You are here

Recording live sound

For performing musicians and engineers: stagecraft, engineering and gear.

Moderator: Moderators

Re: Recording live sound

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:28 pm

Humf wrote:I’m not necessarily blaming the exam board for that btw.

I don't see why not, they're supposed to understand the topic they're examining.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5686
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Thu Dec 10, 2020 5:42 pm

I suspect QCA and fiddling gov have to take some blame.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
Humf
Regular
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Recording live sound

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Dec 10, 2020 7:43 pm

You're so reasonable :)

Good luck.
shufflebeat
Jedi Poster
Posts: 5686
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 1:00 am
Location: Manchester, UK
"Dance, dance. wherever you may be, for I am the Lord of the damp settee..."

Do yourself a favour, wear earplugs at gigs.

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Dave Rowles » Sat Dec 12, 2020 10:41 pm

Coming a bit late to this, but any chance you could let us know the exam board and course?

We could look up the specific bit of the syllabus and give you a bit of a better read on it.

I did the Music Tech A-Level, many, many, years ago and it was very behind the curve back then. However, I don't understand anyone wanting a desk line to try and assess the mix in the room, as you NEED room mics to give a good idea of the mix in the room. Makes no sense, and I'd be more inclined to say they are probably looking for a produced recording from a multi-track of a live gig. That would make far more sense from an assessment point of view!
User avatar
Dave Rowles
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1155
Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2008 1:00 am
Location: Isle of Man
http://www.manninmusic.com Bandcamp
Sound Engineer, Music Teacher, Isle of Man

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Sun Dec 13, 2020 12:43 am

Hi Dave - thanks for your reply. Sorry but I’m going to keep this thread free from the specific board details. For now at least! I will tell you it’s not an A level and that probably narrows down the choices somewhat! I’m a little cautious - the board have received quite a bit of criticism on social meeja in recent years and it all got a bit messy in places, so maybe best I steer clear.

I first taught music tech type courses back in 2002 with Edexcel, and as you probably know, over the years there were some very heated post-results ‘debriefings’. I remember attending a update type course in Sheffield with Jonny Martin years back. A couple of Heads of Music had clearly taken time away from their busy school day simply to give him a hard time and get things off their chest! Jonny handled it all very admirably I thought. An honest bloke dealing with the assessment of a highly subjective craft. By that stage, I think these things were being recorded for transparency, so all a bit tense

Gradually over the years, the schools I work in have largely moved away from Music Tech A level. The main issue being the type of kid the course attracts are generally the self-taught, highly practical musician who lack some of the more trad. aspects of musical understanding and therefore struggled to achieve grades they felt they deserved or needed (a big topic in itself, I know). Although having taught both trad. A level and music tech A level for many years, it certainly felt to me that music tech was effectively trad. with a tech bit bolted on. Hugely demanding and many kids weren’t coming onto it with the prior learning or higher success at GCSE that would prepare them for such a demanding course.

So that’s when we started looking elsewhere and found other boards providing courses that are more tailored to a practical ‘music-making’ approach. Still demanding in their own way and when done properly, thoroughly rewarding courses. But evidenced in a way which caters for the less academic student, with more of a undergraduate feel, rather than ... ‘sit in a hall and answer these questions in during a June exam’. That suits some but not others.

Anyway ... I’ll shut up now!

I completely agree about your point re. the relevance of a desk line. Many of the judgements made, both in planning the event and in engineering it live on the day, will be made with respect to the space we’re in and controlling it for the audience. So to make students evidence that through written descriptions or annotated diagrams/photos, just seems bizarre. What the board *have* told me in black and white, is that no further editing or mixing of the ‘multi track recording’ is required by students after the event. They should simply bounce it down & send the stereo audio file. They’ve reminded me the unit is a ‘live sound recording task’ not a ‘studio recording task’.

However, given everything I’m hearing, reading and learning about how live recordings are often produced, the whole thing feels ill-conceived to me. Far better would be to allow students to go through all the natural stages of completion, taking video/audio evidence at different key points. And for the more able students, this could even include things such as layering back in some recorded samples eg. kick or snare, to show how a mix can be tarted up in post production?

I’m still waiting to see what response they give but will let you know.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
User avatar
Humf
Regular
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 8:59 am

I keep thinking that what they are probably after is a full live ‘broadcast’ mix for the recording e.g. a live BBC Glastonbury stereo style mix, as well as the actual PA mix. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. But technically this is far more complicated and you need two desks and mic/signal splitters and double the number of FX units in (if the desks don’t have enough built-in FX).

Otherwise just a direct stereo mix of a live performance, with the PA being used just for the band’s own monitoring needs.

But both of those options would need to be fully described and should be totally unambiguous.

The fact that there is so much uncertainty here about what seems to be required compared to what makes sense, just shows that the exam board have failed to do their job properly.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11086
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Recording live sound

Postby CS70 » Sun Dec 13, 2020 5:50 pm

Humf wrote:However, given everything I’m hearing, reading and learning about how live recordings are often produced, the whole thing feels ill-conceived to me. Far better would be to allow students to go through all the natural stages of completion, taking video/audio evidence at different key points.

It's a bit hard to evaluate if they've being total asses or not without any idea of the goals of the exercise.

There's different levels of things that exist and can be recorded, For example:

- the PA sound as it's heard by the audience;
- the PA sound plus whatever instrument is not miked, as head by the audience;
- a broadcast mix, taken from a duplicated feed;
- a live recording, where
* either the PA + room mics are taken,
* or a specifically miking setup is made to get raw tracks that are totally independent from what was the PA mix;
and they are then processed, enhanced or somewhat polished to get to almost-studio recording level of control and sound quality (in terms of noise, masking, clasrity, etc)
- a live band captured in controlled environment in the studio
- individual overdubs capture in the studio.

..and any possible combinations.

None of them is "right" or "wrong" per se, it all depends on what you want to test.

It seems to me that either you and the board do not agree on what to test, or do not agree on how to test it?
User avatar
CS70
Jedi Poster
Posts: 6946
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 1:00 am
Location: Oslo, Norway
Silver Spoon - Check out our latest video and the FB page

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sun Dec 13, 2020 6:21 pm

I've been holding off posting in this thread in the hope of some valid information about the task requirements and objectives, but four pages later there's still nothing upon which a constructive answer can be offered.

However...

Humf wrote: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?

This is going to make me sound like a very grumpy old man, but quite honestly if this task is an intellectual struggle you're really not (yet) capable of teaching your students the basic practicalities and skills of music technology... :shocked:

I do t mean to be rude, but this is akin to a maths teacher not understanding long-division, or an English teacher unable to punctuate... Signal flow options through a simple analogue mixer really is that basic a concept.
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 29561
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Humf » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:00 pm

CS70 wrote:
It's a bit hard to evaluate if they've being total asses or not without any idea of the goals of the exercise.

There's different levels of things that exist and can be recorded, For example:

- the PA sound as it's heard by the audience;
- the PA sound plus whatever instrument is not miked, as head by the audience;
- a broadcast mix, taken from a duplicated feed;
- a live recording, where
* either the PA + room mics are taken,
* or a specifically miking setup is made to get raw tracks that are totally independent from what was the PA mix;
and they are then processed, enhanced or somewhat polished to get to almost-studio recording level of control and sound quality (in terms of noise, masking, clasrity, etc)
- a live band captured in controlled environment in the studio
- individual overdubs capture in the studio.

..and any possible combinations.

None of them is "right" or "wrong" per se, it all depends on what you want to test.

It seems to me that either you and the board do not agree on what to test, or do not agree on how to test it?

Thank you for your polite and respectful summary of my dilemma. It's reassuring that forum members can be so supportive of each other.

Despite what some others think, I'm bright enough to understand the various options you describe and compare them to the assessment criteria, given below.

Distinction: Create a multitrack live recording of four instruments/voices, including at least eight simultaneously recorded audio tracks. Show confidence and high degree of skill in the use of a variety of mic'ing techniques. Make highly effective adjustments to the live recording process.

That is it.

I'm personally not seeing clarity in that. If I'm wrong, and it's clear to you, then I'll happily hold my hands up and admit I've not understood! There's a similar paragraph for the previous task of setting up the PA.
User avatar
Humf
Regular
Posts: 72
Joined: Wed Oct 22, 2003 12:00 am

Re: Recording live sound

Postby blinddrew » Sun Dec 13, 2020 9:05 pm

Humf wrote:Distinction: Create a multitrack live recording of four instruments/voices, including at least eight simultaneously recorded audio tracks. Show confidence and high degree of skill in the use of a variety of mic'ing techniques. Make highly effective adjustments to the live recording process.

That is it.
Hmmm. I'm reading that as being record a band playing together live, NOT record a 'live performance'. There is a world of difference there.
User avatar
blinddrew
Jedi Poster
Posts: 12932
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2015 12:00 am
Location: York
Ignore the post count, I have no idea what I'm doing...

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:24 pm

As it stands, I concur with Drew, unless there's descriptions before that clause that create the confusion.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11086
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:32 pm

And if you record a barbershop quartet live (which fits the first part of the requirement), why would you actually need 8 mics? Either a stereo pair or individual mics, but why add 4 extra ones that aren't needed? ("Well, we miked up their feet in case they tapped along to make up the 8 tracks , but they didn't so we muted those").

It really is very badly specified.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11086
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:46 pm

+1, I'd take that to mean the recording mix was independent of the FOH/audience mix and all the compromises a 'desk recording' of the FOH mix contains.
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 14556
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Still taking this recording lark seriously (and trying to record my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Wonks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 10:58 pm

If you just take that clause, there's no mention of a FOH/audience mix, or even an audience, just four things that make a noise.

It's not at all clear if that could be four vocalists, two guitars and two vocals, or four guitarists who all sing or a one-man and playing three instruments and singing at the same time.

Now you could record a group using four different stereo array types. and then just have the best sounding pair as the output, giving the reasons for doing so after optimising the position of each type of array etc.

It is still very open-ended to me.
User avatar
Wonks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 11086
Joined: Thu May 29, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Reading, UK
Correcting mistakes on the internet since 1853

Re: Recording live sound

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Dec 13, 2020 11:37 pm

The wording is very sloppy...

... the 8 tracks and 4 instruments/voices can mean:

* 4 instruments and 4 voices
* 4 instruments and no voices but with some instruments multi-miked or miked and DI'd.
* 1 instrument and 7 voices

... and so on.

And I agree that it says nothing about recording a performance with an audience present. It's just multitrack... and you could just as easily use an 8-channel interface or a Zoom F8...

... and the multitrack statement seems to knock on the head any suggestion of a 'straight to stereo' approach. In fact, it doesn't require a stereo mix at all - just 8 tracks...

It really is a mess of a 'question'. At the very least it needs footnotes for the tutors or a section of definitions.

Shoddy...
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7869
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

PreviousNext