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Being on a budget...
Old 22nd January 2003
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Being on a budget...

Just wondering if anyone has played with this idea. I have a Tascam DA-30 MKII deck that I still use for live to two track recordings. I was wondering if I might get a better recording if I used the converters in my Lexicon MPX-100 to feed the deck? This would bypass the internal tascam converters. I have yet to try it but was wondering if anyone else has? Any thoughts?

jason

www.mudstonemusic.com
Old 22nd January 2003
  #2
Gear Guru
 
NathanEldred's Avatar
 
7 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
I'm betting that it's not going to be any better, maybe even worse based on my experience with both units. The ADC on the Tascam aren't horrible (but far from great)...in the 2 channel gear market that is finding it's applicable usage on 'live to 2 track or mastering', IMNSO you would have to get something like a Benchmark or Crane Song to really make it worth your while. I find that for that application, the conversion has to be really quite good, otherwise it's not worth taking a small leap in quality.

If you were using it for multitrack that's probably a different story, because even a small increase in quality over 24+ tracks can lead to a big jump overall. If there were a really great standalone 2 channel ADC out there in the $700-$1500 range then I would change my mind, but for $1000 average on the low side of the market, I personally would expect more than a 20% increase in quality (in relation to what is currently available on the market in that range that is).

What kind of mics and preamps are you using? If you have top shelf stuff then it may be worth getting a better ADC. If you are using average or below, all an accurate ADC is going to do is give you a clearer image of a bad signal path.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #3
One with big hooves
 
Jay Kahrs's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Well, try it and see if you hear an improvment. I use my TC M2000 as a D/A for anything really critical because it's the best sounding D/A I have here. If having a decent A/D is important you should hunt around for an old Symterix 620 or a used higher end. I got my Mytek for a few hundered which is far under what it cost new.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Tim L's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I wouldn't think the conversion on the MPX-100 would net all that much of a difference really, but it might. If you've got some budget to put towards conversion you should keep the Lucid AD9624 in mind. For the price these are wonderful sounding converters and I've been real happy with mine.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Still on a budget...

Thanks for the comments,

I just spent my spare change on a pair of OSA mutants and a rack. The other preamps I will be using are an HV-3, VMP-2, Sytek, and I will be testing the sounds of a Yamaha PM-700 that I have been working on.

I have not picked the mics yet. I am waiting to find out more on the environment and instrument needs. I have a rough demo coming in the mail soon. My guess is it will be a handful of dynamics (RE-20, SM-7, 421, 57's, or M-88's) and a couple condensers (4050's, KM-184's maybe, baby bottle, Tlm-103 or the Royer 2001)

I have a live to two-track project coming up and I am planning on recording directly to the Tascam Da-30 MKII and an Otari MX-5050. This will let me a/b test the two devices as mixdown decks. I have been using the Da-30 as my main mixdown (safety copy) deck. I really have not tried it against the 2-track analog.

I think I will try half of the project with the DA-30 stock converters and the second half with the Lexicon as the converter.

jason

www.mudstonemusic.com
Old 22nd January 2003
  #6
Lives for gear
 
Messiah's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Still on a budget...

Quote:
Originally posted by jspartz

I have a live to two-track project coming up and I am planning on recording directly to the Tascam Da-30 MKII and an Otari MX-5050. This will let me a/b test the two devices as mixdown decks. I have been using the Da-30 as my main mixdown (safety copy) deck. I really have not tried it against the 2-track analog.

I think I will try half of the project with the DA-30 stock converters and the second half with the Lexicon as the converter.
www.mudstonemusic.com
Hi Jason,

When you say live to 2 track, is this a gig you're recording or a specific session? What type of music? What's the line up?
Give us a clearer picture .
Old 22nd January 2003
  #7
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
What I know...

Good point,

The group is based out of Madison WI. They call the music honky-punk or alt. country. From what I know so far it is a three peice band. Bass/vox, acoustic guitar/lead vox, and drums/vox. It is possible that the bass will be an upright acoustic bass and a lead guitar player will be in the mix as well.

The recording will happen at the rehearsal spot and not at a live show. They want a recording to help push the bands name (Jim James and the Damn Shames). They don't have much funding for this project (and my computer is out of order for recording) so instead of multitracking we can keep the cost down and record straight to two-track. As long as they can play it well we should be able to get something solid out of it.

jason

www.mudstonemusic.com
Old 22nd January 2003
  #8
Lives for gear
 
Messiah's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: What I know...

Quote:
Originally posted by jspartz
Good point,

The group is based out of Madison WI. They call the music honky-punk or alt. country. From what I know so far it is a three peice band. Bass/vox, acoustic guitar/lead vox, and drums/vox. It is possible that the bass will be an upright acoustic bass and a lead guitar player will be in the mix as well.

The recording will happen at the rehearsal spot and not at a live show. They want a recording to help push the bands name (Jim James and the Damn Shames). They don't have much funding for this project (and my computer is out of order for recording) so instead of multitracking we can keep the cost down and record straight to two-track. As long as they can play it well we should be able to get something solid out of it.

jason

www.mudstonemusic.com
I've done this kind of thing before with blues and blues/rock bands (with the obligatory lack of budget) and I used to use a DA20. I ended up getting some cool recordings, so I'll try and share.

As you're recording it live to 2 track, I think the best way to approach it is with this as the "angle". If you start out aiming for it to sound like a studio job you'll have difficulty. I'd be looking to create as much of a live vibe as possible, so I'd be looking for good ambience placements for a start, and, you need to think different about your miking because you're gonna get spill. If you accept this you can start thinking positive about it and plan to use it to enhance your recordings. If there's acoustic guitar involved try and get hold of a B&K 4060, or something similar, and tape it inside the soundhole if possible. Don't let the guy talk you into how great his acoustic pickup is!

It may be obvious, but it's quite important that you get in a different room to them too if you can. The first few times I did this I was at the back of the room recording while they played. When I got it home, everything, especially the lead vox and guitars, sounded to close and dry than what I thought I had in the cans at the time.
From what you've said, I'd be more inclined to use the Lexicon for it's reverb than it's A/D.
I'd try to get a good balance between them with 3 or 4 omni's in amongst them, then a similar amount in front at varying distances for the ambience. Spend some time moving the closer ones to get a good balance between them then add close mics as you need them to "back it up". I always found that one of the ambient mics placed about 8-12' directly in the line of the vocalist helped a great deal for the "livelyness". The last couple of times I did this I only had 2, 3 max, mics on the kit. A Coles 4038 1' above the drummers head pointing at the snare and a 47 2' in front of the kick. I was able to get everything else from the omni mics that were spread out for the band.

I could go on (...and on) but I may be telling you what you already know, so I'll cease here!
Hope this helps.
Old 22nd January 2003
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 15 years
Sounds good...

Thanks for the tips.

The acoustic guitar is run into a Fender Acoustisonic amplifier. I am waiting to hear the songs (demo tape) to figure out if the acoustic sound will be a better compliment or should I focus more on micing the amp (or some combination of the two).

I had not thought about a couple omni's in the room and filling around them. I guess it depends on if they know how to play together or if they each play independently (fighting for space and volume with each other).

So, do you suggest not going for a stereo image of the drums. Maybe bring two omni's equal distance out from the drum set (left and right) and pan them 10 and 2. Then fill in around that with the players and kick/snare center?

Just for discussion, I was think about the benefits of mixing drums center vs off to one side. What would be your mix approach to this?

jason
Old 23rd January 2003
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Messiah's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Re: Sounds good...

Quote:
Originally posted by jspartz
Thanks for the tips.

The acoustic guitar is run into a Fender Acoustisonic amplifier. I am waiting to hear the songs (demo tape) to figure out if the acoustic sound will be a better compliment or should I focus more on micing the amp (or some combination of the two).
You probably need to play it by ear when you come to the recording, but generally acoustic amps don't sit well with me, they can be OK blended though. This is why I suggested the 4060, because the guy playing the acoustic can move about freely and you'll still get the consistency you need from the guitar.

Quote:

I had not thought about a couple omni's in the room and filling around them. I guess it depends on if they know how to play together or if they each play independently (fighting for space and volume with each other).
So, do you suggest not going for a stereo image of the drums. Maybe bring two omni's equal distance out from the drum set (left and right) and pan them 10 and 2. Then fill in around that with the players and kick/snare center?
Just for discussion, I was think about the benefits of mixing drums center vs off to one side. What would be your mix approach to this?
Well, firstly, if they/you are planning to record straight to 2 track, I'd imagine they should have it together live! If they haven't, you're in for a long one!!:eek:

In terms of the stereo imaging, I would be tempted to stand in front of them when you've got the mic's set up and pan the omni mic's as you see them (I'd start with 9 o'clock/3 o'clock for the furthest L&R sources). If you have any close mic's, listen to the balance without them in and locate where the source of the close mic is in the stereo field, then bring them up in that position as you need them.
I would place the drum mic's as you see them. Once the other omni's are brought in they will add to the imaging of the kit.
For this kind of live recording I always imagine how much stereo imaging you get from the drums when you stand 15 feet in front of the kit, ....not a lot. The rack and floor toms don't find their way to your L&R ears separately respectively, do they?
So, my approach would be to get them to set up and play, then get them to adjust their levels till your happy, then maybe try getting them to move their relative positions a bit and see if this helps. Don't start miking until your happy with what you hear from a position where you want to focus the mix from.
If you get it right at the start, you can then concentrate on the performances and slight adjustments to the mix you may need to make.
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