Recording Live, Digital? Analog? & how?

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by descalxo, Nov 24, 2004.

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  1. descalxo

    descalxo Guest

    Hi, my name is Ricardo and I'm new here, I'm looking for some advise of how to make a live recording, I have to record a band in medium theatre, and since is my very fisrt time making a professional live recording i need all the info I can get :!: , My principal problem is how to make the recording, if i have to use something digital with a hard drive, or i better use a dat or something like that, I was thinking to make a recording for each separate channels, ( almost 52 including audience), it's possible? and if it's possible, how and wha is the best equipment to do this, we have to consider the budget, is not that big :( . And also i was wondering if anybody can help me with the position of the mic for the audience, and what models can I use?
    Thanx a lot!
  2. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    do a little search on the forums! you'll find plenty of info! procura!!! :)

    as for advice i say to you the following!
    go with digital recording and computer based fire wire!
    i presume the theater has a mixer so buy the motu 828 mkII! connect it to a laptop and you're ready to go! it has 8 line ins, 2 pres, spdif and 8 adat!
    connect the inserts of the mixer to the line ins! put the motu near the mixer cause inserts are unbalanced so you won't want to them to be far!
    buy an interface adat if you need more channels! there's a cheap and ok, the behringer ada8000
    as for micing the audience i wouldn't try that! it is a waste of money and can get you some troubles!
    52 channels is a lot! what do you want to record???
    for that i recommend either a motu solution (check their website!) but you need a lot of computer power! it has to be a great bomb!
    if you have money check the rme products! the new fireface800 gets great reviews!
    dat won't give you those separate channels!

    what will you be recording and the purpose of it?
  3. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    "Band" is a pretty generic term. What sort of band is it? 52 Tracks? That's a heck of a lot of stuff - sounds like a case of major overkill to me.
  4. descalxo

    descalxo Guest

    here's all the info

    Sorry, I make a mistake is 42 channels :oops: , the band, is a 5 musicians rock band, the idea is to make an unplugged, and because of that we're considering a few extra musicians, like 1 or 2 saxes, 1 piano, 5 strings, 1 harp, 1 flute, 1 percusionist and the audience, and I was wondering, why is so complicated to record the audience InLoco? I was in fact considering 3 mono channels just for that, but if there is a better way to catch that feeling could be great, the final idea is to make a Live DVD with video, and the final mix is pretended to be mixed in a 5.1 Digital Dolby Mix. I hope this information can be more usefull and thanx for posting me and give all that advise, I'm really considering the Digital recording, just want to find a nice powered computer for the job.
    THANX! :)
  5. gnarr

    gnarr Guest

    42 channels! thats a overkill. only to get 42 mics is a hard thing.

    lets imagine an example of a big setup for live recording

    the percussion would maybe be two bassdrums, snare, tom1 tom2 tom3, floortom1, floortom 2, hihat, and cymbals (sounds like the Guns'n'roses setup :lol: )

    3 guitar amps

    one bass amp

    5 vocals..

    2 saxes

    1 piano

    5 strings???? (that's alot.. "the band" would be crowded on the stage)

    1 harp

    1 flute

    1 percussionist

    ok.. now we got an enourmos instrument list.. now lets look at the mic up

    2x Bassdrum mics
    2x Snare mics
    5x tom mics
    2x overheads
    1x hihat

    3x guitar amp mics
    1x bass amp mic ?? (usually the bass is only direct and the amp used as a monitor)
    5x vocal mics (i doupt that you will ever need 5 vocal mics
    2x sax mics
    2x mics for the piano (1 would be enough. the piano would "leak" to the other mics and create a some stero with only one mic)
    5x mics for the strings (two in X-Y and the string "band" surrounding it would be enough..)
    1x mic for the harp
    1x mic for the flute
    1-2x for percussions.
    2x in X-Y for stereo image of the crowd.

    that's 36 mics, and i'm overkilling it! you could easily skip the X-Y for the crowd as it will leak into all the mics on stage.

    If i were planning this, i would not use more than 22 mics for this setup.

    keep in mind that 42 channel mixers are hard to get. and a interface that can record 42 channels simultaniously is not cheap.

    you would also probably need some nice big and fast harddisks to handle all that bandwith ;)

    well. just my .02$
  6. inLoco

    inLoco Active Member

    Jul 25, 2004
    i'd go with getting the services of a recording studio mobile! for the money you'd be spending it's way better!
    42 channels is pro thing! not a thing you do with a few ideias how to work and so on! specially if you want to make a dvd! i'd go to some company that has the tools (and i doubt there are many with all the mics needed and so on)
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    I have to jump in here as well..... No offense intended, but you're NUTS if you think you're going to dive into this thing with 42 channels, NO budget and NO experience. Sorry....

    Please go get a cup of coffee, read some more of these forums, and consider hiring an outside contractor for this first time around. :) Follow them like a hawk and watch what they do, take notes, ask questions, etc. Someday (and I mean SOMEDAY), you'll have the chops to do this on your own.

    42 channels is not for the faint of heart, nor for inexperienced folks just starting out. Aside from the sheer number of mics involved, consider the infrastructure of a project like this:

    Assuming you're running all this to a PA system as well, you'll need a dedicated splitter box (usually right onstage, be it analog or digital/optical). If you've got a major PA company doing the sound, you MIGHT get lucky and they MIGHT have that as part of their rig. (I wouldn't count on it, though.) Renting something like this will cost you $200-500 per day, or about $2000 to buy the whole thing outright: Snake w/splitter and two fantails - one for the remote truck, one for the house/monitors. (Yeah, they'll probably want to split it that way, too.)

    If you're NOT running all this to a PA system, then you've got mics, cables and stands to consider......again: rent? Purchase?

    For 42 channels, you'll need something like a dedicated Pro Tools HD rig (again, rent or buy? your bank....) OR, you can attempt to slave a bunch of Mackie, Alesis or Tascam 24 track HD recorders together. (For a laptop firewire rig, I wouldn't push things past 24 tracks.) You'll also need a console to handle all those inputs with DI outs to your Analog to digital converters, as well as a good monitoring system - headphones if there's no truck or backstage broom closet, or speakers & goodies in a remote truck. Don't forget good clean isoltated AC power...and if you're splitting out from the Snake & house PA, make sure your grounding scheme is good...otherwise....OUCH!

    Are you recording multiple nights, rehearsals, or is this one big giant "one-shot" at getting the whole thing?

    And then there's post-production. I don't know anyone who's got the capability to do 42 digital tracks (for el-cheapo) on a routine basis to mix down. Not without a big $$$ budet. So, you'll be doing "Stems" and mixing things down in groups....drums, bass (general rythmn section stuff), vocals, horns, etc. This will cost you extra time and of course more $$$ in the long run.

    Last but not least, you mentioned a video. (DVD?) You WILL need to record house ambience/applause tracks if you want to make it sound "REAL" and not a weird, almost-studio-yet-live recording, with the audience reaction just bleeding into the mix on certain mics. There's no "maybe" need to put up a pair of ambient mics FACING the audience. (preferably not in the line of fire of your PA stacks; perhaps a little bit back from the front line of the stage.) You'll need to track these separately, and during the mixdown, you'll no doubt be bringing them up and down as needed, before/after songs, or in places to underscore the audience reactions to the band's performance. ANy good brand of omni or cardioid mics will do the job for ambient mics. (My current favs are AT 4049s' or the new Studio Projects C4's with omni capsules.)

    Depending on your number of camera's, you'll want to roll tape the ENTIRE TIME, and edit it later. (NO stopping and starting...let 'em roll the whole concert.) Print "wild" audio on these things (watch out for audio level smashing the sound if it gets loud)or if possible, get a live feed from the board or your sub-mix going to CDr. (You WILL run a backup CDr of the whole thing in stereo, right? ....yes, yes, you MUST. :)

    Who's going to deliver, setup and strike all this gear as well, with no budget? (Come on, let's get real....volunteers MEAN well, but you get what you pay for....)

    Which brings us back around full circle: Since you say you have no budget and no experience, it might be smarter to go with a smaller, saner system for your first time out: Put up a good pair of stereo ambient mics for the house, get a rough stereo mix from the house board, and take perhaps some extra feeds for things you'll want to touch up later (Maybe a drum subgroup, vocals, zone mics, etc.) Track them all seperately, perhaps to a DA-38 or some basic 8 track digital recorder, and work with that; mix it to a decent stereo track and sync it up with your video edit.

    I'm sure I missed a few things, and I'm sorry to burst your balloons on this, but,....dear god....unless you've been doing this for years with a fully equipped truck and good staff, 42 tracks is totally out of the question for a "low/no budget" first-time recording.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Yeah, I gotta agree with the other posters here, especially JoeH. What you are looking for is just silly - no offense intended. Even if you had all of the equipment necessary, micing 42 channels all independently is just not necessarily the right way to approach this. Hell, I have over $25,000 in mic cables and I would barely be able to manage a set-up of 42 channels (unless I had all the equipment right on stage with the musicians!) Not to mention 42 channels of mic or d/i input.

    Your best bet - go minimal and be creative. Doing these things are where a true recording engineer get to prove their worth! Figure out how to do all of this recording on 8 or 16 tracks. Try some overhead configurations. Multi-mic setups can be very troublesome. Managing 42 channels and summing down to a stereo bus, I could do that. It would take a lot of work, but it would be possible in post. However, taking 42 channels and summing them into a 5.1 mix?!?! This is what people at Industrial Light and Magic do. Hell, I don't know of a movie soundtrack that has hit 42 tracks simultaneously.

    Think smaller - get yourself a decent 24 track recorder and a decent 24 track mixer (something along the Mackie SDR 24 or the Alesis HDR 24 and a decent mixer) - that is of course, if you don't have access to the direct outs of the house's mixer (which you probably won't) and get yourself a boatload of SM57's. You may be able to borrow these from friends/colleagues, but that's what you'll need. They will work for every instrument you listed except for maybe the harp and the flute. For those, get a couple cheap condensers. Then, mic in sections. Mic the entire auxillary band (flutes, saxes, violins, harp) with just a couple of overheads. Try one mic on the piano. Do an overhead pair on the trap with a mic in the kick. Then, do DI's for all of your basses/guitars (though if you have enough SM57s, you might want to mic the guitars). Vocals - lead get's his/her own mic, back up's get to share. Then, if your sure that the crowd isn't being picked up enough, put a pair over them - following the rules that others have stated above.

    Also, don't touch the levels while recording unless you have to. You can play with these when you get the product back in the studio. Your ears will deceive you and if you go tooling around with levels on site, you can't do much to fix it later. Get it all as hot as you can and cut volume later. As always, apply common sense to the above statements.


    Jeremy :cool:
  9. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    I agree with jeremy et all- A dedicated 24 track alesis or mackie with a 24 ch mackie board and a bunc of 57,s is the only way to do this- and it will take a lotta planning anyway. And if you don't have much experience be sure to get some help or the whole thing will end up as a big fiasco.

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