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Author Topic: First SDCs for live taping?  (Read 2545 times)

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Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: First SDCs for live taping?
« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2017, 08:36:15 AM »
I'm another University trained Acoustician. I studied Psychoacoustics and room acoustics at Syracuse in the early 1980's under Dr's. Joseph Sturr and Edward Cudahy. I also did some time in studios then formed a company which designed signal processors and ultimately wound up in PA and video installation in nightclubs, theaters etc. Later on I actually got to work with Vincent van Haaff doing real room acoustics work.

The world of acoustics is different from the world of recording live music which incorporates what we know and places us in the "real world". Microphone selection as you have evidenced is a very "specific to the situation" type of deal when in studio. Having only a certain tool or two when going live makes it a different sort of challenge. As Gutbucket said, when asking what sorts of recording you will do, a lot of what you choose to buy should be considering the "what type of situation" almost over anything. Since you are starting out, I am with the spend your money on good stuff and avoid the mediocre stuff either way. I run with kindms, and his statement last summer was: it looks as if microphones and pre-amps are the things to spend money on, decks and such are always changing and you have to be willing to move on when the technologies change, BUT a good solid microphone can last years.

So, to your specifics: you have good ears and the mics/capsules you prefer are obviously high quality and exemplary. While I like the sound of Schoeps and Neumanns a whole lot, and have used B&K, Nakamichi etc over the years my decisions have been based on economics. I prefer to spend a bit less (We are AKG hoarders as kindms pointed out!) and keep that money for concert tickets. Over the years, I have been lucky to see and record so many shows, the last 5 years have been about 10-15 events/shows and that is much less than when I was young. So depending on the type of concert goer/taper you will become this is something to think about budget wise.

The LIne Audio CM3's sure do get a lot of love here although I have never used them. I would save up for a pair of them while also going the used route for the AT mics you were pointed toward. While I think the AT's are a bit strident in the 2k and up range, they are very adequate and solid sounding for distance PA recording. If thinking of stealthing I would avoid all the noise and go straight to dpa, church audio seems nice but they have some customer relation issues from what I read.

A final note as I haven't seen anyone mention this: when prepping a rig bag, think of factors such as weight and size. Coming from a studio environment you can forget that it isn't always the best method to have large gear bags and cases for everything you will be concert recording with. kindms and I have spent considerable amount of time re-thinking our "footprint". Oddly enough, since 2014 and incorporating gutbucket's OMT techniques we have chosen to go larger with our choice of OMT techniques when recording officially allowed bands. However, we have the ability to go small, with a Sony M10 etc. I'll hold my idea of 2 vs multi channel choices for another post.
Welcome and good luck with your gear choices. Ask questions, there are lots of answers and opinions on this board.        :cheers:
« Last Edit: December 02, 2017, 09:09:01 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline wforwumbo

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Re: First SDCs for live taping?
« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2017, 02:53:48 PM »
Hi everyone,
First, a quick update - looks like I will be picking up those AT4031s, and at a darned good price too - low enough where when I upgrade I won't kick myself for having gotten these (plus they'll work well for ORTF field recordings once I upgrade to the microphones I want down the line).

Secondly, a quick note... I don't plan on stealth taping, and if I do I'll concern myself with a stealth rig down the line. The DR-40 will most likely work for stealthing and patching once I do upgrade to a deck with more channels/pres, so I have little concern about setting up a stealth rig. Heck, the CM3s seem like they'd do well for a stealth rig with the DR-40, and then eventually stealth up with Schoeps caps + KCY actives + Naiant IPA... I would love to get an M10, but it looks a touch out of my price range for the time being - especially since I'd need to also buy mic pres on top of that. I know I should save up for the microphones I want, but I also expect the CM3s would do wonders on most of the classical eastern instruments I record, especially in combination with DPA 4011s.

To respond to two quick other points: I like nakamichis but they're missing... something IMO for rock music (though that said I find they're WONDERFUL classical mics). The AKG c460/ck61/ck63 set would be nice to have especially for very dark or boomy rooms (I rather enjoy the 8-10k "sizzle" on c480 tapes I've heard from UIC, McNichols, and BGCA off the top of my head), but given they'd be less of a utility and more of a special case mic I think I'd hold off on them. I also think that I'd get far more usage out of the mk41v, as I vastly prefer their off-axis response. A quick note about some other brands I don't think I've mentioned... Microtech Geffels are solid and built like tanks, but never blow me away the way Schoeps and DPA do - just my ears, I guess; I like the Neumann sound but at a distance I find them to be rather dark; while I respect the tapers that prefer them, I've never liked the sound of shotgun mics (too much phase decorrelation IMO); I do like Earthworks but think the tapes I can pull vs cost function is too low, plus they're extremely bulky.

Good to invest in microphones fully before spending funds on fancy recorders and ancillary gear.  All the other stuff mostly just needs to work right.  Most of the magic mojo we have control over is found in recording location, the microphones and how you choose to set up the microphones. BUT before you outline too much of a future microphone acquisition plan, consider what, where, and how you plan to record, assuming you have a clear idea of those things (you might not at this point).  Are you always going to be in big venues? Do you plan to do any stage-lip or on-stage recording in small clubs?  Do you plan to mess around with 3, 4, or more microphone arrays or stick with straight 2-channel configurations?  Do you want a pair of mics with which to record everything or are your more of a "horses for courses" type guy who might choose an entirely different microphone pattern and stereo configuration once you get to the venue and scope out the situation?

Those things will determine what microphone patterns you'll be likely to get the most use out of.  You probably won't need multiple sets of cardioids for instance, so it makes sense to think about an upgrade or microphone acquisition path which gives you the most flexibility to accommodate the type of taping you plan to do without simply replacing a set of decent cardioids with a better pair of cards, and then do that yet again.   For instance, I suspect a follow up pair of omnis or super/hypercardoids is likely to expand your options more than a second pair of more expensive cardioids.

Lots of good food for thought. IMO, the singular most important aspect of recording captured sound, is location (closely followed by mic technique if stereo mic'ing, then mic type and polarity pattern). I was lucky enough that a few tapers listened to my madman-esque ranting at the baker's dozen for where to put mic stands, I would never claim to have magic ears or know exactly what to do but I do have some intuition based on my knowledge of room acoustics. To address some of your points here directly as far as my future thoughts on recording, in order:

  • Yes, I will likely be recording almost exclusively in bigger venues, if I have the time I'd consider branching out to smaller venues/bands but it's doubtful especially now given I'm trying to wrap up my dissertation (from which TS seems to be a nice procrastination mechanism, ha!)
  • Most likely no, but if I were to do stage lip/on-stage, I probably wouldn't stick a single pair of mics in ORTF/coincident/NOS/DIN, so I don't think I'd consider that until I had money to throw around.
  • Eventually, yes I'll be experimenting with a larger number of microphones. Regardless, I think the DR-40 + single pair of cardioids (or hypers/supers) would be the bare minimum I could tape with, and my chances of always pulling a usable tape with that rig would be higher I think. WAAAAAY down the line I'm thinking of having an open/sub-cardioid stereo pair, a cardioid pair, a hyper pair, and maybe an m/s, split omni, or center channel to create L/C/R
  • The next pair I get would most likely be either the Schoeps mk5, or the DPA 4011s - solely because I'd get loads of flexibility. But after that I'd definitely want a pair of Schoeps mk22s, they're by far the best cap I've ever had the pleasure of hearing.

I'll be doing LOTS of thinking about stereo microphone techniques, outside of what's common. Honestly in the studio x-y/coincident/blumlein tend to reign supreme, and after learning from tapers I've found myself getting amazing results with "unconventional" mic techniques - really, it's a matter of capturing a source as truly as possible, not just what is traditionally used. At the end of the day, I think I'd rather use whatever microphones and techniques will create the best possible tape.

This also brings up another point - I will be using many of these mics not just for live taping, but also in the studio. So I expect that regardless I'll be growing my SDC mic locker over time, and when a mic or capsule gets left at home when I head to a show it won't be totally useless/go to waste.

Also consider what type of person and taper you are.  Which is a bigger motivation for you- recording so as to quickly and easily sharing your recordings, or figuring out how to make the best recording you can?  Would you be just as happy with someone else's good recording made with better gear than you would be with yours (and the learning process you went through to make it)?

If you plan to record more than two channels, there are two different viable main approaches, both of which I use and recommend- 1) Record two separate stereo pairs for comparison purposes. Basically a known baseline standard and whatever new you want to try. This is the best way to really get a handle on what different mics sound like, what different mic configurations sound like, etc, by way of eliminating most other extraneous variables.   If you want to play around with mixing them and like how it sounds, great.  But recognize that the primary intent is a good basis of comparison for deciding where you want to go.  There are better ways of using four channels if the intent is to make a single recording, which brings me to approach #2) Making a three, four or more channel recording with the intention of mixing that to a single 2-channel stereo recording.  This is more complicated and more work, but provides enormous advantages, opening up options and possibilities which avoid many of the compromises inherent in recording with a simple stereo pair.  This is where live performance stereo recording and studio stereo recording techniques really part ways, the main difference being techniques to accommodate distance, less than ideal situations, and the oddity of recording a PA within a reverberant room, along with a live audience, while keeping everything in balance.  Using different pickup patterns in combination with non-conventional microphone setups opens lots of opportunities there.

A good bit of that choice in approach concerns what type of taper you are, what type of things you enjoy playing around with, and how prolific you plan to be as a community taper.  The first approach is the more conservative and well-trod path, its more straight-forward, quicker and simpler.  If you plan to tape a lot and up-load your recordings quickly, or aren't really interested in the technical stuff, its best to keep the setup and mixing work as simple as possible.  The second is a more creative approach, and a good fit for those interested in figuring out how and why acoustics work the way they do in pursuit of leveraging that to make the best recording possible.  There is no right or wrong choice here.

Lots of good things to chew over here, thanks for incorporating all of it into the discussion. Firstly, I definitely want to be processing things, I wouldn't mind having a single tape up first (I'm a night owl normally going to bed around 3-4 AM, so I'd have no issues transferring, track-level-adjusting, chopping, and upping to eTree after a show. That said, my primary focus as a taper will 100% be to create the best possible tape for stereo playback (I strongly dislike most multi-channel setups as they have too many phase issues to my ear; the exception is Logic 7 which decodes from stereo streams anyway). I would definitely be happy working with someone else's recordings, in fact my primary motivation for taping is to strengthen something I already do: stereo mixdowns/matrices of shows. I know my way around a studio especially with separate tracks, and I want to create the best, most balanced, and (if I was at the show) most accurate depiction of my memory of the sound in the venue as is possible. To me, it's just as much fun to tape as it is to take a bunch of tapes, time/phase-align plus EQ plus dynamically/automate mix levels, and then put out a finished product that sounds better than anything else out there (IMO with a large grain of salt, obviously).

Eventually I will definitely move to more channels (again, thinking subcard+card+hyper/super matched pairs, plus maybe m/s or split omni or decca tree or jecklin disc depending on the venue and what it is I'm recording).

I care less about being prolific, and more about contributing to the community where I can. I've come across this community of extremely nice, welcoming, and competent people - I want to learn what I can, improve my own recordings, learn through experience and strengthen my intuition, and eventually one day hopefully pass the torch to those that come after me, doing as much as I can to leave the community a better place than I found it. Notoriety means little to me - it's less about the name, and more about the music that I can capture and how to best do that. I am definitely by all means interested in the technical stuff as I am at my core an electrical engineer, so much of the mathematics and technical background are second nature to me; applying that appeals to me very strongly.

Yeah, I really liked those AT4031 recordings too, especially after I eq'd them a bit - being a studio jockey I know my way around parametrics and bus EQ's pretty well. And it isn't necessarily over your head - if I'm worth my weight in salt, I can break down complex topics into more easily-understood terms and concepts.

This is a huge advantage.  Most live music tapers start out choosing mics based upon cost and their native response and have very little knowledge about the power of EQ to greatly level the playing field.  My favorite microphones are not necessarily the ones which have a native response I prefer over all others, but are the ones which are relatively free of resonances, have well-behaved off-axis responses, and have a smooth response which I can easily shape into what I want out of the resulting recordings made in different situations.  To my way of thinking, a primary aspect of good mics are those which provide that kind of easily EQ'able flexibility.  And on the flip-side, those which do not "take EQ" well, are not good mics, irregardless of price or pedigree.  But I'm less of a keep it simple, tape it and bag it type archival taper and am more into exploring they "whys", "hows", and ways of improving things.

Hope that helps.

I'm 100% with you here. I imagine we will be having some intense conversations in taper's sections in the future, in addition to hear. This helped a lot, thank you so much for all of this.
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Online jcable77

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Re: First SDCs for live taping?
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2017, 04:06:04 PM »
Love it when a plan comes together.... :cheers:
ADK a51tl’s, Teac me-120’s(c,o,sh),JZ-bt201’s(c,o,sc)
AKG 460’s/480’s ck61’s,62’s,63’s,ck22’s,akg active naiant pfa’s,
V-3,Mini-Me’s,shure fp24,Mixpre-D
Mixpre 6, pmd661’s


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