Live recording, big budget

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by kats, May 24, 2005.

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    The New AT5047 Premier Studio Microphone Purity Transformed

  1. kats

    kats Guest

    Just a quick question - I'm not a recording engineer - just a home studio guy, but I've been tasked with a project.

    I (not me but the company)have to record live rock bands in a 6000sq foot bar. We have about $75,000 budget for gear that will be permanently placed. So my question is:

    Can a console record the individual tracks to disk while using the mixer portion for the live mix that the audience hears? I assume this and am wondering what this entails. I think we could get away with 16 tracks and wondering what this would entail (my only experience is PT with channel strips etc). IE I assume I would need a converter to handle 16 channels and that this would just interface with PT right?

    My personal experience in channel strips that I really liked were API stuff and I have a fetish for the Chandler stuff (TG series). I know Chandler has begun buidling mini modules that might be able to handle this stuff but it seems that API has more experience buidling full blown consoles.

    Any tips/input/ideas/reccomendations are appreciated. Thanks in advance
  2. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    with all do respect..whomever is abut to spend $75k on this needs a truelly experianced professional to advise them on this issue. Again, no offense, But I wouldn't want someone who has to ask here, what to do with $75K. or anywher elase online. That kind of monye deserves a personal, pro-experianced honest answer.
  3. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    I agree on the advice to call in an expert.

    There are quite a few aspects to take care of, one of them is making an installation that is suitable for different kinds of bands and that can work and evolve over a number of years. Buying the right speakers may save you loads of money and additionally make it sound much better. Remembering to put those extra ambience mics up in the roof will save you loads of trouble in recording. Getting a separate power circuit for audio equipment, separate from the lighting, will make quite a difference. And so on it goes. Experience is what counts.

    As for recording you will probably want to go for some kind of "idiot proof" recording equipment. Just push the button and you get something recorded. Often enough there is no separate "recording engineer", it is supposedly to be handled by that live mix guy. Never underestimate the real-world workload in a live mixing situation. It comes from bands beeing pissed off from not getting their favourite food or whatever and include people spilling bear in the mixer (been there). Cables are going to be unplugged, and suddenly three extra musicians appear that was not scheduled for (been there as well).

    Preferrably record on two separate systems for the backup. Use a good removable media and take it off for archive or postprocessing. It is a good idea to design the workflow and think of the small things as well.

    As for equipment, well, you are definitely heading for a professional level live equipment. Not my expertize, I´ve seen a few really bad examples though.

    As for recording you will probably want to have really robust, very clean sounding things. My guess is that you would want to have isolation transformers on all inputs, and be running the recording as a a down-to-earth simple to use thing. As few buttons as possible there. Ideally only one big red button -- Record. Anything extra can be done in postproduction. I would forget about the brand names you mentioned (API and Chandler), they are probably really good in a studio, what you are looking for is probably something different.

    Sorry to say it, but I have seen it. It is very easy to spend a lot of money on things that are wrong in the context. They might be very good in other contexts, but non-working in the actual situation. And very easy to miss the small things that experience has taught to be necessary.

  4. kats

    kats Guest

    No offense taken fellas, and I will be using proffesionals to do this. The reason I post here is because I want to be up to speed on the issues because EVERYONE has an agenda including consultants and their recomendations.

    Ok having said that I'll "re-ask" the question:

    Specific uses will be :
    1. Mixing the live sound.
    2. Recording a live band to disk.
    3. Mixing the recorded tracks.

    It's 1 genre of music (rock) and we want something impressive. This is a 16,000 sq ft club where no expense has been spared - so we don't want mickey mouse in this particular room.

    JFYI the I am a partner in the club and built a home studio about 6 months ago just so I could have some hands on experience in this. In actuality all recording and mixing will be done by other people. I just wanted to understand their needs and concerns and to have some sort of reference. Between the home studio and relentlessly reading the recording boards I now have good idea. And PS recorderman - I enjoyed your drum micing tehniques, everyone loved the sound.
  5. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Ok...others here may disagree. Since soundreinforcement is using digital boards more and more (the yamaha comes to mind) and with your budget I'd look into Dgidesigns D-Show, thier new live digital console. It has the abillity to add Pro Tools. You would then have a modern impressibe console that records on a format that has become a standard. Then maybe a HD1 system for mixdown.
  6. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    Consider that this is coming from someone completely unqualified to give this sort of advice, however ...

    I'd buy a console to meet your live sound needs - the only specific requirement for recording would be pre-eq/pre-fader direct outs on every channel. In addition to the stage mics, plan on a number of mics to pickup crowd noise, and perhaps a stereo pair in the air front and center of the stage to fill out the image and catch some of the incidentals that might be off mic. For recording I'd be inclined to use something like a couple of HD24s. With a biggish band and room mics, I doubt 16 tracks would be enough, considering you can eat up 5-8 tracks on drums alone. 24 might even be pushing it with a few crowd mics and such unless you do some submixing for the recording. I'd plan on limiting between the console and the recorder - just to prevent clipping when you get an unexpected rebel yell on a vocal mic.

    My "console" is an Allen and Heath mixwizard - so I'm certainly not qualified to talk about specifics on any big-boy mixers. I've never even drooled on one.
  7. kats

    kats Guest

    It's interesting, and I have been looking at that console (venue). However I think that the focus of that board is for live sound and using the digital format to take live sound to the next level. I don't think it offers any new level of recording fidelity that is available to most of the good digital systems. IE I would be paying top dollar for the live sound yet not have anything special in the recording realm.

    That's why I asked my original question. Let's suppose I have a API recording console for eg. Can I use a console such as this to record to disk while at the same time using the mixer portion for the show, OR do I need a separate mixer for the show.

    My fault for being a little vague - but the recording aspect of the system is our #1 priority.

    Again thanks for your replies!

    EDIT: Just thinking outloud. Using a system like I just mentioned would probably require outbaord EQ since the eq getting recorded would have different requirements.
  8. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    IMO it would be a compromise to use the FOH console as a front end for a recording rig in a case like this. Typically, in this type of situation, people use a "splitter snake" The splitter uses transformers to send the mic level signals to the FOH console, Monitor console and recording rig.

    You'll need to decide if you're even going to have a monitor console. If you're looking to book big name nationals, monitor facilities that are separate from FOH may be required.

    For your recording setup you would take the splits off of the splitter snake into your mic preamps and then into whatever recording device you use.

    If you use a FOH console's mic pre's for a front end of a recorder (via the direct outs) you will be post insert, Eq and fader. So when you mix your tracks for the recording you'll be dealing with eq adjustments that were made for the sake of the live show. The same can be said for compressors on the inserts. Also, post fader means that you may not be getting optimal levels for each track into the recorder. For example, if the bass player brings a really loud rig, the FOH Engineer may use very little if any bass guitar in the FOH mix. So, in this case, your levels for Bass guitar would be too low on your recording.
  9. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    which is why I suggested pre-eq/pre-fader direct outs.
  10. vividsonics

    vividsonics Guest

    I agree with you.

    The hard part will be finding a console that has pre-EQ & pre-fader direct outs. That is pretty uncommon AFAIK. If you can find one that would certainly be a route to consider.

    Zemlin's right about a higher track count too. I like his idea of 2 HD24's that seems to make the most sense.

    Another thing to consider in a larger venue like this is how many inputs you'll need at FOH. You may find that you'll frequently have a national act "backline" their gear and eat up 16 or so channels leaving the leftover channels for the opening groups.

    Also, if you're going to be booking touring acts that bring their own engineer, they may prefer an analog console. Mostly because they may have less than an hour or two to learn the console.
  11. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    I wouldn't know - I jumpered my A&H to give me that on all 16 channels. Works great when I have to do FOH & record at the same time.
  12. kats

    kats Guest

    Yup, I've come to the conclusion that it'll have to be a separate board for the live sound and split the signal for recording.
  13. Dan_Pence

    Dan_Pence Guest

    Not suggesting you should purchase this console with a $75k budget, but I know for a fact that the Midas Venice console line has an internal jumper on each channel that allows you to place the direct outs in the pre-eq/pre-fader position. I was contracted to do a live recording with the Venice being my only option for a front end and I was worried about FOH levels screwing with my recording levels. I looked up the schematic and sure enough, there's a jumper for it.

    Although consoles whose direct outs are pre-eq/pre-fader are rare, it's not too difficult to connect an internal jumper. It may take a little more work, but it will be worth it.

    Then again, you can always add a splitter snake and separate mic pres for the recording rig and it would eliminate the problem entirely...
  14. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    A few thoughts... First of all, how many guest mixers will be coming through? That will make a huge difference on what you should get. I wouldn't get a D-Show if you have a lot of guests because very few folks know it.

    A good analog board will always be known by everybody coming through. Some like Midas, others Alan and heath, others Yamaha, etc... But they all work the same basic way. A Digico is very different from the Digidesign which is very different from the Yamaha.

    Second of all, many analog boards can either be easily modded or already come for giving direct outs. As somebody mentioned, the Venice is easy to mod or set up for recording on the direct outs. Other boards have an aux that is a switchable prefade direct out...

    Also, a system is a lot more than a console. $75K is a lot of money, but it can disappear very easily depending on how you set up. What do you need to get for your drive racks? How will that affect the recording? What kind of amps and speakers do you have? If those aren't good, forget about a good recording. Don't put a $35K board in and use Peavey speakers.

    Get a good professional system tech to help you our and plan everything before you start talking gear. Figure out what you want your workflow to be and from there, set up your sound system.

  15. ghellquist

    ghellquist Member

    May 25, 2004
    I´ll fill in on my ideas a bit from last posting. As you are going to get help in setting it up I see no harm in saying some of the things.

    Electrical power
    You will want to have separate power for audio and lights. Lights tend to send out lots of noise on the power line. You might want to look inte a UPS for the recording stuff, otherwise even very short power outages will stop the recording equipment. Think carefully about what electrical power to supply on stage as well.

    Plan ahead with lots out mic inlets around the stage area. Or areas if there is a even a possibility that there may be several. Add inlets in several positions in the roof, and around the walls for ambience mics or whatever. Route all the wiring to a rack where where you can connect things in and out any way you want.

    Live mix place
    The live mix guy probably should be in front of the stage, probably with windows that can fully open (and can be closed to protect things while he is not there). You need to hear the act to do a good mix. Plan for one live sound guy and one ligth mixer.

    Recording rooom
    Think hard about where to do the recording and post production. You may elect to have a separate room for the recording engineer. Preferrably with very good sound isolation, and triple glass sound protection or whatever. Maybe an internal TV circuit can work instead.

    Lockable rooms and cabinets
    Well, things tend to get feet. Make sure there is plenty of room to lock things in. And while you are at it, make the sure the engineers have a toilet they can use (been there).

    Mic pres
    My suggestion is to NOT tap the recording signal from the live board. The reason is my very bad experiences from the live guys always tweaking the gain. Often in the middle of something important going on. Instead use a set of splitters to isolate the live sound mixer from the recording mixer. In order to do this effectively you should probably have phantom power permanently connected on some of the mic inlets. There are quite a few stage song microphones nowadays that expect phantom power as well, and if you look at overheads for the drums that is a rule (This is where a lot of experience helps in designing the system). If you separate the system functions carefully from each other you can more easily upgrade or repair the things.

    Live sound
    Get a largish traditional analog live mixer board. This is what the guys seem to like to use. Not my area of knowledge though.

    Record dry without effects
    Or to rephrase it, either mixdown at recording time or record completely dry. If you want to mixdown at recording time to a stereo track, the recording engineer absolute has to be in a sound isolated room with good monitor speakers. If you plan on recording completely dry and later remix the recording engineer still might want to have a mixer board to be able to hear a preliminary result. But no EQ-s, no compressors. Especially not the effects the live guy is using, his goal is completely different. In effect what I am suggestion is that the live guys has their mixer, and ther recording engineer has his own mixer. These two mixers have different requirements and will probably be different beasts.

    Plan on getting backups
    Especially for the recording equipment. At least two systems in parallell with a third as backup. The Alesis ADAT HD24 might be one example of recording system to look for (although I guess there are more modern things nowadays). Get two in parallell, give them the same signal and record on both. And while you are at it, add a CD Writer and DAT as well and record rough mixes on them as well. One day you will be very sorry unless you have made several copies from the beginning. Mount everything in racks and plan ahead when it comes to wiring.

    Anyway, my two cents.

  16. adamw

    adamw Guest

    I've run across a few, even in this town. I've recorded off of a DDA CS8, which had lots of options for the direct outs. A&H consoles all have pre-fader pre-EQ outs, AFAIK. Midas Venice consoles, for some bizarre reason are post-fader, but you can get a kit from your dealer to modify them to pre. I've also recorded off of a Soundcraft Spirit, and that was at least post-EQ, and probably post-fader as well.

    I've been using a Nuendo / MOTU rig, but I would agree that a stand-alone recorder is much more idiot-proof.

    From a live sound standpoint, I would avoid putting a studio board in a live venue at all costs. Having worked in a few such situations, I can tell you it's teriffically frustrating because basically everything is set up completely backwards compared to what you do with a "live" board. The metering / PFL / solo issues alone are enough to drive anybody crazy.

    As everybody else has suggested, get a pro to do the installation for you, but keep some of your startup money in reserve. You'll always have added expenses when you get up and running.
  17. adamw

    adamw Guest

    And I would also invest in a standalone pro-quality cd-burner. Many bands would just as soon go home with a CD that night. Just make sure it's in some sort of shockproof mount, or you may have problems.

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