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Thread: First Session Jitters

  1. #1
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    First Session Jitters

    Oh, man, I'm starting to get nervous. My first recording session will begin next weekend at the church sanctuary. We're going to have 7 sessions lasting 4 hours each. I have no experience doing this, though have some decent gear. I feel like toddler about to drive an SUV. The good thing is, there's no money involved in this, it's for charity, and most of the musicians are good-natured amateurs who are just excited about making music. Pray that I don't mess it all up. And thanks for all the tips over the months leading up to now. Wish me luck (and any last minute tips...)

  2. #2
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    It sounds like it will be quite a project ... 7 x 4 , 28 hours of recording!

    One thing is for sure (if your experience will be anything like mine have been)...you'll know a lot more about the way you want to do it during the seventh session!!

    You might consider some kind of backup, too. Even something lower fidelity than the rest, if necessary (e.g., board mix to hifi vcr). Could save a lot of disappointment, for you as well as the others, especially if its a one shot deal.

    Most of all, relax and have fun with it. It will help the others to do the same.

    Good luck and best wishes!

    John
    SpringStone Studio


    Originally posted by Jansen:
    <STRONG>Oh, man, I'm starting to get nervous. My first recording session will begin next weekend at the church sanctuary. We're going to have 7 sessions lasting 4 hours each. I have no experience doing this, though have some decent gear. I feel like toddler about to drive an SUV. The good thing is, there's no money involved in this, it's for charity, and most of the musicians are good-natured amateurs who are just excited about making music. Pray that I don't mess it all up. And thanks for all the tips over the months leading up to now. Wish me luck (and any last minute tips...)</STRONG>

  3. #3
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    Well, the 28 hours will account for all the bloopers and learning curve. I'm hoping we finish before then, but, if I know these folks (and I do), we'll get sidetracked in comic relief on more than one occasion...

    Thanks for the advise. I'll have to think about what sort of backup to have. Not too many options with multitracking.

  4. #4
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    SWEDEN
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    Well, tell us about the setup and we might give you some advice.
    What kind of gear you have, what kind of constallations the musicians plan to have, etc etc...
    First thing that comes to mind when you say that you're recording in a church. Don't put the mices too close, cause the reverbration of the church will help you do the mix. It will only sound unnatural if the proximity effect is present on some of the instruments.
    A good stereo-pair (perferbly spaced omnis) will catch most of the music in a natural way, so just put spot mics on solo instruments and really soft sounding instruments. And sweeten just a little bit with them in the mix.

    Hell, I wanna know which microphones you have at your disposal? :-)


    Cheers
    Frederick
    Ninja Production
    www.ninjaproduction.com

  5. #5
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    Frederick- here's what I'm working with. My recording platform is DAW (adat), preamp is GR (might get another this week for variety), external converters, mic's include: Neumann km184's (2), Neumann TLM193 (2), AT 4047 (1), AT 4041 (1), AKG C391 (1), and AMT clip mic for guitar (gooseneck). Instruments recorded will be: Nylon and steel guitars, cello, banjo, flute, mandolin, conga, various "toy" percussion, and male/female voices. All in various combinations. My plan is to individually track each part, largely due to the schedules of the musicians. Can't really do stereo ambient mic'ing because it would be difficult getting it "perfect" with each of the individual tracking. But certainly there will be some stereo "close" mic'ing on certain solo's.

    How far back do you recommend mic'ing the instruments? 12"? 24"? Naturally, it will vary depending on the natural loudness of the instrument. Ok. Now I await the influx of decades of experience! Thanks.

  6. #6
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    usa
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    there are many ways to capture sound. it's like photography with lenses. you have nice gear, that should not be a limitation. i would recommend running limiters after the preamps going into the adat's.

    also, since you're not pressed for time, do some trial takes. just have them play stuff and then listen back on good headphones.

    your best mics are the 193's, so get a lot of mileage out of them.

  7. #7
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    What kind of console do you have? Do you have 8 channels of preamps? Will you have a cue system setup for the players? If not, then player placement will be critical for not only balance but also so they can hear each other.

    Originally posted by Jansen:
    <STRONG>Frederick- here's what I'm working with. My recording platform is DAW (adat), preamp is GR (might get another this week for variety), external converters, mic's include: Neumann km184's (2), Neumann TLM193 (2), AT 4047 (1), AT 4041 (1), AKG C391 (1), and AMT clip mic for guitar (gooseneck). </STRONG>
    Lynn Fuston
    3D Audio

    Making beautiful music SEEM easy since 1979.

  8. #8
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    My console is a remote unit for my DAW. CM Motor Mix. I don't have a "regular" console. I currently only have 4 channels, but that should suffice for the manner that we plan to record. Since the plan is to record one performer at a time, maybe two in some cases, this should be ok. For a cueing system, I plan to use a metronome lead-in with my software (Cubase). Is that what you meant?

    Regarding monitoring, I'm concerned about the distance between the recording gear and the performer (50 feet). Will the performer experience latency with this? I might have to get a different headphone monitoring setup for the distance (currently Behringer). Isn't 25 feet the max recommended for headphone extension cables?

    Your suggestions/corrections are eagerly requested.

  9. #9
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    Originally posted by 3D Audio Inc.:
    <STRONG>Will you have a cue system setup for the players? If not, then player placement will be critical for not only balance but also so they can hear each other.</STRONG>
    That's a good point!

    And to save yourself alot of discussions and possible trouble, you should talk to all the musicians a couple of days before the sessions; about the setups, if they usually use a cue system, how they usually are positioned on stage.
    So that you can make a mic plan/setup in peace of mind.

    A good thing is to do the stagesetup the same way that the musicians are used to.
    And if possible not using any headphones.

    The more mics you use, the more you have to think about the "1 to 3"-rule I described in another posting. So to be on the safe side you should put the mics pretty close, about 20-30 cm depending on the source...close micing of percussion gives you the chance to mix them exactly the way you want and the proximity effect will give you some extra lowend in a natural way.

    BUT, the closer you put the mics, the more artificial reverbration you need...will you have access to a good reverb when mixing?

    I think you should consider using the 193's as main stereopair approx. 3-4 meters from the musicians, 3 meters up in the air, one meter apart, pointing towards the musicians and have them all sitting in a half circle.
    Cause otherwise you won't capture the natural reverbration of the church.
    And spotmic every intruument with one microphone, that you later in the mix pan the same way as the musicians are positioned.
    That way, you can add a little extra nylon guitar in the mix, cause it's one of the softer sounding instruments in your setup. And it does not necessarily have to be in stereo (cause you don't have that many microphones available), you just need to be able to add some presence and stability to it in the mix.

    Be sure to have a small mixing console and two speakers for monitoring in a room next door. And have a cd-player and a couple of good church recordings for reference.
    That will help you alot with setting up the main stereo pair mics. How much reverbration do I have compared to the cd's? Is the stereowidth as wide as on the cd's? Do I have a hole in the middle? Do I need to put anybody closer to the main pair?

    Try a couple of different placement of the main pair, try using them as X/Y pair etc.

    And record the different setups. Then listen to them and compare them to the cd's.
    Always listen at pretty low volume cause then the influence of the temporary "controlroom" is minimal.

    It's not always necessary, but measure the distance between the main pair and the spotmics cause in the mix you might wanna compensate for the time delay between the mics.
    A rough estimation is that it takes 2.2ms for sound to travel 1 meter.
    So, if the main pair is 4 meters away from the spotmics then you have to delay all the spotmic tracks for about 8.8ms.
    The difference will be that when you add a spotmic in the mix it won't "jump out" of the mix like it might do if you don't delay it properly.
    If you have the musicians in a half circle you might just need to have a general meatured delay on all the spotmics.

    So, where do you place the singer?
    Well, in the middle in front of the musicians should work. She'd be closer to the main pair, but often the vocals need to be a little closer so that won't be a problem.
    I'd put the AT4047 infront of the singer, not too close, about 15-20cm away. And a popscreen infront of it just to be safe.
    You will get alot of the band into that mic aswell, but it's only for adding some presence and body to the vocals in the main pair, so I don't think that will be a problem.

    Another thing that might happen, is that the percussions are much louder than the rest of the instruments and that will evelope into the reverbration aswell.
    SO, make sure that you listen to the balance of precussion and the rest of the band.
    And don't be afraid to ask the percussionplayer to play ALOT softer. And even dampen his drums with a blanket or something.
    It is very important that you check this balance, cause otherwise you might be stuck with recording with too much drums.

    One thing that comes to mind, is a great way of amplifing soft instruments like nylon guitars. Try putting a wooden table as a wall behind the player and place him as close as possible to it. This will give the instrument a natural, acoustic amplifiation, especially in the lower frequencies giving it more body and presence.

    Ohh, it's late...I'll get back to you...


    Cheers
    Frederick
    Ninja Production
    www.ninjaproduction.com

  10. #10
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    Sep 2001
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    Frederick- don't know how to thank you for all this excellent advise. This is the sort of detail that my brain needs.

    With this recording, it will literally be one performer at a time, overdubbing. We won't be doing any group recording. This is because of the various schedules of performers just don't overlap well. So, this solves some of the issues you explained, but creates other problems. The main issues it creates are:

    1. Using the 193's for natural reverberation for 8 (or more) individual performers, on different days, and then trying to mix them all together... (may have to bag the natural reverb mic's as a result, unfortunately)

    2. Getting timing sync'd up on ritard's, etc.

    3. The amount of time it will take to record it all!

    4. Other issues I haven't discovered yet...

    Thanks again for the advise. -Jansen

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