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Old November 7th, 2009, 05:32 PM   #1
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Concert Audio Recording Help

Hey gang,

I'm filming a band's show at a nightclub that holds about 1500. I have the band's/club's consent, so access is not an issue.

I'm new to this stuff, so I'd appreciate your advice on the best way to capture audio from the show. My gut reaction is some hybrid that incorporates 1.) soundboard audio and 2.) a room mic that will "beef things up". Please point me in the right direction and suggest a set-up that will capture A-quality sound. There is a budget, but it's not unlimited...

For reference, the show will be broadcasted on ustream.com via a Tricaster Studio: NewTek TriCaster STUDIO

Thanks so much for your help!
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Old November 7th, 2009, 06:41 PM   #2
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Aside from hiring a remote rig w/spits on all the stage mics. (best) During the sound check, get your 'recording' mix via the house board's "Aux" sends, with at least one live mic pair to mix in... audience/applause and to get the 'live' feel. Keep in mind, w/o a full mic spilt, you will be subject to the FOH's board mix.. and gain staging abnormalities.. if the band's mixer does not know what they are doing; even if you have the luxury of vocal/instrument stems. If the house board's pre amps and/or matrix/submix is distorted.. you're FU__KED!
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Old November 7th, 2009, 07:09 PM   #3
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Rick is right in that there is rather a lot of difference between split mics and a mixer/engineer dedicated to the broadcast audio and a board-mix+room-mics approach.

You asked for "A", this is clearly an experienced engineer doing a separate broadcast mix from split mics, in a room that is isolated from the house sound, period.

Having the house engineer do a separate mix via an aux buss is frequently problematic. The house soundie's first priority is the people in the room. It's usually impossible to have adequate isolation at the FOH position to do a good mix on headphones. To my way of thinking, this approach is somewhere between a "B" and a "D", depending.

Board mix plus room mics is a "C", meaning that it is frequently adequate if the house sound engineer knows what they're doing and stays on top of it. That it is a 1500-person venue works in your favor - at least all instruments will be in the mix, unlike a smaller club where bass, guitars, drums might be lower or not the mix at all.

PS. you need room mics in all these approaches.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 07:33 PM   #4
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Seth and Rick, thank you very much for your help. Ya'll have offered much insight.

Would it be preferable to skip the board mix and just set up a few house mics?

Regarding room mics, any suggestions as to models? Will SM58s handle the job? Also any suggestions as to placement of the mics?
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Old November 7th, 2009, 10:45 PM   #5
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Roland,

What everyone is essentially saying is that you really can't achieve "A" sound quality unless you maintain the ability to REMIX the recorded tracks in order to achieve a balanced soundfield in post.

This is critical because the FOH mixer will make it sound good TO THE AUDIENCE. And what sounds good to the audience may NOT sound good for a recording.

For example, let's say that the house sound system has weak bass reproduction. And your microphones also have modest bass recording capability. Your RECORDING will lack bass. You MIGHT be able to recover some of it through EQ, but if the actual frequencies are missing in the recording you'll NEVER regain them through EQ.

If, on the other hand, you've recorded the bass separately - from a channel insert of the bass track on the board. Then YOU can simply decide how much or how little of the bass to add to the mix to make it sound precisely correct in post.

This follows for EVERYTHING about the mix. With iso tracks you can decide whether the vocal to music levels are correct, and if not, FIX THEM. And you can adjust the drums - not just as an entity - but if the toms are too weak, you can bring them up - provided you've recorded them to their own track.

Sound is like paint. Once it's mixed, you can't UN-mix it.

So "A" results most often mean keeping things separated as long as possible.

If you're stuck with a couple mics in the audience and a simple stereo feed from the board, you have few options other than simply adjusting the mix of board to live sound. And if something about your gear, or the venue, or the FOH operators mix choices, or the performance doesn't translate to your camera correctly, you're VERY limited as to the ability to repair things.

Sometimes a band recording does work better than expected, even if things are not perfect. So if you can't really use "A" recording techniques. Just set up what you can and hope for the best. Maybe the fates will smile on you!

Good luck.


Oh, as to your specific question about audience mic positioning - I recommend finding a place as far as possible from the couple who will loudly argue throughout the entire show - and well away from the drunk guy who still thinks it's funny to yell "Play Free Bird" during quiet passages.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 01:37 AM   #6
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i would suggest finding out who the FOH engineer is before the show and ring him up and talk to him about what you are hoping to achieve, find out what the mixing console is and look at its features online or ask the FOH guy what his opinion would be on getting a good result.. If it were me and i was limited in what i could use i would do 2 of these 3 things.

Firstly I would use the camera to pick up the rooms audio and if its an omni directional mic i would make sure to get access to stereo shotgun mics and point directly towards the stage. otherwise you will get people talking directly around you.


Then I would consider taking either a direct stereo feed from the desk and get the mix from the gig... then use that to mix in with the room audio off the camera..

OR a better option which is only slightly harder to implement but would achieve way better results would be...

Use a small multitrack recorder and take some sends from either the FOH desk or the foldback desk.. Its highly likely either one or both of those desks will have direct outputs from each channel and sub groups so you can get some basic isolated lines and mix afterwards.. This option is like a halfway step between simply taking the boards stereo send and getting a proper isolated split of every channel..

An 8 track recorder is cheap and easy hire.. Otherwise someone in the band might even have one... What you can then do is speak to the engineer and ask him if you could take an output from the sub groups and get a stereo drums and guitars, bass and vocals.. This type of thing is not hard and would make a huge difference but you gotta talk to the sound guy and establish what the console is and what output options it has before you get there..

IF the band gets a soundcheck and you are friendly and ask the engineer for his help you shouldnt have any troubles with this option and its probably the best approach while keeping things on a small scale... up from there and you are looking at an iso split and seperate mix of every channel...
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Old November 8th, 2009, 07:13 AM   #7
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Expanding on those who have suggested the best way to go is a separate broadcast mix via splitters on the stage mics, you also need to be ready to supplement the stage mics with mics for the broadcast mix alone. (As Seth mentioned, the size of the venue might mean they'll be micing everything but it's something you need to fond out about ahead of timel.) As a classic example, in many cases the drum kit and sometimes guitar cabinets might not be miced at all for the FOH system, being loud enough to not need PA amplification. If that's the case, the only drum that will make it into your recording will be via bleed through the open stage mics, not a good scenario. Thus you'll need to take a split of the guitar cabs by way of DI boxes and to mic up the drum kit for your mix. IMHO, basically you should be prepared to mic the whole stage as if for a recording session, taking splits off the mics for the FOH system where possible but supplying your own if the FOH system doesn't mic 'em (properly).

By the way, if this is going to broadcast on the web, make sure you have your music clearance ducks in order. There's more involved than just having the band and venue's permission to shoot.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 07:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roland Gatto View Post
Seth and Rick, thank you very much for your help. Ya'll have offered much insight.

Would it be preferable to skip the board mix and just set up a few house mics?

Regarding room mics, any suggestions as to models? Will SM58s handle the job? Also any suggestions as to placement of the mics?
Doubt the SM58 would give good results for your house mics as it's a dynamic stage mic designed for very close the mouth vocal use. Cardioid condensors would be my first choice.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 07:56 AM   #9
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If per chance this is an all accoustic band. Then you could probably get away with a FOH board mix.

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Old November 9th, 2009, 07:30 AM   #10
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I record my own sounds by bringing in all my microphones and portable recording setup along with a backup recorder. If you can find a guy that does sound and has a portable recording setup I would recommend hiring them. When I did recording for an orchestra I had mics setup the day before and tested everything out. The next day I was able to record freely and the quality came out great. I was actually recording the orchestras playing and then burning to a cd. They only wanted like raw audio so I cut out any silent noise and then bounced down. Its a suggestion. It was mentioned earlier as well so think about it.


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