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Recording live sound

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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:16 am

Humf wrote:But ... and this is why the phonecall is needed... the exam board seem to be really discouraging any mix happening in post...

This could come from the misplaced idea that a live mix is "the real thing" where post mixing is fakery. But of course mixing is not "the performance". The live mix is essential for the live audience but post mixing is so much easier for achieving a better balance. Maybe not the mix the audience heard but the mix they might have preferred to hear.

It's interesting that some people hearing a recording of a bad live mix (bad mix for whatever reason) can sometimes proclaim that the musicians were crap. Just listening attentively should show it's just a bad balance and the musos played fine. If it had been a good mix they would probably have been raving about the great performance.

eg: https://youtu.be/TGZznJXY1Xc
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Dec 09, 2020 3:51 am

Be very careful not to stray from your task. You could record a fantastic live album which would satisfy your desire for technical and artistic excellence - but that is not what you have been asked to do. It could also go very wrong and the needs of the students, or more precisely, the needs of the students as understood by the folks handing out the awards, should be front and centre.

The rest will happen when the time is right but this is not real life, it is education and the politics will be brutal if the project goes mammaries skyward.

Keep it simple, explain the situation to the meeting/phone call, preferably with examples, and if they say, "we just need to tick these boxes" then put George Martin back in the box.

If you give them an idea of potential outcomes and they decide to go for your more interesting approach (which it is) then fill your boots.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Tim Gillett » Wed Dec 09, 2020 4:47 am

Something I'm not clear on is, what are the examiners assessing, and what are they using to assess it?
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Arpangel » Wed Dec 09, 2020 7:34 am

Dare I say that you put as much as you can through the PA, balance any electric instruments and vocals to the drums, and record the whole lot out front with one good stereo pair, you’ll definitely get vibe, and life will be very simple.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby shufflebeat » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:57 am

Arpangel wrote:Dare I say that you put as much as you can through the PA, balance any electric instruments and vocals to the drums, super-glue all volume and gain knobs on the amps and record the whole lot out front with one good stereo pair, you’ll definitely get vibe, and life will be very simple.

Fixed.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:59 am

shufflebeat wrote:Be very careful not to stray from your task. You could record a fantastic live album which would satisfy your desire for technical and artistic excellence - but that is not what you have been asked to do. It could also go very wrong and the needs of the students, or more precisely, the needs of the students as understood by the folks handing out the awards, should be front and centre.

The rest will happen when the time is right but this is not real life, it is education and the politics will be brutal if the project goes mammaries skyward.

Keep it simple, explain the situation to the meeting/phone call, preferably with examples, and if they say, "we just need to tick these boxes" then put George Martin back in the box.

If you give them an idea of potential outcomes and they decide to go for your more interesting approach (which it is) then fill your boots.
Couldn’t agree more. Just need to seek clarity today on what the task actually is


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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:39 am

Quick update...

... looks like Thomann no longer sell the TRS-TS leads with TRS TR linked... :( :thumbdown:
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:09 am

Humf wrote:Please can I run our scenario past you...
Other than speaking to the exam board tomorrow, am I missing something obvious?

I agree with shufflebeat... from what you say, the intent of the process is to give the exam board a sample of the stereo mix how it was coming out from the PA (likely, I would think, to see how the students fare when they have to set up a live mix).

It would be meaningless to do any post - not because it's wrong or whatever - but because it would defy the purpose of the exercise. In a live situation with the audience in the venue, there is no post.

If, say, for another course they were asked to produce a "Live at".. recording of a performance - then it would be a completely different ball game.. "live" recordings simply use tracks recorded with the band playing live, but extensively post-process them to make them sound like a record (and select the best performance bits from a string of gigs, usually).

But if the exam is about finding out how the students go about creating a live mix, the only thing to deliver is the live mix as it came out of the mixer main outs.

The only exception would be if you have instruments (typically amplified electric guitar) whose sound is in the room but which do not go thru the mixer.. but perhaps it's part of the game. I almost always have the amp low and miked (often facing the opposite side of the audience, with another amp there just for show) - partly because I like to record the shows. Or you could use a stage mic to supply that part of the sound - that's something you could clarify with the board.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby MarkPAman » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:31 am

James Perrett wrote:It may be worth waiting until someone like MarkPAMan sees this as he works in education and is probably very familiar with the requirements.

Sounds like something from an A level Music Tech course spec? We stopped doing this course on my site quite a while ago, as we found it tended to tie us down to very specific requirements, that were often decades out of date. We now offer an Advanced Subsidiary instead, which has the advantages of allowing students to design their own project, and being worth 1.5 times the UCAS points, while still only taking up the same teaching time. However that's no help here!

One of our staff does still teach this on another of our campuses, but I'll not see him now until mid January.

I think last couple of times we did something like this, we recorded the main L&R out of the desk, and had a video camera pointed at the student/desk that had a separate stereo mic capturing room sound. These were then trimmed to get the start points to match and submitted together, with students comments on the results.

Number one comment of course is that vocals are too loud from the desk recording, but about right on the camera - and the reason for this. Then a mention of what & why each change they can be seen making in the video was done.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Arpangel » Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:36 am

shufflebeat wrote:
Arpangel wrote:Dare I say that you put as much as you can through the PA, balance any electric instruments and vocals to the drums, super-glue all volume and gain knobs on the amps and record the whole lot out front with one good stereo pair, you’ll definitely get vibe, and life will be very simple.

Fixed.

:D :D

Yes, I stupidly forgot the real world.

:-|
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Wed Dec 09, 2020 12:55 pm

I have heard of a music teacher who removed every single demo button from a classroom of 15 Casio keyboards. You’re giving me ideas....


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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:10 pm

James Perrett wrote:If you want to recreate an old style professional environment you'll need microphone splitters to send the microphone signals to both the desk and the recording hardware. If you want to re-create a modern professional environment you'll use a digital desk and either record directly on the desk or connect a computer.

If you want to use what you've got (which probably bears little relation to what your students will need to use in future) then use sniffer leads. These are leads with a TRS connector on one end and whatever connector your recording hardware needs on the other. The tip and ring of the TRS connector are linked together and the signal cable is also connected to the linked pins with the screen of the cable connected to the sleeve.

For the ambience you'll need another pair of microphones connected, either directly to the recording hardware, or through a pair of mixer channels that aren't sent to FOH. I like to place these mics fairly close to the FOH speakers but probably just behind them facing the audience which means that you don't need to worry about the timing of the ambience channels.

Another approach that I have used is to have someone in the audience record the ambience separately and then match up the two recordings later. This will take a bit of skill though so recording everything on the same recorder is preferable with inexperienced students.

Whilst I wait for a reply from the exam board, I’m interested in exploring this idea of running a couple of ambient mics into the desk but not sending to FOH speakers.

Here’s my desk. Can you suggest the best routing? Let’s say the ambient pair come in on channels 11&12?Image


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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Wonks » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:26 pm

If you’ve got a 4 input AI, why not plug the ambient mics in directly, to that allowing you to get a better balance and do some time aligning?

Otherwise I’d use the sub outs for the FOH mix, and send everything on stage to the sub bus, then gave the ambient mics feeding the main mix - as dies the sub bus, and use the main outs for the two channel recording.
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Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Wed Dec 09, 2020 1:45 pm

Thanks Wonky - makes sense. I do believe it’s some of your outboard gear we are still using ... passed kindly to us via Max

Gosh that must have been almost 10 years ago!


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Re: Recording live sound

Postby CS70 » Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:16 pm

Humf wrote:Whilst I wait for a reply from the exam board, I’m interested in exploring this idea of running a couple of ambient mics into the desk but not sending to FOH speakers.

Here’s my desk. Can you suggest the best routing? Let’s say the ambient pair come in on channels 11&12?


Hmm.. if they ask you to send the stereo mix, ambience mics won't help as you have to mix them in afterwards?

I do this only in the "I-like-recordings-of-my-gigs-and-try-stuff" spirit so I have no gospel, but after experimentation I've concluded the best is to have everything go thru the PA, so your FOH mix and your raw stereo recording are the same, and similar to what the audience hears (well, except maybe the first couple rows).
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