Recording a band separately vs all together (same room)

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LupineSound
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Re: Recording a band separately vs all together (same room)

Post by LupineSound » Fri Nov 07, 2014 6:41 am

Flight Feathers wrote:
LupineSound wrote:--when recording all together, but the recording quality suffers--and mixing options become limited, if not a downright headache..
Why do you find that to be the case? What are the symptoms?

I record live in a small garage- 9'x18', with a loud drummer, 2 guitars and bass. When I solo the guitar amp mics, I can barely hear the drums in them at all. I use ribbons on the amps, and have them perpendicular to the drums, so the null is pointing at the drums.

The other thing that rules is a stereo mic right in the middle of the room, I usually use M/S pattern, with the mid towards the drums. Bringing up that mic in the mix is like going from 2D to 3D.
The main symptom that bums me out is that I usually get most of my drum sound from room mics (spaced pair AT4050 in omni). I'm in a pretty big room (50x20x12) and so the drums sound huge and present. If I try to compress them w/ a full band, I get way too much bass and guitar. Even when the bleed is minimized, it just sounds different. Also if I delay the room mics as I like to do, I inadvertently add reverb to bass and guitars. I think I just love the way the drums sound in there when no other instrument is bleeding, but you brought up some good ideas. I hadn't tried the mid-side thing yet. I could also try more figure 8's to utilize nulls. I probably just need to use different techniques than when I record separately.

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Re: Recording a band separately vs all together (same room)

Post by Nick Sevilla » Fri Nov 07, 2014 9:06 am

LupineSound wrote:The main symptom that bums me out is that I usually get most of my drum sound from room mics (spaced pair AT4050 in omni). I'm in a pretty big room (50x20x12) and so the drums sound huge and present. If I try to compress them w/ a full band, I get way too much bass and guitar. Even when the bleed is minimized, it just sounds different. Also if I delay the room mics as I like to do, I inadvertently add reverb to bass and guitars. I think I just love the way the drums sound in there when no other instrument is bleeding, but you brought up some good ideas. I hadn't tried the mid-side thing yet. I could also try more figure 8's to utilize nulls. I probably just need to use different techniques than when I record separately.
Hi,

Then don't compress them at all.

Then don't delay them at all.

Keep at it, I am sure you will find something that works.

One very important thing to consider is the gain for each microphone. If you get each microphone feed to sound its best AND work well with the other mics in a Stereo mixdown situation, you'll be set. It can be done, but you do need to spend a few hours getting there.

Remember, this is the "sciency" part of recording... where physics rules.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by Etienne P » Wed Nov 19, 2014 12:20 pm

Recording a band live in one room?
Make the instruments leakage your friend!
i.e you can get a fabulous guitar sound when the guit. mic is combined with the bleed of the drum overhead mics.

The idea is to place the mic where you will have a good sounding bleed of the other spilling instruments, then adjust the source placement relative to the mic (opposite of the normal procedure).

But you have to be in a decent/good sounding room to do this.

If this is not the case, go for a good sounding drum sound in the room Record the bass di (as usual) and try to isolate the guit. amp from the drum by placing it the further you can and between gobos.

Also, don't try to damp the room. Most of the time, it makes things worst, dampening all the highs and leaving you with a big low/mid soup.

Hope that helps.

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Post by tonewoods » Thu Nov 20, 2014 2:32 pm

honkyjonk wrote: And take the headphones off too!
A huge +1 on that one...

I can pretty much set up a loud-ish band playing together in my 37' x 26' out-of-control room, and have each instrument come up isolated in the mix, to the point of being able to fix clams (in most cases....).

The key for me is a well placed Coles 4038 over the kit.
Have the guitars and bass (and whatever) play, and adjust that OH till the meter is at it's lowest level, and lock it..
It's amazing how a good ribbon will reject well-placed amps in that null...

I usually DI the bass, close-mic amps, and usually cut a guide vox, to be replaced later...

It's a great and fun way to work, and the lack of 'phones makes it easy to communicate, and approximates the way most bands play anyway, so they're used to it...
"You see, the whole thing about recording is the attempt at verisimilitude--not truth, but the appearance of truth."
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Post by LupineSound » Fri Nov 21, 2014 6:42 am

tonewoods wrote:
honkyjonk wrote: And take the headphones off too!
The key for me is a well placed Coles 4038 over the kit.
Have the guitars and bass (and whatever) play, and adjust that OH till the meter is at it's lowest level, and lock it..
It's amazing how a good ribbon will reject well-placed amps in that null...
Brilliant! Now I just need a 4038 haha. So where do you have the guitar amps? Are they tucked away in the corners and/or gobo-d?

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Post by tonewoods » Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:06 am

honkyjonk wrote:Now I just need a 4038 haha.
Nah...
I'd try any ribbon. You just want the well-placed figure-8 null.
I've also had good luck with Beyer ribbons (M260, M500, M160) mic'ing the kit from the side, with their ass-end pointed at the two amps in the room...
honkyjonk wrote:So where do you have the guitar amps?
Wherever the player(s) find it to be comfortable...
That's kinda the whole point of the sans-headphones, sans-gobo deal, to make it comfortable and easy to communicate...
honkyjonk wrote:Are they tucked away in the corners and/or gobo-d?
Nope...
"You see, the whole thing about recording is the attempt at verisimilitude--not truth, but the appearance of truth."
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Post by Recycled_Brains » Tue Nov 25, 2014 10:15 am

I would say that most of what I record is with the band setup as though they were on stage. In a straight line side-to-side, amps close to the drums. If I can, I will put the bass cab in another room, but leave the door open a bit so everyone can hear it. If there is 1 guitar player, I generally like to use 2 amps/cabs or just 2 cabs so that I can put one on each side of the drums to make the bleed in the OHs even.

Far as bleed goes... I mostly record super loud metal/hardcore/punk bands, and I almost never find the bleed to be an issue. In fact, I'm always completely shocked at how little bleed there is. Such a non-issue. The only time it bugs me, is when the low frequencies cloud up the kick drum mic. Otherwise... fuck it.

It has been my experience that it's better to be a little less heavy handed with compression on individual drums, but that's usually not a big deal. I'll make up for that a bit with the mix buss compression anyway. I also edit the space out between tom hits 100% of the time (unless it's a rock/folk sorta record) to cut back on the bleed.

I just don't worry about it. Separation is cool too, I just am not fortunate enough to be able to record in "real" studios all that often. If iso booths are available, and the band is cool with using them, I usually do it that way, but honestly don't care much if I can't.

Here's a thing I did in a living room, very close quarters... cab on each side of the kit, bass cab in the next room w/ the door open... no baffles, etc.
http://badfriends.bandcamp.com/

Here's a thing I did in a studio, set up like a live show... guitar amp on the left side of the drums, bass amp on the right side of the drums....

http://charmboy.bandcamp.com/
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Post by drumsound » Sat Nov 29, 2014 9:14 pm

Ryan, that stuff sounds great. I'd love to see a picture of the room, and know the width. I did a recording similar to this at a conference where we had the space, and used gobos like Glyn Johns does. It was really cool and worked pretty well. I feel my room is a little narrow for it. I love the idea of the bass isolated with a door open, I may try that sometime soon.

In my room I have some good isolation, so I usually have the band in the room with the drums, but amps elsewhere. I take a scratch vocal with a hypercardiod dynamic with the null pointed at the drums. The whole group is on headphones, with one mix, but individual volumes. My biggest reason for this is room mics for the DRUMS not the BAND, and for simple fixes.

On acoustic things, or jazz I try to go all in the room, no headphones, and a set of room mics.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Mon Dec 01, 2014 10:21 am

drumsound wrote:Ryan, that stuff sounds great. I'd love to see a picture of the room, and know the width. I did a recording similar to this at a conference where we had the space, and used gobos like Glyn Johns does. It was really cool and worked pretty well. I feel my room is a little narrow for it. I love the idea of the bass isolated with a door open, I may try that sometime soon.

In my room I have some good isolation, so I usually have the band in the room with the drums, but amps elsewhere. I take a scratch vocal with a hypercardiod dynamic with the null pointed at the drums. The whole group is on headphones, with one mix, but individual volumes. My biggest reason for this is room mics for the DRUMS not the BAND, and for simple fixes.

On acoustic things, or jazz I try to go all in the room, no headphones, and a set of room mics.
Thanks! No pictures, unfortunately. The 1st example was in a small living room. Probably 12-15' wide give or take, ceilings @ around 7.5-8'. Very cramped. Bass cab was in a tiny kitchen. 2nd example was in a much bigger loft-type space, but I still kept the amps close to the drums.

Your point about the room mics is a good one. That's def. something I consider if I have the choice between isolation or not. I've had occasional luck using room mics to pick up the whole ensemble, but with all the volume and cymbal bashing I usually deal with, it's rarely all that great sounding.
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Post by lyman » Thu Dec 04, 2014 10:48 am

Recycled_Brains wrote:The 1st example was in a small living room. Probably 12-15' wide give or take, ceilings @ around 7.5-8'. Very cramped. Bass cab was in a tiny kitchen.
Those samples sounded really good. Were you close miking the kit at all?

Asking because I'm going to record a band next month in a similar sized room. For drums, I am considering a 3 mic/Glyn Johns setup. Minimal if any gobos. I plan on arranging the amps in a "performance" configuration.

Should I be concerned about using that drum miking technique? I'm not afraid of bleed and the band is not expecting a modern drum sound, I'd just like to get some feedback from those with more experience.

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Post by cgarges » Thu Dec 04, 2014 7:48 pm

Probably 75to 80% of the stuff I've done for the past eight years or so has involved most, if not all of the band playing together. I've had great results both ways, but for me, it's SO much easier to get stuff that's happening with everyone playing at the same time, unless the band is a train wreck to begin with. Even then, it's usually better that way in some form or fashion.

I find that the playing is usually just WAY better that way. I find that a lot of time, people are afraid of recording that way or they read that someone did their record one instrument at a time and figure that you're not making a real record if you don't do it that way. The reason that I hear cited most frequently for recording separately is so that guy (or guys) who want to do it that way "can concentrate on [their] parts better." Do these people not concentrate on their parts when the band is rehearsing or playing a gig? I understand a few of the reasons for wanting to record that way, but I don't understand the logic of that most frequently heard sentiment.

When everyone's playing together, there are usually fewer mistakes in general. That's not to say that there aren't any mistakes or that every take is perfect, but generally, speaking, there are fewer reasons to stop entirely. Usually, people are on the same page, time-wise and groove-wise, and even if there is a bit of push and pull or weird intonation or just odd looseness, it seems WAY more acceptable to me when everyone's playing together than if the same kind of looseness exists while overdubbing parts. There's shouldn't really be any identifiable reason for this, but it seems to be the case.

Also, I find that it's easier to get sounds this way. If I have an idea of what the bass sound is gonna be like, I know what I need to concentrate on in the kick drum. And I know how much low end I can get away with in the guitar sound. And I know how multiple guitar sounds are gonna work together. And I can make use of natural space and ambience in a more logical and creative way. When I record stuff separately, I almost ALWAYS wish I'd done some different stuff with the drums by the time I get to mixing.

It also ALWAYS takes less time overall if I record everyone at once. It takes more time to get sounds on a whole band and it might take a few more takes to get a keeper with the fewest number of repairs, but multiply any of that by the number of members of the band and whatever you have to do to get things fitting together and you've just saved yourself a number of hours, if not days in the end.

This is all just my opinion as it relates to my own experiences, but I've done this long enough to feel pretty strongly about those opinions. I've certainly gotten good results otherwise and I've made a number of records of which I'm TOTALLY proud in a piecemeal fashion, but overall, I find it much easier to record basics with everyone playing together.

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Post by losthighway » Fri Dec 05, 2014 5:41 am

To kind of add my two cents of a similar perspective to Garges:

When you start doing takes with just drums and scratch guitar, and listening to playback with the band people start thinking about if the pieces are going to amount to a nice puzzle.

Someone says "Those drums sound god damn huge," when there is no bass guitar sharing space with the kick and floor. No extra guitars, or keys competing for space with the snare and cymbals.

Someone else says "Can we make the guitar sound thicker?" while there is no bass under it.

When I hear drums, bass, guitar, and often "other" coming through the speakers at playback I get the benefit of seeing what should be about 75% of the record sound. Sure there might be some overdubs, and we can enhance some things in the mix, but if it doesn't sound clear and complete I need to change something now. This way I avoid "fix it in the mix" syndrome.

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Post by Recycled_Brains » Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:49 pm

lyman wrote:
Recycled_Brains wrote:The 1st example was in a small living room. Probably 12-15' wide give or take, ceilings @ around 7.5-8'. Very cramped. Bass cab was in a tiny kitchen.
Those samples sounded really good. Were you close miking the kit at all?

Asking because I'm going to record a band next month in a similar sized room. For drums, I am considering a 3 mic/Glyn Johns setup. Minimal if any gobos. I plan on arranging the amps in a "performance" configuration.

Should I be concerned about using that drum miking technique? I'm not afraid of bleed and the band is not expecting a modern drum sound, I'd just like to get some feedback from those with more experience.
thank you. The kit on the Bad Friends thing was close mic'd. Top/bott snare, kick, toms, 2 OH. OH was 2 small diaphragm condensers in XY.

On this particular session the low-end from the amps getting into the kick drum mic was slightly problematic at first. There was no vent in the kick, so the mic was just outside the batter head. I hung a packing blanket over the kick and mic to alleviate it, and it helped. That could be a thing to listen for with a GJ setup if you're mic'ing the kick from a little further back.

The charmboy example is a little closer to GJ, but def. not... mono OH, close mic'd drums, but i didn't use all the close mics for every track when i mixed, IIRC. If you listen to "The Rebound" in particular, that is an M160 pointed between the floor tom and kick drum toward the side of the snare drum, probably like 3' back under the ride cymbal and an RE20 on the kick only (barely any of the RE too). It's my fav. sounding drum track on the record, and i totally just was like "fuck it, I'm gonna try this for shits and giggles, because it will probably suck and it's the last song we're tracking." To this day I wish I did it for the whole record, and turned the goddamn bass up... Anyways... gettting derailed. haha.

But overall, I'm not sure how well the GJ thing would work. Never tried it in this type of situation. The mics furthest from the drums' heads, like OHs, FOK, etc.... seem to pick up the most bleed, so in the case of GJ, you might get a fair amount, and want to make sure it's not causing weird filtering when mixed with the close mic'd amps or whathaveyou, but it might be totally sweet, so give it a shot!.
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Post by LupineSound » Mon Dec 08, 2014 9:22 am

That Bad Friends recording sounds awesome! I dig the tunes, too.
The Charmboy sounds ok, I guess. Limp indie rock doesn't really do it for me.

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Post by lyman » Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:59 am

Thanks for the detailed reply, Ryan. That's good info. I realize that I've committed the cardinal tape op sin, in asking a vague "it depends" question...ha ha. I know I'm going to have to experiment with mic placement once I get the band in the room, just trying to narrow my focus in the interest of time though.

I'll probably try a 4 mic setup first: OH, side of kit, and spot mics on kick and snare. The drummer is really good, very balanced across the kit which will help greatly.

I shall post some samples!

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