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Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

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Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Bass Growler » Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:53 pm

My first post. I am a retired electronics engineer familiar with Hi-Fi, amp design and that sort of stuff but somewhat(very) ignorant of the recording scene. Our local church has a mixing desk and various wired and wireless microphones already set up to feed amplifiers for fixed speakers throughouit the building. This all works OK and we are happy with it. Obviously the microphone and mixing setup is tailored to suit the particular needs of a sitting audience and the arrangement of speakers (100v line) already installed in the building. Got the picture - Now my question!!!
We wish to start recording selected events, choirs etc and various performances in the building for charity CD production etc - NOT studio quality. Is it, for recording purposes, best to have a separate arrangement of microphones and mixing desk completely divorced from the current in-house set-up, or is it common for the two functions Recording and Building Amplification to share some kit. OK, I am obviously new to this subject but need to get my head round what we may be offered by professional sound chappies. My own gut feeling is that the two need to be completely divorced if only to make life easy for amateur usage - we would have one person mixing for the Recording function as and when required on separate kit (microphones and mixing desk), in addition to the one person currently mixing the PA stuff for the audience. Our eventual sound installation (professionally installed) would be manned by enthusiastic amateurs.
Replies in plain english would be appreciated.
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Scramble » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:15 pm

First thing you need to do is change your handle. (Please.)


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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Jack Ruston » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:26 pm

Scramble wrote:First thing you need to do is change your handle. (Please.)



'Scrabble' should be available.

J
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Bass Growler » Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:31 pm

Oops! Have already submitted a change - to Mountain Man
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby narcoman » Mon Apr 22, 2013 6:55 am

Scrambler wrote:Oops! Have already submitted a change - to Mountain Man

Sounds mighty!!:)
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:10 am

Welcome MM

How big's your church and what are the acoustics like?
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:13 am

Welcome!

A few comments...

Are you in the UK or elsewhere? I'm unfamiliar with how things are elsewhere, but if you're planning to sell CDs or distribute them 'free' in any quantities then copyright law applies - however worthy the cause. The good news is that for modest production runs that won't be sold on shops etc it's a very straightforward and easy process. Check out the PRS/MCPS website website for more info. (Sorry I don't have time at present to give you a direct hyperlink.)

You're probably making the concept more complicated than it needs to be. Although you can't simply record the PA mix - it will sound very imbalanced - depending on what equipment you already have you may be able to make a discrete, separate recording by linking suitable equipment to your existing set-up. The best way is to make a multitrack recording of each microphone and then to mix that into a polished stereo recording later.

Before we delve too deep, can you give us some more information - specifically where you are and the make and model of your mixer?

Thanks. Mike
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby MarkOne » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:33 am

Mike Stranks wrote:
Are you in the UK or elsewhere? I'm unfamiliar with how things are elsewhere, but if you're planning to sell CDs or distribute them 'free' in any quantities then copyright law applies - however worthy the cause. The good news is that for modest production runs that won't be sold on shops etc it's a very straightforward and easy process. Check out the PRS/MCPS website website for more info. (Sorry I don't have time at present to give you a direct hyperlink.)

In the UK at least this can all be handled very easily with a licence via CCLI

specifically, regarding recording: this page


Through an agreement negotiated with MCPS the CCL includes the right to record live music from your services for limited distribution to your congregation. However, this does not currently include copyrighted service words such as the ASB or the Book of Common Prayer. Permission to record these should be negotiated separately with the copyright owners.
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Bass Growler » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:36 pm

Thanks all for your helpful input. Sorry for my lack of clarity. I have been appointed to a committee due to my own techie background (electronics/IT/Hi-Fi) but am happy to confess my ignorance of the Audio/Recording discipline. I have a blank A4 sheet in my head so maybe I'll launch into a few questions. I'm in Scotland by the way.

We have a PA mxing desk (Yamaha MG166c) that sorts out the building amplification for all normal activities.

We now want to produce for in-house use only recordings of public services and other events, and specifically choir practice recordings for choir members use only. We already use local pro sound engineers who take their own kit for our Choir recordings (inc BBC) and are fully aware of copyright issues, with which we are totally compliant. Thanks to all for the reminder, however!

Maybe I'll just plant a few questions:-
1) Our existing 8 microphones would seem to be a shared resource which could be split between two mixing desks - is that a way forward? For non-pro quality are active splitters OK?
2) We are not sound engineers. We would have one chap looking after the PA mixer, as at present, and another attending to the Recording function. Would the 2 mixer solution seem best, for us.
3) The recording function would be via a PC with preferably stereo analogue input (to a sound card). We would then edit/burn our output as required.
4) I appreciate the need, when recording, of audience sound capture so realise that we may need some dedicated recording microphones. We would involve local pro engineers to advise us re these.

Having just jumped into this forum somewaht raw - my need is just to be aware of some of the options open to us, before some smart sales chappies confuses me completely. My background goes back to the days when our home made Class A amplifiers brought our local hydro electic generators to their knees, such was their thirst for amps. In those days folk were still wondering if electricity would really catch on!!!
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:22 pm

The manual I have just dldd for that Yamaha mixer (what a lovely company they are! Cut and paste the model into Google, 3 clicks, di-da Manual! Din't want Grannie's retinal patterns nor nuffin!)says it
has usb recording capability.

Now it must be said that this is not the best way to do this but it is certainly worth connecting a computer up to the mixer and giving it a do!

If that is not up to snuff, the mixer has "inserts". These can be used with the right cables (which will be a doddle for you to make) to get 8 say discrete channels out of the mixer to record. I would suggest an AI such as the Tascam US 1800.

The mixer should have come with a copy of Cubase but I would suggest Reaper as a simpler option.

Dave.
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Bass Growler » Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback. Have already tried a feed from the existing mixer but the microphone balance is all wrong for the recording. The balance is perfect for the PA, so unless I split the mic input to another mixer I'm a bit puzzled. In addition we need an audience/ambience input for the recording but not for the PA. I've looked at the Yamaha manual hoping for a microphone unmixed output socket - doing the job of a splitter, but this doesn't seem to be available.
Didn't think our model of mixer had a USB output - but even if it has the mixing levels for the PA don't suit the recording. Thanks again for your help.
Cheers
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Apr 22, 2013 8:51 pm

Before you proceed any further you need to answer a key question:

Do you want to try and mix to stereo for the CD during the concert/service or would you rather capture the individual microphone sounds and then mix them later?

As someone who's been involved in live recording for over 40 years I know which option I prefer - the second everytime! Until affordable (by me!) multitracks came along I had no option, but to mix direct to stereo - and what a buttock-clenching experience it was. If you're in the same room as the performance the only option is to mix using headphones. Unless these have a very high isolation factor you're never sure exactly what's in the headphones and what's coming through the headphones. Of course, If you can sit in a separate room that makes it easier because you can either mix using monitor speakers or decent open-backed headphones.

But in either of the 'mix it live' scenarios you have to get it right NOW - no second chances if you weren't quick enough with a fader or didn't get enough keys in the mix.

It's much preferable to set your levels and record each mic to a separate track and then mix it at your leisure. Better results guaranteed and always the option of trying someting to see if it sounds OK and redoing it if it doesn't.

Whichever way you're going to tackle this you want to avoid doubling-up on mics if at all possible. (As you've said, you'll need some mics just for the recording and not for the sound-system.) The best approach for the novice is probably a set of splitters that feed the mic signal two ways - one side to the sound-system and one to the recording. Especially if you're ending-up feeding two mixers it's a very good idea that the splitter incorporates isolation transformers - not least to avoid two lots of phantom-power hitting the capacitor mics! Excellent build-quality and value for money can be obtained from Orchid Electronics in Exeter who will build one to your spec. Have a chat to John there - very friendly and very helpful.

There are various ways of recording to multitrack - either into a computer through some form of interface or to a standalone recorder. Mixers such as the Behringer X32, the Presonus Studiolive range and the new Allen&Heath Qu16 have interfaces built in - in fact the Qu16 can do all the processing and output the various audio streams onto a USB stick. You might also check-out the Fostex LR-16 which is a mixer and recorder combined.(This is only a partial answer as my knowledge is not complete here; I use a standalone recorder.)

For standalone recorders look at the Zoom R16 (you can sync two together to get 16-track simultaneous recording), the Allen&Heath ICE and the JoeCo BlackBox. (Again this is not a complete list -just some flavours.)

Hope that helps; keep the questions coming!
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby ef37a » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:15 pm

Scrambler wrote:Thanks for the feedback. Have already tried a feed from the existing mixer but the microphone balance is all wrong for the recording. The balance is perfect for the PA, so unless I split the mic input to another mixer I'm a bit puzzled. In addition we need an audience/ambience input for the recording but not for the PA. I've looked at the Yamaha manual hoping for a microphone unmixed output socket - doing the job of a splitter, but this doesn't seem to be available.
Didn't think our model of mixer had a USB output - but even if it has the mixing levels for the PA don't suit the recording. Thanks again for your help.
Cheers
Ok, PA mix is no go but you could still get a mulitrack feed from the inserts. But if the cash is there, go for one of Mike's options.

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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby shufflebeat » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:24 pm

Don't forget the simplest option which is just to put a nice stereo mic in a nice sounding room with some good musicians and an appreciative audience.

Radical but worth considering
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Guest » Mon Apr 22, 2013 9:44 pm

shufflebeat wrote:Welcome MM


You talking to me!
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Re: Some very, very basic advice please. Yes! VERY basic.

Postby Bass Growler » Mon Apr 22, 2013 11:52 pm

Thanks to all again for your advice. I expected some helpful feedback from this forum but have struck gold with Mike's advice. A thousand thanks.
I'd personally obviously prefer multitrack recording and editing off-site, but will look at the various options for the church. Having received such good feedback I'm interested in a little project for our choir now - a novice level portable mixer to take to our venues for just playing with until I get the hang of some of the basics.
I am particularly grateful for the reminder about phantom voltages reaching nasty places so will look at the isolation transformer options for a microphone splitter solution.
I appreciate that I am dipping my toe in an ocean that is quite foreign to me - so I am likely to stay at the novice end of the learning curve, but am throughly enjoying it.

You guys are in a different league! However with an electronics/IT background I get completely frustated with the army of self appointed experts in areas of electronics that gave me good a living for over 30 years. Re-visiting my own discipline, I just shake my head at all the nonsense around me and do my own thing.
In the discipline of Audio Recording it must be the same - I am astonished by what is available off-the-shelf as I look around me - but identifying real expertise in the army of experts out there in the market is not so easy. Thanks a million for being so patient with us novices!
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