Recording advise needed

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Thomaster, Oct 6, 2004.

  1. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    hello all!

    im new to this place, i just finished reading a lot on drum-recording and amp-advice and all. this is one NEAT forum!
    i already learned a lot by just reading other people's questions and answers on several things im now struggling with
    but, i started this new topic because i need your advice on the following:

    me and my band are a little tired of our first demo. we recorded it ourselves last year and did it instrument by instrument (all in all it took 2 months) We now find it's not only badly mixed, but also has no life/emotion in it.
    in a couple of weeks, we're planning on recording a short EP.
    we're planning on renting this local gig-venue (which we can for a very small amount of money, for 1 week)
    the place is approx. 300 square meters (25x12m) large.
    there is equipment available there which we will have to use cuz we havent got anything else (small budget)
    the recording equipment is as follows:

    A G4-powermac with ESI 2496-souncard (8 in 8 out)
    another G4 with M-Audio FW410 (2 in 8 out)
    both G4's run Logic
    (also Bias Deck pro, and lots of other DAW's and stupid software)

    all 'beyerdynamic'-microphones:
    couple of Beta58's (probably 6)
    2 M201TG (hypercardoid) dynamic mics (one is often used for snare)

    a drum-mic-set consisting of:
    2 Opus53 condenser OH-mics
    2 Opus67 tom-mountable dynamic mics
    1 Bassdrum-mic (which i cant remember the name of..:S )

    then there's a MIDAS 'Venice' 24-channel mixer, 2 sub-groups.

    this is the basic stuff, we might be able to borrow some more mics, which will be of about the same quality i guess.

    The stuff we have to record:
    1 guitar-amp (London-City 100watt tube-amp with 4x12" cab)
    1 guitar-combo (Veeery rare Watkins tube-combo with 2x10")
    1 bass-amp (Fender Bassman 100 '73 with 4x12" cab)
    a 4-piece drumkit with 5 cymbals.
    and of course; vocals (which can be done at a later time)
    my plan untill now (i havent really planned, but DID have sleepless nights thinking all kinds of scenario's over)
    i was thinking of using Recorderman's technique on drums+ one BD-mic and a Snare-mic.
    the bass i wanted to record with a mic and maybe also DI

    the problem: how do i record?
    do i record everyone at the same time in the same room? or will this be undo-able because of bleeding?
    or should i do traditional budget-recording and do drums first then bass etc. ?!
    if so, will i be able to make 4 headphone-mixes with the equipment i listed above?

    OK. i dont know what more info to give.
    please let me hear what you think!
    ANYTHING is appreciated.
    it's still a month away, so i guess i can still arrange some other stuff if you guys think this is not going to work.

    please suggest/advice/scream/laugh
    thanks in advance!
  2. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    Don't record "live" unless you want to do overdubs. PLus if you record live odds are 4 separate headphone mixes is gonna be problem for you. I would do this if it were me...I would first set up my click tracks and tempos for each song. I would lay down a scratch guitar track - just throw a dynamic mic in front of the combo amp and record it, making sure to be right on tempo. Then spend a whole day miking the drum kit up and making adjustments. Next day come back and let the drummer record to the scratch track only (thats why it's important to get the scratch track in tempo). After you are happy with the drum tracking, move on to bass and spend half a day miking and DI'ing the bass and then the other half recording Bass takes. Next day do guitars (I suggest spending time to get your tone and miking correct.) and I would use the combo amp instead of the Amp and 4x12. Combos are easier to work with for beginners in my opinion. Finish it off with vocals. You are probably not going to want to hear this but with the mics listed it may take some playing around. IMO I don't see a mic on there that I would necessarily use for this project but I understand you have to make due with what you are given. If you have specific questions feel free to ask.
  3. britbrian

    britbrian Guest

    Unless you are going to record live (which I seriously don't advise), I can't see what you are going to gain from what you did before. Why don't you let someone else remix your original tracks and do some mastering for you?
    If you must redo it, you need some form of multi-headphone monitoring and isolation booth for the drums ... or you again track it one instrument at a time. That would be the prefered route, but you will need a click track to work from, and a guide track made from that click track. Once you have that, then record each part in turn. If you are new to this, instead of worrying about equipment, what you really need to get hold of is an engineer.
  4. RAIN0707

    RAIN0707 Guest

    First off I do agree with Brit's post...but I understand the desire to do it yourself. There is nothing wrong with that - but be realistic I guess is what Brit should of said. Don't expect a pro sounding recording that is gonna compare to the latest big name artist's album because it won't and it can't. There is a lot to be said for the knowledge of audio. All I can offer is experiment as much as you can with the little time you have. Even if this time it doesn't turn out as good as you want at least you have learned something for next time. Also - question your motive for doing this it because you want to be involved in every process of your music? Is it because you want to learn how to record better and engineer? Or is it for budget purposes? Maybe even a combination of all of those reasons. I guess bottom line is...don't have your expectations so high that they cannot possibly be reached. Shoot for a realistic goal. My advice would be track the instruments yourself and have an engineer mix and master them. Especially the mastering! There is no way a beginner can do this WELL. I don't care what anyone says. Don't be discouraged by all this - it is all in support of what you are trying to do and in hope of you getting the best sound you possibly can in your situation.
  5. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    Ok thanks for the advices
    umm.. i am now in even more doubt as to what method to use.
    mastering and mixing is one of my main occupations right now, as i'm studying to become a bachelor in music (musicProduction&composition)
    this, of course(!), DOESNt mean im acutally very good at it, but from your advices i thought you guys think im a beginner. this, and it goes without being cocky, is not true.

    anyway, i was planning on doing it the following way (this is not what im going to do, i just wanna hear your opinions on it)
    I will set up drums and micing on the first day. then set up at least 2 but probably 3 or 4 submixes, for monitors. these monitors all have headphones-outputs; this gives everyone a headphonemix.
    then i'll plug all the guitars and the bassguitar into the mixer (we all have some sort of amp-simulators, which will do for this purpose)
    we then play all songs, and only record drums.
    The reason im not going for a clicktrack+scratchguitartrack, is that ive tried this before and figured it to be the main reason why the tracks sound so lifeless. this way, we'll get to play together without having to focus on keeping tempo rather than focussing on eachother and emotions (wow im getting pretty 'dr. phill-ish' here:) )
    after this drumtakes (probably will take us around 3 days including setting things up properly)
    we'll have 4 days left for bass and guitar, which should be easier for us since i have more experience with these.
    by the way, i DO have someone taking the role of engineer, who can help out in positioning mics and tape-control.

    do you guys think this will work?

    another option i've been thinking about is this one, which would enable us to get a better vibe/groove from bass and drums:
    the same as above, but then recording bass at the same time as drums. (we can place the basscab pretty isolated from the drums since we have a large room and a sort of large wooden bar (bar, as in drinking-beer-bar) at the other end of the room, to place it behind.

    please, help me a little and just say what you think.
    btw: i know this ain't the prettiest equipment you guys heard of, but that's mainly just the stuff i gotta do it with.
  6. britbrian

    britbrian Guest

    Just do your thing, and ENJOY it!
    The point about the click track is that it makes life so much easier if you need to do any editing in a DAW ... but if you're not likely to be doing that, then it doesn't matter so much.
    Don't put too much faith in that bar being a good sound barrier ... it's not exactly constructed from sound isolating material.

    At the end of the day, it's all about what this excercise is for. If it's to make demo tracks to impress someone, then perhaps you need a more analytical approach, especially in the area of click tracks and editing/overdubs. If it's for your own enjoyment, then just go for it.
  7. radarhead

    radarhead Guest

    If you are a fairly loud rock band you shouldnt have a problem with seperation. I would go for an all live take and then overdub the vocals, if you want to get some soul back into your music. Why go through the seperation stages like you did last time? It will jsut sound the same again. Go live and capture a performance...otherwise your songs will sound like they have been put together piece by piece and could sound stilted.
    Obviously this isnt going to be to everyone's liking but having done it with several bands in the past(most of them not even using headphones) i have found it to be very rewarding. (most musicians hate wearing headphones so therefore are more selfconscious or irritated when performing). If you close mic the cabs you will find that spill is reduced to a minimum. Try some basic takes first and then adjust cabs placements accordingly. You will achieve a much more real feel to your songs. Don't be afraid to experiment...there are no hard and fast rules to recording regardless of what so called professionals ( and i am one!) tell you about doing drums first etc. Whatever suits the music is the rule of thumb.
    Rik Dowding
    sound engineer/producer
  8. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    mmm Radarhead. that was what i was thinking too
    but i do think that the rest of the guys has good arguments to not record live.
    radarhead, could you explain to me a little more about how you would do it in my situation?
    what about drum-mics picking up guitars/bass for instance?
    or do you just record everything and premix it already in good tone so you dont really need everything on a separate track?
    (by the way, im only dutch, so forgive my faulty english..)

    please elaborate a little on your proposal. it would help me weigh your arguments against the others on here.
  9. radarhead

    radarhead Guest

    This is why i mentioned if you were a rock band, because if your drummer is fairly loud you wont need so much gain on the drum mics. Keep the overheads fairly close to the cymbals and experiment. Try acoustic walls between the cabs and drums. At least record a couple of tracks that way (ones you know well) and then see how they sound. If you get your mic placement right in the first place, the extra room ambience created by recording everyone together enhances the sound. If you dont like it then, you can go back to track by track. If the band arent going to wear headphones, you either have to have a vocal P.A. or they play it as an instrumental, whichever is preferable to the band. The worst that could happen is that you have to move the cabs out of the room and record the drums seperately, but at least give it a try. Don't be afraid to experiment too. Try different mics than you normally use, different approaches to micing up, find your own way of getting the sound you need. Sometimes a cheap mic can be the perfect answer to a problem cab.
    If you take a bit of extra time on the sound of the mics in the beginning you will have a good sounding solid base to mix from.
  10. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    but that would mean that i'd have to premix everything so that it sounds good(thus, before everything goes to harddisk)
    to me, it would seem like a no-return approach
    once i got everything recorded there would be very little i can adjust, eq, compress etc.. because all tracks have bleeding from other instruments.. right?!
    or do you think this is manageable...?
    i have never tried such a thing before.
    wouldnt it be easier to have everything on separate tracks (or at least a couple of separate tracks) because i would then be able to eq/comp/ later?!

  11. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    i need more advice!!!! :)
    Recorderman, what's your advice?
  12. RecorderMan

    RecorderMan Distinguished Member

    Mar 28, 2001
    Record Live!
    Set-up the drums. Have the Bass amp close to the drummer but aiming away from the kit. same with the gtrs. have a gtr amp on either side to balance the bleed. The real trick is the balance in the room. start with thr drummer, let him play and then add/turn up the bass so it's loud and full, but so you can still hear the kick. Bring up the gtr's now, but don't overpower the drums and bass. Mic the gtrs, bass, kick, snare and OH's (maybe my technique maybe not). Experiment. The bleed in the OH's won;t be too much. You can cut to the G4 with the 8 inputs and even have a guide vocal. After this do some OD's. Having everyone paly live will drastically improve the tarcls you get. Rougher MAYBE, but energy will overcome any edges. Plus you will need less effects when your done. Take multiple passes of each song, you cvan edit between passes to fix someones mistakes.
  13. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    sounds like a good advice.
    but im still not sure what to do... :? :D
    ill discuss it with the rest of the band
    thanks, everyone!
  14. Thomaster

    Thomaster Guest

    @ recorderman:
    by the way, this sounds like a good idea. but i have one question:
    do you think i would need a clicktrack/scratch-guitar-track with this?!

    cuz when you said i can mix between different takes of songs, they would all have to be in exactly the same tempo, right?

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