Live recording, in a single room.

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
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FNM
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Live recording, in a single room.

Post by FNM » Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:46 am

As I read more and more recording info on the net it seems that I come across two camps when it comes to live recording in a single room.

Some people seem to try to seperate things more (gobo's etc.) and get people far away to reduce bleed and the such and make mixing easier. Then there are some who say to put everything pretty close to reduce phase problems.

I guess this is another one of the typical "depends..." questions. But I was just curious as to how you guys go about this.

If your recording a band, with a drummer for example... in a pretty small room, where would you put the guitar or bass amps in relation to the drums? Right next to them... 5-10ft away... more?? (lets just say we would be overdubbing the vocals). Would you try to adjust phase relations with delay to compensate?

Unfortunately I can't easily find a band willing to experiment with me, so I'm trying to get some info from people with more experience.

Thanks[/i]

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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by Girl Toes » Sun Jan 02, 2005 12:59 am

I'd say just jump in and try things. Don't be afraid to fuck up, its the only way you'll learn what will work and won't work in that room. You don't need to experiment with one band, try something different with every band. You'll get it.

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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by bigtoe » Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:07 am

"Some people seem to try to seperate things more (gobo's etc.) and get people far away to reduce bleed and the such and make mixing easier. Then there are some who say to put everything pretty close to reduce phase problems."

it's more about performance, for me...you need everyone hearing the timing properly so you get them reasonably close. headphones in one room can be a nightmare...i like getting em comfy playing and then deal with the sonic issues...

"If your recording a band, with a drummer for example... in a pretty small room, where would you put the guitar or bass amps in relation to the drums? Right next to them... 5-10ft away... more?? (lets just say we would be overdubbing the vocals). Would you try to adjust phase relations with delay to compensate?"

i put the bass amp about 5 feet in front of the kick or behind the drummers so the bleed into the oh's is centered. if it's mono i put it wherever. the guitar and where to place it is an art as far as bleed in the oh's. that's where you can get a great bleed happening. i dunno on the delays...sounds interesting...are you DAW'ing it?

"Unfortunately I can't easily find a band willing to experiment with me, so I'm trying to get some info from people with more experience."

to just do the live thing? i'm finding more and more people want to go the drums bass route in the past few years...kinda sucks and makes it harder on them in my opinion. try calling it a demo and going to their spot.

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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by jajjguy » Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:18 am

if the room is small and the volumes are pretty loud, then placement isn't going to matter much. the drums will be on everything, so will the bass, etc. if the volumes aren't loud (closer to acoustic levels), or if the room is larger (~10feet between players), then you can think more about separation.

if i have a small room with drums and amplified instruments, i'm pretty much thinking of micing it as one instrument. close mics on amps and vocs maybe, but mainly as backup.

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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by RodC » Sun Jan 02, 2005 6:50 am

I am not an expert but this is my favorite way to record. Bands seem more natural playing this way. How many bands have given you a demo and said: "Here is a demo, but we sound much better live."

I have a room 25 x 30, but only access to an area about 25 x 18. The bed, couch, and ?junk? at the other end of the room are just bass traps lol.

Let the band perform and have fun, find the lowest acceptable volume to them.

Bass D.I. using Tube preamp. Bass sounds pretty good D.I. unless they are going for Power or speaker distortion. I set the bass pretty close to the drums with lots of space around the cab. I like to avoid having the cab near the wall.

Guitar D.I. Most ppl can get a better sound micing the cab, but we use a tube preamp and eq to try to simulate a cab. This is probably the hardest phase for us. At worse we will go lay down another guitar track. For a beginner like me D.I. is much easier also.

Drums 3-4 Mics: OH, Bass, Snare or what ever formula you like. The overheads will have the most bleed. Try placing them at different positions while everyone in the band plays except the drummer. You will find a zone that is useable without the maximum bleed. Start with your favorite position and see how it compares to the quietest position. Which is better, the bleed or your fav position?

Vocals: experiment with a lot of your mics, find a cardioid which one sounds the best and has the least proximity effect. Have your singer as close as possible to the mic. Face the mic away from all the instruments and make sure there is some good absorbing material behind the mic. I put a piece of foam on the mic stand and behind the mic also. Use a light stand and put it on a thick rug. Vocals are where bleed affects us the most but it is very usable.

Like I said before, I am Not A Expert, I hope to learn a lot from this thread!

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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by Mix413 » Sun Jan 02, 2005 7:53 am

Try this:
Put the guitar amps off to each side of the drummer lying on their backs facing the ceiling. If they're tube amps, make sure to put a small box or something under the tube area to elevate the top slightly to vent the heat. Try a ribbon mic on the amps with the null or dead side facing the drums. Beyer M160 or M500's work well in this application. The Sennheiser 441 is also good a good choice. Put a little baffle between the amps and drums. The guitarists will stand right over their amps facing up towards their heads. They'll hear their amps well and also be very close to the drummer for good cue communication.

Put the bass amp right in front of the kit next to the kick drum facing out (away from the drummer). Take the bass direct and also mic it if you have the tracks. You can throw a blanket over the entire speaker and mic if there's a lot of cymbal bleed. Have the bass player stand right in front of the amp/kit. This way he will hear his amp and be really close to the drummer so they can lock in tightly.

Don't use headphones. The band will be positioned very close to each other and will be able to hear each other just like at a gig or in rehearsal. They will usually play really well in this configuration. If you need a reference vocal, set up a small PA or some floor wedges. Send the control room talkback into the PA. Experiment with speaker positioning and volume to minimize vocal bleed. Deaden the room if necessary with gobos or hanging blankets off mic booms. Put up some room mics on separate tracks that you can mix in later for the appropriate ambience.

If there's an acoustic guitar, just take it direct as a reference track and put a little in the PA/monitor. Overdub a mic'ed acoustic immediately after you get a keeper take. Keyboards can be set up live in the room like the guitars with an amp near the player. Take a DI signal or mic the amp or both.

Musicians really like to record this way because it feels more natural than using headphones. Bleed can be surprisingly minimal if done right. You can always overdub more guitars and solos, but you will more than likely capture the essance and energy of the band.
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Re: Live recording, in a single room.

Post by AGCurry » Sun Jan 02, 2005 9:33 am

I recently recorded my psychedelic-revival band, Stoned Circus, in my studio. We all played as though live, with the exception that the bass was DI.

Drums: X/Y overheads, MK012s with cardioid caps;
Bass: Direct;
Guitar: Single Shure SM33 on the speaker;
Leslie: Single SM57 on the horn;
Room: AEA R44;
Vocal: Sennheiser MD441.

I told the singer that she was just doing a scratch track so that the band could follow the vocal cues. Of course, we ended up using most of those scratch tracks!

The bleed is minimal.

We think this recording sounds better than the record the band did in a professional studio in 1970.

The trick IMO is to use the patterns of the respective mics to minimize bleed. Remember that cardioid and supercardioid patterns actually show the greatest "null" at about 2 and 10 o'clock rather than 180 degrees. Figure of eight mics have almost no pickup at 3 and 9 o'clock.

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