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  • Mixing from Stage (with IEM's)

    I recently did some demo's for our band (refresh some songs). We give these out to new bars to get gigs with.



    I have a Furman IEM system which gives me the main mix, and 4 aux mixes which can be modified by each person for their own IEM mix. I use mine to create the recording mix.



    One thing I found is that even doing this, it is hard to get a good recording mix since the speaker system I am using modifies the mix so that it doesn't sound the same out front as it does in my ears. This makes it so I have to do several level checks and play them back until we get a good mix for a song (still way less work than going to a studio ..... and way more work than if I had a SL ).



    I have tried recording with my PMD620 Marantz portable with its internal mic's .... but they don't pick up the low end well (they are fine for acoustic and spoken word). I decided that I would get a quality external mic setup for the recorder to get a good bead on what things sound like out front. I would also use this for recording shows to get the live feel of things for the website videos.



    It got me to thinking. How effective would it be to get this stereo mic equalized on a couple of channels on my MixWiz and instead of using the main outs for the IEM's, use these two channels. Once I had the channel eq dialed so that in the IEM's the sound was balanced about the same as if I were standing out front of the speakers, in theory I could mix from the stage about as well as someone using my mixer and a snake from the crowd.



    Has anyone else tried this approach? Does it sound like a viable way to mix from stage?
    With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

  • #2
    With the iems you might get setup for a good recording but you have to take into account the acoustics of each different room, as well as how the stage volume interacts with the speakers.

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    • #3






      Quote Originally Posted by Crownman
      View Post

      With the iems you might get setup for a good recording but you have to take into account the acoustics of each different room, as well as how the stage volume interacts with the speakers.




      Also, the vocal in a live setting generally would/should be louder than you'd have it on a recording.
      www.nextexitrocks.com

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by abzurd
        View Post

        Also, the vocal in a live setting generally would/should be louder than you'd have it on a recording.




        Can you explain?
        With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

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        • #5
          I don't agree with that. I think the vocals always need to be above the music at about the same level, live or in recording. If anything, in a live situation, audiences are a lot more forgiving about the band being too loud in proportion to the vocals than I think they would be in buying CD's or other studio recordings.

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          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by OneEng
            View Post

            Can you explain?




            In nearly every "straight off the board" recording I've ever done the vocals are louder than you'd otherwise want them to be. Yes, I'm the singer, and yes I mix the band, but I'm actually very sensitive not to overpower the band. Several times I've had people say my vocal needed to come up, never have I had a complaint that I've been too loud. Heck, it's often the "other" band wives, or people from other bands in the area, telling me to turn up.



            You can say people are forgiving of vocals, but frankly it's often because the singer is an after thought and a necessary evil (someone in the band has to do it) so an under mixed vocal is preferable to a mediocre or worse vocal sitting nicely atop the band. If the singer is good, and yes I suppose I'm saying I do OK, you want to hear the lyrics. In a venue with people talking and sound bouncing around at 100+ dB and strong "live" bass, you need the vocals up to hear the sibilance. That's my 2 cents anyway.
            www.nextexitrocks.com

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            • #7
              Abzurd off the board recordings are often very misleading because they don't effectively factor in the stage volume, which the person doing sound (hopefully at least) does. Unless everyone is using IEM's and the drummer playing an electronic drum kit with all the actual stage amplifiers covered and not contributing anything to the house mix from the stage, I think it is safe to say that sound board recordings in small clubs will always have the vocals very high in the mix because the voice is an acoustic instrument. and is not contributing anything appreciable to the stage volume in its un-amplified state.

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              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by ChiroVette
                View Post

                Abzurd off the board recordings are often very misleading because they don't effectively factor in the stage volume, which the person doing sound (hopefully at least) does. Unless everyone is using IEM's and the drummer playing an electronic drum kit with all the actual stage amplifiers covered and not contributing anything to the house mix from the stage, I think it is safe to say that sound board recordings in small clubs will always have the vocals very high in the mix because the voice is an acoustic instrument. and is not contributing anything appreciable to the stage volume in its un-amplified state.




                Yes, I completely agree with this. That's why I didn't understand your post #5. You've expressed it right here though in why the off the board mixes are vocal heavy. In our case they are also a bit "bass light" because the bass player is the only amp on stage and bass is largly omni-directional so it's hard to focus it on stage.



                Bottom line is, the smaller the venue the worse the board recording will likely come out because you're mixing for the room, not the recording. When I've done quickie board recordings in the past I just use an aux, take a stab at it, check during the break, tweak then rinse and repeat. The last set is generally the best. Once you do this a few times, if you're playing/mixing the same band it will be close and you can get some decent stuff. If you have a spare channel, put a room mic on it and add that, but don't send through FOH (obviously).
                www.nextexitrocks.com

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                • #9
                  I think you are both in vehement agreement



                  I agree. The stage volume makes the "off the board" mix very vocal heavy. At least that is what I have found.



                  Abzurd,



                  Do you think it would work for me to put a mic in the crowd, bring it in on an open channel (2 for stereo) on my MixWiz, then use the line-out from each of those channels into the IEM system. On the board, I could either keep the channel OFF, or simply put the faders all the way down?



                  As you point out, I don't want the sound feeding back through the speakers I just want to hear it in the in-ears.
                  With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

                  Comment


                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by abzurd
                    View Post

                    Yes, I completely agree with this. That's why I didn't understand your post #5. You've expressed it right here though in why the off the board mixes are vocal heavy. In our case they are also a bit "bass light" because the bass player is the only amp on stage and bass is largly omni-directional so it's hard to focus it on stage.



                    Bottom line is, the smaller the venue the worse the board recording will likely come out because you're mixing for the room, not the recording. When I've done quickie board recordings in the past I just use an aux, take a stab at it, check during the break, tweak then rinse and repeat. The last set is generally the best. Once you do this a few times, if you're playing/mixing the same band it will be close and you can get some decent stuff. If you have a spare channel, put a room mic on it and add that, but don't send through FOH (obviously).




                    My perception from your original post was that you were referring to studio recording. So I couldn't understand why you felt that the vocals should be lower. I didn't realize you were talking about recording off a sound board. lol

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                    • #11
                      Just my 2 cents - but - I think it is going to be very hard to know how the "room" sounds - if you are wearing IEMs - no matter how you do it. You may be able to find ways to compensate though - and make it work. But as I have just said somewhere else - I am scared you might be violating the "Keep It Simple" rule. (If you want to know how the room sounds - go out in the room - and - if you have anything in your ears - pull it out.)
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                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by OneEng
                        View Post

                        I think you are both in vehement agreement



                        I agree. The stage volume makes the "off the board" mix very vocal heavy. At least that is what I have found.



                        Abzurd,



                        Do you think it would work for me to put a mic in the crowd, bring it in on an open channel (2 for stereo) on my MixWiz, then use the line-out from each of those channels into the IEM system. On the board, I could either keep the channel OFF, or simply put the faders all the way down?



                        As you point out, I don't want the sound feeding back through the speakers I just want to hear it in the in-ears.




                        I don't think it will work all that great. You'll probably find it way to ambient as you'll likely have to place the mics a considerable distance from the speakers and against a wall so you'll be picking up a lot of chatter from the crowd as well as room reflections and undesirable effects from the wall the mics are next too. There will also be some delay introduced. How much depends on how far away the mics are.



                        I think you you should just do a rough mix and dial it in while on break then try again.



                        Another option is to get a cheap USB audio interface and a patch snake and use the direct outs. I did this with my Mixwiz for a while. It will cost some money, but not as much as an SL. You may not get all the channels covered but an 8 channel interface would allow more control than a single FOH mix.
                        www.nextexitrocks.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I have the feeling that this is a sort of all or nothing phenomenon...or rather a one extreme or the other.



                          Here is how I would handle it and there are two different scenarios here:



                          1. Get a mixer like a Studiolive or any mixer that allows good quality multitrack recording directly to a PC that you can then edit and remix later. This will allow you to compensate for the lack of "stage volume" in the mixer itself and you can then re-mix any way you like later on while relaxing at home. Of course, this option requires ALL instruments be in the PA.



                          2. Just get a really nice microphone and record your shows in the audience, placing the recorder where it will pick up exactly what the audience hears.



                          You know what? I record EVERY show my band plays with my Zoom Q3HD. It has admittedly crappy video, but the audio is passable and all right. But you can get a decent Zoom recorder then go out and buy a really nice condenser mic to hook into it to record your shows.



                          I honestly believe that if you are going to be recording off of a monitor's aux signal and "hoping" it represents what the audience hears from the FOH, you are going to get very strange and unbalanced recordings every time. And while they will assuredly be cleaner and of a "higher quality" than a nice recorder strewn into the audience somewhere, it will likely not be very listenable.

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                          • #14
                            Thanks guys.



                            What I had in mind was:



                            1) Setting up a base mix at practice using a microphone (vs the main direct out I am currently using).



                            2) Using the microphones at a live event for recording purposes only (likely connected to a video camera for video for the website).



                            The mic's I am getting are not omnidirectional, but rather cartioiod (sp?). I am hoping that this will cut down on the chatter (we will see).



                            Abzurd,



                            I hadn't thought of an external recording interface. Good idea.



                            Do you know of any adapter that can record without a computer and then transfer the data later?



                            Incidentally, since I have vDrums, 8 channels should cover everything (2 vocals, 2 guitars, bass, drums)
                            With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

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                            • #15
                              To get something "without a computer" you're basically looking at a digital multi-track, which won't be cheap. At that point you may as well just get a used laptop and recording interface.
                              www.nextexitrocks.com

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