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Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

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Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Casgen » Wed Nov 20, 2019 10:58 am

Hello There !

So as the subject represents, my band mate wants to record a few songs in a factory hall.
He Imagines that it would be great if the reverb of the hall would be recorded along with the vocals and the guitar. So I thought about a set up and I would imagine a mic for a reverb, another condenser (or dynamic) mic for vocals, other one for a guitar cab and another condenser mic for an acoustic guitar for later songs.

With the mics it wont be a problem, but it might be with a recording gear.

I've only got a Focusrite 2i2 which is a 2 input sound interface and i've got 3 mics. One way to fix that is that we have got also a little mixing console which can handle more than 4 mic inputs. With that I could go and connect it to the focusrite interface, but there lacks the ability to mix 2 mics seperately.

So i've got a few questions. Do you guys think it would be possible to record it greatly with these kind of conditions or should I get my hands on a 4 input interface ? and also where should i place my mics to have an optimal recording track ? I was also thinking about the reverb mic. It has an option for an figure-8 pattern (Apex 415) Would that be great for reverb ?

Thank you for your replies in advance.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Arpangel » Wed Nov 20, 2019 11:30 am

It's not going to sound good capturing ambience or reverb using one mono mic. IMO you have to use a stereo pair, the configuration is up to you, there will be more advice about that coming shortly, from other forum members!
Regarding inputs, it sounds like you've already outgrown your current Focurite, it's best to budget for an interface or USB multitrack mixer with more inputs than you think you'll need.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Wonks » Wed Nov 20, 2019 1:56 pm

I'm with Arpy. Get an interface with sufficient mic inputs.

Without being in the location, its impossible to say where the best position is for the ambience mic. A fig 8 setting would help reduce the direct sound to almost nothing if a null was pointed at the performer's area, but you may find that an omni setting gives a better overall feel.

I'd recommend using two mics for more of a stereo feel, and make the most of the natural reverb, as you'll get different reflections in different places. Or a nearer mic and a more distant mic to pick up two levels of reverb and fade between the two or add more distant mic in as the singer gets louder, as happened on Bowie's 'Heroes' track.

For stereo reverb, you are best using a matched pair of mics, but with a near/far setup, you could get away with different mics.

You'll have to listen on closed-back headphones when positioning the ambient mic(s) as your brain cancels out a lot of natural reverb, so you'll never pick the best spot just by ear. It's certainly going to be worth doing a few short test recordings to see how the reverb mics sound when mixed in with the performer mics.

Also. if you are going for long ambient reverbs, then the performer (and everyone else) must keep quiet at the end of the performance to let the reverb die away. You don't want to ruin it by the performer immediately saying "was that OK" or banging the guitar etc. as that will ruin the whole track.

Which leads me to a remedy and a possible way for you to use the 2i2. Record the performer with two mics, so they benefit from hearing the natural reverb of the space. Then play that back from one or more full-range speakers in the space and record it with two ambient mics now plugged in.

The downside of the ambient reverb is that if you want to increase the level for the voice, you'll also have to increase it for the guitar (or vice versa). So you could also try the above replay method with just the voice, to record voice reverb, and then the guitar, for guitar reverb, and a both together reverb for an overall 'glue' reverb. You could even record reverb in numerous different positions as some songs may benefit from the mic(s) being nearer than further away (also to stop the tracks having exactly the same feel).

You can then try of all the usual reverb tricks of low and high pass filtering, EQing the reverb and even compressing it. You can nudge the reverb tracks back by several milliseconds to add more pre-delay if you want.

As long as you have the time, it's a good chance to experiment.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Casgen » Thu Nov 21, 2019 12:23 am

Thank you for your replies and advices!

If I'll be able to, I'll try to get my hands on a better interface.

And Yeah, i was thinking too that it would be better with two mics to catch the reverb.

I Just hope, that I will be able to get my hands on all of the equipment. i don't want it to sound freaking awful. It's just only the recording process that is worrying for me. Post-production wise it's not a problem.

By the way, if i will be recording live, will recording with Reaper introduce the least latency ? or should i use something like Ableton Live, or Pro Tools ? What is more "cpu-friendly" ?
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby AlecSp » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:09 pm

Casgen wrote:By the way, if i will be recording live, will recording with Reaper introduce the least latency ? or should i use something like Ableton Live, or Pro Tools ? What is more "cpu-friendly" ?
Why are you worried about latency in recording? It's just a recording! Not an issue unless you've got any musicians live monitoring from the recording setup, which it doesn't sound like you have.

All the tools you mention will do a good job. When recording you should barely be tickling the CPU - it's effects plug-ins that take their toll.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Wonks » Thu Nov 21, 2019 1:28 pm

Latency is mainly determined by the interface and its driver and the buffer size. But as Alec said, latency isn't an issue unless the performer is monitoring as well, and even then, direct monitoring on the interface should take care of that. Straightforward recording puts almost no strain on the CPU. The more tracks you record or play back at once, then the more the disk drive becomes a bottleneck, but even a fairly slow laptop HDD should cope with at least 20 or so tracks without a problem. And an SSD will cope with 100s.

So set the buffer size large to remove any possible chance of too small a buffer causing a drop-out.

Record at 24 bit depth, I wouldn't bother about going higher than 44.1kHz. Record without effects. Set a level with plenty of headroom around -20dBFS for the average RMS level and no more than -8dB for peaks.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby blinddrew » Thu Nov 21, 2019 10:41 pm

Wonks wrote:Set a level with plenty of headroom around -20dBFS for the average RMS level and no more than -8dB for peaks.
To be clear, 'no higher than -8dB for peaks'.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Wonks » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:13 pm

Or more correctly "No higher than -8dBFS for peaks".

I was rushing. :oops:
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby CS70 » Thu Nov 21, 2019 11:20 pm

Wonks wrote:latency isn't an issue unless the performer is monitoring as well, and even then, direct monitoring on the interface should take care of that.

Everybody probably knows already, but there's a useful trick that I've used quite a few times to overcome a situation where a vocalist wants a little monitoring and the interface doesn't have direct.

It consists of actually make a bus on the DAW, insert a reverb and send from the vocal channel (the one which is recording), but setting the send pre-fader and lowering the vox channel fader to -inf. Then engage monitoring on the DAW and set the reverb bus fader to taste.

This will essentially give the artist reverberation in the headphones, which is usually more than enough, and any latency will simply be the reverb pre-delay! Smooth!

Only con is that to listen to the actual take you have to keep moving the fader up, and remember to get it down before recording another take.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby Casgen » Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:24 pm

Oh Ok. Well That's a relief. I Don't really have a fast laptop, so I asked just for sure.

Maybe we'll want to monitor the vocals only. But as it seems, it maybe won't be a problem.

Now i just have to cross my fingers and hope for the best that I won't have any big complications during recording.
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Re: Recording Live Session in a Factory Hall?

Postby CS70 » Fri Nov 22, 2019 6:07 pm

I remember a Xmas gig last year in a church - we did soundcheck and the long tails in the monitor were a little annoying so I asked the lady doing the sound if she could turn down the reverb... she smiled and said that there was none. Hard to turn down a church hall :D

Best of luck!
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