Board tapes, hints?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by MarkMcCombs, Aug 21, 2001.

  1. First off, I've never recorded anything.....

    But I'm interested in hearing myself, and others, when we play. I'd like a good a mix as possible, but don't want to put a lot of time and money into it. The soundperson has mentioned a board tape, but that it probably wouldn't sound that great. From what I gather, board tapes normally have the vocals and drums the loudest, and keys, but those of us that have amps on stage would be a little weak.

    Do you think that if I could lower my stage volume, and convince the guitarist to do this also (hah), that I might get a decent recording?

    A few weeks ago I recorded with my camcorder, which I've always been amazed at the sound quality it captures, but I was disappointed in the quality of the recording I made.

    I may be expecting too much, but your suggestions are welcome.....


  2. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Yes, the mix on board tapes can get real weird if the whole band is not miked or DIed. The quieter you can run the amps on stage the hotter they will be in the house mix and the better balanced the tape will be.

    Of course, ANY mix is better than NOTHING and if you just want to be able to hear what the band sounds like, handing the sound guy two Maxells is a cheap enough investment (assuming the venue has a recorder hooked up to the board).

    Something else you can try if you're ambitious is to bring a four-track recorder to the venue, run the house mix (mono) to one channel than you can individually mike up to three amps and remix the whole thing later. I've actually put out demos made this way in the past.
  3. Thanks, Brian, that's kinda what I was thinking. I think I'll turn my amp sideways on stage so just me and the drummer get it's effect, and have the guitarist do the same, which he normally does anyway. This way more of our sound will be going through the PA. The vocals and keys always just go straight to the board, so I think the only thing that might be "soft" is the drums, cymbals and snare specifically. I'm mostly after how I sound, it's not a demo, it's primarily for me to critique myself.

    The four-track is also a good idea. I don't have one, but should! I was also thinking about getting one of those PZM mics (old Radio Shack, current Crown) and miking the room, this way I could just use my tape deck w/left and right inputs as a 2-track recorder, using the other side for the send out of the board. We'll see....I could get into this!

  4. CS,

    yes, the board has an output for a cassette deck. And yes, everyone, albeit at different levels, is going thru the board. Generally, I'm going thru less than everyone else, as my amp fills up the room quite a bit. But I think by turning it sideways (so the speaker is perpendicular to the room), the PA will amplify more of my sound, and thus I'll come through stronger on the board tape.

    I wish more people would provide some insight, maybe my heading isn't drawing them in!

    "Free burgers for replying to this thread" is what I'm using next time....
  5. Bass Guitar

    Bass Guitar Supporting Member

    Aug 13, 2001

    First thing - do you want to know how you sound like to your audience, or just how you sound like? Recording your band on tape will not give you the sound your audience is hearing because as you stated yourself, you sound louder live than through the mixer. If you want to know what your audience is hearing, recording through the mixer won't give you that, as your stage amps will not be picked up.

    However, if you want to record through the mixer, this is what you can do. Put ALL the instruments direct into the mixer (bass and guitar via DI boxes) and listen to yourself through the PA speakers - don't use your stage amps. Mike up the drums well (at least 2 mikes, one of them for the bass drum). If possibly, use headphone fallbacks, otherwise, use stage fallbacks, but turned down softly.

    Have a trusted PA soundman mix the instruments as you play. This way, you can get a reasonable live sound with each instrument mixed in reasonably well. This set up is not conducive to a live performance, and should be done only for a recording, not for live playing in front of an audience.

    Hope this helps a bit.
  6. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    Mark I deleted my post (stupid question and all) cos Brian Rost had it covered. Theres a post on that Chris Fitzgerald recommended on this Forum it covers mic technique and its loooong but I enjoyed it. Look for Chris's post and link here (if you are interested)

    PS free strings might work better than free burgers IMHO not everyone that plays, records and I am a newbie at it.
  7. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    If you want to know what your band REALLY sounds like, the closest you can come is to mount two omni (or very wide cardiod) condenser mics in a coincident stereo pattern right in the middle of the room, or alternately, right where your sound guy sits. If you board has direct outs for each channel, you can simply run these two channels into a stereo recording machine of some sort (I'd recommend minidisc over cassette any day) and just make sure the levels don't spike.

    You might be surprised to find out what your audience is really hearing...