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Author Topic: Portable live recording for bluegrass band  (Read 3998 times)

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Offline msteudel

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Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« on: June 09, 2016, 02:26:36 PM »
So I'm completely new to the whole taper/portable recording device, but I'm in a six piece Bluegrass band and we are looking to do some "guerrilla" recording around town, where we get pretty good sound and video at various locations. Hoping to do a couple videos every month.

I'm not sure what the best way to accomplish this is, but was thinking we'd do something like using our Large condenser microphone (Ear trumpet labs Louise) maybe a second Large condenser or tie in the bass directly and then use the on board stereo mics of the device and then later blend them all together into one sound that we'd sync up with the camera. I'm hoping the cost is some where in the 200 - 300 dollar range. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2016, 03:08:19 PM »
Any suggestions?


Find a local taper and have them do it in exchange for free tickets and/or beer... 

Terry
***Do you have PHISH, VIDA BLUE, JAZZ MANDOLIN PROJECT or any other Phish related DATs/Tapes/MDs that need to be transferred???  I can do them for you!!!***

I will return your DATs/Tapes/MDs.  I'll also provide Master FLAC files via DropBox.  PM me for details.

Sony PCM R500 > SPDIF > Tascam HD-P2
Nakamichi DR-3 > (Oade Advanced Concert Mod) Tascam HD-P2
Sony MDS-JE510 > Hosa ODL-276 > Tascam HD-P2

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Offline Craig T

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2016, 03:32:48 PM »
Single omni at vocal height for vocals/group play, 1 or 2 flanking cardiods for solos, DI the bass.  You can get a good capture with 4 channels.  Fiddle and banjo will cut through everything.  Vocals, mandolin, guitar and bass are typically lower without amplification.
Schoeps cmc6/4v / Line Audio CM3, OM1 / ADK A51 / Church Audio CA-14
Naiant Tinybox v2.2 / NBox(P) / Apogee Mini-MP / Church Audio ST9200 / CA-UGLY
Sony PCM-M10 / Tascam DR-70D

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2016, 04:19:08 PM »
What Craig suggests is a good recording setup for this genera.  Here's a photo showing Chatham Co. Line's live setup which is basically that-



But that's a technical answer which places the cart before the horse.  The more basic answer which best addresses your needs is most likely Terry's!  Leverage the expertise of a local taper who enjoys your style of music and has figured out how to record it well by doing it many years for fun.  They'll bring expertise as well as appropriate gear.  The expertise is the bigger challenge of the two.  In addition the taper can focus on all the recording aspects, allowing you to focus on playing and not have to think or worry about the technical recording stuff, which will probably lead to a healthier dynamic and better recordings.
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Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2016, 04:39:46 PM »
^ all the above input. 

The typical setup for this music is the one in the picture (though I've often seen it done without the accompanying cards, which seem somewhat essential).  4 channels should do it.  The bass is probably the only thing needing reinforcement in this sort of context (thus one DI) and it may not need much. 

I favor ambient sound as much as possible in any setting.  It's much truer and far better captures the dynamic that is the key to a quality group.  It's also a lot simpler to work with and to edit later. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2016, 12:38:26 PM »
I favor ambient sound as much as possible in any setting.  It's much truer and far better captures the dynamic that is the key to a quality group.  It's also a lot simpler to work with and to edit later.
When you refer to ambient sound do you mean just the sound out of the room into a mic vs instruments plugging directly in (as you mentioned the bass)?

Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2016, 12:43:28 PM »
Single omni at vocal height for vocals/group play, 1 or 2 flanking cardiods for solos, DI the bass.  You can get a good capture with 4 channels.  Fiddle and banjo will cut through everything.  Vocals, mandolin, guitar and bass are typically lower without amplification.
What about the actual recording device? Suggestions there? Was looking at the tascam 70d ... that would allow me 4 channels.

Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2016, 12:44:14 PM »

Find a local taper and have them do it in exchange for free tickets and/or beer... 

Terry

I'll do that ... though the number of videos we want to put out might mean I owe someone a lifetime worth of tickets and beer ...

Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2016, 12:49:57 PM »
But that's a technical answer which places the cart before the horse.  The more basic answer which best addresses your needs is most likely Terry's!  Leverage the expertise of a local taper who enjoys your style of music and has figured out how to record it well by doing it many years for fun.  They'll bring expertise as well as appropriate gear.  The expertise is the bigger challenge of the two.  In addition the taper can focus on all the recording aspects, allowing you to focus on playing and not have to think or worry about the technical recording stuff, which will probably lead to a healthier dynamic and better recordings.
I love Catham Co! I've definitely got some folks in mind that might be willing to help out.

But one of the issues I see is that playing as a band into a single mic really takes some practice. So at our practices we need to be constantly practice distance control and movement etc. and be able to listen to the recordings to get feedback on what's working and not working. Plus while I would rather have someone help handle this, coordinating 6 piece band plus someone doing the recording for free (even in exchange for tickets and beer) is a lot of logistics. I'd like to have my own gear so I can just do it without having to coordinate with someone.

Anyway I think I'll pursue both avenues, find someone to help learn the ropes and get my own gear so I can have the flexibility. Suggestions on recording devices?

Offline twatts (that "Pants" thing is so lame...)

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2016, 01:09:04 PM »

Find a local taper and have them do it in exchange for free tickets and/or beer... 

Terry

I'll do that ... though the number of videos we want to put out might mean I owe someone a lifetime worth of tickets and beer ...

My response was half-sarcasm...  But GutBucket made a very good point in that you'll want to focus on your playing on not on running your gear... 

Terry
***Do you have PHISH, VIDA BLUE, JAZZ MANDOLIN PROJECT or any other Phish related DATs/Tapes/MDs that need to be transferred???  I can do them for you!!!***

I will return your DATs/Tapes/MDs.  I'll also provide Master FLAC files via DropBox.  PM me for details.

Sony PCM R500 > SPDIF > Tascam HD-P2
Nakamichi DR-3 > (Oade Advanced Concert Mod) Tascam HD-P2
Sony MDS-JE510 > Hosa ODL-276 > Tascam HD-P2

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Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2016, 03:15:49 PM »
I favor ambient sound as much as possible in any setting.  It's much truer and far better captures the dynamic that is the key to a quality group.  It's also a lot simpler to work with and to edit later.
When you refer to ambient sound do you mean just the sound out of the room into a mic vs instruments plugging directly in (as you mentioned the bass)?

Yes.  The sound in the room.  That's what people hear.  If the purpose is as a learning tool it is best to hear what the audience does.  That also means you don't need to spend a lot of time you may not have editing and mixing (the more sources and channels the more time and software required). 

If it is really for reference you could go simpler with a "stage lip" sort of two channel approach using suitable mics (I prefer cards, others would use omnis).  That eliminates having to play toward the mics or to bear those too much in mind while playing and gives you a very real assessment of how you sound to the audience. 

Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2016, 03:28:02 PM »
I love Catham Co! I've definitely got some folks in mind that might be willing to help out.

But one of the issues I see is that playing as a band into a single mic really takes some practice. So at our practices we need to be constantly practice distance control and movement etc. and be able to listen to the recordings to get feedback on what's working and not working. Plus while I would rather have someone help handle this, coordinating 6 piece band plus someone doing the recording for free (even in exchange for tickets and beer) is a lot of logistics. I'd like to have my own gear so I can just do it without having to coordinate with someone.

Anyway I think I'll pursue both avenues, find someone to help learn the ropes and get my own gear so I can have the flexibility. Suggestions on recording devices?

That practice seems very useful.  It seems a little more difficult in bluegrass where the single mic is involved and the players essentially have to hold the circle.  Nevertheless that may (or may not) be how you'd find you band mic'd at larger performances/broadcasts/professional opportunities so were it me I'd have a goal of being good at the control required... 

Coordinating the band plus the recording seems a bigger challenge than having someone else do it but I think you would need your own setup if you want to do every show and rehearsals and all the rest. 

Your budget seemed pretty limited as well I think (though you at least have a solid single LD mic).  The onboard mics of a device are usually pretty limited but if it is close and you're not loud they may provide something useful. 

As to recorder that Tascam does seem to be sort of a least cost 4 channel set up.  There is likely a lot of discussion of it around here in other threads. 

Given all that's on your plate I'd keep it simple.  Any of the ideas above are good.  You could start with the LD and onboard and see if that gets you something useful.  If it does good.  If not or if you want further improvement you can add other mics.  4 mics would likely cover most scenarios.  It is out of your price range but DPA offers a really nice clip on instrument mic for upright bass.  IMO that is the best approach to that instrument.  A lot of professionals use this and if they can get a DI for the bass in larger settings will ask that be used. 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline Justy Gyee

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2016, 04:09:43 PM »

Find a local taper and have them do it in exchange for free tickets and/or beer... 

Terry

I'll do that ... though the number of videos we want to put out might mean I owe someone a lifetime worth of tickets and beer ...
I didnt know a lifetime of beer was a possible payment plan!?!?.
Ive helped out mark a few times, but like his enthusiasm to do it himself.
Heres my first time seeing his band
Colonels of Truth Live at Nectar Lounge on 2015-08-11 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
https://archive.org/details/ColonelsOfTruth2015-08-11.akg483.flac24
« Last Edit: June 10, 2016, 04:12:25 PM by Justy Gyee »
if it aint broke, don't fix it

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2016, 04:16:53 PM »
Will you all be making vids in random locations, guerrilla filmmaker style? or making vids of performances where you are already mic'd onstage for the PA with the venue's mic's?

If guerrilla style you'll need microphones, mic stand(s) cables and a recorder.  If recording stage performances where you're already mic'd up for the PA you might get away with only the recorder with built-in mics, also recording a mix from the soundboard.
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Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2016, 05:01:15 PM »
Will you all be making vids in random locations, guerrilla filmmaker style?

We were looking to take videos of us in random locations, guerilla style ... (that's the hope at least)

Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2016, 05:02:21 PM »

I didnt know a lifetime of beer was a possible payment plan!?!?.
Ive helped out mark a few times, but like his enthusiasm to do it himself.
Heres my first time seeing his band
Colonels of Truth Live at Nectar Lounge on 2015-08-11 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive
https://archive.org/details/ColonelsOfTruth2015-08-11.akg483.flac24

Haha ...

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2016, 05:51:41 PM »
Group playing around a single mic is a difficult skill.  It's a complex dance between all the performers.  I once saw a guest mandolin player get hip-checked and land on his ass when he didn't get out of the way fast enough.  The audience loved it! Hardly any bluegrass bands actually use only a single mic.  Even the minimally mic'd ones use at least two or three or four main mics and a dedicated mic on the bass.   Typically one or two vocal (& fiddle) mics, often a large diaphragm mic, which looks cool, up at head level and a couple shared instrument mics on either side down closer to waist height guitar level.   

The Chat.Co.Line setup is somewhat of an halfway compromise between those things with all three main mics mounted on a single stand, which should make for an easier guerrilla location setup.  It still takes some dancing, though not as much as trying to use a single mic for both vocals and instruments.  The guitar needs to get in close, the banjo can hang back further than anyone else, 'cept  the close-mic'd bass.

Might be worth a try to use a 4 ch recorder with decent built in directional mics, with the recorder attached to the same stand below the large diaphragm vocal mic.  That would be similar to the Ch.Co.Line setup.  Run the bass mic into the other XLR channel opposite the vocal mic.  That's sort of the stage lip + vocal mic + bass mic thing.

..It is out of your price range but DPA offers a really nice clip on instrument mic for upright bass.  IMO that is the best approach to that instrument.  A lot of professionals use this and if they can get a DI for the bass in larger settings will ask that be used. 

That's the DPA 4099 (B for bass version I think) which is excellent for that and pretty standard these days.  The 4099 is a go to mic for live "clamp on to the instrument" acoustic instrument mic'ing.  Same mic is used on fiddles, mandos, banjos, horns, etc.  The only difference is the clamp specific to each instrument type, although the horn version may be less sensitive.

You'll want some kind of mic mounted on the bass itself like that.  You may be able to get away with the classic technique of simply wrapping a regular mic in a towel or bit of foam and stuffing it behind the tailpiece pointing up at the bridge.



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Offline msteudel

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #17 on: June 13, 2016, 12:20:43 AM »
Thanks! I was looking at the Tascom 70D which has built in mics, but it seems like the Zooms get better reviews for the onboard mics. I haven't seen anyone tout the quality of the 70d ... any thoughts about that? I think the Zoom 6 can do both onboards and xlrs so it seems like sorta a toss up between tascam 70d and the zoom 6 ... though the tascam has the benefit of only being 200 right now ....

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #18 on: June 13, 2016, 12:09:19 PM »

If guerrilla style you'll need microphones, mic stand(s) cables and a recorder.  If recording stage performances where you're already mic'd up for the PA you might get away with only the recorder with built-in mics, also recording a mix from the soundboard.

Not really...  The secret to this is to get a camera that has a minijack mic input and allows you to manually set the record level (Sony used to have that but dropped the mic input on everything but theor most expensive ones so I use a Canon now).  Then just use a decent mic (the one I lived with this way for years hasn't been made in that many years or more but you could just use a pair of SP's or Churchs clipped to a mount or the tripod).  As long as you're not waving the camera around it's fine.  Far simpler and more practical (especially if the band is running it themselves, which I take to be a set it and forget it sort of thing). 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline bombdiggity

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #19 on: June 13, 2016, 12:12:14 PM »
Thanks! I was looking at the Tascom 70D which has built in mics, but it seems like the Zooms get better reviews for the onboard mics. I haven't seen anyone tout the quality of the 70d ... any thoughts about that? I think the Zoom 6 can do both onboards and xlrs so it seems like sorta a toss up between tascam 70d and the zoom 6 ... though the tascam has the benefit of only being 200 right now ....

If you think you may do SBD inputs at some point check to make sure whatever it is supports line level inputs.  One of my soundperson friends was saying his Zoom has XLR inputs but they're mic inputs so he has to put attenuators in line and use the internal pad to get the feed down to a suitable level.  YMMV? 
Gear:
Audio:
Schoeps MK4V
Nak CM-100/CM-300 w/ CP-1's or CP-4's
SP-CMC-25
>
Oade C mod R-44  OR
Tinybox > Sony PCM-M10 (formerly Roland R-05) 
Video: Varied, with various outboard mics depending on the situation

Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #20 on: June 13, 2016, 04:42:16 PM »
Another thought is to use a board that has built in USB recording.  The Behringer XR12 ($249) has 4 XLR mic inputs and will record a 2 channel mix onto a USB drive.  The Soundcraft UI12 ($299) has 8 XLR mic inputs and will record a 2 channel mix onto a USB drive; however, I do not recommend the ui in its present form because I have experienced noise in quiet settings with low output condenser mics on phantom power on my ui12.  I also do not like the ui's stage box design or having an external power supply.     However, Soundcraft is working on an updated mixer that very well should be worth the wait because the software used to control the UI is very, very good.  But if you can't wait, the XR is a pretty cool mixer that is in the OP's price range.   


Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #21 on: June 14, 2016, 07:21:28 PM »
Have really enjoyed this discussion as I'll be in this situation in a few weeks.
Thinking of a single omni flanked by ORTF cards. (maybe a mono feed from the board as fourth channel)

Does that seem like a good approach?

Last time I recorded at this club I was ~12 feet back and the recording is VERY chatty.

Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #22 on: July 08, 2016, 10:16:26 AM »
Worth a shot.  Be flexible. If you leave the omni on the stand in the middle between the ORTF pair, it may make sense to either space the cardioids  a bit further apart or angle them wider than ORTF, depending on how you work the mix.  If you need more prominent bass, have enough mic cable already coiled and ready at the base of the stand to move the omni over to it and stick it behind the tailpiece using some foam or wrapped in a towel or something. 
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Offline StarkRavingCalm

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2017, 11:17:41 AM »
I used the method above and am happy with the results of the band, but the recording is still pretty chatty.

I went back last week and recorded another bluegrass band. I used the same config but swapped ORTF for DIN-A.
Still pretty chatty
Not sure what my next options should be:
swap cards for hypers?
decrease angle of cards?
accept this is part of "the sound of the room" at this bar?



Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Portable live recording for bluegrass band
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2017, 03:00:39 PM »
All of the above.

Try using the most directional mics you have available to you.
Point them away from chattiness as much as possible.
Get the mics a closer to the instruments and voices and further from the sources of noise.
Accept that the output level from acoustic instruments can't compete with a room full of folks more interested in talking about other stuff than listening to the music.

All that can only go so far.  The only way to significantly cut pickup of the audience further is to put individual mics on the instruments and vocals and make a mix of those sources.  Best to record the sources separately and do that mix later (probably sweetening the dry close-mic'd sound with some reverb) and not try to record a stereo mix of all that live, unless you don't change the band setup from gig to gig and learn to dial in a decent 2-ch live mix which always works pretty well. Even then, getting there will be easier if you can record everything separately a few times and figure out an optimal mix later, which you can then use as a target to try and emulate with your live 2-channel mix.
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