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Offline G.Kennedy

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First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« on: January 17, 2018, 12:45:07 AM »
I've been lurking for a bit now.  Going through old posts, learning as much as I can. Picking out gear, setting up and practicing.  I think I am ready.  This Saturday is my first show.

My introduction to this site came while researching how to best record a youth orchestra, specifically my 8yr old daughters ensemble. I'd like to thank everyone in advance for all the knowledge that is archived here.

Here is what I have and what I've done to prep.

 -Tascam DR100mkiii w/32g card
 -Line Audio CM3, standard mic clips, no shock mounts. With foamy wind screens
 -home made stereo bar, 1/4" x 1.5" aluminum, very solid. Holes drill for 30cm/90deg(NOS) and 40cm (AB)
 -homemade XLR cables, 10' and 25'
 -Sony headphones for monitoring
 - solid stand, cable ties, tape,zip ties etc...

I have been able to record the rehearsals twice. Both times were very successful. I made a few errors, but the recordings sounds very nice.  During those rehearsals I was 5' behind the conductor and 4' over his head. Once I used 30cm/90deg. Once I used 40cm (AB) straight.

I liked both results and am waffling on what to use this Saturday.

This Saturday the concert will be in a bigger recital hall.  I am guessing I will be 30' behind conductor. Probably 10 rows back.  I will have the luxury of a sound check as the group rehearses for 1 hour before they play.  So I am feeling pretty good about getting the mics up and setting levels correctly.

I may even have time to listen to 30cm/90 vs 40cm AB. But I'm not really sure I going to mess with that on my first outing. I'd like to get them up and leave them up.

If you had this scenario. Which option would you choose ?

And I've read numerous times.  Set the levels at -12 and boost in post (Audacity). That's my plan, unless someone has a better opinion.  The DR100 has dual level record. So I will get a second track that is 12db lower.  I am planning on a setting of 24/44.1 for this outing.

That's it. Thanks for any suggestions to make this go smoothly. All opinions welcome.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 01:05:43 AM by G.Kennedy »
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Offline jbell

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Offline Moke

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 11:03:19 AM »
Remember to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy.
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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 11:55:54 AM »
remember to take rig pics; either after set-up before the program or after the program. Visually documents your config. It gets easy to forget some details.
Good luck! 
music IS love

When you get confused, listen to the music play!

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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 01:34:50 PM »
Yes. I will try to relax and enjoy it. Being a long time stereoholic (not audiophile), this a fun new audio direction. I have built my own pre and power tube amps which drive my vintage Klipsch La Scalas. So I like to tinker.

That’s why the home made stereo bar and cables. I think I want the flexibility of a non fixed bar like the Shapeways.

I am stoked to have the hour of rehearsal to get any bugs out.

The conductor is 100% on board. And we are setting up a plan to load the rehearsal recordings every week to SoundCloud. The the kids can listen to their practice sessions.

Looking forward to Saturday!!!  I will take some photos and post them if I can figure that out. I may have a photo on my phone from a previous concert. Let me see if it loads so you can see the space.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 01:41:36 PM by G.Kennedy »
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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 01:52:49 PM »
Ok. Here is the venue. The piano is the main reason I am going back 10 or so rows. If not for that. I’d go front row center.

90deg/ 30cm or 40cm straight at stage ( which I am calling AB. Is that correct?)

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Offline Moke

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 02:11:17 PM »
AB is generally considered two mics, typically omnis, pointed at 0º straight forward, and 9"->12" apart

If you're referring to the CM3 pair as such, 30cm @ 90º, that is what we call NOS. 40cm, I'd call wide-NOS.
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 02:59:51 PM »
Adding to Moke's comment, the 90 degree angle with a pair of directional mics helps to create the stereo effect.  Stereo effect is created by differences in both sound pressure and timing of the same sound reaching each microphone.  By angling the mics (in the case of DIN and NOS, the angle is 90 degrees), you create a sound pressure difference between sounds arriving at the mics in the horizontal plane. 

So as Moke said, AB is used for split omni's because, since omni's aren't directional (i.e. their pickup pattern is circular), there isn't much of a sound pressure difference between the two mics.  The majority of the stereo effect you hear in AB recordings is a result of the difference it time it takes for a sound to get to one capsule versus the other.  Obviously, in this situation, if two mics are positioned close together that difference will be less pronounced than if they're farther apart.  The rule of thumb is that omni mics need to be about 30cm apart before you're able to hear some stereo effect.

With directional mics, you can create the stereo effect with both timing and sound pressure differences.  Since your directional mics are also spread apart, you'll have the same timing difference as you have with the same spread with omni's.  However, you can pronounce the stereo effect by angling the mics so that the mics are pointing in different directions.  When doing this, sound is entering the front of one capsule and the side of the other capsule.  The pickup patterns of a directional mic is more oval shaped, so the sound level entering the side of one of the mic capsules is a few db lower than the sound coming into the front of the other capsule.  When listening back, we hear these differences and that helps us directionally locate a sound on a recording as coming from one side or the other.

The analogy of course is your ears.  Both ears point in different directions and they're spaced by 17 or so cm (not uncoincidentally, that's ORTF and DIN spacing).  Our ears don't point straight forward, so our natural hearing also relies on both sound pressure and timing differences for directional sound location.  Lots of people like their recording to reproduce what they heard at the show, so ORTF and DIN (or DINa) are probably the most popular configurations since they replicate the spacing of your ears.

Sooo, if I remember correctly, your mics have cardioids in them.  Because of the above, I'd recommend using the NOS configuration over the AB configuration.  (I'd personally probably go with DIN or DINa, but that doesn't appear to be an option for you tonight.  NOS tends to be preferred when you're closer in to the sound source.)
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 03:19:27 PM by fanofjam »

Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2018, 03:29:10 PM »
Thank you both for helping me understand all this.

Ok. CM3 at 90deg/30cm is what I am going with.
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Offline Moke

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2018, 03:35:24 PM »
G.

*I put this together a couple of years ago, to help get a new audio forum get underway.  It is a playback forum, not a recording forum. I tried to explain stereo recording to a group of playback enthusiasts, and this is what I came up with. I've been told it helps sort out the basics of stereo recording, from a few new recordistas.
Hopefully might help?
http://www.hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/a-songcatcher-in-the-wild-natural-aural-imagery.48/

*Then photobucket killed it by cutting the image links; I fixed it.
Then a forum software change killed the thread again; I fixed it again.
All of that to say, that there are a few isms that might still need correcting. Its a work in prgress.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 04:04:44 PM by Moke »
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2018, 04:04:01 PM »
G.

I put this together a couple of years ago, to help get a new audio forum get underway.  It is a playback forum, not a recording forum. I tried to explain stereo recording to a group of playback enthusiasts, and this is what I came up with. I've been told it helps sort out the basics of stereo recording, from a few new recordistas.
Hopefully might help?
http://www.hifihaven.org/index.php?threads/a-songcatcher-in-the-wild-natural-aural-imagery.48/

+++T Moke.  Excellent work!

Offline rigpimp

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 06:26:43 PM »
Remember to take a deep breath, relax, and enjoy.

^^This.  Have fun first, then post your mistakes here:  http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=183662.0 and learn from them.   :tomato:  You'll have recorded 100x and still make mistakes you made during your first 10x.

Oh yah, and welcome to a hobby that will be an obsession before you can blink!

Good luck!

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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 06:39:01 PM »
Ok. Here is the venue. The piano is the main reason I am going back 10 or so rows. If not for that. I’d go front row center.

Go up front*.  Piano recording is challenging, and difficult to record clearly from further away.  Unless it is so much louder than the other instrumentation that it swamps everything else (unlikely), you'll most likely do best by getting slightly closer to the piano than you would the other instruments, not further away.

Why? Piano is a rather diffuse as a sound source (primarily radiating up and down perpendicular to it's soundboard, more than horizontally).  Some sound reflects directly of the lid out in one direction if raised to full-stick and you can see the strings and hammers reflected in the underside of the lid from the recording position, yet much of the sound reflects off the floor and other piano structures, and only arrives diffusely.

I made a recording recently of a concert grand and orchestra about 5' away from the curve of the piano.  It blocked the view of the entire orchestra from the recording position except the outer edges of the violin sections far left and the cellos and bass sections far right.  Worked out quite nicely.  Granted the piano is the featured element on that recording and was played as such.

For what you are doing, recording from the front row is likely ideal.  If I could, I might shoot for setting up directly behind the seated conductor/keyboardist, right over the center-most brass floor-receptacle in that photo, but it depends on the players and how live the room is.  You might make a slightly more forgiving recording from the center of the front row.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 07:10:27 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #13 on: January 17, 2018, 07:06:17 PM »
*Go up front.  <This is also important for numerous other reasons besides a piano being involved.  Without getting too deep- Choice of recording position is one of the most important choices we can make in live music recording. 

Here are few reasons why closer is usually better for acoustic music when there is no PA amplification involved:

1) You get a better balance between pickup of the sound arriving directly from the instruments and the reverberant sound bouncing around the room.  Microphones don't have a brain attached to them like ears do and cannot ignore/ hear-around the reverberation clearly in the same way as our brain/ears system can.  A recording position somewhat closer than where it sounds best with your own ears is usually going to work better for acoustic performances.  A recording made from where it sounds best live with your own ears will typically sound more distant and less "present" than your live impression was from that position.

2) It places the innumerable noises of humanity (audience) behind the recording position.  If you are recording from row 10 you'll get a great close-proximity recording of audience sniffles, coughs, whispers, jangling jewelry, candy-wrapper openings, along with a more distant, reverberant portrayal of the music.  You probably would prefer the opposite.   And, even if you had a truly church-mouse quiet audience, their applause will typically end up being significantly louder than the music due to their immediate proximity.

Now don't worry about any of that too much, but trust me on this, setup up front. 
When we don't it's either because we can not, or because other factors are involved.

Have fun with it.
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 07:13:04 PM by Gutbucket »
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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #14 on: January 17, 2018, 07:24:21 PM »
The only thing that would keep me out of the front row center seat would be a reserved ticket seat. Even then, I'd be fenagling my way into it.
And agreed with Gutbucket, about being up there, up front, and near that floor jack plate. The piano will go diffuse quickly enough, especially if you stay a bit lower. You don't need to fly at 8' either; who listens from up there? Record from the level of the music.
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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2018, 07:40:03 PM »
First off.  The link from Moke is outstanding. I read a bit. And bookmarked it for later. Very nice.

I can easily go up front. And fly low. No problem. The piano is not the feature. Just another instrument in the ensemble. There is also a good chance it will be pushed back a bit as the is no Tympani player this session.

I’ll plan on setting up on the receptical. I think I could even push right up to the stair. And be about Seat high on the conductor. If that would better. My stand is 4’ at lowest. ( C-stand from film industry) But it have a carbon fiber tripod I could use to go low.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #16 on: January 17, 2018, 08:07:44 PM »
Record from the level of the music.

^Seconded.  That will also make a more natural sounding and more forgiving recording.  Violins project upwards and can get screachy sounding from above.  A lower recording perspective gets a warmer string sound which should prove somewhat more flattering for the youth orchestra.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 08:52:38 AM by Gutbucket »
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #17 on: January 17, 2018, 08:16:27 PM »
4' should be fine, unless it blocks sight-lines too much.

An upfront, low recording perspective will slightly favor the front row of musicians (you'll hear more detail in their playing), but you should hear all orchestra sections in a good relative balance.  A low recording perspective also helps to better balance any horns and percussion.  The horns aren't pointing directly at the mics and the drums and percussion will have more space and depth.
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Offline Moke

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #18 on: January 17, 2018, 08:21:46 PM »
First off.  The link from Moke is outstanding. I read a bit. And bookmarked it for later. Very nice.

I can easily go up front. And fly low. No problem. The piano is not the feature. Just another instrument in the ensemble. There is also a good chance it will be pushed back a bit as the is no Tympani player this session.

I’ll plan on setting up on the receptical. I think I could even push right up to the stair. And be about Seat high on the conductor. If that would better. My stand is 4’ at lowest. ( C-stand from film industry) But it have a carbon fiber tripod I could use to go low.

My go-to stand, in almost all of my recording is the typical on-stage vocal mic stand, that I cut in half.  Its a steel stand, and a good heavy base, and fugly as all can be now, with rust, and gaudy bright yellow gaffers tape to warn of the legs.
I carry a series of 3/8-16 all thread rod extensions that I've made, that range from 6" to 3', and including a right angle adaptor made from a 1' all-thread rod. FOr female threads, I use the thread rod ferrule connectors, which are essentially really deep nuts (remember: men are bolts, and, women are nuts. It helps in the hardware store).
So, my base stand is two feet, and extends to 4'; to which I can add as many extensions as I need. So, with a 2'>4' base stand, and the extensions. i can quickly run up to 8', with a skinnier profile. But its a rare day when I go higher than 4'->5'. But I do have a 9' Manfrotto monster when needed (rare).

The pic below is with a 2' vertical extension, and a 1' horizontal extension. 3/8-16 thread rod, covered in black heatshrink to make it look less like thread rod..
« Last Edit: January 17, 2018, 08:25:11 PM by Moke »
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Offline fanofjam

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #19 on: January 17, 2018, 09:22:22 PM »
And for gods sake NEVER forget your duct tape...


Offline heesu

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #20 on: January 17, 2018, 10:01:28 PM »
Try to take some notes of your location, settings, etc. - anything you can think of. It'll help you the next time!

Have fun, it's going to turn out great!

Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #21 on: January 17, 2018, 10:56:34 PM »
Ok. I reconfigured my stand. From a film lighting stand with too many knobs and silver bits. To a carbon fiber Gitzo camera tripod.

I could get to 5’ if I had to. But that would be in people’s veiw. So easily gets to 4’.

Thank you all for the opinions on stand placement. I’ll report back Sunday morning with some photos and a Soundcloud link for critique.



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Offline fanofjam

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #22 on: January 17, 2018, 11:11:06 PM »
It's snowed three inches in Richmond, Virginia today.  Your pool looks inviting.

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2018, 08:10:40 PM »
Good luck and best wishes for your taping.
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Offline Moke

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #24 on: January 18, 2018, 08:55:40 PM »
Ok. I reconfigured my stand. From a film lighting stand with too many knobs and silver bits. To a carbon fiber Gitzo camera tripod.

I could get to 5’ if I had to. But that would be in people’s veiw. So easily gets to 4’.

Thank you all for the opinions on stand placement. I’ll report back Sunday morning with some photos and a Soundcloud link for critique.





You might look into some of the Sorbothane isolators that are available in the audiophile world.  You can foot your stand on them rather than having shock mounts.  i use a trio of them regularly, especially if I'm going onto any form of joisted stage, where vibrations will be a problem.
Also,... there are Sorbothane shoe inserts that could be utilized as well.

I've used a trio of these, for years (but just now realized that I've carried four of them for all these years); 2.5" O.D.:
« Last Edit: January 18, 2018, 09:09:28 PM by Moke »
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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2018, 12:04:50 PM »
100% Success!!!!!  It went great. I didn't forget anything at home. All the gear worked seamlessly. I pushed right up front as you suggested.

The audio sounds great. Very revealing of the young players less than perfect technique.

Thank you all for your help. What a great community.

I will select their best tune and load it to Soundclound for your critique. But at this level of playing. I can't imagine anything I could change, to make it better. 

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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2018, 07:56:47 PM »
Ok. Here is a track. Not making any excuses for these kids as I feel they are really working hard. Ages 8 to 17. Most are about 10-15. My daughter is 8.  So as you listen. Try to focus on the recording. Not the performance.  I feel this is their best track.

Recorded at 44.1/24. Represented here as 44.1/16 as I am putting it on a CD for the conductor, so that happens to be the file I loaded. I could put up the 44.1/24 track, but I can't imagine that changes anything in this situation.  In Audacity I labeled and split the tracks. Then Effect> Normalize to raise the levels to -1db. Then exported as 44.1/16. Does that seem like a good workflow? 

All opinions welcome. Line Audio CM3 at 30cm/90deg>Tascam DR100mkiii. About 4' high. About 6' behind conductor.  Aimed at -12db and boosted in Audacity.


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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2018, 10:03:18 PM »
In Audacity I labeled and split the tracks. Then Effect> Normalize to raise the levels to -1db. Then exported as 44.1/16. Does that seem like a good workflow? 

That's how I'd do it. You might be able to get a little more volume boost by applying extremely light dynamic compression on any stray peaks (like that one at about 13 seconds into this track), but it's not really necessary.

Recording sounds great! Nice stereo separation, sound is clear and rich. And the kids aren't half-bad either. Congrats!

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #28 on: January 22, 2018, 02:39:00 PM »
Congrats!

You can now use this setup and recording as a baseline against which to judge any changes you may choose to make for subsequent recordings. 

For instance, since you are getting plenty of direct-sound clarity from that position, you may want to try shifting the recording position back a bit, closer to the front row.  That will shift the direct-sound/reverberant-sound balance towards a slightly less-close/more-reverberant sound, lessening the focus on the details of the musicianship and blending things a bit more sort of like a softer-focus lens.  That sort of depends on the purpose of the recordings- teaching tool for the kids to really hear themselves in the ensemble as clearly as possible, verses making a recording which sounds as flattering as possible for the ensemble as a whole.
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Offline rigpimp

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #29 on: January 22, 2018, 02:59:39 PM »
I can't imagine anything I could change, to make it better.

Congratulations, on your first pull!  It sounds great and has cool separation.  I am sure it well represents what was heard in the room.

I highlighted a quote above for you to think about as you move forward.  You can ALWAYS change and there is ALWAYS opportunity to make it different, and sometimes better. 

Do not short sell your ability or opportunities and experiment, experiment, experiment.  Like gutbucket states each time you make an adjustment make notes on how that shift changes the sound.  What you will find is that as you stack experience you can quickly look at a room and have an idea where to set up and with what configuration, just by knowing your gear and by sight.  If I am in a public venue I often take two small narrow strips of gaffers tape and put an "X" on the floor.  (Yes, seriously.  X marks the spot.)

Most importantly, make sure you that you are geeking out on the fun that this hobby brings into your life and the life of others you share with.  Make your daughter proud just as she does for you.

Again, congrats!

Keith
Mics: Schoeps MK5 G MP, Schoeps CCM 4 Lg MP, Schoeps MK8 MP, nBob cables > PFA, KCY 250/5 > PFA
Pre/A>D/P48: Sonosax SX/M2, Sonosax SX/M2-LS, E.A.A. PSP-2, Naiant Tinybox, Neumann BS48i-2 (for sale)
Recorders: Sound Devices Mixpre-6, Sony PCM-M10
Playback: McIntosh MC2105 > McIntosh C39 > Von Schweikert VR-4 JR
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Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #30 on: January 22, 2018, 11:56:03 PM »
Thank you all for giving it a listen and all your advice. I’m very happy with how it turned out. That was the final concert of the session. So they shut down for a month. Starting in March. I’ll start taping all their rehearsals every Saturday. So I’ll have plenty of no pressure time to play with different configurations.

When  Normalizing. I did  - Select All> Effect>Normalize. Two of the tracks have a child playing a drum kit. Including a solo where he got very loud. I knew it was coming so I turned down at the beginning of the track. Still. It was the loudest part of the show.

So when  Normalizing. That part is what set the high bar. Forcing everything else to have lower levels.

Should each track be normalized independently. So rouge loud parts don’t effect the whole recording. Or does that make it uneven everywhere.
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Offline nulldogmas

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #31 on: January 23, 2018, 02:03:05 PM »

When  Normalizing. I did  - Select All> Effect>Normalize. Two of the tracks have a child playing a drum kit. Including a solo where he got very loud. I knew it was coming so I turned down at the beginning of the track. Still. It was the loudest part of the show.

So when  Normalizing. That part is what set the high bar. Forcing everything else to have lower levels.

Should each track be normalized independently. So rouge loud parts don’t effect the whole recording. Or does that make it uneven everywhere.

This is why I was suggesting light dynamic compression above.

Let's say the entire recording is below -6 dB, except for a handful of snare hits that peak around -1dB. If you apply, say, 3:1 or 4:1 compression to everything above -6 dB, then the snare hits get quieted while everything else is left unchanged, and you have the headroom to normalize afterwards and make the whole thing significantly louder.

(If you start compressing large sections of music, you get into Loudness Wars territory and it will sound like crap. But for a few stray drum hits or claps or even loud vocal moments, it should work fine.)

Offline G.Kennedy

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Re: First show ever, What am I forgetting...
« Reply #32 on: January 23, 2018, 04:55:10 PM »
Excellent. I’ll make a copy of the track with the drum kit and learn how to do that. Thanks.
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