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Recording session, tipps please
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Shrum
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#1
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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Recording session, tipps please

Hy gearslutz
Next week I will have my first independent recording session and since it is not a very standard recording i would like to hear some opinions from people who know more than i do.

I am doing a live recording of 2 chellos, guitar(amplifier), vocal, keyboard and some shakers/percussion.
It is not a great sounding room, cca. 30 square meters

So, I will have on my disposal my RME FF800 which has 4 mic preamps, I will have two AKG c414 mics and two shure sm57 mics.

My idea was to close mic with the shure sm57 the guitar amp and vocal and to use the 414s to make a stereo technique (i thought maybe blumlein)

I appreciate every tip and since I have no experience I would be grateful if someone would explain how he/she would position the stereo mics and which poar patter to use.

Thanks in advance,
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19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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You don't mention your headphone monitoring situation, so I'll just recommend what I'd do in a perfect situation:

Amps, percussion, and vocals can all get in the way of a clean cello recording, so do whatever you can to get those sounds separately, even if the instruments all need to be tracked together.

Use 414's as stereo pair for the ensemble (blumlein, spaced pair, etc is up to you and the room).

Get the guitar amp in another room, spot mic with a 57, route to cans. Alternatively forgo amp altogether, DI the guitar and send that to cans. Re-amp the guitar after the fact.

You can use a 57 for a guide vocal, encourage the singer to sing as quietly and sparingly as possible. Overdub vocals afterwards using a 414.

Don't track percussion during the live session. Overdub percussion, using a 57 (or 414 if appropriate).

And have fun.
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19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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thanks very much!
I have Ultrasone pro 900 for me and I have a Sennheiser hd555 which i thought to offer the singer if he would like to hear his voice with some reverb on it to give a maybe better performance.

I would like to record all those things separately, but the guys constantly say that the recordig MUST be live :(

anyway, thank you!
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19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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Back in the day, the top dog jazz engineers would use just one mic in a room, and then "mix" the band by physically moving the artists around.

I've had similar issues such as two drummers playing two kits and insisting on tracking at the same time, in the same room as to make eye contact. TBH, having them be able to see and play off each other definitely resulted in a better performance, and honestly, that's what matters the most.

You can inform the band that the quality will not be your best, but that you will try to accommodate them and their needs and will try your best to make keep the quality up.

What I would do:
Close mic the two cellos with the 414s. 57 on the guitar cab that is on the opposite side of the room as the cello player. Get the guitar cab as quiet as possible with a good tone. If its a tube amp, "quiet" is still going to be quite loud. Finally, can you DI the keyboard? Put the keyboard amp over by the guitar cab as to not interfere with the cellos, and then give the singer the 57 to stand by the cellos but facing and singing away from them.

If any of this is not possible let me know and I will revise my plan =]
#5
19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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Having a classical and jazz background I can understand wanting to capture a live performance record. I did it all the with just two stereo schoeps. But the room was to die for, a classical tuned theater. I say go for it.

That being said if it was me I would want the ability to at the very least to redub the vocals for various reasons. However since you only have 2 headphones, limited channels and one room your options are very limited! But it is doable. Keyboards are going to be tuff without headphones. Do they have a amp? Does the amp have a line out? I would go direct line in (7/8 channels of fireface) for key's either directly from the amp or directly from the keyboard.

Option #1 "live recording"

Set up in a semi circle at least 6-7 feet apart. Close mic 2 feet or less(3-1 rule of phase. Put that guitar and keys on the far end and face the amps away from the ensemble. keep the volume down on those amps.


chello = akg c414 figure 8 in between the two chello's. (facing each other exactly 4 feet apart with mic in the middle)
Vox = akg c414 cardiod w/ pop filter
gutiar = sm57
key's = direct in 7/8 from amp or line in.
Percussion = need more info, you could close mic with the 57 or put them near the chello's and balance or do both.

Option #2 "live with overdub vocals"

chello = close mic with 2 akg c414 cardiod mode (2 feet or closer)
Vox = scratch track with sm57 face the vox away from any mics. Then retrack the vox with the akg c414 in cardioid mode
gutiar = sm57
key's = direct in 7/8 from amp or line in.
Percussion = overdub later or put them near the chello's and balance. (3-1 rule of phase!!!!)

Option #3 "pop production, what a real studio would do"

scratch track them, give the headphones to the percussion with a click. Stereo mic the ensemble with the akg's for the scratch track. Have the band follow the percussionist who is hearing the click. After that you can overdub the parts individually using headphones starting with percussion and ending with vox.
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19th February 2011
Old 19th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shrum View Post
Hy gearslutz
So, I will have on my disposal my RME FF800 which has 4 mic preamps, I will have two AKG c414 mics and two shure sm57 mics.
are we to understand that you have only 4 simultaneous inputs?

Quote:
My idea was to close mic with the shure sm57 the guitar amp and vocal and to use the 414s to make a stereo technique (i thought maybe blumlein)
if you really only have 4 inputs, I think this is a pretty good way to deal with it.

Bury the amps in the corners under a couple of rugs, and as mikethedrummer said, move the musicians up and back until you get the right balance. You may need to push the percussionist way back, for example. Save the cans for whoever needs them most after you are all set up.

If the band asks to track live, explain the compromises and track live. From the sound of it, I would not want to get into overdubbing, scratch tracks and clicks with this bunch. It sounds like these would be totally new techniques for them and will compromise their performance.

With an extended relaxed setup period you can get some very nice results with the gear you have, but you have to get the balances right on the way in. Make it clear to them that they will be spending a longish time getting set up and they should not expect to be going for takes right off the bat.

Everybody comes into the studio champing at the bit to play! It's a tricky balance to calm them down without cooling them off, but you can do it if you explain what is going to happen ahead of time.
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20th February 2011
Old 20th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikethedrummer View Post
Back in the day, the top dog jazz engineers would use just one mic in a room, and then "mix" the band by physically moving the artists around.

I've had similar issues such as two drummers playing two kits and insisting on tracking at the same time, in the same room as to make eye contact. TBH, having them be able to see and play off each other definitely resulted in a better performance, and honestly, that's what matters the most.

You can inform the band that the quality will not be your best, but that you will try to accommodate them and their needs and will try your best to make keep the quality up.

What I would do:
Close mic the two cellos with the 414s. 57 on the guitar cab that is on the opposite side of the room as the cello player. Get the guitar cab as quiet as possible with a good tone. If its a tube amp, "quiet" is still going to be quite loud. Finally, can you DI the keyboard? Put the keyboard amp over by the guitar cab as to not interfere with the cellos, and then give the singer the 57 to stand by the cellos but facing and singing away from them.

If any of this is not possible let me know and I will revise my plan =]
Thanks very much Mike!
I will definitely take your advice into account.
It is not a tube amp, so I will manage to keep it quite low.
The Keys will go into line input and I will put their speakers (the keyboard player plays through some hi-fi speakers) as low as possible, just so the others can hear him since he is the leader of the song.
The vocalist is also the keyboard player so he will definitely be away from the chellos.

p.s. I was yesterday at their rehearsal and I actually told the percussionist (snare,cymbal and some shakers) to go into the room next to the room where all the others are playing, and closed the doors, so that he can play a bit more dynamic and not be too loud and it sounded actually quite nice
I will definitely report how it went and give some samples
thanks again
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20th February 2011
Old 20th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tribedescribe View Post
Having a classical and jazz background I can understand wanting to capture a live performance record. I did it all the with just two stereo schoeps. But the room was to die for, a classical tuned theater. I say go for it.

That being said if it was me I would want the ability to at the very least to redub the vocals for various reasons. However since you only have 2 headphones, limited channels and one room your options are very limited! But it is doable. Keyboards are going to be tuff without headphones. Do they have a amp? Does the amp have a line out? I would go direct line in (7/8 channels of fireface) for key's either directly from the amp or directly from the keyboard.

Option #1 "live recording"

Set up in a semi circle at least 6-7 feet apart. Close mic 2 feet or less(3-1 rule of phase. Put that guitar and keys on the far end and face the amps away from the ensemble. keep the volume down on those amps.


chello = akg c414 figure 8 in between the two chello's. (facing each other exactly 4 feet apart with mic in the middle)
Vox = akg c414 cardiod w/ pop filter
gutiar = sm57
key's = direct in 7/8 from amp or line in.
Percussion = need more info, you could close mic with the 57 or put them near the chello's and balance or do both.

Option #2 "live with overdub vocals"

chello = close mic with 2 akg c414 cardiod mode (2 feet or closer)
Vox = scratch track with sm57 face the vox away from any mics. Then retrack the vox with the akg c414 in cardioid mode
gutiar = sm57
key's = direct in 7/8 from amp or line in.
Percussion = overdub later or put them near the chello's and balance. (3-1 rule of phase!!!!)

Option #3 "pop production, what a real studio would do"

scratch track them, give the headphones to the percussion with a click. Stereo mic the ensemble with the akg's for the scratch track. Have the band follow the percussionist who is hearing the click. After that you can overdub the parts individually using headphones starting with percussion and ending with vox.
Thanks Tribedescribe!
Your advice will also help me, i appreciate it very much.

Option 3 is unfortunately out of the question, they want it (a)LIVE :D

Option 2- I believe I will go with this one, I agree with you, I would definitely like to overdub the vocals since I have the c414s at my disposal. The percussionist will be in the room next (behind closed doors-so he can play more dynamic,and loud and I will try to find an optimal position for the chello mics so they capture the percussion also-maybe blumlein is the best technique for doing it since I could have percussion in the backs of the fig 8...or is it?

Option 1- I dont think I will go with that one since I would like to have stereo chellos and this way they would be center, wouldn't they?

Thanks very much, I will keep you updated and give some samples
Shrum
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20th February 2011
Old 20th February 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
are we to understand that you have only 4 simultaneous inputs?



if you really only have 4 inputs, I think this is a pretty good way to deal with it.

Bury the amps in the corners under a couple of rugs, and as mikethedrummer said, move the musicians up and back until you get the right balance. You may need to push the percussionist way back, for example. Save the cans for whoever needs them most after you are all set up.

If the band asks to track live, explain the compromises and track live. From the sound of it, I would not want to get into overdubbing, scratch tracks and clicks with this bunch. It sounds like these would be totally new techniques for them and will compromise their performance.

With an extended relaxed setup period you can get some very nice results with the gear you have, but you have to get the balances right on the way in. Make it clear to them that they will be spending a longish time getting set up and they should not expect to be going for takes right off the bat.

Everybody comes into the studio champing at the bit to play! It's a tricky balance to calm them down without cooling them off, but you can do it if you explain what is going to happen ahead of time.
Thanks Joeq!
Yes, I agree with you completely.
I have just 4 mic preamps and I will try to find a nice balance and hopefully if the vocal agrees, overdub the vox later with the c414.
I will keep you updated on how it went and upload some samples
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