Newbie - Live recording


I'm 41 and I'm a newbie. (Crowd) HELLO NEWBIE!

Yea I'm a digital recording newbie anyway. The last time I recorded anything(1977) we hung two mikes by some wires from the roof into a small mixer and then into a 1 track stereo reel-2-reel. Did it sound good? No. Did it work? yes.

Well now I'm back and am recording some live bluegrass and blues at different locations around Mississippi. I have 0 microphones or preamps. All I have purchased so far is a Tascam 788 and an extension cord. I plan on getting a Mackie mixer and a couple of AudioBuddys to get the sound from the Mics to the 788. What I truly need advice on is the mics. The guys I'll be recording might have a PA and they might not. Most will, but there are a few groups that are acoustic only. Could anyone please give me a good place to start? My budget for mics is about 500-600 bucks. I can spend more in the late summer, but right now it's all I have.

Thanks In Advance


Well-Known Member
Mar 20, 2001
I record a lot of live bluegrass and acoustic music. I have a couple of systems depending on what the band wants.

My most basic setup is two CAD CM17 small condenser mics set about ten feet in front of the P.A. going to a Behringer 2004 mixer to stereo DAT. Nice natural sound and audience ambience. I paid $69 each for the CAD mics and they are very warm and natural sounding. (I place them like this: / 45 degrees of angle). I get good stereo spread and full range sound.

My larger setup is to mic the band and run the bass direct to my ADAT using the direct outs of the Behringer mixer. I can then mix and master the tracks using all my outboard stuff in the studio. Depending on what the group uses for a mic (some bluegrass bands use only one mic), I get a good close mic sound and can create a good stereo spread.

If they only use one mic, I simply record that mic to one channel of the ADAT or both channels of the DAT and then record it through various delays of 12-16 ms to other tracks of the ADAT and pan them hard left and right to create a stereo spread from a mono source.

If you are recording a small four or five piece bluegrass group, I use a Rode NT1 in the center with two CAD CM17's under it on a mic bar facing 45 degrees away from each other (/) I record this setup to three channels of the ADAT and use one channel for the bass and I get a good stereo spread and pick up all the instruments.

All told, as you can see, my mic budget is under $400 total. I have a couple of tunes from live bluegrass recordings using this setup that are getting national airplay.

The biggest problem is the bass. I prefer a direct out from a pickup through a compressor but I will stuff a mic under the bridge (SM58 works fine) if they don't have a pickup. Believe it or not, I use an Alesis Nanocomp for the compressor with great results. I firmly believe you don't have to spend thousands of dollars if you have good ears.

I run live sound and record at the same time at seven or eight bluegrass festivals a year and have had really good results with my little setup. Plus I get to pick up a grand a weekend in addition to selling the bands a live CD of their performance.


Thanks GZsound that's exactly what I was looking for. There are some pretty good small bluegrass/gospel groups around here and I'd like to get them on tape(disk). If I get anything decent I'll post it here for you.

Thanks Again