Skip to main content

Live Sound and Recording setup issues

Member for

21 years
Hey friends,

So I have a situation at a church. This church is not an average church - they play some loud rocking music in a very large, loud and bouncy sanctuary built completely out of solid concrete. Therefore a lot of our live mix isn't being sent through the mains, like the drums and the bass; also electric guitars only have a little bit of sound coming out of the mains. It's mostly acoustic guitar, keyboard, and vocals.

That being said, we've been wanting to get better recordings. Obviously if we record straight from the Mackie 24-4 output, we get a mix with very low drums, low to no bass, and very heavy on acoustic guitar, keys, and vocals, all coming off a single stereo track allowing no post mixing.

What would be the best, and most economic, way of recording to allow post mixing and editing? My ideas were to run each channel's direct out to a digital interface like 2 MOTU 8pre's and connecting them to a computer. Would that be feasible? The other option I've thought would be to run the direct outs to a secondary board, running a second "live" mix just for recording.

The challenge is keeping the good live sound, proportionally mixed to the drums and bass that aren't being sent through the mains, and also being able to record those parts - having post recording mixing and editing as secondary goal to a quality recording.

Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

Tallahassee, FL


Member for

21 years

Member Fri, 05/02/2008 - 20:27
Cookinator wrote: each channel's direct out to a digital interface like 2 MOTU 8pre's and connecting them to a computer. Would that be feasible?

Yep, that's exactly it. The direct outs should not be affected by the eq or fader settings on the mixer. Provided you have set the gains properly (pre-fader), you should get a good signal for each track onto your computer, then you can mix the recorded tracks later.

Member for

15 years 11 months

IIRs Sat, 05/03/2008 - 04:18
The most economical method (but maybe not the best) would be one I only tried a couple of times so far...

Stick with your two-channel recorder, but feed channel one a mono desk mix. Channel two should then be fed a signal from an ambient mic set up at the front of the stage, behind the wedge monitors (so the wedges fire away from the mic.)

The idea is: the audience hear a combination of sound coming off the stage and sound coming from the PA, so if you combine the ambient mic and the desk feed in post you should be able to get somewhere close to the balance the audience heard in the hall.

While you can't then mix the results as such, EQing and balancing the two signals gives you a suprising amount of scope to adjust the overall sound, as does time-aligning them (actually, time aligining them is probably essential).

Obviously this only gives you a mono recording, but a psuedo-stereo comb filter effect (such as the free MDA stereo plug) applied to the mic channel can give a pleasing sense of space to the guitars & drums.

All you would need to achieve this would be an extra mic (I use my Beyer M101 omni dynamic) and an extra pre-amp (perhaps a spare channel on the FoH desk?). If you have a spare auxiliary you could use that to create a seperate recording mix rather than recording a mono out, but setting the balance for that mix might be slightly hit & miss...

This technique only works if the band sound good to start with however. If the band sucks, so will the recording. ;)

Member for

15 years 6 months

rockstardave Sat, 05/03/2008 - 12:36
close, but theres a cheaper and easier way!

set up the FOH in MONO from either L or R output (let's just say Left for now)
set up the recording interface to accept the other output (Right for now)


anything that you dont need in the FOH/LiveFeed (bass and drums) you pan 100% Right (into interface)

anything that you need in both FOH/Live and the Recording (acoustic, vocals) you keep panned Center.

anything that needs only a little in the FOH/Live but more in the Recording (electric guitars), you pan somewhere in between 100%-Right and Center.

the PAN almost becomes a volume !

wild, right? i use this technique to create a FOH mix and a House mix at the club i've been working at.

Member for

15 years 5 months

Boswell Sun, 05/04/2008 - 04:56
Nah, you'll never get a good record mix in the venue when you're dealing with FOH sound. You need multitrack recording, either via a multichannel interface into a computer or (what I do), feed the direct outs from the mixer into one or more Alesis HD24XR hard disk recorders, depending on the number of channels in use and the sampling rate requested by the client.

Then you can mix down from the computer or hard diak recorder in the quiet and peace of your studio. You can apply the EQ, effects and dynamics appropriate for a CD without the live venue acoustics getting in the way.

You should indeed use a pair of tracks for a stereo ambient mic pair, which you would use sparingly in your mixdown to add audience reaction, stereo position information, and that elusive quality, the "live" CD ambiance.

Member for

21 years

Member Sat, 05/10/2008 - 17:57
So I realized after posting that our board is a Mackie 32-4-2, and has no direct outs (what a piece!). So the direct outs to a second board is scratched.

We already do what u say with the panning but use an auxiliary instead which allows even more mixing, but again, 1 channel recording having to mix completely live off an auxiliary allowing limited flexibility in post.

Any thoughts?

Appreciate the help

Member for

20 years 6 months

MadMax Sun, 05/11/2008 - 05:50

While the suggestions you gotten will work, they're all major compromises in the recording process.

"Y" adapters will work, but there are impedance issues that may crop up.

If they do, I'd suggest getting a [[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.wirework…"]two way splitter[/]="http://www.wirework…"]two way splitter[/] consisting of as many channels as you can record... e.g. if you have 2 MOTU 8 channel units... then a 16 channel splitter or 2 - 8 channel splitters.

Feed a secondary board or external pre's to then feed the MOTU.