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Ideas for live recording rock bands
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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Ideas for live recording rock bands

I've been recording practice sessions lately in my 3 piece punk band and I've got some really cool sounds from just 6-7 mics. One issue I'm having is the bleed into the vocal mic. I've got our guitarist/singer singing into a 57 and it picks up everything as bright and clear as if it were a room mic. If I had a beta 57 the hypercardiod pattern would be more ideal, but i don't really have any hypers. Any ideas either in post production or in the recording scenario to deal best with bleed? I should say, when he is singing the vocals are clear and crisp and theres no issues there.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2

Is the singer facing the band? Remember that the pattern of the mic works in the far-field too....

If you don't have the acoustics of the room under control, you'll need to make at least one wall dead.



-tINY

Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
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You basically have 2 choices - embrace the bleed or eliminate it as much as you can at the source using positioning of the mic and the room. Both can be cool. I do a lot of live onstage recording- for a mix I just did, I muted major sections where there were solos and the singer stepped away from the mic, but had to be careful with my fades back in, using a slow curve so that the difference wasn't jarring. There's a little more cymbal and such in the mix when the vocals are in, but not bad since she was on the mic, which controlled it somewhat.

If you embrace it, which I definitely do on most occasions, then try to find a mic where the bleed is pleasing to your ears.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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Poopypants's Avatar
 

The Beta 57 won't make much difference if you've got a band cranking out in a small room. Build some gobos out of whatever you can get your hands on. If you can stick the singer in a closet or bathroom or hallway, that will help a LOT. He'd have to deal with the crappy monitoring. You might have to get him phones or a small monitor.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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In the scenario you describe, every mic is a room mic. Solutions are to isolate the singer or isolate the instruments...even partially (with gobos or furniture) can help...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Quote:
Any ideas either in post production or in the recording scenario to deal best with bleed?
1.) Try making your room deader with acoustic absorption and bass traps as well.
2.) Try using isolation methods by using iso gobos, especially for drums
3.) Try moving/turning the guitar amps in another direction
4.) Try lowing the volume of everyone playing
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
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M.S.P.'s Avatar
Can the band play without the singer singing? If so, record vocals after.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
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Yeah, all these are good ideas. I do understand that bleed is inevitable, but there has to be a way to control it a little better. I'm thinking of compressing the signal on the way in with a limiter or something. The point of these recordings are just reference for the band, I'd rather have a bad recording that I can hear the parts clearly than move the singer around. You know what i mean? I want the recording to be low impact on our actual practice session. I have bass traps and I'm surprisingly good in the lower registers as far as bleed is concerned, but the snare and cymbals really cloud the vocals.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 

Best way I know of in a situation like that is to back your singer up against the deadest, thickest surface you can create. Like, say, a bundle of OC703 hung on the wall in two stacks of six.

For a one-day record in a big corrugated-steel shed I bought 6 rolls of pink insulation and stacked them up. The band was terrible and nothing ever came of the tracks but the vocal isolation was pretty good. And I returned the insulation to Home Depot.
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Brent definitely has the right idea. A 57 picks up least from behind (obvs.), so you want the back of the mic facing the band, which means the singer gets to face towards them, specifically directly towards the parts that bleed the worst (cymbals/snare). AND you want as dead a surface as possible behind the singer, because any band sound that bounces off that surface will go directly into the front of the mic. The singer should be as close up on the mic as possible. (Shure does make a foam thingy to put on the front of a 57 if used for vocals, so you can get right up on it.)
Do NOT let the singer "cup" the mic with their hand - cupping makes it effectively omnidirectional.
Do NOT use compression or limiting if possible - this will just bring up the level of the band compared to the singer. Some gentle expansion/gating could work but you can save that for after the fact.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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I didn't understand from your original post that these were reference recordings from practice, so I guess it depends on how much work you want to do in post - if the bleed is minimal while the singer is on the mic, then you can mute the passages in between in post. You can try the suggestions here about acoustic treatment and such and also try different spots for the singer.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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Yes, that all makes sense. We are all facing the center, so vocal mic is facing away from the kit. I guess that means that all the cymbal and snare bleed is the result of our drummer being incredibly loud (and skillful I may add) and it's all room reflections coming back into the mic. I tried flipping the phase to see if I could get it to sound more musical but it didn't have much effect. So I guess the answer here is to deaden the back of the vocal mics more. I'm gonna give that a try by putting a gobo up. Like I said before, this is all just for fun, if i were trying to get a decent sound I would do things much differently. But this set up is so low impact it just stays set up and ready to go at a moments notice. I have three mics on the drums, mic on bass, mic on guitar, two 57's strapped to the side of our PA mics with rubber bands, and a room mic which I really don't need. It's been a fun experiment. I may mess around and tweek some things but I get a pretty cool sound out of 3 drum mics (overhead omni, snare SDC, and kick mic in the port) - sorry for the unnecessarily long reply - but wait I just thought of something... what if I just threw a mic on the PA speaker?
Old 1 week ago
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RondeMay View Post
Yes, that all makes sense. We are all facing the center, so vocal mic is facing away from the kit. I guess that means that all the cymbal and snare bleed is the result of our drummer being incredibly loud (and skillful I may add) and it's all room reflections coming back into the mic. I tried flipping the phase to see if I could get it to sound more musical but it didn't have much effect. So I guess the answer here is to deaden the back of the vocal mics more. I'm gonna give that a try by putting a gobo up. Like I said before, this is all just for fun, if i were trying to get a decent sound I would do things much differently. But this set up is so low impact it just stays set up and ready to go at a moments notice. I have three mics on the drums, mic on bass, mic on guitar, two 57's strapped to the side of our PA mics with rubber bands, and a room mic which I really don't need. It's been a fun experiment. I may mess around and tweek some things but I get a pretty cool sound out of 3 drum mics (overhead omni, snare SDC, and kick mic in the port) - sorry for the unnecessarily long reply - but wait I just thought of something... what if I just threw a mic on the PA speaker?
Might as well try putting a mic on the PA.
But your "flipping the phase" reminded me of an old trick I used to hear about but have never used. Put up two of the same type of mic, one right on top of the other. The singer is careful to only sing into one of them, but both will pick up almost the same bleed. Put the non-vocal one out-of-polarity and set both mics at equal level. The bleed will theoretically mostly cancel out since it's the same in both mics and now opposite polarity. With the vocal in only one mic, it should be largely unchanged.
I wouldn't expect this trick to work as well as the theory, but it can't hurt to try.

Oh, and you don't need to "deaden the back of the vocal mic more", you need to deaden the area behind the vocalist. Put a well-padded gobo, blankets, etc., directly behind the singer. Trust me, there is a lot more bleed coming into the singer side of the mic than there is coming in the back side. (Maybe that's what you meant - apologies if I'm misunderstanding you.)
Old 1 week ago
  #14
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edva's Avatar
What type and height of ceiling is above the singer? That may be a source of some of the cymbal/snare reflections. If so, you could try treating that area. Good luck.
Old 1 week ago
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrufino1 View Post
...embrace the bleed ... I muted major sections where there were solos and the singer stepped away from the mic, but had to be careful with my fades back in, using a slow curve so that the difference wasn't jarring. There's a little more cymbal and such in the mix when the vocals are in, but not bad since she was on the mic, which controlled it somewhat.

If you embrace it, which I definitely do on most occasions, then try to find a mic where the bleed is pleasing to your ears.
I've done this a good bit. Once I even did the opposite. I recorded my band's practice and realized I liked the drums and bass take so much I wanted to use it for the next album, but I'd sung not-keeper vocals throughout, so I tried muting the vocal mic throughout but realized it was a great room mic - the bleed it provided gave the drums a liveliness that sounded great and without it in the mix the drums didn't pop. So, I actually went through and muted anytime I was singing, and then went back and overdubbed the vocals. The fact that the bleed disappears and the drums get a little more muted while I'm singing actually worked really well for the song. And yes, you have to be careful of the fades so it's not jarring / unnatural.
Old 1 week ago
  #16
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bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by RondeMay View Post
Any ideas either in post production or in the recording scenario to deal best with bleed? I should say, when he is singing the vocals are clear and crisp and theres no issues there.
Use a gate
Old 1 week ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dirker View Post
Might as well try putting a mic on the PA.
But your "flipping the phase" reminded me of an old trick I used to hear about but have never used. Put up two of the same type of mic, one right on top of the other. The singer is careful to only sing into one of them, but both will pick up almost the same bleed. Put the non-vocal one out-of-polarity and set both mics at equal level. The bleed will theoretically mostly cancel out since it's the same in both mics and now opposite polarity. With the vocal in only one mic, it should be largely unchanged.
I wouldn't expect this trick to work as well as the theory, but it can't hurt to try.

Oh, and you don't need to "deaden the back of the vocal mic more", you need to deaden the area behind the vocalist. Put a well-padded gobo, blankets, etc., directly behind the singer. Trust me, there is a lot more bleed coming into the singer side of the mic than there is coming in the back side. (Maybe that's what you meant - apologies if I'm misunderstanding you.)
Ah, that two vocal mic trick is what the dead did with their wall of sound PA. I didn't think of that in this situation - good idea!
Old 1 week ago
  #18
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For a multi-mic setup where you are mixing down later you have a few choices.
1. Move the performers around to reduce specific bleed or reflections.
2. Eliminate the room with tons of isolation like foam, blankets, curtains, mattresses etc.
3. Control reflections by carefully tuning the room.

I don't see EQ, comp/gate, phase, or hypercardoid mics as a viable option.

Controlling a bunch of mics in a small rehearsal space is always a challenge and I tend to avoid it these days. When I record rehearsals or live gigs I prefer to use a simple Zoom H1 recorder and just place it carefully in the room for a good mix. Wherever the mix sounds good to your ears will often sound good to the Zoom so it eliminates a ton of tinkering and time suck. Find your best spot, adjust levels to -12db, press record. Done.

Worth considering at only $100.
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