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How To Record A Live Show?

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  • How To Record A Live Show?

    My band is fianlly ready to start playing out, but to get any gigs we need some variety of demo cd. I would like to get a demo made for as little money as possible. Since this cd will only be used to give to club owners, and not to sell to the public, the quality does not need to be that great.
    I think the easiest way to make the demo would be to just put a couple of room mikes out and run them into my computer to record. I have a decent sound card (echo mia) but i don't have anything that would qualify as a room mike. Can anyone suggest a microphone(s) that would capture the sound of the whole band and not break the bank? Any other suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks
    Brad

  • #2
    Well, first, I'd rethink the "it doesn't have to be the greatest quality" idea. You are competing against bands that will make their demo the best quality possible.

    You would ideally use a mix of feeds direct from the board, plus a very small, or even nonexistant ambient room. All depends on the type of effect that best suits the material.

    If you don't have a SR system, consider renting a sound company, or better still, studio time. This CD is your first and possibly only impression for club owners, so you want to do it right.
    "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015

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    • #3
      Thanks for the response Craig.

      I live in a college town that has a few clubs that pretty much anyone can play at and some clubs that only want well established acts. The bands current goal is just to play at the lower level clubs. My band sounds much better than most of the acts that are booked at the lower level clubs, so the competition is not really that great. I talked to the owners of a few of these clubs and they said that a simple live recording would be good enough. Another club would let us play without a demo and said that they could record our first show there to use as a demo for other venues. The only problem is that they don't have an opening for 6 weeks. Since we don't want to wait we would like to just make a simple recording in our practice space. I realize that in the future we will need to make a better demo, but for now i think we are better off going the simple route.

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      • #4
        My suggestion would be to step record a few songs. You may only have 2 inputs (or does the Mia have 4?) to work with, but with computer capability the number of tracks you can record is only limited by the power of the computer.

        If your drummer can play to a click track it would make things a lot easier but if not it can still work. Record the whole band with one or two room mics, quality is not a big issue at this point. Once you have the whole song recorded go back and have the drummer record his parts without the band (playing along to the whole band recording). The drums are going to be the place you sacrifice most, for now I would just have the drummer take 3 or 4 runs at it and combine the best parts. Might try the mics in different positions for the different drum takes.

        The rest is easy, record each instruments parts 1 at a time. Again take 3 or 4 runs at each instrument and combine the best parts. When all the instruments are recorded to their own individual track you will have more control over the end product.

        The process of step recording will take longer than just recording the band with a few room mics, but I think the control it gives you over the final product is well worth your time.

        Talk a walk through the recording forum on this site for more info.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by thedregsphil
          Thanks for the response Craig.

          I live in a college town that has a few clubs that pretty much anyone can play at and some clubs that only want well established acts. The bands current goal is just to play at the lower level clubs. My band sounds much better than most of the acts that are booked at the lower level clubs, so the competition is not really that great. I talked to the owners of a few of these clubs and they said that a simple live recording would be good enough. Another club would let us play without a demo and said that they could record our first show there to use as a demo for other venues. The only problem is that they don't have an opening for 6 weeks. Since we don't want to wait we would like to just make a simple recording in our practice space. I realize that in the future we will need to make a better demo, but for now i think we are better off going the simple route.


          Then I wouldn't worry too much about using a particular mic. If there's a sound company or studio around you might be able to rent a couple of their mics, since these won't be getting much other use later.
          "If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else" - Yogi Berra, 1925-2015

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          • #6
            For live mix recording, I just use my minidisc (off a spare output) for alot of the acts that I work with (vocals + accoustic guitars + hand drums, stereo mix), or for the rock variety (or anything that would necessitate not everything in the mix), I'll use the minidisc (mono 1 side), and the other with a feed from a sennheiser MKH 60 (maybe a little way too over budget for you, lists @ ~$1600) on the other side, and blend them after I transfer to the computer.

            Point the MKH 60 at you top boxes or mids (depending on your setup) from FOH if its in the audience (I like it roughly 20-40' back). It picks up enough (sometimes almost too much)ambient croud noise compared to the foh stacks.

            Anything you have would and could work, it just depends on how you use it.
            Brad Harris
            Myspace

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            • #7
              Of course if you want to do it real easily, you could run directly out of your mixer to a minidisc,(or other format) using the tape outs. I have done this with my duo and have gotten great results. Plus I usually would do this at the gig so you get a real "live" sound.

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              • #8
                A live recording is a great first step. You'll probably go through more than one as you listen to the recording and fix various things you discover.

                A board tape is good, a room mic is good. If you've got Minidisc recorder(s) just grab as many sources as you can, so you can see which one produces the best recording.
                "I would kill the children of a thousand planets, just to see you smile"

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                • #9
                  I've recorded many of our gigs, and although they haven't been "top Quality", my mic recordings (not PA direct) have come out better on the outdoor gigs with no room bounce. I've used a DAT with stereo mics, or a PXR4. Outside I seem to get a little bit of phase effect sound, depending on the wind and of course if anything crosses the path.

                  Tomorrow we play outside and I'll try 2 SM58's about 25 feet in front of the stage going into the PXR4. With the SM's I can point them towards the PA & stage, since with condensor mics I seem to get too much background noise.

                  Again, I'm not looking to cut a Live CD like this, but something we can listen to comfortably to work on tunes and ideas.

                  Just my 1 cent...
                  http://www.TomMatz.com

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                  • #10
                    You should also consider hiring people to catch a gig on video.

                    Video works well for club owners: they can SEE you playing and people around having some fun and drinking....

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