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Hi everyone! :D I just joined, so please be gentle with me.

I am seeking advice on recording a rock band at a pub venue. It will be done with their buy-in, however as a live gig in a pub court yard, I can't be too invasive. I am going to record both audio and multi cam video.

My audio gear comprises a Zoom F8 and 2x RODE NT5 mics on stands, and 3 ISK large diaphragm condenser mics.

The band doesn't have a central audio desk, with the 2 guitarists having their own individual PA system. The drums are el naturale and the vocalist with her PA.

I am going to record as a backup, using an iPad and a RODE i-XY centrally mounted, however this mic spec is max SPA of 120dBA and when I saw these guys playing they were around 118dBA, so not much margin.

The Zoom has 8 tracks, however I could use 4 mics only and record all at 2 different levels. Would you recommend that?

Two of the ISK mics are switchable omni/cardiod/figure 8. Do you recommend using these in Midside configuration? I also have a Zoom Midside mic capsule, should I use that instead?

If I want the NT5 mics to give me a listener's stereo experience, should I mount them on a mic bar, with 30cm spacing, facing forwards, or one on top of the other, pointing 45 deg left and right? Or further apart (say 2m), facing forward?

Thanks for your advice...


Boswell Mon, 06/26/2017 - 06:15

Welcome Paul!

Leaving aside for a moment what gear you intend using, since it is essentially an open-air gig, you have to weigh up carefully what and how you are going to record. By this I mean things like are you hoping that a pair of mics centrally placed will get a balanced sound from the amplified vocals, amplified guitars and acoustic drums? If so, there are plenty of YouTube videos showing what a poor result this can produce.

The two guitars are probably the least of your worries, so you should concentrate on the vocals and the drum kit.

Seeing that it is intending to be the sound track of a video (and a multi-cam one at that), you should consider how to get the best vocals. One easy solution to this problem would be to use a transformer-based mic splitter in the lead from the vocal microphone to the vocal amplifier. Something like the Radial JS2 would work well, and you could get a relatively clean vocal track from this without upsetting the feed to the PA. There are cheaper splitter boxes, but quality suffers if you go too cheap. Avoid the temptation to use a "recording" output from the vocal amplifier.

Next, you should think about what to do with the drum kit. The usual minimal arrangement of mics on the kick, snare and a pair of overheads is probably an overkill for this job, and you may be able to get away with just the overheads, maybe lower and more forward than normal. A pair of the LDC mics with windshields could get you a stereo drum track that would hold its own against the guitar amplifiers.

After that, you are left with the two guitar amplifiers. It's a pity you didn't list any dynamic microphones in your collection, as this is a perfect task for Shure SM57s. In my experience, it would be better to use two tracks for 57s on the amplifiers than recording the overall sound wash with a stereo pair out front.

Rock bands of this type tend to play consistently at level 11, so I don't think that you would have a lot of problem with setting the controls. Set the recorder gains to give you at least 12dB headroom on the loudest sections, and that should be fine. You will be balancing the individual channels at mixdown.

Good luck!

paulears Mon, 06/26/2017 - 07:29

Personally - I never waste a stereo pair on a kit in circumstances where channels are limited - kick, snare and overhead.

The real killer is simply volume and the inability to actually hear what you are getting. Did this kind of thing the other day - the best I could do for 4 of the mic sources going into a zoom was adjust levels - stealing some sources from the spare send on one mixer and another feed from another - meters doing the right things. Syncing the zooms up revealed the main vocal to be horrible and dull - no idea why, the keys far too loud masking the other keys on the same input. With 8 channels - any of the mics on non-electric sources and DI the rest.

pcrecord Mon, 06/26/2017 - 08:38

Did a live gig this weekend. I worked with a Yamaha TF5 and used it's recording feature to record the ST out just for fun...
As expected, the balance was way off. drums were far behind and the acoustic guitar was too loud.

If I ever get time on one of those live gigs, I'd do a seperate mix using a buss and record it while doing the balance with in-ears monitors. I bet it'll turnout better.
On the venue I do, we mic everthing. I never had the job to record as well which would ask for a multichannel seperate recorder. But I like to take something home to hear my work and grow from it.

IF the OP's goal is to make a pro video clip. It's better to go in studio and focus on the video live to combine them later.
If it's just for fun, it's fun to experiment and learn. So anything works until a better way is found ;)

KurtFoster Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:32

lol. white boys in flip flops and Birkenstock's playing the blues (and not very well). how nice that they dressed up for the big gig / video shoot. lol. then people wonder why the public doesn't respect the music any more ......

back when i used to do a lot of location recordings with a reel to reel 4 track, i used a technique called "stereo plus". i read about it somewhere (probably the TEAC white paper or their home recording studio book) but for the life of me, i can't find a reference for it on Google. anyway, it consisted of a stereo pre mix on tracks 1/2 of the drums and all the instruments sans bass,( this could be a stereo pair of mics or a pre mix off of an aux mixer), a di off the bass on track 3 and a tap off the pa on track 4 to capture the vocals. it's one of the few ways to get a stereo recording off of 4 tracks. perhaps this will help?

bouldersound Mon, 06/26/2017 - 15:45

Kurt Foster, post: 451141, member: 7836 wrote: lol. white boys in flip flops and Birkenstock's playing the blues (and not very well). how nice that they dressed up for the big gig / video shoot. lol. then people wonder why the public doesn't respect the music any more ......

That's largely a matter of fashion or style, and there's a segment of the listening population that likes this kind of thing. The point of the post is to demonstrate a live recording method using gear that fits into a small day pack, sets up fast and doesn't take up much space. Given the OP's goal of capturing decent audio, not being invasive and dealing with multiple cameras, it seems like useful information.

KurtFoster Mon, 06/26/2017 - 16:38

bouldersound, post: 451147, member: 38959 wrote: That's largely a matter of fashion or style, and there's a segment of the listening population that likes this kind of thing.

:cry: yeah i know. it's ..... it's.... tofu poisoning!

please don't take it as an attack on you personally, simply an observation. your work speaks for itself. but things have changed. no wonder there isn't any money in music anymore.

RemekTek Media Mon, 06/26/2017 - 23:52

pcrecord, post: 451134, member: 46460 wrote: First and for most, what is the goal of the recording and what level of quality do you seek?

I want to make decent quality Youtube recording.
This is not a studio recording session, but an attempt to capture the audience's experience of a loud, good Rock Band. The band is responsible to balance the vocals, drums and guitars (at least that's what I am thinking). The vocals are definitely not opera standard, LOL, more like someone singing after a few beers and cigarettes.

A mic slitter was suggested, but I don't think I would be allowed to use that, even if I had one, and I don't. One possibility would be to get a line out from the vocalist's amp and feed that into my recorder.

I only have the mics that I listed. i.e.:

  1. RØDE NT5 Qty2
  2. ISK 1" diameter condenser mics Qty 3
  3. Zoom MidSide capsule - mounts on to the Zoom F8 (same as used by the H5 and H6)
    Unsuitable for this, but I have wireless lavs and shotguns - used for videoing events and interviews.

    So in light of my gear and experience limitations, my questions are

    1. Should I use both the NT5 and ISK mics?
    2. Should try to use MidSide recording?
    3. If use both NT5 and ISK mics, which should go for drums and which for "general"
      I do realise that the readership in these forums are made of of people that are a million times more experienced and knowledgeable than I, and will have a ton more gear, but I have to start somewhere. LOL.

      Thanks for your patience and help...