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recording a gig

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by capncal, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    my band is playing this friday in a pretty cool venue. it's basically a 50 year old industrial garage. we actually use this space for rehearsals and have gotten pretty good recordings before using an interface and a two mic set up recording onto the program audacity, which is free.

    i've access to one of those little stereo recorders that are really not much bigger than a cell phone. they have a two mic criss cross set up and a built in hard drive or SD card.

    my question is this, do i need to drag out the interface, lap top, two long mic cables, mic stands and rent two good recording mics, or will this little self contained stereo recorder give me just as good a recording?
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  2. acubass


    Oct 10, 2007
    Albuquerque, NM
    Way too many variables to know. Even if you rented really nice mics there is no guarantee the recording will turn out good. I'd say it is a better option bc the mics are better. When I hear "industrial garage" my mind doesn't go to good place to record. But you never know, that is the fun of recording live. Sometimes against all odds a recording will sound very good.

    IME those little pocket recorders are reliable, more so that computers and software in a club. That may be something to take into consideration.
  3. AndreBas


    Mar 11, 2012
    I have heard some excellent sounding recordings made with those little stereo recorders. It all depends on the quality of the microphones.

    If you have a laptop and interface, why not record each instrument in their own track and use one or two microphones to record the noise from the crowd?
  4. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    i should be more clear. my audio interface has only two inputs. i am considering using the digital recorder as one input, and another mic in a different location. by the bar or something for some ambient sounds and whatnot. but at that point the stereo recorder becomes mono so...

    i suppose i'm wonder which is going to be my best mic option. if the digi recorders are as good as a decent set of standard studio mics, then i'm going handheld all the way. but if the mics i can rent are far superior in quality, then i'm going with my two mic interface.
  5. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    I would make two recordings. One with a pair of open air mics hooked up to that digital recorder of yours. The other right from the mixing board. Afterward, supplement the mic recording with some board as needed.
  6. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    indeed, that is the way to go had we a mixer. it's a very small industrial garage. we use a smallish PA and a couple of 10's for vocals. the rest is our amps.

    that would be a good way to get clear vocals though...use the handheld in the room somewhere and use the computer and interface to record the vocals from the PA and an additional mic elsewhere in the room...

    i don't know who's going to stay sober enough to pull all that together.
  7. Luckydog


    Dec 25, 1999
    I use a sony pcm-d50 for recording both in and outside. It has wonderful built in mics, and i've gotten great results using this alone. It is very accurate and will pick up all the nuances and conversations in background as well. Just make sure nobody bumps it or any mic for that matter. Stereo recording at very high bit rate. Save it to pc and open in audacity for minor tweeks. So easy to use.
  8. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    this may very well be my plan. from what i've been able to research, and from comments on here, there doesn't seem to be a vast difference in the quality of the recording. so simplicity rules.
  9. Dave W

    Dave W Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I would use the digital recorder as a stanalone
    Then use two mics with the interface

    Basically two separate recordings, then combine them in software and mix as needed.
  10. dave64o

    dave64o Talkbass Top 10 all time lowest talent/gear ratio! Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 15, 2000
    Southern NJ
    We have a Zoom H1 and have used it to record one of the orchestras my wife plays in. Except for once when she didn't pick a very good place for it, the recordings we've gotten with it have been surprisingly good.
  11. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    been using my iphone 4s, it has a cool late 70s early 80s quality i like
  12. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    We record all our gigs with a small stereo digital recorder (Edirol R-09HR) strapped to the singers mic stand, about waist height. It picks up a good stereo spread, his body shields it from the drums and the monitor by his feet gives a clear, loud vocal that seems to sound balanced with the rest of the mix.
  13. garmenteros

    garmenteros Bass Enthusiast Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Dominican Republic
    My friend records some of our shows but he drags out tons of mics and his liquid saffire 56 for it. If you're playing a cool venue why not pay someone to record it for you? You'll appreciate it and it will better improve your show and can serve for promotional material.
  14. morgansterne

    morgansterne Geek U.S.A.

    Oct 25, 2011
    Cleveland Ohio
    with two digital devices running, I bet you won't have much trouble syncing them up later. There shouldn't be too much time drift between the two like there would be with two tape machines.
    I'm guessing if anything's going to be missing from the mix a bit, it'd be the vocals (since your PA is small) so having a vocal only recording from the board will be really nice. Experiment with chopping up the vocal recording to sync it exactly with the overhead mics if there's any timing issue. Try compressing the vocal recording and laying it underneath the other mix to keep it constant. I'm not sure about the quality of the effects in Audacity so this may not work for you.
    But if you can hire someone to multi track record your show and mix it later, do that.
  15. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    It hinges on a bunch of variables, but it especially depends on what you want to do with the recording.

    Those compact digital recorders can produce good recordings, especially if your goal is to document the show for the band's use (for example, to critically listen to arrangements, etc).

    But if you want to release or circulate the tracks, a live-to-2-track format wouldn't be my choice for a public-performance recording, unless you have some control over the acoustic environment and some time for placement trial-and-error. Otherwise, decisions about where to put the recorder (for best stereo imaging, instrument balance, and best levels to the A/D convertors) are often limited by the handful of options that are practical (given the crowd, table traffic, bar noise, HVAC, etc).

    You might strike gold. (I've heard some very good live recordings done on Zoom-style units, and some excellent live-to-2-track recordings done of higher end gear.) But for a one-shot performance, if the room's going to be loud and full of civilians, I'd want to up the odds of getting useable raw tracks by putting close mics on some sources and multi-tracking.
  16. scottfeldstein

    scottfeldstein Supporting Member

    Jun 20, 2011
    West Bend, Wisconsin
    The performance behind this video was recorded with one of those portable digital units. It was placed about 5 feet away from our singer and just picked up the ambient noise in our old rehearsal basement. Pretty darned good, I say. Could maybe have used more guitar, but as the bass player..who cares! :)

    The interviews used lavalier mics, fwiw.

  17. capncal


    Apr 14, 2009
    ended up using just one hand held recorder. a tamscan something or other. if i could figure out how to attach a clip i would....

    Attached Files:

  18. Tuned


    Dec 6, 2007
    I've done many of this type of recording. You cannot record audio on separate unsynced digital recorders and mix them together with decent results. I use the audio waveform from camcorders to sync video from different cams and audio from a mulitracker. Without exception, the different digital recorders have enough clock differences to introduce audible phasing problems. Whether or not they're too much for your needs, I can't say, but they're there.

    The best inexpensive recorder for this sort of thing is the Zoom R16, which can record 8 inputs at once to SD card, no sync problems, $400 pricetag. It's also handy for small gigs as a digital mixer, has good channel EQ and effects etc. I've used it to mix small live shows while recording, including a pair of room mics, which I mixed with direct tracks in post. It also acts as a surface controller and can even run on AA batteries. Best swiss army knife I've got.