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Tascam DR-60MKII : gain settings for live recording
Old 1 week ago
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Tascam DR-60MKII : gain settings for live recording

Hello,

I've just purchase a Tascam DR-60MKII, I got a live-concert recording to do next week and I'm confused about the gain settings on the unit.

Music played will be "progressive rock", indoor with PA system. 500-1000 people venue.

There is no chance I can test the unit in live situation before the show.
I might not be able to get there during soundcheck, so I could have tested and set the proper gain...

So I'd like to know if some of you have already used this Tascam DR-60MKII in this situation and what setting they have used: Low/Medium/High.

Anyhow, any advices on the use of this unit will be highly welcomed.
Thanks!


PS: my setup will be TASCAM DR-60MKII + Rode NT4.
Old 1 week ago
  #2
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by _barnee View Post
Hello,

I've just purchase a Tascam DR-60MKII, I got a live-concert recording to do next week and I'm confused about the gain settings on the unit.

Music played will be "progressive rock", indoor with PA system. 500-1000 people venue.

There is no chance I can test the unit in live situation before the show.
I might not be able to get there during soundcheck, so I could have tested and set the proper gain...

So I'd like to know if some of you have already used this Tascam DR-60MKII in this situation and what setting they have used: Low/Medium/High.

Anyhow, any advices on the use of this unit will be highly welcomed.
Thanks!


PS: my setup will be TASCAM DR-60MKII + Rode NT4.
I don't have any hands-on experience with that unit, but it has a Dual Record mode that could be a real blessing for you in a situation like this. It lets you make two recordings simultaneously, with one at a lower level. That way if your primary recording clips you have a fallback. There are also on-board limiters; I don't know how good they are, but under the circumstances you'll probably appreciate having them active.

They'll likely be playing recorded music before the set starts; if you set your levels so that's peaking between, say, -20 and -24, you'll probably be OK when the performance starts, especially with limiters and the Dual Rec mode. But getting there for sound check would, of course, be far preferable. Either way, you'll likely need to tweak things between songs until you're dialed in. Good luck!
Old 1 week ago
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Indeed, the dual recording mode is a nice feature. I'm planning to set it to -12db. But I dont know if this will save the day in my case.

There is a big issue with the DR-60MKII: changing level while recording render audible step volume change. I want to avoid that if possible.
So I need to set gain and not touch it during performance Yep, being at the soundcheck could surely help, but I'm really not sure it will happen.

Those values are stages gain when knob is at max:
  • LOW : +11 dB
  • MID : +36 dB
  • HIGH : +52 dB
  • HIGH+PLUS : +64 dB

High and High Plus are settings I would use for vocals / fields recordings / non amplified music. This leaves me with the 2 others: Low and Mid.
I could use Low with knob at max, or Mid with knob at min.
Old 1 week ago
  #4
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

If you're worried about it, then just be conservative and set the gain to low. You can always make it louder in post if needed.

No one on an Internet forum is going to be able to give you exact gain settings for a concert that we're only reading vague information about. You're gonna have to use your ears, maybe do some trial and error, and accept that as part of the learning process.

-Mike
Old 1 week ago
  #5
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
I'm not looking for EXACT knob position, but the input gain "range" provided by the device.

I am only expecting shared experiences by other users of the device.
Old 1 week ago
  #6
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How close do you expect to be able to get to the band, the stage, the PA system...will you have a seated or standing audience, will they be talking/shouting or listening attentively ...how loud do the band play, will they play an opening number which is considered to be a 'throw-away' by them (and yourself), for establishing individual instrument playing levels...and which will give you an ability to set levels during this opening number ?

How/where will you mount the NT-4 microphone....if on a stand, how high and how far away from the stage/band/PA speakers....will it be central or off to one side? How will you power the Tascam...batteries or mains AC, how will you power the NT4 (internal 9v or Tascam phantom ?)
I have used often and know well the younger cousin of your machine, the DR70D....which has the same 4 coarse gain presets...

The sort of recording you are going to make seems to fit into the category of 'tapers'...people who record concerts (often uninvited, sometimes illegally) and they have a forum which may have a lot more to offer you in terms of hands-on, practical experience with this device and your described situation: they live here http://taperssection.com/

Last edited by studer58; 1 week ago at 04:09 PM..
Old 1 week ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
The band play progressive rock music. It has soft and loud parts.
I used to mainly record shows as multitracks, and sometimes did with a stereo mic on a DAT. Havent done this in years...
The band is ok for live recordings, but doing a multitrack could be a lot of work. The band and I want something simple.

I will use the NT4 on a stand, near the soundboard, dead center, about 30/40 feets from stage/PA, mounted on a stand 6/7 feets high. NT4 will be powered by the Tascam unit, 48V. I'm using an USB powerbank to feed the Tascam.

There is no opening act at the moment... But if there is eventually one, of course I'll "use" them to set my levels.
Old 1 week ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thanks for the link to the TapersSection. I'll check it.
Old 1 week ago
  #9
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Can I suggest you use the 9v cell to power the NT4 internally..I have read reports of the DR60 being quite power hungry if powering both itself and a phantom mic, so any way of load shedding is going to help here.

Gain setting won't be hard, just start with the highest gain range and keep dropping until you get the meter sitting at -12 to -6 for the loudest peaks...and have Dual rec mode engaged (you can also set the amount of 'drop' that the 2nd pair of files records at, so go for the max of that)

Check the Tascam downloads page for a PDF of 'recommended SD cards'...there's a Sandisk and one other other which is deemed to be "not working" with your device

Plan on wasting the first song of the set as mentioned earlier, after that you'll be plain sailing. You'll get an 'archive/reportage' quality recording, nothing better...but it might have some audience energy if the band can engage this, but you knew all that already
Old 1 week ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
I usually target the -18dbFS area, with -12dbFS for peaks. What I dont like in the Tascam DR-60MKII is I cant set level for the pair of 1 and 2. And the input gain knobs are a joke. You cant precisely adjust your settings with these. I understand the target market is film, where it's easier to deal with.

That's why I plan to go LOW with knobs at max or MID with knobs at min.
And let's hope peaks will be in the -20dbFS / 0dbFS range. With the dual mode, I have a backup at -12db in case of overloads.

As for the battery, I've purchased a powerbank that can charge 6/7 times an iPhone. It is supposed to last 8/10 hours on the Tascam with Phantom power on, but I'll test it to make sure I have enough power to continously record 2/3 hours.

I've made recordings with the NT4 and 9V battery in the past, and found the sound a little bit tinier than when I used 48V. Totally subjective.

I've already purchased the SDcard, based on the Tascam sheet.

Thanks again.
Old 1 week ago
  #11
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Yes you are right about the gains of course, start as low as possible and avoid the mic preamps working too hard, as they can introduce noise.

The DR70D is a better machine, although with similar fiddly, non-ganged, non-detented gain pots. My friend runs his DR60MkII with a similar powerbank to yours, and he gets a few hours of recording with phantom on...I'm sure you'll be fine, but do test the running time at home beforehand.
Old 1 week ago
  #12
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hbphotoav's Avatar
 

I own a NT-4 (since 2004 or so) and have used it primarily for choral (massed choir/350+ singers), choral spot (same type gigs), live fusion band (rock/pop/funk/jazz, 8-10 players) and, primarily these days, as a drums overhead (no phase-iness... rock solid stereo "view" of the kit). Whenever it's run straight to recorder (Roland R09-HR for "taper"-type gigs) or a DR-60D, I put a fresh 9v in to ease up on the on-board batteries (and/or the USB LiPo block... fresh onboard AAs allow for a bit of grace if the LiPo runs dry/needs changed) and I can't say, in my applications, that I can hear a difference between the 9v and 48v from Mackie Onyx 1220 or Midas M32. These are not screaming-meemee loud... but I can't imagine there being that much difference, especially on essentially a pair of SDCs.

If you have access to a SPL meter (or have $30 for one) and a decent stereo (or have access to a pair of EONs or QSC K10s or K12s) you can load up similar music on your stereo, set the speakers close together, crank it, and get 105dBA or so at .5m/18". If you're out by FoH and it's louder than 105... well... I wouldn't be there for more than about two minutes. Anywhoo... use the meter to guide you to 105 or so, set the gain levels and trim to give yourself some wiggle room, and be sure you have some decent iso cans at the gig.

And... let us know how it went. Enquiring minds...

HB

PS: I've done this "test" with my main array mics before choral recordinga in strange venues where I'll have no soundcheck. I set up similar music to give me 90dBA at the array, and then give myself 20dB headroom, recording at 24bit. If it's too quiet, I can add "clean" gain in post... but, mostly, it gets me into the ball park. If I'm pulling a 2-mix (I rarely do single-pair recordings) to the DR-60D, I definitely look for -12 peaks on the "A" inputs, with the secondary setting -10 from that. Works like a champ.
Old 6 days ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Thank you Harry!

Unfortunately, I dont have a SPL meter at hand. But maybe I can try this with an app on my iPhone.

I've run a test. My Powerbank, with the initial charge (75% when purchased), lasted 14/15 hours on the Tascam. The unit has recorded 2H30 of music 24bit/96Khz with the NT4 on 48V. Then I just hit the recording button without actually recording, to drain the battery.

Of course, this can vary on the temperature of room or device. I'll see if I can get a 9V battery to secure.
Old 6 days ago
  #14
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DCtoDaylight's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by hbphotoav View Post

If you have access to a SPL meter (or have $30 for one) and a decent stereo (or have access to a pair of EONs or QSC K10s or K12s) you can load up similar music on your stereo, set the speakers close together, crank it, and get 105dBA or so at .5m/18". If you're out by FoH and it's louder than 105... well... I wouldn't be there for more than about two minutes. Anywhoo... use the meter to guide you to 105 or so, set the gain levels and trim to give yourself some wiggle room, and be sure you have some decent iso cans at the gig.
Clever idea! Thanks for sharing - it might come in handy sometime.
Old 2 days ago
  #15
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Let's say I use an SPL meter at the venue (I might have access to the SoundBoard one, or I might purchase an iPhone app which of course will be less precise).

There will be a crowd noise before show, maybe background music as well.
If the SPL meter show 65db before show, and considering I'd like to peak at -12dbFS max on the recorder, and the music should play at 105-110db as maximum in the room.

110db-65db=45db, (-45dbFS)+(-12dbFS)=(-57dbFS)

So, for a SPL showing 65db the recorder should display -57dbFS. Am I right?
Old 1 day ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _barnee View Post
So, for a SPL showing 65db the recorder should display -57dbFS. Am I right?
At which Tascam gain range, at what mic sensitivity ?

There is crowd noise.... and then there's crowd noise....very hard to predict it before you get in there. Sometimes it can overpower the band sound, until they turn up accordingly.

Don't overthink this...you're going to lose 1/3 of the very first song, in level setting...just like the PA mixer person. Acceptance of this will ease your anxiety.
Old 1 day ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post

Don't overthink this...you're going to lose 1/3 of the very first song, in level setting...just like the PA mixer person. Acceptance of this will ease your anxiety.
+1 on this - it's just the nature of the situation!

One other thing that might also help de-stress the situation a bit - you mentioned that your experience with this type of recording was mostly back in the DAT days (that's when I got started too). If you set your Tascam for 24-bit 96kHz recording, you will have far, far more ability to boost volume after the fact than any of us did back in the day with 16-bit 44 or 48kHz. So, there might be more margin for error than you're expecting.

Anyway, wishing you and the band a smooth evening and great music!
Old 1 day ago
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Thread Starter
Actually, I might screw the first 20/30 minutes as the band is known to play long tracks. And it's not that kind of music where once you got the kick/snare hit on the first 2 min/intro your level is set. The loudest part might appear after 10/15 minutes, or during second track.

Used DAT for years, but my last recordings were done multitrack + NT4 for room mic. The NT4 was set during soundcheck, but on the Motu Traveler I can set values. So I was able to set both inputs of the NT4 equally. I can't on the Tascam.

Problem is I have no experience with that gear. With my old set up (DAT or multitrack) I ended making nice recordings without overloads or flying levels. I just wish I had such experience with the Tascam DR60DMKII. But these things take time I guess.

I've just made some home-tests today, and indeed the Tascam got plenty of room, preamps are quite nice. I'm very surprised.
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