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Old June 27th, 2006, 04:57 AM   #1
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Stereo mic for live music?

I work with some people who have a small location, and host live accoustic music-one or two guitarists,singer song writer type of thing. They are trying to put together their own inexpensive recording set up to archive their twice weekly sessions.
I've used a pair of AT 3031's there, and they sound fine. I was thinking that not having an engineer, they might be better off with a single stereo mic.
Is there a decent stereo mic that would be good for them in the $300-$350 range? I've heard good things about the at 825...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...goryNavigation

any feedback aon this or other suggestions?
Thanks
Bruce S. yarock
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Old June 27th, 2006, 10:05 AM   #2
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I'm ineterested in this subject too, but I'll confess that like you my experience is only with a pair 3031s, so the following is based on my reading only. I hope that someone who has used the AT822 or AT825 in a close environment will check in.

The 825 is certainly decent and way convenient. The equivalent 822 unbalanced version of the 825 going into a minidisk recorder would probably be even more convenient. For that matter the most convenient of all might be the new Edirol R-09 which claims to have a very nice built-in stereo mic.

Anyway, back to the AT825. Assuming they can place it optimally, the remaining question is whether the acoustics will degrade the sound to below their expectations. The two cardioid elements do color off-axis sound, so high room reflections in a close space may be a factor. I gather that spaced ominis would be friendlier in such an environment. Since they could be close to the performers, the 3 to 1 rule wouldn't require a lot of distance between them. And although there would be two mics to deal with, the alignment and angle setting issues are gone.

The ATs are worth a try. Please report back if you try one. As you can see, several recent threads are asking about them.
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Old June 27th, 2006, 10:21 AM   #3
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Fred,
I think they'll probably go with the at 825. Btw, I'll be buying an Edirol r9 for my wedding business, etc. I'm really curious to see what the on board mic sounds like.
I'll keep you posted.
Bruce S. Yarock
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Old June 27th, 2006, 10:27 AM   #4
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Does the venue use a PA? is so take a feed from the board. depending upon mic placement etc room acoustics could wreak havoc, whereas a direct feed would eliminate that, and it could be added right into the rack.

As long as everything is mic'd, vox, instruments, and add one mic for the room to mix in for a bit of live feel.
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Old June 27th, 2006, 10:38 AM   #5
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I think that Bill missed some of the details of your post, but regarding the potential for acoustical incompatability I'm sure you'll buy the mic from someone who accepts returns.

And yeah, please do follow up on that R-09. I have some audio money burning a hole in my pocket and I don't know which way to turn 8>)

[EDIT: Come to think of it *I* missed some details of your initial post. If the 3031s sounded fine, chances are the 825 will also]
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Old June 27th, 2006, 03:05 PM   #6
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Like Bill, I may not be understanding everything.

Are the entertainers strictly acoustic, in that, their instruments and voices are not currently amplified in any way?

If the venue does use a PA system of some kind, and they like the sound the PA is giving them in the room, IMO, Bill is right, you most likely get the best sound directly from the PA system rather than trying to mic the current environment.

If you are looking to record a strictly acoustic presentation, it is most likely that something in the environment will overpower the others using a stereo mic to try to capture the music. One of the guitars or one of the singers will most likely overpower the others. Microphones tend to favor certain frequencies. Rooms have different "zones" in which the sound waves either cancel or amplify each other. This all leads to unfavorable conditions. The answer is to mic each instrument and vocalist as closely as possible (there are books on mic'ing techniques) so as to eliminate room interference.

If you are trying to mic the PA, you will get many other sounds in the recording you make, including reverberation (mostly unwanted) from the room.

The only way to consistently get a decent recording where you can "mix" all of the sources is to use a mixing board or PA system with multiple inputs. Or if the room has just the right acoustics and the players always play with an "even" mix, you might get lucky and capture an acceptable recording but every event will most likely be hit or miss as every new act or group will be different and will sound different in the same room. The only way I know to consistently overcome this is with a mixing board (doesn't have to be all that expensive) and someone with good ears.

Using a stereo mic to record music is not impossible. All this said, it depends on how good a recording you want to make. If you want it to be a good (not even great) representation of the live event, mixing boards and good mics can be very inexpensive. A Shure SM57 or SM58 mic is somewhere in the neighborhood of $85 each and these have been the workhorse of professional live sound and recording for years. Small, good (again, not great) mixing boards are also very inexpensive these days.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 08:08 AM   #7
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1-Most of the performers have accoustic guitars with pick up, which they run through a pa on it's last legs (only 2 channels still work).
2-They use at least one vocal mic run through a cheap ART mic pre into the pa.
3- The room is pretty small-15'wide by 60' deep.
After reading the responses here, and thinking about it, this is my reccomendation.
Mics-I suggested a pair of 3031's instead of the 825. The reason is that in the event that they don't mic in front of the stage, they still have two decent mics for addl guitar, etc.

Pa-The power and two channels still work on thier ancient peavey box pa. I suggested a Behringer board with 6 mic inputs, and a host of other features they'll never use.They can run the out of the behringer into the good channels on the pv, and buy a small power amp down the road(or get a powered board now for another $125). This way they have enough inputs to run guitars, vocals, and the stereo mics set up all into the board. Or they can just mic the performers and run that alone into the board (maybe with a single mic in the back of the room for audience, ambience, etc.)

Recorder-They like the idea of recording to cd's, so I suggeted one of the Tascam models that sell for around $550.I;ve used them a couple of times,and they do a good job.

And last but not least, I'll be ordering my edirol r-09 today, and I will post my results.
Thanks for the feedback.
Bruce Yarock
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Old June 28th, 2006, 10:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
Recorder-They like the idea of recording to cd's, so I suggeted one of the Tascam models that sell for around $550.I;ve used them a couple of times,and they do a good job.
A client supplied a CD-recorder for a recent job, which was really my first experience with them.

Pro - good line-level 16/44 recording! Audition the original recording almost anywhere.

Con - For someone used to pushing the record button, this was a little more finicky. For events longer than 80 minutes, the process of finalizing a CD and dropping in a new one took an excruciating amount of time. (3 minutes can seem like forever when you really needed the whole event recorded!)

If the 80-minute max recording time doesn't matter for the application, I think it'd be great. For me, not so good as I do lots of longer events.

One alternative is the Alesis MasterLink ML-9600 hard disk recorder. Records 52 hours of 16/44 or 16 hours of 24/96 to internal HD, and has an internal CD burner as well.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 12:25 PM   #9
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Seth,
If it were me, I'd bring my lap top and my Motu traveller for a longer event( I had originally posted about problems I had with that set up, but Dell replaced everything in the lap top and the system works fine). But these people want to record their own stuff a couple of nights a week, and have limited funds. They understand that they have to change cd's evry hour or so. I thought that you don't have to finalize on the spot, that you can do that later.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 02:06 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce S. Yarock
...I thought that you don't have to finalize on the spot, that you can do that later.
Don't know. This CD recorder showed up and we were using it 5 minutes later, and were unwilling to risk not finalizing before the cd left the drive.

But maybe it's no risk at all. We didn't know and didn't get a chance to find out.

Quote:
...But these people want to record their own stuff a couple of nights a week, and have limited funds.
Yeah, they'd have to decide if another $300 for continuous recording (with Alesis 9600) was worth it to them.

*****************
Talking about risks & druthers... For live events I've avoided computers as much as possible, they are less reliable than dedicated hardware. Having said that, I frequently work on large corporate events with 4 pcs running projection, 3 for powerpoint, 1 for speech prompter, etc. Unavoidable.

So I've got this great hd player, the Instant Replay. But it's got a microprocessor in it. And a multitrack hd recorder, it has a processor too. But they tumble less often than any PC...

Glad the traveller/laptop system is working for you. It makes a nice compact package. MOTU's got a great box at a good price point with the traveller.
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Old June 28th, 2006, 02:35 PM   #11
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Seth,
I Checked with my friend who lent me the tascam cd recorder, and he told me that you can finalize any time.
The Motu set up works fine. The only problem is thatmost musicians are broke or too cheap, so I'm getting very little work with it. Lately I've been relegated to shooting weddings...
Bruce S. Yarock
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