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Help! - Recording a Jam Session

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by dabigc5, Feb 25, 2013.


  1. dabigc5

    dabigc5

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
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    Communications: Cody Electric Basses
    Some friends of mine and I will be recording a jam session in about a month. The guitarist wants to record multitrack. I want to record everything through two mics, one on the left one on the right. Normally, I would be all for multitrack, but I only have a Tascam US-800 and two Shure SM48 mics. No drum mics. So it would be a channel each for bass, guitar, and vocals, with two mics for drums.

    My questions for you are: Should I do multitrack, or a simple stereo recording? If I do multitrack, how would you mic the drums?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. Shamgar1986

    Shamgar1986

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2011
    The biggest disadvantage to multitrack is the need for isolation. For example, the vocal mics will be picking up ambient sound from all of the instruments. Therefore, when you try to boost something in the mix, you may end up having to deal with that one instrument that is always too loud. This is not to say that multitracking is an entirely bad idea, you just need to understand that without isolation, you will not get studio quality mixes.
     
  3. audioglenn

    audioglenn Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    If it's just a jam session, I would just make a stereo recording with the two SM48s, one left and one right. However, if you want to do multitrack with what you've got, I would do what you have listed for bass, guitar, and vocals and for the drums I would use one mic over the drum kit and one in front of the kick drum, possibly in the kick drum.
    Get your levels and record a song and listen back. You may have to adjust the the drum overhead height. If you're getting too much bleed from the other instruments, either turn the amps down or lower the mic. Also check to see how much is bleeding into the kick drum mic. Too much bleed, move the mic closer to the kick. You'll minimize bleed if you have it in the kick drum.
    Hope this helps.
     
  4. Chromer

    Chromer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2012
    So, on the list of gear to bring, the multitrack recorder, mixer, snake and a carload of mic stands, cables and mics goes on the guitarist's list... Problem solved!

    Seriously though, for 2-track mix scare up a couple more mics so you can have one on the kick, one on the snare, and at least one drum overhead. Get a drum mix working ahead of time, DI the bass, close-mic the guitar cab, keep the room levels as low as possible, and overdub the vocals later.
     
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  6. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2006
    Location:
    Williamsburg, VA
    Your Tascam and a pair of ambient mics will be fine unless you're hoping to release an album or something. Apart from being simpler, a nice bonus of this approach is that if the mix sounds good in the room, it'll probably sound fine on the recording. Don't make it any more complicated than that unless there is some compelling reason not to.
     
  7. dabigc5

    dabigc5

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
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    Chicago Suburbs
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    Communications: Cody Electric Basses
    Thanks so much guys! A lot of what you have said was what I was thinking. I'm glad to know I'm on the right train of thought!

    And also, thanks for the tips on micing drums - if we are going to do multitrack, I will take that advice! But I think we're just going to hang the two mics we have, and leave it at that.

    Thanks!
     
  8. Joedog

    Joedog

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2010
    Location:
    Pensacola FL
    No expert by any means, but have gotten some pretty darn good results w/a simple stereo set up. First get the stage mix right for the room, and don't fiddle w/it for the recording. If the balance is not right on the recording, I find it is often easier/better to move the mikes than fiddle endlessly w/the inputs. In other words, bass not loud enuff... move mike closer to bass amp, etc. Once you think you have a good recording mix, party on!
     
  9. dabigc5

    dabigc5

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    Another good thought, and again, something I hadn't thought about. Thanks so much! Any other advice?
     
  10. audioglenn

    audioglenn Gold Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2012
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    There are so many different ways to approach this situation. You can use it as a learning situation and record each instrument individually and listen to your results. However, there is much to be said for learning the simple approach as well. A well placed pair of stereo mics can give you great results. What is a well placed pair? Do a little research. And, if that confuses you, pick a spot and start from there.
    If you want, do a google search on "stereo micing techniques". You'll find some great information. Whatever way you choose, it will be a learning experience.
     
  11. tracer03

    tracer03

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    Eagan, Minnesota
    My group actually got some decent recording with a pair of SM57's, strategically placed. Once we figured out levels for a good 'ambient' sound (as in, turning the guitar player down...:smug: ) - we experimented with mic placement until we got a decent reference point to pick up all the instruments and vocals through monitors.

    They weren't stellar quality, but it was good enough for reference recordings.
     
  12. JoeWPgh

    JoeWPgh

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2012
    The great Rudy Van Gelder recorded some of the world's most iconic jazz records with 2 mics, sometimes in a living room. Those recordings, especially those done for BlueNote in the late 50's, continue to stand up to time.
     
  13. dabigc5

    dabigc5

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    Jan 23, 2010
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    Absolutely! You're post actually has me on a classic jazz kick right now - thanks a ton!
     
  14. GladHeAteHer

    GladHeAteHer

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2011
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN
    If you can get ahold of 2 more mics, close mic'ing guitar & bass plus 2 mics in Recorderman position on the drums yields pretty good results.

    FWIW I have the same interface as you and have done this on many occasions. Pick up a couple of $30 GLS Audio ES-57s and you'll be ready to go.
     

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