New to the forums, need help/advice for recording live show.

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by mister68, Jul 11, 2006.

  1. mister68

    mister68 Guest

    I've been through these forums for a few weeks now, and i've finally registered in hopes that i could get some advice from some people about recording a live show. I have a basement studio in my house that i have been recording bands in for quite some time now, and i was interested in recording a show with my equipment, which i am this coming weekend. I was wondering if i could score any advice or tips to help make the best sounding recording possible.

    As for my equipment, i use a presonus firepod, a slew of various dynamic and condenser microphones, and cubase SX. I plan on dragging all of my crap out to the venue and setting up next to the mixer which will be extremly convient because it's a large space and it's backed off and elevated from the crowd.

    all amps are mic'd through the PA, as well as the kick drum and snare drum. With that, i would just sent the outputs of each channel on the PA to the inputs on my firepod, and hopefully be rolling from there.

    If anyone has any suggestions, problems, or has tried this before, please give me your feedback. I'm going there in hopes that this will work, so if it won't work, please let me know before i drag all of my crap out there.

    thanks alot!

  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Other than just taking along an old audio cassette machine(Or a newer DAT or even flash card recorder), plugging it into the mixers RCA L/R "tape out" jacks and hitting "record", sounds good to me? Hard to say with this kind of thing until you try...... It is alot of stuff to drag around...... If you're going to try multi-track, there'll be lots to learn to do a really good job. Do the best you can, this time, and do better next time......


    Get there early!
  3. ZZTop

    ZZTop Guest

    First off, cancel the gig if it's raining. I only write that because it is presently raining it's ass off outside. But that's the first issue.
    Secondly, setup time. Figure off how long it will take you to set up to be ready to record. Then see if you are right. Usally takes me hour to an hour 1/2. Time is important.

    Third, be prepared for the worst. Live recording is WAY different than doing any sort of tracking in the house. Also take more cords than you "think" you might need. Surely you will need a few more than normal. I would write more, but I have to get going to work now. :x
  4. GentleG

    GentleG Guest

    Expect for the worst
    Hope for the best

    Communication and preparation with the live sound guy/gal
    Days before.

    Does his mixer allow for direct outs?
    Also for the grouptracks?
    Does he allow you to do so
    Which channels or groups do you plan to record

    Cabling: connectors: balanced/unbalanced jack/xlr ??

    Or maybe buy/hire some mic splitters
    and get a direct feed from all the mics
    Much safer, beware of phantom power
    You may need a small mixer yourself if the 10 inputs of the firepod aren't enough

    Good luck
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Live recording when a PA system is involved is both an art and a science, not to mention the politics involved. You really don't just bring some stuff, plop it next to some stuff and plug some stuff in. If you do that, stuff will happen and then all you will have is some stuff and not a professional recording.

    This is not meant to dissuade you from your recording endeavor. I just want you to understand that to obtain a quality recording a great deal of preproduction is necessary along with good communications with the technical folks you are collaborating with.

    If you're Firebox only has 8 inputs and your band requires 16 inputs on the PA system and and the PA guy says " I'll give you direct outputs", what do you do now? Take half? I don't think so. Ask him if he can subgroup some stuff together so you can get everything on a single channel? That won't yield a professional recording either. Preproduction is everything!

    Good luck kids and remember don't play your instruments while driving.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. mister68

    mister68 Guest

    Well, the recordings turned out OK i guess. I figured i would have ran into some trouble, which i did. The acoustic bands turned out great, probably because there was only 4 channels to work. The full bands on the other hand was another story.

    It probably would have gone better if i had a guy running the sound board who know knew what he was doing. For half of the night, he had the bass drum muted on the PA. I didn't figure this out untill the last band, because i thought i had screwed something up myself, that's why i wasn't getting any signal from the bass drum. Once i told him to un-mute it, i had the bass drum working. I had a condenser over the set which picked up the drum set, but not enough to bring out the snare or kick. Then i ran into another problem. There was a sheet that said which mic was running through which channel. snare drum was supposed to be channel 8 on the PA, and the first tom was supposed to be channel 9. Turns out, they were switched so i just picked up the mounted tom and bleed from the snare drum.

    I made alot of mistakes and didn't pay that much attention, but it was a good experience. I plan on doing it again, but this time trying to be a little more organized and pay attention to the guy running the sound board. Just thought everyone would like to know how it went, and thanks for all of the help!
  7. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Yes, well, I'm glad things turned out all right but now you have found out how inconvenient it can be when you are relying on somebody else's technical incompetence factor. Some of those problems that you had may have some recoverable workarounds? Some extensive software filtering and gating, along with compression, may help save you from some of the problems you encountered? For instance, you may be able to take some other drum microphone track, duplicate it and then highly filter and gate that to recover whatever bass drum you did not get in the feed? You may even need to do some of this manually within the software which will really make your postproduction time skyrocket. Snare drum can frequently be recovered by some filtering and gating.

    I did a huge job with my remote truck, 11 years ago. It was at RFK Stadium in the DC metro area, complete with 65,000 screaming youngsters. The PA Company wanted to supply me with two 48 input rotating stages! 96 inputs total! I told them I couldn't take more than 40 at a time. They said they really didn't need to use 48 with any of the rock-and-roll band's and wouldn't use anything more than 40 inputs at a time, to accommodate me. So, they said that was all right if I wanted to forgo the microphone checks for the band setting up while the other band was playing. It was a huge risk considering it was a live radio broadcast with a simultaneous feed to MTV! But I had no choice. I was used to thinking on my feet for live broadcasts and I figured, the levels shouldn't be much different from one drum set, guitar cabinet, bass rig, vocal microphone, etc. to another?

    The most important part was each band's microphone set list and input rundown that I was supplied with. The first act was Juliana Hatfield where her microphone was supposed to be on input 17. The band started and when she started singing......NO VOCAL! I started freaking out! Was my console malfunctioning? Did I have a wiring problem in the truck?? Patch bay problems?!?!? Operator error???? I started jumping around in the truck, checking all input's and connections. I had my assistants checking the input panel outside of the truck, no problem there. The radio station started to complain to me on the intercom while the MTV guys ran into my remote truck to find out what was going on. Apparently the PA guys had a problem with her microphone check and promptly plugged her microphone into input 48 on their snake box! 10 minutes into the set, we finally got it straightened out with the PA guys. Can you say nervous breakdown?

    The remaining 10 hours were fraught with active splitter level inconsistencies. For some bands microphones would come in at microphone level but on others, some microphones would come in at line level and then back again for the next band! There was no consistency in any level coming from any microphones. My God!! For instance, with between 8 and 10 microphones on a drum set, one tom microphone would be at microphone level but the other microphone would be at line level and so on throughout the entire day.

    That's one of the reasons why I'm so adamant about using passive transformer isolated splitters and not the active ones. Plus, I never want to take any feeds from anybody else's console, since you are really at the mercy of the other console and operator. With transformer isolated splitters, that way, what ever goes in, comes out at the appropriate level and you have complete and isolated control over the situation.

    Control freak
    Ms. Remy Ann David
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