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chris.m.timmins



Joined: 05/12/07
Posts: 216
Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new
      #992350 - 11/06/12 04:22 PM
Hi SOS community....
Basically I'm in a band and we have some studio time booked in the next few weeks. It's all very budget and to be honest, it's for our first batch of demos.
we want to hear oursleves recorded first so that we have something as a reference point when we're fine tuning the arrangements etc.

i'm hoping to record our band in 1 live take using the limited equiptment we have.

The drums will be mic'd up using 2 overheads, one snare and one kick. these microphones will go in channels 1-4 on my alesis multimix 8.
Everything else (vox, guitars, bass) will be mc'd into the PA system then i'll go out of the PA into channels 5/6 on my alesis. Everything will then be recorded as a stereo mix wia usb from the alesis to my laptop (using reaper)

I figure that if I get the eq and panning right first, that should give a reasonable representation of how we sound. Am I missing something?

One thing I've thought about is that everything coming through the pa speakers will feed into the drum mics. there's not much room for manoeuvre in our space and the pa speakers are just behind and to the sides of the drums so the mic drums are sure to be blasted by them.

Would micing the guitars into the alesis and the drums and vox into the pa help?
how about unplugging the speakers of the pa? but then we wont all hear the vocal.

Once we have the live takes, I'm going to use them as guides and get the drummer re-recorded her own, maybe with some extra mics so then, at least we have a stereo drum track and the option to over dub everything else....

There are so many questions that I have but no answers as I've never tried this!!

If anyone has any kind words of wisdom then I'd be most grateful.

Many thanks,
Chris.

ps. the equiptment we have is as follows..
1x Laptop
1x8 channel usb mixer
1x mountain of cables (XLRs, J-J, phono-jack etc)

not quite enough stands but plenty of tape and will to improvise.

9x microphones. 2 regular dynamic mics, 2 small diaphragm condensers and 5 dynamic drum mics.(i plan to use condensers as drum oh's)

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/cats-on-the-beach


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Wiseau



Joined: 25/08/04
Posts: 251
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992359 - 11/06/12 06:21 PM
Cancel your studio booking, you're not ready and would be wasting everyone's time to be honest. Record in a place where you're not looking at the clock. It seems you've never recorded a band before when you're talking about 'mountains of cables' and not having anough stands. Read first, then try, and again, rinse and repeat, then pay for it.

--------------------
'You know it's a bad role when Nic Cage passes on it.'


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chris.m.timmins



Joined: 05/12/07
Posts: 216
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992365 - 11/06/12 07:07 PM
thanks for the reply... Where's the DIY spirit? :-)
the whole point of this "pre-recording session" session is so that we're not watching the clock and we get the best from our paid for studio time when we are watching the clock.

Each of us have recorded in studios before so we wouldn't be wasting our money, we just want to eek every last pennies worth.

I've also recorded bands before but never in a tiny rehearsal room with a laptop capable of recording a stereo feed. I've always had the luxury of more inputs and a live room. I didn't want to list every cable so I used 'a mountain' as a way of saying that I have the right cables. As for the stands.... well, I just don't have enough. how many great recordings wouldn't exist if the session was called off because there wasn't a microphone stand?

What I need to know is.... is there any reason this will not get a reasonable representation of our sound down so that we can listen to it as a reference point when polishing our songs?


Cx

--------------------

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/cats-on-the-beach


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M.K.



Joined: 01/09/04
Posts: 108
Loc: Kent, England
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992370 - 11/06/12 07:43 PM
Hi Chris,

If you are literally recording to get an idea of what you sound like, i would suggest only taking a stereo recording of the band and dont worry too much about mixing, especially if you are going in to the studio to do this.

I always take demos in my band pretty much as we write each track, and best way to do it is to place all the amps in a reasonable arrangement opposite the drums, make sure you get the levels right at amp level, and then put your stereo recorder/microphones in the middle, you can adjust the balance of the amps vs the drums by moving further towards drums/amps.

This will give you the best quick reference idea of what your band should be sounding like, without getting bogged down about recording it yourselves. you can get good stereo seperation as well if you place for example bass amp on one side and guitar amp on other.

We have had really good results with this, most portable recorders now can record wav at 44.1 and with 5-10 minute volume checks before you record we can get better than demo quality (on a good day). Obviously you have the usb mixer, just use 2 channels, done deal.

PS - if you're very fussy I suppose you could use a third channel for voice just so it cuts through the mix. Im in an instrumental band so dont have this problem

--------------------
Marlon King
www.marlonking.co.uk


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Music Wolf



Joined: 17/02/06
Posts: 713
Loc: Exiled to St Helens
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: M.K.]
      #992384 - 11/06/12 09:10 PM
I'd agree with MK. Keep it simple and experiment with mic placement to achieve an acceptable balance.

If you do decide to try a multi mic set up then I'd recommend reading up on the Glyn Johns drum method. I achieved pretty good results first time out with a budget set of mics, an Alesis 12R mixer and recording on to 4 tracks of an Alesis Fusion HD keyboard with the rest of the band on tracks 5 - 8 (DI from guitar and bass amps). Of course, with this method, I didn't have to achieve a balance in the rehearsal space. I transferred the 8 tracks into Cubase for processing / mixing.

--------------------
www.Insideoutcheshire.co.uk


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chris.m.timmins



Joined: 05/12/07
Posts: 216
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992390 - 11/06/12 10:36 PM
MK- we have tried that approach but we're looking for something with a bit more clarity, our room is less than ideal and everything sounds a bit muddy; that's why I've decided to mic everything.
you have made me think more about amp placement. i do think I could skim a couple mics off though.

Music wolf- the glyn johns method is kind of the backbone of this recording... previous attempts with stereo mics have always ended up with drums being the let down of the recording.

Definitely going to simplify my amp micing/ placement. I do have to admit I'd over complicated it a bit

--------------------
www.soundcloud.com/cats-on-the-beach


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James PerrettModerator



Joined: 10/09/01
Posts: 10452
Loc: The wilds of Hampshire
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992425 - 12/06/12 08:20 AM
By all means mic everything but keep it simple. I'd go for one overhead on the drums and just a kick mic. A good drummer and kit should sound good with a simple set up like that. If the drums don't sound good then work out why and fix the problem as otherwise you will only end up fixing the problem in the studio.

That should give you enough spare channels on the Multimix to mic everything else individually through the Multimix. Hopefully the Multimix has an aux that you can use to set up a PA mix.

The other thing that I would add is that you should make sure that the studio you are using can work the way you want to work. A good studio should be flexible but there are plenty of small studios owned and run by less experienced people who assume that everyone works in their particular way and who can't seem to work any other way.

James.

--------------------
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration.
http://www.jrpmusic.net


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grab



Joined: 08/07/07
Posts: 2845
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992435 - 12/06/12 09:13 AM
8 channels should be fine if you only have one singer, two guitars, one bass and drums. The problem is that only four of those channels have mic pres.

Bass can go straight into a line input. If the guitar amps have line-outs then they can go straight into a line input too - sure it won't sound quite as good as a mic, but under the circumstances I doubt you'll notice once there's a bit of reverb added. Then the vocals can go into the PA on their own, and the PA can feed the remaining line input (as well as providing monitoring).

That'll give you 8 independent channels to play with, which is probably more useful for you.


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Madman_Greg



Joined: 07/12/06
Posts: 728
Loc: The back of beyond
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: James Perrett]
      #992437 - 12/06/12 09:15 AM
Personally I would want to track with the ability to hear the basic parts that make up the core of the songs, bass, drums, vox whatever and have the ability to knock out parts so I could hear the core arrangement on its own to see if this stands up. So would suggest micing the drums and DIing everything else, obviously this means some sort of headphones monitoring. That way you can work out the arrangement stuff against the core of the song and have the ability to knock out parts as you need to. If the band can perform without the vocalist, even better as you can over dub that after tracking the basics.

--------------------
Madman_Greg


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Mike Senior
SOS Mix Specialist


Joined: 08/08/03
Posts: 1381
Loc: Cambridge, UK
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: Madman_Greg]
      #992440 - 12/06/12 09:28 AM
A lot of different approaches have been suggested already, but here's my tuppence-worth... Given the cramped conditions, I'd recommend turning off the PA speakers first of all, and living with the compromise that the other players won't hear the vocals. In practice it shouldn't really matter as long as everyone can see each other well, and everyone's fairly clear on the structure of the song. Beyond that, though, your general miking/routing plan seems feasible, and here are a few tips you might find handy.

Firstly, I'd try to catch as full a drum sound as possible through the overheads. That usually means not sticking them right above the cymbals -- either side of the drummer's head is often a better starting point balance-wise. Given the inevitable resonance-mode problems in small rehearsal rooms, you'll almost certainly want to roll out quite a bit of low end using the Alesis Lo EQ controls on the overhead channels, but otherwise try to get the best sound you can from the drums by repositioning the mics. Remember that cardioid mics tend to give their brightest sound for whatever they're pointing most directly at.

As far as the snare is concerned, try not to get the mic so close to the drum that all you get is 'donk'. Whatever you end up with, though, hopefully your overheads should supply enough snare sound that you don't have to use the close-mic much. Try to baffle the kick mic in some way (or put it inside the kick drum) so that you don't get masses of bass spill and low guitar woolliness on it -- especially since you've got no facility to gate it. The one thing you're really missing on the Alesis mixer is any phase/polarity control, so if you have any phase-inversion XLR leads (leads which swap the hot and cold XLR pins), then have those handy in case combining the snare or kick with the overheads sucks the heart out of your drum sound.

Given that spill is going to be a fact of life here, I'd be tempted to grasp the bull by the horns and make the best of the situation in that respect. In other words, I'd actually *not* try to separate the guitars and bass from the drums especially, but rather put them as close as they'd be on stage so that you get more of the benefit of a live-style performance situation (albeit without vocals). If you mike the guitars close, spill from the drums should still be fairly low in level if the instruments are well-balanced in the room, and it may actually improve the overall drum sound -- if not, then try moving/rotating the whole 'guitar plus close-mic' setup a little to get a better result, or try another polarity-flip XLR cable. Again, you'll probably want to roll quite a bit of low end out of the guitar close mics, given the spill situation and the likely strength of the proximity-effect bass boost.

With the bass, I have to say I'd record his DI rather than his amp if at all possible (through something like a Bass Pod if an amped sound is really important), even if he still has the amp live in the room for performance purposes -- again because of the inevitable room-resonance problems. I'd have the vocalist out the front of the drums facing the drummer, and then put duvets or something behind him/her to soak up some of the spill. If you have something like an SE Electronics Reflexion filter you can put up around the mic, then that'd help the spill issue too, but careful not to interfere with sight lines between the players. Once more, low cut on the vocals will probably help stop the overall mix sounding muddy.

Setting all this up without the luxury of a separate monitoring room will be a challenge, but the best way (if a little time-consuming) is to do quick test recordings as you go, so you can judge the sounds without the spill from the room putting you off. You can make life easier for yourself in this respect if you do your best to get the sound in the room as close to the sound you're after on record as you can. In practice, I'd expect it to take two or three hours experimentation to get a reasonable sound going in this way, not including the time taken to set up the instruments and plug up and test the mic lines, so my final advice would be just to allow yourselves enough time, and warn the other band members that they might need a bit of patience!

If you were able to get hold of an eight-channel interface, then you could also make big improvements to the sound of this kind of setup at mixdown, so I'd seriously consider that option too.

--------------------
Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
A complete mixing method based around the techniques of the world's most famous producers.


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Wease



Joined: 17/07/03
Posts: 2171
Loc: Sunny Walsall
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992516 - 12/06/12 05:39 PM
Mike's advice is great - and i think you should just go for it!!

I'd just like to add that I've recorded in a rehersal studio with 8 mics - full drums, bass, guitar, perc and vox

I had the luxury of a firewire interface with 8 mic pre's (can't you beg, steal or borrow one??) but I would do as you initially suggested - mic the drums, send the guitars to the pa (using it as a pre amp extender) and di the bass......I've also used the vox (our singer also plays bass) without overdubbing - you might just get away with the stereo usb mix.

Got a useable sound - because my focusrite 10/10 sends 8 channels via firewire, i was able to mix a little more than you will - but....


This is pre-production - I think it's actually a good idea to do what your doing before going into the studio - probably more for the arrangement side if anything....but i think you'll be ok
Here are the results of our rehearsal room recordings - and we then went and re-recorded, cause we were quite happy that a/we could record better and b/the songs were worth recording

(Our new recordings are nearly ready- you can get a sneek preview
here - just to slightly (but relevantly i think!) hijack!)

Edited by Wease (12/06/12 05:42 PM)


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Anonymous
Unregistered




Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992517 - 12/06/12 05:57 PM
What's the desk on the PA?


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turbodave



Joined: 25/04/08
Posts: 2321
Loc: derbyshire uk
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: chris.m.timmins]
      #992551 - 12/06/12 10:50 PM
Hi, Is there any reason why you can't use a headphone output from the recording device...even 2 sets of cans to the right persons will enable some cohesiveness without PA interference. Personally I would go for the old school single mic for the vocalist with the band set up in suitable positions behind...then add a few mics where necessary...and work on your level acoustically..the discipline will be good for you! Dave

--------------------
My head hurts!


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Giscol



Joined: 02/10/05
Posts: 87
Loc: manchester, UK
Re: Can I run my budget recording session plan by you guys? new [Re: James Perrett]
      #992881 - 14/06/12 06:48 PM
Quote James Perrett:

By all means mic everything but keep it simple. I'd go for one overhead on the drums and just a kick mic. A good drummer and kit should sound good with a simple set up like that. If the drums don't sound good then work out why and fix the problem as otherwise you will only end up fixing the problem in the studio.

That should give you enough spare channels on the Multimix to mic everything else individually through the Multimix. Hopefully the Multimix has an aux that you can use to set up a PA mix.

The other thing that I would add is that you should make sure that the studio you are using can work the way you want to work. A good studio should be flexible but there are plenty of small studios owned and run by less experienced people who assume that everyone works in their particular way and who can't seem to work any other way.

James.




^ This. We've just recorded a 7 track demo in about 3 hours, in our usual rehearsal space. 1 overhead, 1 kick mic, one vocal mic (doubling up as PA mic), mic mic on guitar and bass amp each. All this in a 5x5m room and the sound quality is excellent (for what it is!).

Now we can really HEAR all the problems and go and work on them...

--------------------
Band Multiplier


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