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  #1  
Old 09-11-2007, 08:54 PM
bilco bilco is offline
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Default Advice Needed on Best Use of Mics/Preamps for Live Recording


I am going to record our band live Friday night. I have a Digi002 Rack on the way. I also have an FMR RNP, Behringer ADA8000, Sansamp and an Audio Buddy preamp.

The band has:

4 vocals
Keyboard
Electric Guitar
Bass
Drums (Loud Drums!)

The keyboardist/vocalist is the focus of this band since the band amounts to a piano bar band on steroids. I was thinking of using the 4 Digi 002 preamps on the vocals, the RNP on the piano and guitar since it has lots of headroom and is forgiving when driven hard. The bass will go direct through the Sansamp into a line input. That leaves the Behringer ADA8000 preamps for the 2 ovehead mics, snare and kick.

I have a pair of SM81s for the overheads, SM57 for the snare and guitar and an SM7b for the kick drum. The keyboard will go direct and the bass will go direct via the Sansamp.

Any thoughts on whether this might be the best use of the mics and preamps I have to use? The drummer is heavy handed, but then again, on the vintage rock songs, everything gets loud.

Thanks,
bilco
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  #2  
Old 09-16-2007, 06:50 PM
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albee1952 albee1952 is online now
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Default Re: Advice Needed on Best Use of Mics/Preamps for Live Recording

Need some more info here. Are you recording with all your own mics(not whatever the band is using thru the PA system)? You said it was a live show so I assume that means a PA system and an audience. I am not opposed to double-micing everything and using the layout you described. If they are all mic'd up thru a live mixer, you may have ways of getting signals off that mixer via channel direct outputs, channel insert send jacks, group outputs or extra aux sends. Or do they have a mic splitter so you can grab all the same mic signals but stay isolated from the live mixer?
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Old 09-16-2007, 07:55 PM
bilco bilco is offline
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Default Re: Advice Needed on Best Use of Mics/Preamps for Live Recor

Thanks for responding albee1952. Here is what I did Friday night. It went better than I had expected, but not as good as I hope for it to in the future:

*4 Vocals: We used the existing stage mics, EV 767, SM58, AT ?, EV 767, sent to a rented Horizon 4 channel splitter then to the Digi 002r mic preamps.

*Roland piano: took the "R" instrument/line 1/4" out into line input #5 of the Digi002r.
*Fender Pbass: into a Sansamp and sent the parallel output to line input #6 of the Digi002r.
*Gretsch Country Gentleman: SM57 into Behringer ADA8000
*Kick Drum: rented Sennheiser e902 into Behringer ADA8000
*Snare Drum: rented Sennheiser e604 into Behringer ADA8000



What went well:

Guitar - The SM57 on the guitar worked great into the Behringer preamp. Definitely a keeper.

Kick - I had never heard of the Sennheiser e902, but the rental place was out of Beta 52s, so I took what they had. It sounded great, absolutely great kick drum sound.

Snare - Sennheiser e604 worked pretty well on the snare. Not quite as crisp as I would like. The levels were not that hot for most of the songs because I knew there were some rockers that were going to clip if I cranked the gain up any higher. Wish I had compression or limiting going in or about 4 more hands. It is hard to play bass, sing harmony and keep an eye on what is going on with the recording levels........

Vocals - I like the separation of recording 1 voice per channel. The splitter worked great. I may need a little Melodyne action here and there......

System stability - I know I dodged a bullet on this one! 9 simultaneous recorded tracks to the system disk for close to 2 hours and not even a hiccup. I can not say enough great things about my Mac ibook or PT LE and the Digi 002r. I wish I could work for Digi here in Texas somehow.........



What needs work:

Bass - The Sansamp works well going into the amp, but my Pbass direct is thin sounding. I might try my SM7b on the amp next time.

I ran out of mic cables and setup time, so I just went with snare and kick mics, no overheads, also no mic for the crowd. When I do it again, I will mic the overheads in X/Y with my SM81s and the crowd at least in mono.

I didn't have time to patch in the RNP and I wasn't even sure what to use it on.

Only the vocals and the piano are going into the board and the room PA. The rest of us just balance our volume to the vocals and piano in the PA. I am not really looking at recording off the board because I don't have control over it where I am standing and I don't want to get into a tug of war with the bandleader about EQ, etc. It is a cranky, dusty Peavey mixing board and I really would rather avoid using it for any link of the recording process.

The biggest thing is that even this small setup is a lot of gear to haul into addition to my Pbass and amp. It took me over 2 hours to setup and about an hour to tear down. I am 52 now...... I used to carry a cabinet with 2 15" speakers up a flight of stairs every week and think nothing of it, but my back is definitely talking to me today! I wish PT made a self-contained HD recorder like the Korg D888 with PT LE and decent preamps.......

I did not expect to really come away from the first time out with the gear with anything usable, but I was pleasantly surprised. All in all, it sounds WAY better than board recordings I have made in the past and there is the flexibility to mix, add effects, mute mics when they are not being used for background vocals. Everyone who listened after the gig was really happy with the results, but I am going to keep perfecting it as I go....

Thanks,
bilco
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Old 09-20-2007, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: Advice Needed on Best Use of Mics/Preamps for Live Recor

Sounds like a great learning experience! You made some mistakes and learned for the next time. This is the kind of thing that makes better engineers. One thing you may not have noticed, most keyboards with stereo outputs will sum to mono when you use a single output(usually the Left out is labeled L/MONO). When you patched into the R out, you probably got half the keys to the house and half to protools. Next time, either take both sides to the PA and protools, OR split or "Y" the Left out to both so you don't lose info. You also might consider recording the midi from the keyboard and let the midi track "play" the keyboard later so you can record it in stereo. That e902 would likely do well on bass but my fav is the UA LA-610 as it sounds great recorded AND great thru a decent PA. I noticed that your vocals are 4 different mics. You might get better results(and way better wedges) by using all the same model(I'm partial to the Shure Beta58A or Sennheiser e835). Snare is usually best with an SM57. You could also rent a 24 track HD recorder(Alesis or Mackie) and import the tracks into Protools later.
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Old 09-20-2007, 07:12 PM
Craig F Craig F is offline
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Default Re: Advice Needed on Best Use of Mics/Preamps for Live Recor

for the bass try an Avalon U5 DI it has a line out and sound good
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  #6  
Old 10-02-2007, 08:10 PM
bilco bilco is offline
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Default Re: Live Recording With Digi 002 Rack

Well, I did it again and it was fun and the results are better, but far from perfect.

Lessons Learned:
  • SM81s in an X/Y pattern for overheads added a whole new dimension to the drums!
  • SM57 on a snare drum is a great marriage!
  • Song dynamics range from brush/snare torch ballads to "Born to Be Wild". Sure could use some external limiters on the drums.....
  • SM57 on guitar amp just works; why mess with success?
  • Pbass into Sansamp into RNP into DAW line in is a good working tone, better than either one of them on their own
  • There is no point in recording the harmony vocals live when the harmony singers can't sing in tune!! (including me....) Even Melodyne can't help this mess......We'll be overdubbing harmonies....
  • When Digi says an external audio drive is recommended, they mean it. I dodged a bullet the first time I recorded us, but this time recording to the system drive resulted in sporadic error messages. Gotta get that firewire drive.........
  • Note to self: Flashlight, remember to bring a @#$&^% flashlight!!
  • The preamps in the Digi 002 are fine; what's with all the complaining?

It didn't take as long to setup or tear down as the first time and I am really having fun doing this. It is kind of hard to mind the meters and play and sing harmony at the same time though. I am hoping to mix the best of the takes of each song and end up with a live CD that the club owner/band leader can sell to the regular customers.

Thanks for the advice,
bilco
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