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Is there a way to get a good recording out of a terrible room?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Da LadY In Red, Jun 8, 2007.

  1. Hey, I play in a jam band, and as a jam band, recordings of our shows are very important. We've recorded near every gig we've played... problem is that only 1 of them sounds gigs.

    Most of the recordings (of about 4-5) are in terribly small room for a 6 piece band to be playing. We're talking only a few hundred square feet. The time we recorded us playing outside, we got an awesome recording. However, we've been using a Tunetalk ipod recording device and its built in microphone.

    So what I'm wondering is if we got a better recording set-up (real microphone straight into a laptop), is it possible we could get a good recording from these small rooms that hold 60 people max and have terrible, reflective surfaces everywhere? Or is a bad room simply a bad room that's doomed to sound terrible on a recording set-up?
  2. the only thing i can think of is if you close mic all the amps and just take a recording straight off the soundboard. close micing will take the room out the equation as much as is possibly. drums would still be an issue though. but maybe my idea is incredibly stupid and missing the point. i have a feeling it is :confused:

    how are you making these recordings now?
  3. Yeah, unfortunately the place we've been playing at doesn't even use the PA except for vocals, so the sound is already a little unruly.

    Currently, we've been using the Belkin Tunetalk, which is a recording device for an Ipod http://www.amazon.com/Belkin-F8Z082...4?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1181321097&sr=8-1

    If you listen to our myspace, www.myspace.com/heyjoeband , there's some alright and good examples of it in action. We're really looking for an easy recording set-up of just a microphone or two recording everything.

    Thanks for the advice, though!
  4. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    A bad room is a bad room that will ruin sound. This can be mitigated some by close-miking everything, so that there's less room sound to be had, but other than that, your only option is to expiriment, position the mic in different locations until you find the one place that doesn't suck. Every room, mathematically speaking, has such a spot, free of room reflections, flutter echo, and phase cancellation due to standing waves. You could take forever finding it, though. And you may not get the mix of instruments you'd like, either.

    Have you called a couple of small studios in your area and asked about a mobile recording package? A lot of smaller operations have mobile recording rigs, independent of the house sound, and may sell their services cheaply, too.
  5. eb76


    Jun 8, 2007
    Fort Wayne
    I run the sound at a local club that tapes a local comedy show on Thursday nights and we regularly feature live bands to entertain the crowd during commercial breaks. My responsibilities include managing the house sound and recording the audio feed for post production. The club isn't really equipped for bands, but I normally get decent recordings of the band, even though all the amps and drum kit are occupying a very small space. Like the others have said close miking will help, so in my opinion getting mics on the amps and having individual control over the instruments after the fact will be a big step forward. I never put the band through the house system (except the vocals) because the room is small, and I use a pair of MOTU Travelers going into an iBook, and have no real complaints about the sound quality. Drums, especially overheads, tend to be the most prone to picking up bleed, so I have to be careful where I put them to minimize the amount of guitar/bass the OHs pick up.
  6. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    Is there a way to get a good recording out of a terrible room?
    you should add... with no equipment
    Answer NO
    You need be able to eliminate the room from the equation (as much as possible). You do that by close miking as has been pointed out. Take all instruments and vocals into a multi-channel mixing desk and process and mix to a stereo bus output and into your recording device. That's it!
  7. Deacon_Blues


    Feb 11, 2007
    I'd say close mic/line everything and place also one or more mics in the room to capture a bit of the live sound too. Only close-miking sounds too dry and unnatural. Use also an overhead mic for the drums, with that you don't necessarily need to mic all drums and cymbals separately.
  8. bbe


    Nov 6, 2006
    Brooklyn, NY
    alright, i play in a jam band too. for our recording, which we record in my small basement, we record onto this, which i just purchased:


    that thing gets great quality. with a six peice band, u could mic everything and have everything on individual tracks. of course, ud need to purchase that and enough mics, cables, and stands, but if u really want to produced great recordings by yourselves, ull have to invest in it. i did, and we make great recordings now.
  9. louieeadg

    louieeadg uncle petey?

    Jun 13, 2007
    outer banks, nc
    definetely invest in your own PA with a good soundboard. This will solve much of your recording issues and you'll get good recordings...as well as making your live sound much better.
  10. stitchbass


    May 20, 2006
    Virginia Water
    we recorded in our jam room straight off the mixer to a mini-disc once. (just had to do a quick sound check to set levels on mixer) Really pleased with results, mic => bass cab, di, guitar cab, 2 overheads, kick, snare, and vocals. Room is about 14 ft by 16 ft, very square...
  11. You could try micing the whole band as if you were playing a stadium...then take a 2-track pull from the board directly to your laptop or a connection via a protools mbox1 type of thing.
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