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Recording My Band Live

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  • Recording My Band Live

    Hey everyone!


    Okay, I just recently bought a beautiful PA system and lights for my band, thanks a great deal to the folks in the Live Sounds & Production forum and their sage advice. Anyway, for the last three years, long before buying the new PA gear, I have been using a Zoom Q3HD for live recordings. Now this is mostly self-critique oriented, but I made some Youtube vids for the followers of my band.

    Now my experience with the Zoom units is that they are complete crap video but excellent audio recording for a cell phone sized, standalone recorder. Anyway, last gig, we were playing outdoors and my Q3HD ended up at the bottom of the water surrounding the dock we were playing on.

    I have been wanting better video anyway, but nothing to break the bank. So I used this as an excuse to buy a fairly entry level camcorder, the Canon Vixia HF R400. Now obviously the internal mic in this unit is going to be awful, but the picture quality is fine for what I need it for. The reason I went with this mic, by the way, is because it is perhaps the only camcorder for anything close to this price range with an external mic input. I called Canon and they told me that there is no ACG or signal processing that an external mic would be subject to, THANKFULLY.

    So now the question is, what are some good recording mics? Do I need to spend a small fortune to get as good or better audio recording quality as my Q3HD? I have seen mics for $79.99, around $150.00, upwards of $300.00, and obviously a lot more. Basically I want to get good quality but not break the bank with a thousand dollar mic.

    Another suggestion that the Zoom tech support guys gave me (but this doesn't sit right with me, maybe you guys will know better) is that I have an old Zoom H2 audio recorder. They said since it has four mics, I could use it as the external mics connected to the Vixia and I would be good to go. They also recommended that if I am going to go that route, that I upgrade to the H4n because then, if I decided to, in the future, I could use the four mics on the H4n and further hook more external mics to that as well.

    I was also thinking of recording audio with the Zoom H2 I own and video with the camcorder, then syncing them up in Sony Vegas Movie Maker, and discarding the audio from the camcorder, but this is a real pain in the ass playing with syncing different files.


    Thoughts and advice?

  • #2

    that's a very decent camera choice. obviously the more light and the better you can light the band, the more quality you'll get out of it. Learn how to custom white balance it in the lighting you have for the band. 


    I guess it depends on what you're trying to do with these recordings, and how well you want them to turn out.    the best way would be to mic up the band, doesnt have to be super complex. Then, route that to a recorder, it can be just a stereo mix or multitrack. sync it up later in your NLE program. Put a simple slate on the camera, like 3 loud stick clicks near the mics and in view of the camera. Easy to locate those clicks later and line up the audio. 

    The Zoom H4n is a pretty cool little device. I've done many band things on one. You can find them for $150 ish on craigslist. 

    Here is a 4 track recording I did with a Zoom H4n. The onboard mics I used for the drums, then took line outs from the mixer. instruments mixed to one track. vocals on another. 

    2 cheap cameras.


    The problem with the H2 is that the mics are on opposite sides. Unless you put half the band on each side it's sort of limited


    what mixer board do you own? what mics? 

    if you want a better mic for the Canon, the Rode video mic pro is decent but remember it's still only going to be a one mic ambient recording. 


    I dont think your NLE will do multi layer audio. 


    • ChiroVette
      ChiroVette commented
      Editing a comment

      Thanks for the response, witesol!

      Okay, a few more details I should have included in the original post:


      First, I am using a Mackie DL1608 mixer because of its simplicity since I am doing sound from stage until I hire a dedicated sound man. That mixer will then be delegated to backup and used for my acoustic duo. I am looking now at either a Presonus or the X32, both of which solve my recording problem immediately since I can multitrack record right from the mixer.

      For now, however, either the H2, H4N (and I will look on Craigslist) or one of the mics you recommmend.

      Oh and for now, I am only looking at ambient, same as with the Q3HD.