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Recording my band live without spending fortune??

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Noseferatu, Apr 24, 2010.

  1. Noseferatu


    Feb 12, 2010
    Hermitage, PA
    So I'm in a rock band and we want to record our talent show since we are seniors. We're very tight, but have yet to make any recording of any kind. I want to record the performance (5 songs) and I want the recording to be good quality. I also plan to video tape it with 2 or 3 cameras and overdub the sound and use that as a demo.

    What cn I do to record our band without spending a million bucks on a mobile recording truck/team?? I understand what goes into recording, I just want to know how to do it without taking out a loan. I don't have anything in order to record us yet either. I was thinking of buying one of those portable 8-track recorders from Tascam and just miking the hell out of everything, including the audience.

    We have a drummer, 1 guitarist(so far) and 1 bassist(me).

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. Noseferatu


    Feb 12, 2010
    Hermitage, PA
  3. optikhog


    Apr 2, 2007
    St. Peters, MO
    Depends on your actual budget and the results you expect. The easy way to go would be to grab something like a Zoom H2/H4 and set it up to capture the sound coming from the stage as a whole (as well as the audience). Or you could get a Zoom Q3 and capture video as well.

    If you want to go to a multi-channel unit then you could set up a digital multi-track recorder and put a mic in front of every member, but this will take some time to get set up and running - how much time do you have to get all of your levels set up and can someone man it while you're playing so that things don't get ruined?

    Another option is to use any kind of recorder to grab the sound from the mixing board (assuming the sound guy would let you tap in and that he's mic'ing every member of the band).
  4. Yeah, a lot depends on the live PA set up. Is every instrument already going to be mic'd? Does the board have direct outs for every channel? or subgroups you could use for feeding your multitrack?

    Without someone to run this for you while you're playing, your best bet is probably going to be to just keep it simple. Put a Zoom H2/H4 on a stand in the audience or take a mixed feed straight from the sound board.

    Maybe you could ask around and find a home studio recording enthusiast type who'd be willing to come do this on the cheap?
  5. jmac


    May 23, 2007
    Horsham, Pa
    I agree with optikhog. The zoom stuff is nice and affordable.
  6. 4Mal

    4Mal Supporting Member

    Jun 2, 2002
    Columbia River Gorge
    Zoom H2 or H4 - you have to experiement with placement a bit - a decent photo tripod helps too. I bought an H4 used @ $150 last year and I like it a lot. I dropped in an 8 gig card for not much dough and it has gig's worth of recordong time on it.

    Settings wise I use ...

    'autogain' ON
    compressor is set to LIMIT (very important as the compressor pumps like crazy)
    MIC Emulation is set to U87.

    In my rock trio, we angle out amps towards each other bit as the gui**** and I sing out in front of the drummer. I locate the Zoom to the guitar side and pointed more or less at my amp. We play at reasonable volume and mid's tend to carry to mic's more readily than bass - so this favors the bass a bit as the gui****'s amp is actually off-axis to the recorder.

    In my acoustic/electric bass duo, I locate the recorder right behind us, more or less pointed at our monitor. Guitar, Bass & Voices go through the monitor so it's a readily available sound source. We actually run 1 monitor back and 1 monitor out with the duo a lot - same mix so it's very representative of what we sound like.

    You just have to experiment with your location... It will take a few times out for you to get where the recorder really ought to be. Taking headphones with you and checking between sets is a good idea when starting out.

    Once I have the recording, I can take it into software (I use ProTools) to cut out a song, trim off the ends and maybe punch it up a bit before adding it to the demo selections.
  7. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Zoom R16
    Fantastic unit.

    You can hear some live multitrack recordings using one at http://reverbnation.com/murphyslaw

    Those tracks were all recorded live via the channel sends of a Soundcraft MfXI mixer, then into each channel of the Zoom R16, then taken home and mixed/mastered in Logic Pro. It works the same exact way to just run mics or DI's directly into the Zoom R16. Very Handy.
  8. PSPookie


    Aug 13, 2006
    Ocoee, TN
  9. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I Grow Organic Carrots
  10. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    IF you can get to a good quiet board and get everything into it..

    You can go directly to a software program like Cubase or Audacity..

    Save the zoom and just get it done.

    We JUST did a demo like this --- you can't tell we didn't spend a ton of money on it.

    The key is always mike and DI technique.. this is the art portion of the deal.
  11. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    And... the R16 can be used both as an Audio Interface, but also entirely as a stand-alone unit. It has Zoom effects and such built into it. You 'can' record, edit and even master directly in that unit without need a DAW. Just more handy to use one if you have one, in my opinion.

    (And they slide into most 17" Laptop bags without problems)
  12. singlemalt

    singlemalt Supporting Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    White Salmon, WA
    This just popped up in my email from zzzounds. That's pretty cheap.


    I've bought from them, no problems, free shipping, no sales tax.

    We've used a handheld Olympus, pretty impressive.
  13. Noseferatu


    Feb 12, 2010
    Hermitage, PA
    I think I may go with the Zoom R16, because I want everything recorded individually to give it the best quality, while retaining the live feel.

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