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Old 13th May 2006
Gear Addict

Just a few points as I'm busy right now.

1. Having recorded quite often in the Regent Hall, Imo, the acoustics are rather poor. Especially with loud sources. The overal sound tends to be short on reverb length with too much in the way of discretely audible reflections. It sounds like quite a "pingy"/small-room like sat in a nasty tizzy larger space - too many loud early/discrete reflections and not enough diffused body of reverb.

2. Using relatively ambiently positioned omnis in there will pick up a lot of the not very nice room and reveal a couple of other nasties - there's several tube train lines running nearby under the hall and you get a lot of LF rumble and subsonic noise from this and the surrounding traffic on the roads in front of and behind the hall. Stand mounted mics can suffer badly from infrasonic noise due to vibration if they're not isolated. (Conventional mic shock mounts don't help much as they don't do enough at that low a frequency - try mounting the stands themselves on big foam rubber/other springy blocks (in addition to the mic's own shockmount) - the mass of the stand on top of the "spring" helps to damp the worst of the VLF vibration). Or use mics which are less sensitive to LF (i.e. mics which roll off naturally at LF) Also, if the restaurant/tea room/kitchen off one side of the hall is working during the concert, you'll hear a lot of noise from them, even if they do close the screens. That probably won't be too bad on the BB stuff as they'll be quite loud, even when playing quietly, but it may become apparent on the quieter sections, particularly on the choral music.

3. The DDA D Series has post fader direct outputs. (Unless it's been modified.) If you're thinking of getting one from RFS, theirs isn't modified (or wasn't when I last used it). If you're trying to do a decent stereo mix whilst optimising levels sent to a multitrack backup, you'll find it rather hard work with a D Series. (I have a few of these desks and used to struggle with using them in exactly this way on the same kind of gigs as you're talking about. I modified a couple of them to have pre-fader direct outs.) The level off the D Series direct outs is rather low when driving DTRS machines on their balanced inputs - if the machines you're using (hiring?) have unbalanced inputs, use them instead. (The DA88 does have unbalanced inputs (on RCA/phono sockets); iirr the DA98HR does not. The 98HR converters are however so much better than the 88's that I'd still be inclined to use it as the preferred option.) The other problem with using post fader direct outs will become apparent when you come to mix the multitracks - every move you made on the live stereo mix will be recorded on the multitracks. A much better bet would be a DDA Interface/FMR series console as it has direct outs which may be switched to be pre-fader, in which setting they also have their own level control and are balanced. They're also smaller and lighter than the D Series(!) - and sonically slightly better. (If you can't find one, PM me - I might be able to lend you something.)

There isn't a huge amount of backstage room at the RH and with a band and choir in there it could get rather cramped. If you haven't already, go and check it out and see if you can grab a bit of space somewhere sensible. Oh, and there's lots of stairs so don't go alone with a load of very big, heavy cases unless you've got yourself a room on the ground floor!

And to echo the advice already given - isolate everything you're sharing with anyone else, use GOOD transformer splitters or isolators. Always good practice but especially given that the RH is an old building and the AC supply, though modern and well installed, is not really designed for large scale audio setups - the potential (sic) for problems in linking gear between one part of the hall and another is quite high!