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Live recording setup
Old 2nd February 2014
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
quakenul's Avatar
 

Thread Starter
Live recording setup

You touched on live tracking in the "What do you actually do as a producer?" thread as being part of your and I wanted to dig deeper: Can you please give insight into how you want the band/the engineer to set up for the live tracking part of a recording? What are you watching out for? What works for you, what are typical problems and solutions to those? To be a little more specific, some things I am interested in: levels in the room, separation concerns, orientation and distance of amps relative to drums when tracking in one room, tracking vocals in the same room while tracking the instruments, monitoring -- but please, feel free to run wild with it. I'm really just looking for your insight on this topic. I'm sure whatever it is, it will be awesome.

Thanks a ton in advance!
Old 5th March 2014
  #2
Radiant Being
 
SylviaMassy's Avatar
Don't be afraid of a little bleed. When I record a band in the theater I have the guitar cabinets isolated in the catacombs under the stage but there is still a little rumble from the bass, sometimes heard faintly in the compressed room mics. Not a problem. I just ask to record extra takes of song sections where the bleed might be an issue later, and make sure those extra takes have only drums.

When the drums have stops and the other instruments continue through the gaps, there will be a need for those "quiet takes" for editing. And often at the end of songs you will need to remind the band to not make noise during the cymbal die-out. Don't click your guitar pedals, don't talk or sniffle or poot....

Another thing to be careful of are scratch vocals bleeding over the drums through those same gaps. I encourage the singer to participate in the tracking by setting up a SM58 on stage so they are in the midst of the noise, but must remind them to keep quiet in the gaps, at least for one good take so I have pieces if I need them for edits. The stage of the theater is set up like a band's rehearsal, except with headphones instead of a P.A.. Because the singer's scratch track is being recorded, I can learn the song faster, and I have a visual guide for the vocals in the song. Sometimes parts of the scratch performances are good enough to keep in the finished session!

Be brave and you'll have beautiful drum tracks with a "live feel" ready for overdubs. Or maybe keep all the other tracking performances too - like crazy Aussies Spiderbait.

Spiderbait "Tonight Alright" was done live on stage with no headphones. Those guys wanted a true live experience and they don't fool around. I set up a P.A. on stage with wedges and put away the headphones. I still had the guitar cabinets isolated, but those wedges were roaring along side the drums... somehow it all worked out. Below is a photo of Spiderbait guitar player Whit's duct-tape SG.

Live recording setup-ducttape.jpg
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