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Gear for outdoor music recording

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Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Tristramit » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:25 pm

Hey Everyone!
I'm looking for a gear setup that I could make a live recordings of various musicians and bands outside in various locations

I have tried to do some research but I found it quite difficult because most of the results refer to ambient nature sound recordings (even though my searches were very specific)

I want to start off "small" to see if this project lifts off so I don't plan on heavy expensive gear (I Would say my budget is around 1500e )

I'm looking for a humble USB audio interface. I was thinking at the Zoom Livetrak l-12 as it can be used as both a mixer and an audio interface. Altough I'm not sure if it's the correct answer for my needs, because I could just go with a focusrite 18i20 and leave the rest for the DAW

Also I'm looking for Mics that could perform well outside, they would probably shutgun mics? few shure sm58/57, and some other large diaphragm so I could cover any situation.

I would love to hear your thoughts and advices

By the way, I'm working with a fine laptop and I'm thinking of powering it all with a power bank

Thanks Ya'll!
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Fri Dec 18, 2020 10:56 pm

Tristramit wrote:I'm looking for a gear setup that I could make a live recordings of various musicians and bands outside in various locations!

I think you're going to need to get a lot more specific than that to generate practical suggestions.

For example, what kind of quality standard are you hoping to achieve? Is for release? For blog/podcast! For performance reviews? For fun?

How many musicians involved simultaneously? What instruments are involved? Can they be DI'd, or close miked? Or is it more 'classical' needing distant miking?

Are cabled mics acceptable and safe, or would radio mics be safer/more practical?

What kinds of locations are involved?
Is each location fixed and static, or will the musicians be moving around?
Will the public be present?

What about weather protection -- wind / rain / humidity / hot / cold?

Do you need to record a live mix? Individual tracks plus a live mix?
Do you need to provide Foldback mixes? How many? Wedges or IEMs?
Do you need to provide a PA mix to an audience?

How long would you expect to have for rigging/derigging?
Will you be working single handed or with help?

...and so on...
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Music Wolf » Fri Dec 18, 2020 11:04 pm

Welcome to the forum.

I have a Livetrak L-12, I also have a Behringer X18 both of which can be used to record live. From my point of view (in my case I’m recording whilst playing in the band and covering FOH sound duties) the pros and cons are;

L-12
Nice and potable with minimal set up.
All in one package
Physical faders
The biggest advantage is that you can hit record and play and the Livetrak creates a folder and records to it. Hit stop and it thinks for a couple of seconds then the results are saved and, next time you hit record, you are recording to a new folder. Fantastic feature if you have to be playing or handling FOH sound (or both).

Downside - not the greatest mixer or effects

X18
Well spec’d mixer with decent onboard effects
16 mic pre’s

Downside - mix with a mouse. Need separate Laptop / DAW

I’ve not used the Livetrak since getting the X18 but that’s a personal choice. They are both very capable pieces of kit.
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:15 am

Welcome O/P! :thumbup:

Of course, it's not surprising that Hugh's bang on the money... :)

As someone who's had to, on numerous occasions, try and keep 'studio' gear protected in sometimes suddenly nasty weather conditions I'd urge great caution in taking gear designed for 'inside', 'outside'.

So for me I'd be looking at the Zoom F8 or one the the Sound Devices MixPres in a proper protective bag.

And then there's the wind... Even the gentlest of breezes will greatly upset most capacitor microphones so you'll need proper wind protection. Foam and fluffy 'slip-overs' won't really cut it... you'll need decent 'blimps' from Rycote.

Another thought... even in the UK I've had problems with 'inside' gear getting quite upset if it was in direct sunlight for any length of time.
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Arpangel » Sat Dec 19, 2020 10:54 am

There are many ways to do this, and you’ll find that different people have different approaches to doing the same job, we all prefer certain ways of working.
As Hugh says, we need more specific information.
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby AlecSp » Sat Dec 19, 2020 3:23 pm

Indeed, it all depends on what you're looking to achieve, how much you're prepared to spend, and your experience/ability.

I've done a handful of outside band recordings this year. I basically take a small live rig without FOH speakers. For me, that's XR18 mixer as USB interface, laptop with DAW, some 10" active cabs for monitoring, and my usual gigging mic/DI collection.

I make it clear up front that everything's contingent on the weather - both wet and wind. The mixer & laptop have to sit on something. I can unload, rig and soundcheck or a 5 piece act in around 30 mins.

Most of the time, we do a single camera video too. More would give a better result, but really would need more people to operate.

With a little mixing and FX applied back at home, these come out pretty well.
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Tristramit » Sat Dec 19, 2020 8:30 pm

So!
I have tried to answer all of the questions asked by Hugh Robjohns
Hope you will have a better idea of what I plan to do
Anyhow, I will say that the general idea is to have small concerts outside in gardens or parks and so forth. Now Tiny desk have started making those concerts outside so my idea is pretty much the same.
Hopefuly I will have an audiance someday, but now to keep things simple, I'll rather wait with the PA

Hugh Robjohns wrote:
I think you're going to need to get a lot more specific than that to generate practical suggestions.

For example, what kind of quality standard are you hoping to achieve? Is for release? For blog/podcast! For performance reviews? For fun?

It should be for a youtube channel which has live performances (Tiny desk style). So the quality is not expected to be the same as a studio but should be enough for the listener to have a nice enjoyable experience.

Hugh Robjohns wrote:How many musicians involved simultaneously? What instruments are involved? Can they be DI'd, or close miked? Or is it more 'classical' needing distant miking?

I will have various musicians so no thumb rule on that. But basically, Small groups of , I guess, no more than 5 musicians for start. I'm sure that I will use DI if will have the option but I'm more concerned about the non "DI-ables"

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Are cabled mics acceptable and safe, or would radio mics be safer/more practical?
We will do a video but the general idea is to have a live music performance so there is no problem with cabled mics what so ever

Hugh Robjohns wrote:What kinds of locations are involved?
Is each location fixed and static, or will the musicians be moving around?
Will the public be present?

We will probably shhot the concert in someones garden or a nature reserve or something like that, But that's the idea - a normal music concert recorded outside


Hugh Robjohns wrote:What about weather protection -- wind / rain / humidity / hot / cold?

I guess I'll have to figure something out

Hugh Robjohns wrote:Do you need to record a live mix? Individual tracks plus a live mix?
Do you need to provide Foldback mixes? How many? Wedges or IEMs?
Do you need to provide a PA mix to an audience?

Now that is a thing that I'll have to solve because to connect a PA will make everything more complicated but still that is something that I think should happen. But let's say to make things more simple, We'll start off without a PA
We will post process everything back home

Hugh Robjohns wrote:How long would you expect to have for rigging/derigging?
Will you be working single handed or with help?

No rigging, I will handle all of the sound side of stuff and the camera man will do the video
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Dec 20, 2020 12:45 am

Are you considering acoustic bands or amplified bands with electric instruments and drum kit? If the latter you'll need at least 7 inputs (assuming only one vocal) but that doesn't leave anything for backing vocals or close miking the drums (the latter is not essential mind you).

So, I'd suggest that if you plan to have an audience in the future then the Behringer X-Air 18 and a laptop might be the best choice*. If not then the Zoom L-12 would get the job done (but and I haven't used one, probably be less suited to the live sound model).

Powering it is a separate matter, a Li-Ion power pack will run a mixer for a few hours but as soon as you add backline, PA speakers and foldback you are going to need much more power than can be supplied (but electric bands are usually loud enough to hide the noise of a generator). Last year I put together an 'off grid' rig with a Li-Ion power pack to power my XR12 or Mackie DL1608 and a couple of Bose S1 Pro battery powered speakers, sadly C19 has since prevented me from trying it in earnest.

I like the concept BTW so good luck with it and keep us posted.

* I use a Berry X32 Compact if I need to record a 'proper' concert but it does need a laptop (or an X-Live expansion card which allows recording to SD cards, not available for the XR18).
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Re: Gear for outdoor music recording

Postby Dave B » Thu Dec 24, 2020 11:06 am

Sam - out of interest, what power pack did you go for?

Seeing your post has got me interested in this. Maybe it's a subconscious form of GAS but I can see where a unit might be handy..
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