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"Bare-minimum" recording
Old 23rd October 2002
  #1
Here for the gear
 
aprestin's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
"Bare-minimum" recording

I'm by no means a studio guy, but I've been learning quite a bit from this forum (and these threads in general...)

I do enjoy going to live shows, though, and I often tape them for my own enjoyment and to trade and share with others. At certain shows, I've been allowed access to the soundboard, and I've managed to make some pretty decent-sounding recordings of shows using just a Mackie 1202 or a Samson Mixpad (for when there's no power available) with a board feed and a pair of good (KM-140, now TLM-170) microphones.

I say these tapes are "decent-sounding", though, because, even though all the mixing is done live (which is far from ideal) I believe there are techniques discussed here that can apply to hobbyists making their own recordings. I also believe people here may have some advice for one particular situation I found myself in last weekend:

Taping a very talented folk quartet (Eddie from Ohio) in a small venue down south. Two guitarists (both acoustic, direct to the board), on either side of a female singer. Drummer with a semi-mic'd kit in back of those three. All four members on vocals. I had a mono board feed, which wasn't too terrible (except for the lack of some drums -- since it was a smaller room, they didn't need to be up in the mix.) TLMs in hyper (with bass rolloff engaged) on either side of the stage, facing the audience, to pick up the crowd as well as some reverb off the walls/back of the venue.

So, the tape is "decent-sounding." The crowd sounds nice, but a little stretched (as in, it sounds vaguely like there's two "lobes" of audience, as opposed to one fluid group of people clapping). The drums are obviously not really there at times. The mono soundboard feed doesn't sound too bad, though, as the reverb off the walls adds a bit of "fake stereo" to it, and the hyper setting still allowed a small amount of the band to leak into the mix from the 170s, too.

My real question is, "did I do this the best way possible?" Would moving the mics closer together have been smarter? Possibly running them in omni to pick up the drums? I had my 140s with me as "spares" -- should I have run them ORTF or XY onstage, facing the drummer? What could/should I have done with the tools I brought with me?

I've obviously still got a lot to learn, and I've got some ideas for improvement, but if you all see anything I did blatantly wrong, or could have done better, please feel free to set me straight.

- A.P.
Old 24th October 2002
  #2
Super Moderator
 
Remoteness's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
A.P.,

Thank you for the kind words about this forum and the threads in general. I'm doing my best to answer the questions and be as helpful as possible. One thing that's great about a forum like this is - if I can't answer it or make a mistake, someone else will reply and take it further. Let me see what I can suggest for your situation.

Based on your post, you're like a Deluxe Taper. Got you mics but sometimes you add a board feed.

You mentioned you read about techniques that were discussed on the forum that can apply to hobbyists making their own recordings. Well, why not write about them or try them out? It seems like the answers are in the threads.

I'm wondering why you picked the hyper pattern on the TLM170's? I would have picked the cardioid or the omni or even the figure 8 pattern and found the perfect sweet spot for the mics. It's hard to answer without being there to see and hear the room. But, I would have started with the mics a bit closer to each other and played around with all patterns available.

One thing is certain, I would have gone for more of the band/audience sound with your two TLM170's and found the right balance between the mono board feed and your mics.

I think your questions already had the answers in them. Yes, moving the mics closer together may have worked. Trying it would have been the smarter thing to do for sure. You never know until you try it. If it wasn't right, you could move them somewhere else until you found what you were looking for. The omni pattern would have been one of my first or second tests.

Since the drums were not in the board mix, you knew you had to add them in from your mics. I would have placed one or two mics onstage to pick up the drums and had another pair or single mic at the FOH position (or somewhere special) for the room tone. I'm not sure how many channels you had so, that's why I mentioned single mics, pairs would have been my first choice.

You may have a lot to learn, but you obviously already know what you need, since the answers are in your questions!!

Keep on keeping on and everything will be everything.
Old 16th November 2002
  #3
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Alex, do you have any of your better "bare-minimum recordings" up on the net on any share sites?

Alot of the music alex does get's hosted by other servers, where people can gain access and download the shows in an uncompressed form.

Hopefully Alex can find us a link to check out, and perhaps teach the group about that wonderful little program called Shorten....
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