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Author Topic: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions  (Read 4105 times)

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Offline furburger

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #30 on: September 29, 2015, 05:21:37 PM »

Stealth often makes it easier to optimize one's recording location, many times making it possible to record from positions completely unavailable for open recording.  Figuring out how to get the seat you want is a practical issue.  Mic configuration for stealth is very open to different configurations, it just takes imagination combined with well reasoned consideration of the specifics of the particular application.  Many tapers don't really seem to think very creatively in finding improved mic configurations for open recording, so I don't find it particularly surprising that less imagination may be put towards improved stealth configs which are specifically tailored to a particular situations.  Granted, doing a 10' wide A-B split is difficult, at least without a second person.  Different constraints call for different tools.

yup, yup, and yup.

that's why micstand recordings mostly have a 'sterile' sound to them.

some people like that kind of sound

for me, it's bland and tasteless.

once in awhile I've heard a mic stand recording that hits it out out of the park, but for each of those, I have 5 stealth recordings that sound equally as good if not better.

different strokes for different folks, but I will ne'er in this life mess with all that extra, fancy attention-attracting crap.

if all you tape is open-taping bands, it may be the way to go, but I've never heard any mic stand recordings that make me go "wow".

internal mics sucked in the late '00's, but they've come a long way since then.

p.s. AT mics always sounded too "hot" to me.....plenty of mid-range, too much hi-end, and no bass. I'd not touch them with a 10 foot pole...or mic stand, for that matter. for jam-bands that have no low-end to begin with though, they may work fine.
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Offline 2manyrocks

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #31 on: September 29, 2015, 05:24:50 PM »
I find myself using my m10 more than my other recorders.  At853s are a good choice, too.  Both have held their value in the YS, too.

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #32 on: September 29, 2015, 10:33:37 PM »
My recent recording of Bootsy's Rubber Band I recently stealthed with AT853's into a Church Audio ST-9200 preamp into my m10 sounds very rich and full. Plenty of bass for my ears.  great all around rig imo
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #33 on: September 30, 2015, 09:21:18 AM »
micstand recordings mostly have a 'sterile' sound to them.

Nah, that just means they aren't being done particularly well.  Often those recordings are an example of the sound from the back of the venue where a stand is allowed or can be more easily managed - well behind the impact zone up front, surrounded by a less enthusiastic audience, with a different direct/reverberant situation calling for different mic configs than closer up front.  But those issues have nothing to do with recording from a microphone stand (a stealth recording made from the base of the stand would likely be far inferior), rather it's right back to the top slot on my hierarchical list: recording location.  Just because the mics are attached to a stand doesn't automatically damn the recording, if anything that allows for a better recording.  It makes producing a great recording easier in many ways, the most common issue with it purely from a technical point of view is that we are not often able to place that stand were it would make the best recording. 

I'm just talking the technical stuff here, and not addressing any of the social/cultural baggage of open stand taping verses stealth.  I know you feel strongly about that, but it's really an entirely separate issue.

All this is totally situation dependant.  For some things I can make far better stealth recordings than I could using a stand, and for others the exact opposite is true.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #34 on: September 30, 2015, 09:34:03 AM »
Having tried a number of miniature cardioids, I tend to agree with obaaron that the AT853 cardioid has plenty of bottom in comparison to other similar priced cardioids.  I consider them pretty well balanced, tonally, and a good value.  It is true that some of the other miniature AT models I tried did not have as much bottom as the AT853 cardioid however.

As for the suitability of mics with more of a tapered off response down low (less bottom), they can be very useful for recording music styles which are often mixed with too much bass, or even other kinds of music in bass-heavy venues.  Although I prefer to EQing things to taste afterwards, because doing that gives me the most control, I'd much rather use a mic with less bottom response to it than engage the low-cut/bass-rolloff switch on the recorder.   Those low-cut filters built into recorders are usually rather ham-fisted and better suited for dialog recording than music recording.
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Offline furburger

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2015, 02:18:50 PM »


Nah, that just means they aren't being done particularly well.  Often those recordings are an example of the sound from the back of the venue where a stand is allowed or can be more easily managed - well behind the impact zone up front, surrounded by a less enthusiastic audience, with a different direct/reverberant situation calling for different mic configs than closer up front.  But those issues have nothing to do with recording from a microphone stand (a stealth recording made from the base of the stand would likely be far inferior), rather it's right back to the top slot on my hierarchical list: recording location.  Just because the mics are attached to a stand doesn't automatically damn the recording, if anything that allows for a better recording.  It makes producing a great recording easier in many ways, the most common issue with it purely from a technical point of view is that we are not often able to place that stand were it would make the best recording. 

I'm just talking the technical stuff here, and not addressing any of the social/cultural baggage of open stand taping verses stealth.  I know you feel strongly about that, but it's really an entirely separate issue.

All this is totally situation dependant.  For some things I can make far better stealth recordings than I could using a stand, and for others the exact opposite is true.

hence the use of the word "mostly"...I have heard good, if not great mic stand recordings, but as you said, they're not "from the back of the room" ones, they're when the taper was able to set up a foot or two from the PA and almost put the mics in the cone. nice, fat, crunchy, etc.....

I'll just never understand why tapers would go the 'safe' route and limit themselves to less than 1% of a rooms spatial area (especially when the 'sweet spot' is in front of the board 99% of the time)...sure, it's convenient, but I don't tape for convenience, I tape to capture the best sounding recording possible.

to me, those mic stand recordings often sound hollow. and I'm not talking about matrix-style, which is an entirely different talk show.

back to the AT's, I pretty much collected the entire Crowes '96 tour, a band that has a full range of sound, and the guy who taped 5 shows with his AT's, they were listened to seldom for the reasons I explained.  but they weren't the ones in the link previous, they were actual 'microphones', not the tiny ones that were in the pic. there was also another taper who taped a lot of bands with AT's (I don't have the specific model here, it's on the tape cases, which are buried right now), and when I'd playback and look at the EQ flat, the spectrum was like that of a giant pyramid....LOTS of midrange, but lacking on both the left and the right. again, persononal preference. was never big on Schoeps either. Geffel's sounded pretty nice, and there was one other mic-stand taper who did some excellent, non-jamband pulls with a micstand, I think it was Kurt V, who no longer tapes.

for me, it's more the 'trouble/setup/teardown' of micstands...if they sounded "twice as good", to justify the expense, I'd have went that way long ago.

instead, they rarely sound 10% better, which makes stealth an easy choice for moi.
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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2015, 03:57:04 PM »
for me, it's more the 'trouble/setup/teardown' of micstands...if they sounded "twice as good", to justify the expense, I'd have went that way long ago.

instead, they rarely sound 10% better, which makes stealth an easy choice for moi.

You've stated your case about a hundred times. Multiple times in this thread alone that's supposed to be about a beginner getting some advice. Give it a rest.
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2015, 04:30:10 PM »
[edit]- This didn't need to be here.


Apologies to the original poster for taking this thread OT, and welcome to this extended and sometimes dysfunctional taping family.  All this doesn't have to be overly complicated unless you care to make it so.  Really.  Best of luck getting back in, follow your own ear, we're here with advice if you care for it, even if sometimes contradictory.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 10:12:14 PM by Gutbucket »
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Offline furburger

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2015, 06:40:31 PM »
To each his own.  My experience is different.  On top of that, different tapers have different personal preferences. 

Even though this isn't really an appropriate thread for it, I'll explain my point of view and then be done with it, since the discussion of it here has at least been  amicable and rational up to this point-

I don't often get around to distributing my recordings, mostly because I'm a perfectionist and rarely get around to doing the post work which I feel is necessary both for the recording to be properly finished and for me to be happy with others listening to them.  Yet in terms of quality, I'd put the best of my recordings - both those made from a stand and those without one - up against any I've heard.

My very best recordings of small-ensemble jazz have been made by placing multiple microphones in an array on a low stand on-stage, and my best of things in outdoor amphitheaters have been made from multiple microphones arranged on a stand, placed FOB DFC.  In both cases the recording configuration was optimized for the specifics of the situation.  Those two situations are very different from each other, and so are the setups which worked best for them.. and the setups I arrived at also tend to be quite different from what most other tapers are doing.  I want to emphasize that this is not to say I think others are doing it "wrong", only that  over time I've figured out what works best for me, by methodically trying different things in the same venues from locations I've found to be best, of all those available to me.

Here's the clincher- In the situations I describe above, I could not have made a superior stealth recording from any place in the venue to which I or any other audience member had access.  I know that for certain because I did exactly that multiple times, in order to compare various approaches and setups, to unequivocally determine for myself the truth of the matter.  Only by direct listening comparisons would I allow myself to be convinced of the superiority of one approach over the other.  Sometimes that meant running 3 entirely separate multi-channel recordings simultaneously.

You will be pleased to hear that there actually are a few situations where even if I was given total freedom (in a reasonable, practical sense - say that afforded to a professional location recording operation), I do think that I could still make a superior recording without a stand, but those are very rare exceptions to the rule, and that is mostly because of the odd peculiarities of some of the methods I've developed.

And so when I tried several mini-cardioids in search of small, less-costly mics for my light & portable multichannel FOB stand rig - the larger full-sized version of which (the no-holds-barred reference setup) uses Gefells and DPAs - I found the AT853 cards worked very well in combination with the other mics in the rig.  The ATs were only displaced by the miniature DPA 4098 hypercards, which were 4 times more costly.  Perhaps ironically, the DPA 4098 sounds very little like the 853 cardioid (the 4098 has unsurpassed clarity; the AT has far more bottom end and is flatter in it's overall response).  Although it works best for me in my particular setups, I hesitate to recommend the 4098 as a go to miniature mic for most tapers, because it has a reduced low frequency response which can sound thin if used alone in a typical stereo pair in ways most tapers would use them (for me that particular trait is an advantage, as they are used along with wide-spaced miniature DPA omnis which pull  enough bass to shake the foundation).

But I care less about what a mic sounds like "raw" than if I can get it to work in a gestalt sense, along with the other mics in the array, after some corrective EQ.  I'm willing to accept the trouble/setup/teardown to get the better quality I can get when using a stand, and the post-production trouble/hassle for optimizing both my stand-mounted and non-stand mounted recordings, because that's what is required to reach a level of quality in the resulting recording which I'm happy with.

I'm not saying anyone needs to do it my way (no one is particularly interested in doing so anyway) or that other's are doing it wrong.  But I know what works for me and I know I'm talking about because I've worked through the variables over years of doing this.


Apologies to the original poster for taking this thread OT, and welcome to this extended and sometimes dysfunctional taping family.  All this doesn't have to be overly complicated unless you care to make it so.  Really.  Best of luck getting back in, follow your own ear, we're here with advice if you care for it, if sometimes contradictory.


I totally understand what you are saying....yes, I'm sure a configuration of numerous microphones could result in such a capture, but what you describe above is "borderline studio recording"vs. live. the closest I've come to such a capture was patching out of David Dyche's *seven* mic stand at the Fox in Atlanta for the ABB, when ol' tour 'magician' Kirk West gave me VIP access for 2 shows in exchange for some of my mighty fine Alaskan hippy lettuce (crazy story about how my room at the Daze (sic) Inn across the street was on the same floor as the Bros. crew....). I was pretty interested in mic stand recordings at that point (having mastered stealthing over the previous 6 years), so why not 'gravitate' toward the biggest stand in the venue and talk shop? no idea what he was taping with then (though I'm sure that he's posted the shows/equipment since), and while I was impressed, the question was ***is this really worth the trouble***?

another classic example is front row (Rich's side) for the Crowes in '96 in Seattle. Chris Bold had his stand with Sennheiser's not 5 feet from where I taped with my Sonics. which made for a GREAT comparison point.

his recording: AMAZING sounding.


but so was mine, to the point that it's near impossible to tell the difference.


which goes to positioning.... the next night, his tickets were not as good (whereas mine were 2nd row), and mine is the "standard" for Crowesbase. it's a bit "Rich-heavy" "Rich's toes were 4 feet from my face at the Orpheum), though any Crowes fan will most likely say that's a plus vs. a minus, as it gives you a bit of a different aural perspective. you can clearly hear his fingers drag across the strings during the quiet moments. and the "yah mon" guy just adds flavor, that a mic stand would barely, if at all capture. (he only did it between 2 or 3 songs, not compromising the music in the slightest)



MOST (well over 90%) tapers started as stealthers, then some graduated to stands.

I know many who tried stands for a bit, then went back to stealth, as the hassle and expense did not result in a superior product. comparable, sure, but not superior.


so, when someone is "trying to get into taping", it's inherently clear that starting with stealth is the way to *start taping*, then if you aren't happy with that, delve into the next level.

but starting with a stand makes no sense to me.

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Offline Brian Skalinder

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2015, 07:22:48 PM »
For the OP -- given the types of music & venues you mention, I'd recommend maximizing direct sound from the stage / PA and minimize room acoustics.  Your best bet to do so:  get close to the stage and / or PA, depending on the environment.  Edit to add:  Depending on your preferences, this might mean stack-taping, which will take you quite close to the PA speakers.  Or it might mean back away from the stacks, centered, at a space where the sound is strongest and most clear, with minimal room noise.  Those are just two of the general options you'll have and you may vary your placement from show to show.

So irrespective of the gear you get -- you've received very good recommendations, I think, most of which could be run either openly on a stand or stealth -- consider using the gear in such a way that you achieve good placement.  As noted previously, of the factors within your control, placement is the most important.  That may mean you could use a mic stand in some cases, or it could mean stealthing to ensure a better recording location.

Without delving into the side discussion too deeply...I think stealth v. stand really just comes down to what we typically record and where / how we want to record it.

For much of my taping over the years, I've had a pretty good run of the venue, including FOB and on-stage when that was appropriate.  As such, I could run mics and configs on a stand that simply weren't possible (or would have proven significantly more difficult) stealth -- for example mid-side, spaced omnis, hypers/cards with wide spacing and smaller included angle, Blumlein, Jecklin-disc omnis, etc.  Generally speaking, I find having my choice of location + stand taping provides a better opportunity to make an excellent recording.

Could I have made a fine stealth recording in those scenarios?  Probably.  But running on a stand allows me to use the mics + config I want, as well as not relegating myself to "human mic stand" duty for the whole show.

I've contemplated re-adding a stealth setup so I could expand my placement opportunities in limited-access venues, but I just don't do enough of this type of recording these days to warrant it.  Though I have high hopes of doing so one day.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2015, 07:26:27 PM by Brian Skalinder »
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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2015, 07:56:45 PM »
In my experience, which is not as extensive as others,  the venues I find myself in will only let you run from certain locations unless you are "with the band".  That being said I have at times run a stealth rig  but find the "human mics stand" thing a real pain in the ass.  Also every time I have done this I end up with drunk wooks talking over the whole thing. 

So given that this thread has morphed, in a good way, I have a few simple questions.

1.  When taping a rock show from a PA I assume that the house is a mono mix.  Do you guys go right up to the PA plunk down and roll from there?
2.  Short of telling people to shut the hell up, how do you guys deal with the chatter?  Is there something I am missing here?
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Offline furburger

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2015, 08:21:35 PM »
In my experience, which is not as extensive as others,  the venues I find myself in will only let you run from certain locations unless you are "with the band".  That being said I have at times run a stealth rig  but find the "human mics stand" thing a real pain in the ass.  Also every time I have done this I end up with drunk wooks talking over the whole thing. 

So given that this thread has morphed, in a good way, I have a few simple questions.

1.  When taping a rock show from a PA I assume that the house is a mono mix.  Do you guys go right up to the PA plunk down and roll from there?
2.  Short of telling people to shut the hell up, how do you guys deal with the chatter?  Is there something I am missing here?

a huge help in my minimizing the "drunk wooks" (I call 'em 'geese', as per the Cowboy Junkies) is that if it's a sold-out show, stay away from the 'cattle' (shoulder-to-shoulder "blah blah") in the front 1/3 of the floor, and make sure that you have ample space to "shift over" to the left or right if a gaggle "happens to land within earshot). it took a couple years to figure that out, but it helped my stealthing quite a bit.

also, "taking in" the venue and the TM seating charts have helped immensely in this regard. if the section your ticket is in might not be optimal for taping, and you see ***wide open sections*** on the seating chart day-of, common sense dictates you tape from there and run your levels hotter, as there's no crowd to combat spatially. pulled many a good video/audio (Black Keys, Chili Peppers, Nine Inch Nails) in that scenario, for NIN, I actually bought a handicapped seat, as they were way undersold in those sections, there were 12 handicapped seats and only 3 occupied....and the recording reflects such an arrangement.

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2015, 09:12:28 PM »
Your mic placement is often more important than their brand or configuration. As Mr. Burger has pointed out, in the back of the venue can be a poor choice, and high up in the air is often not optimal either. In a perfect world, the apex of the 'sound triangle' is where you want your mics:

http://www.acousticfields.com/sound-triangle/

Regarding height, in that perfect world, running at head/ear height should also be optimal, but that's also mouth height. If folks are chatty, your mics will hear the chatter whether they are crappy/internal mics or multi-$$ studio gems. IMHO, running at ~7-8' is a good compromise. You'll be high enough to avoid hearing your friends coming by to say hello, but low enough to be more or less where the speakers are pointed. In a well designed theatre/room, the soundboard will be at or near the apex of the triangle, so generally setting up by the board is a safe bet. If the sound engineer is friendly, they might let you set up at or clamped to their cage/booth area.
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Offline chipoffools

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2015, 12:43:02 PM »
Thank you for your input, everyone! Certainly an interesting discussion on the stealth/open issue... I realize that I'll mostly have to figure out my stance on the issue by running stealth and open rigs and seeing which ones give me recordings I'm happier with. For now, I'm going to go with an open rig; with the venues I'm frequenting, I fear that crowd noise/rowdiness will make it very difficult for me to get a decent stealth recording.

A few other questions that come to mind (let me know if there are other resources that I should be checking out with these):

Brian, you mentioned stack-taping. Just how close to the PA are you talking? Another concern with that is that since the venues are so small, drums and other instruments often aren't miced, so I wouldn't pick up those if I was only stack-taping.

Do I need windscreens? Almost none of my taping will be done outside; but is there any decrease in sensitivity, ect. when using a screen? In other words, is it better to just be safe and add a windscreen?

Finally, I'd love beginner suggestions for rigs/mounts/ect. It looks like the DIN bar linked previously (http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=168213.0) is a good choice for an active mount. I'm thinking most of the time I'll be clamping to tables, chairs, and beams instead of setting up a stand (too many drunk punks in too small of an area for me to trust a stand), and from a look through related threads it seems like the Manfrotto Quick Action Clamp (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/252212-REG/Manfrotto_649_649_Quick_Action_Release.html) and the Manfrotto Super Clamp (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/5160-REG/Manfrotto_2909_2909_Super_Clamp_with.html) are good choices for flat surfaces and rails, respectively. As far as extension poles and other useful/essential attachments go, though, I'm afraid I'm fairly in the dark... Also, this may be a stupid question, but do you guys just hold your recorder/preamp while the mics are recording, or do you connect them to the rig in some way?

Thank you very much! It may be a little while before I get out some samples to you guys (AKA save enough money to get everything), but you have been extremely helpful so far!

Offline nulldogmas

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Re: Trying to get into taping, have some general questions
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2015, 02:00:18 PM »
For now, I'm going to go with an open rig; with the venues I'm frequenting, I fear that crowd noise/rowdiness will make it very difficult for me to get a decent stealth recording.

Just keep in mind that one of the best ways to avoid picking up crowd noise is to get in front of the crowd. Which can sometimes require "stealth" gear, whether it's attached to your person or to a beam or something.


Do I need windscreens? Almost none of my taping will be done outside; but is there any decrease in sensitivity, ect. when using a screen? In other words, is it better to just be safe and add a windscreen?


Venue HVAC units can be as bad as the outdoors, especially for cardioid mics, which are more wind-sensitive. I'm not aware of any downsides to windscreens except that they take up space, but others will likely know better.


Also, this may be a stupid question, but do you guys just hold your recorder/preamp while the mics are recording, or do you connect them to the rig in some way?


I usually either tape my M10 to a wall or rail near the mics, or keep it in a bag nearby. Though even a bag isn't always safe, as I learned at one show that led to my all-time favorite recording note: "Second source missing on last two songs after Sue Garner sat on recorder."

 

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