing you can do, put furniture to use, and make seperation for the drum and guitar cab. A sofa and table on the side with moving blankets can become some kind of gobo.
Bleeding is good but you can use the mic directional paterns to reduce it. You can listen to the bleedings and try adjust the placement and the choice of mics to make it sound better.
If bleeding sound good, your a step further.
Also, if your placement helps you use less EQ, it won't affect other instruments via EQ on the bleeding.
So the general rule is, take your time and listen to the tracks as much as you can and move mics around until they sounds good without any plugin active.
Hope you will post samples..
Good luck !
Tent the guitar and gobo the vocalist. Skip the room mic and do stereo overheads. These days I like coincident stereo overheads and time aligning the drums, but it does depend on the sound you want.
If you get good separation it will make for easier mixing, and it will give you the option to cheat a little and fix something should you have a take that's perfect except for one note.
Lots of good advice here - if it were me I'd put the stereo pair over the drums, and I probably wouldn't use a room mic unless:
1. the room had a sonic character I liked
2. The condenser had an Omni or Fig 8 pattern, (or I had a Ribbon mic)
3. I had sufficient tracks to work with
Sometimes, you're better off using the least amount of mics that you can. Every hot mic in the room is another source for potential issues, be it phase, bleed, etc.
Start with the bare amount of what you need, and use your ears. Adjust mic positions before you adjust levels or EQ.
Guerilla recording can be problematic, but it can also be a lot of fun, too, and you can get surprisingly good results if you pay attention to some details - using good mics, using the right mics for the right instruments, adjusting positions...
Oh, and there's nothing wrong with using an SM58 as a vocal mic ( or for any use, really).
If you are pairing it with a good preamp, there's no reason you can't get good sounding, perfectly usable tracks. The 57 and 58 use the exact same Unidyne capsule. Essentially they are the same mic. Don't feel you need to wait for one or the other because you feel that one is better on vocals than the other is, because they're both fine dynamics.
If possible, you may want to separate the singer from the room where the band is, but I wouldn't consider that to be a deal breaker.
Dynamic mics are often preferred for situations where several instruments are in the same space, as they have less sensitivity to the room and other extraneous sounds around them.
This all seems pretty doable. A decent set up that allows everyone a good headphone feed will also be a key component.
Adding to Donny's comment, take full advantage of the mic patterns. Pay close attention to everything the mic is pointed toward, because it will all bleed onto that track (which isn't necessarily a bad thing). And take full advantage of the nulls each of those mics have, keeping the backside of the mic pointed toward the louder sources in the room, so it will reject more of those sounds. What each mic is pointed away from is as important as what it's pointed toward in your situation.
The mic's pick-up patterns aside, you have to consider what surfaces nearby will reflect sound into the front of the mic, which to a large degree means, your success will depend on everyone playing at a reasonable and restrained volume. If the drummer is a "basher", and the room is full of drum sounds (in terms of it being a container) there will no escaping the reflections from every direction, no matter how well you aim the mics. If the mic is bombarded on all sides with direct sound, indirect sound, and reflections from the walls and ceiling, the results will be a phasy mess.
You say you've had good luck doing drums in your living room before, that's a good place to start. The bass through a DI (and no amp) is another huge benefit. If you could get the guitar amp into an adjacent room (bedroom or bathroom) behind a closed door, and have the guitar player run his guitar cable and mic cable under the door, (so he can still be in the living room with everyone else) that would go a long way in keeping guitar out of the overheads, and drums out of the guitar track. But those things, the DI bass, and remote guitar amp, all point back to a good headphone set up.
As for the vocals, you say you won't be playing while you sing, which tells me you've accepted the fact that you will be doing some overdubs. Unless there was a compelling reason not to, I'd play rhythm guitar along with the live music and overdub the vocal(s), rather than, sing along and overdub the guitar. It would probably maintain more 'feel' on the rhythm section and eliminate the vocal bleed concerns. You can always overdub guitar solos later. If everyone needs the vocal to guide them through the song, you would ordinarily sing along very quietly into the headphone mix (so it doesn't get into the drum mics), knowing you were going to redo the vocal track at full intensity later.
dvdhawk, post: 453057, member: 36047 wrote: This all seems pretty doable. A decent set up that allows everyone a good headphone feed will also be a key component.
As for the vocals, you say you won't be playing while you sing, which tells me you've accepted the fact that you will be doing some overdubs.
Actually, it's just the opposite. A friend of mine will be playing my part for me on the guitar so I can focus on the best possible vocal performance and not do overdubs. I plan on wearing headphones, but I'll consider the possibility of everyone else wearing some as well. Thanks for the tips!