Super Noob Recording Session, I need some help dudes.

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Teflon Codpiece
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Super Noob Recording Session, I need some help dudes.

Post by Teflon Codpiece » Wed Jun 06, 2007 6:11 am

Hey all, this is my first post, yippee.

So I am looking to record a four song demo for a band I am in. Although I avidly devour every issue of Tape-Op I have never actually done any recording. For whatever reason I can still spend hours reading about equipment I will never see though, weird.

The goal of the project is to have a decent sounding demo to shop around to clubs and get gigs.

The band is a four piece: bass/vox, two guitars, drums. We are all using tube amps. Bass is an Ampeg v-4b, guitars are Sovtek mig-50 and a 50 watt Ampeg from the '90s. Drummer has four rack toms and one floor tom (I dont know if thats really important for you to know but whatever).

The room is rectangular, probably 25 feet long and 15 feet wide with 12 foot ceilings, we have a decent amount of carpeting, couches and insulating crap in there to play with.

As far as recorinding gear I have: Fostex X-26 multitracker, some decent headphones, and thats about it.

My plan was to buy some decent mics (the Fostex has 2 xlr inputs) and just do the two room mic thing. Record everything except vox and guitar solos live, and just go back and do the vocals and solos later by micing up the guitar amp and DI'ing (I can say that, right?) the vocals.

The question is: am I going about this the right way? Which mics should I buy? Budget is around $200 and from what I understand the sm57 is the first mic most people get. Any suggestions as far as mic placement? I am totally new to this so any help you could give would be greatly appreciated and sorry for probably sounding like an ignoramus but I am completely new to this.

Thanks in Advance and let me know if you have any questions as I will be checking back here regularly.

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Post by cyantologist » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:48 am

Sounds like you're getting off to a decent start. If you have a little extra money, in my opinion, it would be worth it to you to start off with a cheap pair of condensor mics and an sm57. look for some deals on ebay or just get a couple cheapo mxl condensors. condensors will definately be the way to go if you're only going to be using two mics for drums. since you are at a disadvantage as far as only being able to do drums on two tracks, i think the best advice would be to spend a ton of time with mic placement to get the best sound possible. you may want to position your drum mics in an x-y config to avoid phase cancellation. just play around a lot. also think about how your mic placement affects the cymbals, because you'll probably find it necessary in mixing to add a good amount of compression and you don't want to have cymbals at an ear piercing level just to get your actual drums to come up to an acceptable level. good luck!

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Gebo
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Post by Gebo » Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:58 am

I do a lot of stuff for my band the same way. Just a stereo pair of mics aimed at the band (set up a along one wall). I dont think an SM57 would be the right mic for this however. You might want to get a pair of condenser mics, that might be a little more accurate. Overdubbing vocals usually sounds fine, as long as you throw some reverb on them to make them sit in the mix. I would imagine that guitar leads may sit better if you overdub them playing through an amp miced from kind of far back, so they have a similer feel to the rest of the music.
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Post by Edweird » Wed Jun 06, 2007 9:47 am

Yes you're a noob, but everyone has to start somewhere. :-)

This is what I would do: Borrow the best pair of mics you can, or buy them used (I set a goal of no more than $50 for a used sm57/8 and got that on Ebay). Then spend your money on a good set of isolation headphones.

As for the band I would have them set up as if they are playing on a stage, set the mics up in an XY position in front of the band, and put the amps behind the drummer. If you can borrow some DI boxes try to DI the bass and guitars, then over dub all the vocals afterwards.

Just a suggestion, not a rule.
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Post by floid » Wed Jun 06, 2007 10:08 am

did my first recordings on an old pioneer cassette deck with two of those $10 mics from Wal-Mart (they don't sell the same ones anymore, heh). Sometimes it sounded shit (when i tried to just leave everything like it was the time before), and sometimes it sounded great (when i convinced the rest of the band to spend half an hour letting me "get sounds").
my basic strategy was to have a mic for each guitar amp, but backed off by a couple feet, with the drums and bass amp sitting in the middle. if i had it to do over, i'd spend some serious time getting the drums and bass in phase, but i usually got pretty lucky, considering.
i'd set mic levels so the drums were nice and hot, then start turning up the amps until i had a pretty good mix going. the singer usually just got reasonably close to one of the mics and bellowed his heart out - you can't tell a word he says, but it makes for a good sound.

this stuff is fun. stick with it and you'll get seriously addicted.
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Teflon Codpiece
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Post by Teflon Codpiece » Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:24 pm

Great guys, thanks for the help. I think the key here is to not try to over-complicate things and just spend a good deal of time with mic placement.

What does an X Y mic'ing pattern mean? I am really new to the jargon :D

I truly appreciate all the help thus far.

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Post by kinger » Wed Jun 06, 2007 12:53 pm

This article shows some basic mic placement; a Google search will yield many more results...

http://www.mindspring.com/~cityzoo/mjoh ... ement.html

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Post by lionaudio » Wed Jun 06, 2007 5:45 pm

being your first time, i would consider only having one guitar (or bass) play along with the drummer while you track the drums.. face the amp toward a corner or the couch.. this way you can go back and overdub the instruments and have better isolation on the drums themselves.. it's frustrating when you have the drums sounding great and then in the end everything gets swallowed by the guitars.. this is only because you havent had an opportunity to experiment with the room itself and that's my last suggestion.. learn the room and what happens in different corners, the middle etc.. good luck!

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Post by lharless » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:22 am

you only have two mic inputs on the fostex.

get a pair of small diaphragm condenser mics. set your band up as you would on stage. do the xy config (google "xy configuration") and record what you can, minus vocals. then record your vocals and anything else you want to put on there, get a mix, set it to a decent overall level and whallah, you're done.

neil young did an entire album on a shitty 4-track. i have faith that you can do better.

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Post by logancircle » Wed Jun 13, 2007 1:31 pm

If you are all comfortable playing/recording the songs live, the two-condenser plan is the usual route. That way you capture all the instruments in stereo. Another option would be to record just the drums and bass together, using one mic to record the drums and one mic for bass. I'm only assuming since your bassist is also the singer, he/she is the band leader, so it might be doable that way. Then you get some separation because you'll be overdubbing guitars and vocals. Don't be afraid to stray from stereo.
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Post by @?,*???&? » Wed Jun 13, 2007 4:58 pm

Edweird wrote:As for the band I would have them set up as if they are playing on a stage, set the mics up in an XY position in front of the band, and put the amps behind the drummer. If you can borrow some DI boxes try to DI the bass and guitars, then over dub all the vocals afterwards.
X/Y is a crossed pair of mics. If Edweird is who I think he is, then he could probably get some extra credit in class here if he answers you.

lol

More stereo jazz recordings could have been done this way. Maybe use the X/Y combined with some close mics.

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Post by Phiz » Wed Jun 13, 2007 5:04 pm

The sooner you start recording stuff and the more time you spend doing it the better your demo will turn out. So start recording practice sessions. Record yourself doodling around. Record your dog. When you are just getting started, a few more days of experience can make a world of difference. Much more of a difference than your choice between an SM57 and a cheap condenser.

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Post by logancircle » Wed Jun 13, 2007 8:01 pm

And record yourself doodling your dog.
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Edweird
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Post by Edweird » Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:34 am

Phiz is right. Which is why I meantioned just buying a pair of cheap SM58's. It's a good solid mic that can be bought on the budget you proposed. Being able to hear what's coming through the recorder while all that chaos going on is key. Hence the isolation headphones. Once you get them just go record. Hang a mic out the window and record the street. Record yourself reading from a book. Anything will do. There is sound everywhere.

Logancircle what do you mean by "doodling"? Contribute or go away. If you want to be crass go post at Punknews.org where it's not only expected; it's encouraged.
~A box of lego pieces that may or may not fit each other is much more stimulating to a kid's ability to learn and explore than a pre-made action figure that walks and says something. -Carl Menezes

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Post by Rigsby » Thu Jun 14, 2007 3:53 am

Edweird wrote:
Logancircle what do you mean by "doodling"? Contribute or go away. If you want to be crass go post at Punknews.org where it's not only expected; it's encouraged.
I think it's called a joke dude, lighten up..
Phiz wrote:Record yourself doodling around. Record your dog.
lead to..
logancircle wrote:And record yourself doodling your dog.
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