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MY FIRST REAL SESSION NEXT WEEK! ADVICE NEEDED!!
Old 18th July 2005
  #1
Gear Head
 

MY FIRST REAL SESSION NEXT WEEK! ADVICE NEEDED!!

Ok, I've been recording vocals strictly for about five years now, and done a great job on R&B and hip hop. Now though, I've moved into rock, and my first session is next week. Alternative rock band with keyboardist. My gear is:

Digi 002 Board
Event 20/20's
Rode NT2
Shure SM58
(2) Shure SM57's
Shure PGDRM6 Drum Mic Kit (kick, three tom, two overhead)
SM Audio SM8 8 Input Preamp

I've never done live music so I had a few questions:

1) I assume you usually record drums first. Should I metronome it and make it exactly on tempo? or let the drummer create his own tempo?

2) also, if they're doing three songs, should I record drums for ALL three first? or do one song at a time?

3) Any general mic'ing advice for guitar amp, bass amp, drums.

also just general obvious and practical recording techneques for a band.

Remember, I've been doing hip hop so this is a hugge adjustment.


Thanks so much in advance for the help!
Old 18th July 2005
  #2
Gear Addict
 
simonv's Avatar
 

Here is my experience.. (And all of this is assuming the band is good.)

Everytime I've recorded rock bands, the results were better when tracking everything at the same time. You get all the guys in the same room, and make sure that there is a good vibe. Set a creative mood that will make the guys want to play the best they can, and let them do everything.

You didn't mention having any type of headphone monitoring, which means that the amps would need to be in the same room for the musicians, in order for them to hear what they do. The only challenge is to control the leakage of the amps into the drum mics. Once you get that under control, you're gonna be OK.
(If you feel that the band sucks and will need 50 hours of editing to tighten everything, then you might as well drop this idea and record everything seperatly...)


For the metronome, it depends on your drummer. Some drummers have a lot of click-track experience, while others spend the whole song focussing on it, making the track sound dull. In the case where the drummer doesn't want a click track, you can still put it to use to give him the right tempo a few seconds before recording.



With the equipment you listed, here's what I would do. (Assuming you wont rent anything at all)
Drums: Your kit-mics + a 57 on the snare. You might try to place your Rode mic on the drum somewhere too. Or maybe as a well-placed room microphone if you're in a nice sounding room.
Guitars: The 57s or 58.
Bass: plugged directly with a D.I.
Vocals: If you don't have headphone monitoring for everybody, then it would be better for your singer not to sing. But if you can isolate him with a cheap mic in a booth, it could help the band play better.

I think you would greatly benefit from renting a Beta 52, and a 421. It would cost you 30$ for a few days.
They're all bass/kick mics that would expand your possibilities greatly, even for guitars. I wouldn't trust the kick mic in your kit (although I don't know what it is), and I wouldn't trust a single D.I. bass track as my only option, unless the bassist has really good equipement.


And you asked for general advice too: don't let your recording session turn into an editing/cut n pasting fest. tutt


Good luck!
Old 18th July 2005
  #3
Gear Head
 

VERY helpfull thank you!


the bassist has an amazing amp, and an amazing bass also

you're saying jjust direct in to a preamp in?.. or should i mic the amp also??

thanks for everything else though
Old 18th July 2005
  #4
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackInslee
Ok, I've been recording vocals strictly for about five years now, and done a great job on R&B and hip hop. Now though, I've moved into rock, and my first session is next week. Alternative rock band with keyboardist. My gear is:

Digi 002 Board
Event 20/20's
Rode NT2
Shure SM58
(2) Shure SM57's
Shure PGDRM6 Drum Mic Kit (kick, three tom, two overhead)
SM Audio SM8 8 Input Preamp

I've never done live music so I had a few questions:

1) I assume you usually record drums first. Should I metronome it and make it exactly on tempo? or let the drummer create his own tempo?
Sure if the drummer can keep up with the click, you would be suprised how many can't. You don't have to do the drums first but it is kind of a standard thing to do. If you do the drums later you really (and I mean REALLY) want to use a click for everyone else. I think most bands would be more comfortable with a drums first sort of thing so that is how I would handle it if I were you.
Quote:
2) also, if they're doing three songs, should I record drums for ALL three first? or do one song at a time?
I would do all three first, the mics are set and if nothing changes too much they can deal with the mix in the cans.

Quote:
3) Any general mic'ing advice for guitar amp, bass amp, drums.
Wow... books have been written about the above. If I were you I would come clean with the band. "Look this is my first full tracking session here. I want you to be happy so it is going to take a bit to get this together so I can hear the room yadda yadda yadda." I would have the drummer show up early (like maybe the night before?) so the rest of the band does not get too restless waiting around, it can really kill the vibe for sure.

If you have any buddies with drums, guitars, bass amps etc. I would ask them to bring them over a few days before the session for a dry run.

A decade ago I spent a year or two setting up mics for a guy before I was aloud to run my own session, I know what can go wrong. I am not trying to scare you but I think you should do everything in your power to get up to speed really quick and the best thing to do is A) have some friends come over to practice on or B) hire a local recording cat to sit in on one session to give you a hand. It can be a scarry thing.
Quote:
also just general obvious and practical recording techneques for a band.
Make them happy... and I don't mean just with the sound. You need to pull out all the stops on the people skills here because things are going to go wrong (they do at every session I don't care who you are and how long you have been in the game). When things go wrong you are going to be missing the expereince to fix it fast (I don't mean that as a slam against you). When the band is sitting around for the 3rd time because a headphone is crapping out on the left ear of the bass player you need to keep them motivated and happy while you track down the problem.

KEEP THEM HAPPY and UPBEAT.. it will do wonders for your session.
Quote:
Remember, I've been doing hip hop so this is a hugge adjustment.


Thanks so much in advance for the help!
Best of luck to ya, it is going to be stressful but you will learn a whole bunchso take that as positive.
Old 18th July 2005
  #5
Gear Nut
My .02. Make sure you have an opportunity to talk with the band first. Talk to them about their expectations, previous studio experience, and preferences. Share your your thoughts and ideas. Have an exchange of information. Ask the band if they want to track all the songs in a row or do one at a time. Try to be accomodating to their needs and preferences. If they expect to be cut and pasted, like the hip-hop guys, then run and track a click from within PT. Most bands though like to track live as much as possible. If they are a younger, inexperienced band, then I find a click track usually does more harm than good. If you can set them up they way they are used to practicing or play on stage, that can help. See if you can run a DI for both the bass and guitar also. This way you have a re-amp or plug-in amp emulation option after the fact. Not ideal, but this can sometimes come in handy, especially if you do not have extensive experience micing up amps for gtr and bass. Good luck!
Old 18th July 2005
  #6
Gear Head
 

you guys are great thanks so much


i definately made it seem like a payed session, but i forgot to mention it's a band playing songs i wrote. i guess you could say , "my band". i'm a singer/songwriter that can't play every instrument. hahahah but thanks so much for the advice


now, is it possible to DI, ANNND mic up an amp at the same time? i'm assuming so?
Old 18th July 2005
  #7
Lives for gear
 
JonCraig's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JackInslee
now, is it possible to DI, ANNND mic up an amp at the same time? i'm assuming so?
yes. plug the bass into the direct box. the box will have an "out to amp" or "thru" or something of the sort. plug this into the amp. now mic the amp as per usual, and run the DI into a mic pre. ding dong done.

--jon
Old 18th July 2005
  #8
Lives for gear
 
joaquin's Avatar
 

If you are going to have the amps in separate rooms...build a nice headphone Mix...some people believe this one to be the most important one!!
Check Re-amp possibilities if you do not have the proper isolation.
Best of Luck..........................Joaquin.
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