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Live Recording

Member for

21 years
I've had a home recording studio for the last three years. I'm using a fast/powerful computer built by ADK Pro Audio. I use a Blue - Blueberry microphone, usually for vocals and acoustic guitar. I have two Presonus FirePod interfaces and a Presonus Eureka preamp. I use Cubase 4. I have a tri-screen monitor setup. I use two Mackie HR624's as my reference monitors. I have a vocal both converted from a walk in closet that is well insulated/sound proofed and works great for recording. I have the capability to do quality work here in my studio. The only problem is that I've been limited to doing work ONLY in my studio.

I've had some opportunities to do some live recording and as you can see from what I have, I am currently not equipped to do that. My current plan is to purchase a laptop computer, also from ADK Pro Audio. The primary purpose of the laptop will be for recording only. Once the project is recorded, I will transfer to my studio computer for the rest of the work. To save on initial cost, I will use the existing Firepods and Eureka for my traveling rig. What I am lacking in the most is mics. I've been checking out a set of drum mics from Beyerdynamic. Here is the link to them. I've really enjoyed my Blueberry mic but need some advice. I've been considering using the Blueberry and maybe some other Blue mics, such as a couple of Bluebirds and maybe a Dragonfly
Am I going the wrong direction with mics for live recording? Clubs can be noisy and I know how sensitive these mics are. I figure that I'll be needing several mics for lead and harmony vocals. Probably a mic for a guitar amp. Drums are covered with the Beyerdynamic mics. Bass and keys would probably be direct. I may occasionally mic a piano. When I talked to Blue directly, they said that they would be great mics for live applications, but I have to wonder if they are just trying to sell me some of their mics. I'm all about having quality mics for recording, but I want to be sure to have the right mics for the job. Please share your thoughts with me on this subject. Live recording is new to me and I will gladly take any advice offered. Thanks!

Dale Moose
Moosetone Productions
Victoria, TX


Member for

12 years 11 months

jg49 Fri, 11/07/2008 - 20:54
My experience is mostly in live recording, very little studio recording. I have been recorded in quite a few serious studios, but as the musician not the AE. I am using two Presonus FP10 units daisy chained to provide 16 channels, as well as my tower computer (my attempts at a laptop set up did not go well but a dedicated unit with high processing speed and plenty of RAM might.)
There are some logistical problems that change with different venues and different musical groups. Another consideration is whether you want to be able to do a lot of post production work like punch ins, vocal rerecording etc. In some cases I take direct outs from the various musicians amps (I know I am foregoing speaker tone but the resulting track is completely free of bleed.) When using microphones I am a big fan of SM57s and utilize these on the drums typically two overheads, a snare and a beta 52 for the kick. Vocals are another issue, unless the bands vocal mics are bad quality I use the mikes that they are used to because I have found that trying to change as little about the way they play leads to a tighter performance.
I usually use two ART isolating transformers to eliminate any potential ground loop problems as well as acting like a splitter. The mics and inputs from the stage enter the transformer bank and go direct to the recording and on to FOH sound. This set up works well in most small clubs where space is at a premium and set up time is greatly reduced.
In larger venues where you can mike amp cabs with some seperation of space then great but I am still using SM57s. Acoustic guitars, for the most part these guys are using acoustic electrics, are going direct through a DI with no micing unless the performer has a good deal of recording experience and can keep his distance accurately from a seperate stage mic but the bleed problems are tremendous. The keyboards are also going direct.
In very large performance spaces I usually jump off the monitoring desk utilizing the set ups already in place from the sound company equipment.
When sixteen channels is not enough I sometimes use a line mixer to blend a few different inputs but you are stuck with whatever mix you have after the recording.
I know that this did not exactly answer your questions regarding the specific mics in question but I am not familar with either of the equipment lines in question. It is hard to be all things to all bands in live recording so I think you should try and figure out what type of music and venues you might be starting with first.

Member for

16 years 7 months

moonbaby Fri, 11/07/2008 - 21:52
Something to consider when doing live recording is the ruggedness and reliability of the gear. If you are going to be recording rock'n'roll, be prepared to have players smack, slam, drop, and spit (yes, spit) on your gear, especially the mics and stands. Beyer mics sound great, but are not very tough.I've lost several to relatively light abuse that a Shure would have easily shrugged off. There are good drum mic kits from Shure and Audix that are much tougher to break, sound great, and cost less. Add to that, both of those companies offer mic clamp mounting devices that aid in quick set-ups around the drums. Check those out.

What works well in the studio is not always the best onstage. I wouldn't bother with the BLUE mics in a live situation. What you want is a tighter pick-up pattern than a LDC will provide. The previous poster mentioned the ubiquitous Shure can NEVER have too many of those. And for vocals the SM58 is great, and easy to clean the spit and gunk out of when necessary. The Audix i5 is a great alternative to the 57, especially for drum OH's. It has a more extended top end, and is pretty rugged, too.

Mic stands take a beating, too. Cheap ones suck, and can actually wreck a sensitive mic when they fail. Paying a little more for a decent Atlas or Ultimate stand and boom arm will cost you less in the long run. The same goes for cables.

Be careful and don't buy stuff that will break your heart when it breaks down. You'll just end up with tears in your beers.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 11/08/2008 - 08:34
I've done quite a bit of "LIVE" recording and have selected a wide variety of microphones for my arsenal in order to hopefully have the right mic for most any situation. Since the range of recording can run from classical to heavy-metal, it has been my belief that a wide selection of mics is important.

For vocals, I have selected the SENNHEISER E835's. I feel that these mics provide higher quality than the standard SM57/58, yet are still rugged enough for stage use. Should they become damaged during a show somehow, while it wouldn't "break my heart" (as one poster mentioned), it would still hurt!

For drums, I have too many to mention. But, in general, I use the SENNHEISER E604's. They're small, sound great and don't require a mic stand as they simply clip onto the drum rim. This aids significantly during setup because of the reduced time needed and saves space around a cluttered drum kit.

For snares, I have available mics such as the AKG C418, AVANT CK-1's, Audio-Technica AT3031's and NADY DM70. In setting up the overheads, I can select the CK1's with a cardioid capsule, AUDIX F15's, a RODE NT-4 as an "X-Y" stereo-pair or a pair of SE Electronics SE-3500 mics among many others.

If your "LIVE" recording is an acoustic group (regardless of musical style) then you can mic everything pretty much like you want to and go have at it. But, if you're needing to interface with a PA system, then things can become more complex rather quickly. If possible, I try and get all of the mic signals "first" and then feed the PA. This is so I get the cleanest signal before anyone else's electronics.

If that isn't possible, then you might have to take outputs from the PA mixer. This could be individual channel outputs (make sure you have a large quantity of "Tip/Sleeve" or "Tip/Ring/Sleeve" cables) to feed directly into your "Line In" inputs) or maybe sub-group/bus out's from the mixer.

The easiest, but most expensive, way to go is to invest into a "mic splitter snake". For 24-Channels, splitter-snakes can run around $3,500 or more!!

With a splitter-snake, all of the stage mics first plug into the snake stage box. Each channel is split by a high-quality transformer into two or more secondaries. One output feeds you and the other feeds the PA. One of the main advantages of a splitter-snake is that you and the PA are electrically isolated. Another is that no matter what the PA guy does, it won't affect your recorded sound.

Should you go the splitter-snake route, keep in mind that YOU should have "direct access" to the mics. This means that your mic-preamps see the mics directly and the PA gets the transformer-isolated output. The reason for this is, should you have any mics setup that aren't used by the PA system and they are condenser mics, YOU can provide them with the phantom-power. In the same vein, should you happen to use any ribbon mics during a recording, you can turn-off the phantom-power going to them. You don't want to guess and/or wonder what the PA guy may or may not do that could damage your mics or ruin a recording. As long as your mic-preamps see all of the mics directly, then you shouldn't have any problems.

My "LIVE" recording system is somewhat "old-school". I have a small 6U transportable rack that contains 3 PreSonus "Digi-Max" 8-channel preamps along with their power supplies and a FURMAN rack-mount AC line-conditioner. Then I have another 6U rack that contains a MACKIE SDR-24/96 hard-disk recorder and another FURMAN line-conditioner. The two racks tie together with 3 ADAT cables and a coax for wordclock. (Both of the FURMAN units also contain pullout "rack lights" which is great for being able to see the PreSonus knobs and my immediate environment!!!).

The two racks sit on top of one another and requires very little space. I take up less space than a booth in a nightclub.

When my gigs are over, I take the MACKIE rack into my mixdown room and plug it into a MACKIE 32*8 analog console. I chose that route to "warm" up the digital sound and because I like actual "gear" instead of "plug-ins", all of my outboard processing gear is located in a rack off to the right-side of the console. I use DynAudio BM-15A studio monitors for my mixing and have found that my mixes translate extremely well to car stereo's, home stereo's and cheapo boomboxes.

Well.....that's my 2-cents worth!!

Hope this helps!!

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