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Old December 10th, 2017, 10:58 AM   #1
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Rock band live performance

A rock band wants me to record their performance. In one of the worst venues for audio on the planet.
I'll get a board feed of course, but they really want the vibe from the venue. Basic room is maybe 100 feet by 40. Cinder block walls with concrete floor, wood ceiling. Oh and itís a really popular bar and a really popular band. Room will be full of people drinking beer and discussing their day while listening occasionally to the band. And dancing.

No reasonable way to place mics in front of the band. I may be able to place mics back at the board op position but I'm afraid thatís going to be way too much ambience.

I have a couple of NT1's, a pair of Rode M3's and an NTG3.

Any ideas on a way to capture the best audio in this situation. Thanks!

JM
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Old December 10th, 2017, 11:51 AM   #2
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Re: Rock band live performance

Assuming this is a one man operation with minimal set-up time, and limited budget with a one-time performance.

Maybe record the board feed for clean group audio, and use a separate self-contained hand-held recorder such as a TASCAM DR-05 or DR-100, or similar, with omni mics selected placed/hung somewhere high between the band and crowed to get ambient sound. Or over the dance floor might be good for potentially less bar noise and chatter as people dance. My observation is that people on a dance floor usually pay more attention to the music than people at a bar or tables.

Just let the recorder run during untended the gig set to a reasonable recording level with limiting enabled. Set the levels when the band warms up if you can. Then mix/sync in post to get the desired effect.
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Old December 10th, 2017, 06:50 PM   #3
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Re: Rock band live performance

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Originally Posted by John Murphy View Post

No reasonable way to place mics in front of the band.
There probably is with the right mic.

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Old December 10th, 2017, 07:39 PM   #4
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Re: Rock band live performance

The good news is that the "full of people" (and their bodies) will help with absorbing some of the sound in the room and therefore some of the echo/reverb.

Andrew
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Old December 10th, 2017, 08:07 PM   #5
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Re: Rock band live performance

Thanks everyone.

Don, I've kind of decided to mount the Rode M3's on the side walls about 10 feet in front of and on the left and right side of the band. Up about 7 or 8 feet off of the ground. That will put those mics about just about over the dance floor. Hard wire back to the Zoom H6. The board feed will be my main source for sure.

Pete, no money for new mics, but if there was, a boundary mic , maybe on the wall, might be just the ticket. Performers are on the edge of the stage and the dance floor is directly in front of stage so no room there.

Andrew, indeed the dancers will help.

I've got a few weeks before the event to work out the details with the venue. Hopefully they will approve my idea of mounting the mics ON the wall.

Other ideas welcome!

Thanks, j
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Old December 11th, 2017, 02:45 AM   #6
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Re: Rock band live performance

Board feeds tend to be vocal and drum heavy as these tend to need the most PA help, I find that compressing the final mix can help squeeze some of the dynamics out and if you add the ambience mic's it can also help.

Adding some artificial room reverb can also help blend it all together and make it feel more live.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 04:43 AM   #7
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Re: Rock band live performance

I dot a lot of gopros on stages and while I don't use the audio, it's amazing how the balance changes from place to place. It makes the very unpredictable things you end up with any form of distant miking make sense!
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Old December 11th, 2017, 08:19 AM   #8
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Re: Rock band live performance

The key to your board feed is to know exactly what is there, assume nothing. Small club band mixes are very unpredictable. Depending on venue size, house PA, bands own amps, mixers preference and many other things the board mix can be nothing but vocals to everything on stage.

I run a H6 at the mixer position for the board feed. The on board mic IS a useless track because of room noise. On camera mics at stage edge actually sound better than the Zoom mic. Sometimes I may hook an external shotgun up to it from that position. It depends....

The NT1s can serve you well. Be careful with the NT3 placement. It is real easy to get a biased recording from a shotgun because of all of the PA sources.

I find the more sources I go into post with the better the mix can become. Yet sometimes I am blown away when just one or two mics in the right place capture the magic and it all comes together!

Kind Regards,

Steve
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Old December 11th, 2017, 08:29 AM   #9
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Re: Rock band live performance

When I do quickly recording of the bands I work for are with a DR-40 at the mix position. Two tracks from the board and the two recorder's internal mics. Depending on the console and configuration, I'll use the consoles matrix or aux sends for the board mix. The recorders internal mics picks up the 'room' for the audience and live feel. In post it's usually necessary to adj the sync of the two sets of tracks to avoid audible phasing. Of course in my case, I'm the band's FOH mixer, so everything is gain staged properly and I have full access to the console.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 08:54 AM   #10
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Re: Rock band live performance

I recently filmed a concert and the board feed was poorly mixed. The instruments in particular the electronic guitar drowned out the vocals.
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Old December 11th, 2017, 09:39 AM   #11
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Re: Rock band live performance

It's going to be fun that's for sure. The venue uses 3 different FOH guys. Two thirds of them are very good. Luck of the draw as to who will be mixing.
I'm leaning towards the Rode M3's because they can take a maximum of 142dBSPL. This place is LOUD. I wear ear plugs when I'm there for fun.

Thanks everyone. j
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Old December 12th, 2017, 07:15 AM   #12
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Re: Rock band live performance

If it's that loud, you might also discover lots of tuning problems too. Rock music, with amplification is never balanced from a straight stereo board feed.

Is the desk digital? Many are nowadays so you might be able to hang a laptop on it and record direct stems which you can then balance yourself afterwards.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 05:01 PM   #13
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Re: Rock band live performance

A few months ago I recorded a friend's band, their fist gig. They really only wanted a short promotional video in the end, which I have linked here. They told me sound wasn't too important, they just wanted a promo showing off the performance and people having fun.
I recorded the entire night for them.

The sound was recorded from the mixing desk as a stereo feed, and from a stand mounted Zoom H1 next to me, next to the mixing desk. I also had the audio from the camera's, but they were mostly distorted.

In hindsight, I would have liked the zoom closer to the stage as there was too much ambient crowd noise. I could have hung it from a lighting bar over the dance floor but the ladder I was promised did not eventuate. Or better still a couple of quality condenser mics in that spot.

The mix from the desk was mostly OK, but some harmony's and a sax were way too loud and I had to ride them using the spectrum equaliser plugin (I think thats what it's called) in Audacity, but not too much as it sucks some of the wanted sound.

I mixed the desk audio with some zoom and a little camera audio, eq'ing and compressing where needed and its not too bad, but of course what's was the first comments back from the band, "the sounds not great and the harmonies are too loud". All I could say it I told you it wouldn't be perfect.

The guy doing the mix has just bought a new Soundcraft mixer with Dante and can now digitally record all the tracks to a laptop via a single ethernet cable for later mixdown. So if we do it again, I won't be mixing it, I'll let the band leader do that. :-)

Here is the promo video, skip the first minute to 1:08.
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Old December 12th, 2017, 07:47 PM   #14
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Re: Rock band live performance

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Is the desk digital? Many are nowadays so you might be able to hang a laptop on it and record direct stems which you can then balance yourself afterwards.
If I can't take the time to set up mics directly on stage to pic up each amp and a drum kit I would go for the stems and also get a stereo pair not too far from the stage to add some of the house to give it that "live" sound. It means that you're going to be doing the post mix but that will give you the best overall sound quality. Short of that, getting a decent pair of mics and feeding your recorder along with the internal mics might be the only way you can go if you're limited on equipment. I've got a pair of M3's and have used them in similar recording sessions. They can handle high SPL. Not the greatest sounding tonally or detail wise, but for a rock concert they will do the trick. I have always used them to pick up house audio to supplement either isolated channels of separate mics or direct stems from the board.

Good luck, these are always fun to shoot. If possible remember to get some good crowd shots to cut away to.
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Old December 13th, 2017, 08:43 AM   #15
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Re: Rock band live performance

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Originally Posted by Mervyn Jack View Post
A few months ago I recorded a friend's band, their fist gig. They really only wanted a short promotional video in the end, which I have linked here. They told me sound wasn't too important, they just wanted a promo showing off the performance and people having fun.
I recorded the entire night for them.

The sound was recorded from the mixing desk as a stereo feed, and from a stand mounted Zoom H1 next to me, next to the mixing desk. I also had the audio from the camera's, but they were mostly distorted.

In hindsight, I would have liked the zoom closer to the stage as there was too much ambient crowd noise. I could have hung it from a lighting bar over the dance floor but the ladder I was promised did not eventuate. Or better still a couple of quality condenser mics in that spot.

The mix from the desk was mostly OK, but some harmony's and a sax were way too loud and I had to ride them using the spectrum equaliser plugin (I think thats what it's called) in Audacity, but not too much as it sucks some of the wanted sound.

I mixed the desk audio with some zoom and a little camera audio, eq'ing and compressing where needed and its not too bad, but of course what's was the first comments back from the band, "the sounds not great and the harmonies are too loud". All I could say it I told you it wouldn't be perfect.

The guy doing the mix has just bought a new Soundcraft mixer with Dante and can now digitally record all the tracks to a laptop via a single ethernet cable for later mixdown. So if we do it again, I won't be mixing it, I'll let the band leader do that. :-)

Here is the promo video, skip the first minute to 1:08.
https://youtu.be/QtmLzatmwrc
I think you did well given the set up. You're at the mercy of the house mixer. Its more that the lead singer is too quiet in the mix making the back up/harmony part too loud. More drums would have been good too. Overall you got a very good representation of the band. I'd go see them.
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