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Live Demo Recording

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Live Demo Recording

Postby eddieatedynamite » Sun Jan 12, 2020 1:47 pm

Hello All,
Recently I've been thinking of recording some of my band's songs so that they can be sent to people who might want to hear them (eg young musician festivals or venues). The dilemma is I can't mic everyone up because;
A) I don't have enough Microphones for everyone
B) We have extremely limited time, 25 minutes at the most.
Last time we had to record demos we ended up using a phone. The recording was crusty and the frequency range was low. The recording was not representative at all and seemed very peaky.

I need one recording device that will record live performances clearly and cleanly enough so that musical ideas can be effectively portrayed, I was thinking a Tascam DR-05X handheld, however any other solution is much appreciated. Also, my budget is quite tight so nothing over £200 probably.

Thank you :thumbup:
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:45 pm

Could you let us know what the line up is and what gear you already have? Also what type of room will you be recording in? There are a few ways to make quick recordings but the best way depends on the situation so a few more details would help.
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby eddieatedynamite » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:00 pm

The band contains two electric guitarists a bassist and a drummer. We are recording in a medium-sized school classroom. I already have a Shure SM-57 and SM-58 and a Focusrite Scarlet Solo 2nd generation USB preamp which can be plugged into my laptop for use in Ableton Live 9 Lite. We use a Peavy PA system for vocals.

Thanks for responding!
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:28 pm

It's a really good idea. After a few experiences with a phone (which got way better by putting it in a hoodie to avoid overloads), I gave it a try with just a few couple mics, and the results were significantly better from a sonic point of view. Nothing stellar but definitely worth it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KYYRAMAqlg is an example

The setup I've used was super simple: usual vocal mic, a guitar mic, bass out of its preamp and one single mic in front of the drums. For the guitar I used my regular e906 so I didn't even need a stand. The drum mic was an 87 but just because it was the one I had handy.

For the video above we were a guitar less than usual, but had it been there, it would have simply had its own mic.

Instead of going to the PA as usual, I took my QSC Touchmix 8, plugged the mics and bass cable into it, then took the stereo feed from the mixer and sent it to the usual PA mixer. You can see the QSC in the video sitting on a chair just behind me.

Asked the guys to play a little and set the gains middle scale, so that no matter what the signal quality would be acceptable. Drums in mono means no phase issues to check.

Then we proceeded to rehearse as usual, with the QSC recording.

The QSC is good in that it can record directly to my Samsung T5 SSD but if you had an interface you'd simply have to set up a DAW project beforehand and bring the computer as well. A cheap laptop works perfectly fine, as it's just plain recording.

25 mins is not much time, so it pays off to prepare in advance: cables (*long* cables!), right cables for the stereo out of the mixer/interface to the room PA, DAW project (or, if you use a digital mixer like I did, the mixer scene), check that the HD is formatted and ready, arm the tracks, etc.

Have clear what you need to do - set mics, hook them up, power up and remember to push "record", and start immediately as soon you get in the rehearsal room.

Then the real pain is to work out the three hours recording :D
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:42 pm

Given what you have already I would try using the SM57 into one channel of the Scarlett Solo and plugging the other channel into a line output on the Peavey PA. You can then send the two channels to separate tracks on your computer. With single mic recordings it is usually the vocals that suffer most as we expect to hear them fairly clearly but few PA systems can reproduce vocals well so it makes sense to take a direct feed from the PA.

You will need to experiment with the position of the SM57 and also be prepared to tell other band members to turn down if they are overpowering the rest of the band (although you could also point the SM57 away from them to reduce their level).

The next step up would be to record the band in stereo but you would need 3 input channels for that and most budget portable recorders only have 2 channels so you would be looking at spending quite a bit more money.
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby eddieatedynamite » Sun Jan 12, 2020 7:50 pm

Thanks, that really helps. I'll use my SM-57 and the PA system output (Mono) to record the audio into Ableton.

Any ideas on how to tweak the channels so that everything sounds clear (eg. EQ, Compression)?
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby CS70 » Sun Jan 12, 2020 8:03 pm

eddieatedynamite wrote:Thanks, that really helps. I'll use my SM-57 and the PA system output (Mono) to record the audio into Ableton.

Any ideas on how to tweak the channels so that everything sounds clear (eg. EQ, Compression)?

If you can find something with 4 channels instead of the solo - even second hand, it's gonna be more worth the effort. The solo can record one channel only, and then you can just as well stick with the phone imho - so long you put it in a sock :D

Whereas separate mics tracks, even if it's all 57 or 58 or even 2 pounds mic, it will work immensely better.

With 4 channels, you put the guitar cabs one on top of each other and use one mic. Bass doesn't require a mic. Put something - anything - in front of the drums and you regular stage mic for vocals.
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:53 pm

CS70 wrote:The solo can record one channel only,

Are you sure? While it only has one combined mic/line input it also has a separate line input as well.
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby James Perrett » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:55 pm

eddieatedynamite wrote: Any ideas on how to tweak the channels so that everything sounds clear (eg. EQ, Compression)?

That's going to totally depend on the recording. I'd suggest recording a few sessions if you can so that you can choose the best parts.
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby eddieatedynamite » Sun Jan 12, 2020 10:57 pm

Will do, cheers!
:thumbup:
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Re: Live Demo Recording

Postby CS70 » Mon Jan 13, 2020 2:21 am

James Perrett wrote:
CS70 wrote:The solo can record one channel only,

Are you sure? While it only has one combined mic/line input it also has a separate line input as well.

Good point! So the bass guitar is set :)

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