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Author Topic: What's a good next step?  (Read 3904 times)

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Offline d5lefko

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What's a good next step?
« on: April 17, 2024, 08:46:18 PM »
I'm in a band that does a lot of jamming/live improv, and in around November 2023 I started taping all of our live shows and keeping an archive of them on Bandcamp. I bought a TASCAM DR-05X that I set with plenty of headroom and try to be strategic as to where I place it to get the best balance of instruments (we're a six-piece) with minimal crowd chatter. Then I take that raw file and run it through a few rounds of EQ and compression in Logic to get the best sounding tape I can. Here's our most recent show, which came out sounding pretty solid: https://boxfactoryrva.bandcamp.com/album/live-at-lurchfest-4-13-24

We play a mix of house shows and small clubs/bars, but let's just focus on the latter. I'm resigned to the fact that house shows will likely always sound like house shows on some level

What would you folks recommend as my next step up for quality and clarity? Bringing A USB for FOH SBDs (if so, any thumbdrive recommendations?)? Buying a second handheld recorder and placing it elsewhere in the room? Multitrack stems would obviously be ideal, but I don't want to over-hassle our local sound people. Thanks in advance!

Offline fanofjam

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Re: What's a good next step?
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2024, 09:53:14 PM »
I love recordings that are a matrix of a SBD recording and a good sounding FOB-ish recording.  The SBD gives the direct sound of the performance, while the FOB recording provides the space and live ambience and feel of the live show. 

If you can, just have the FOH guys run you a balanced mix to your own pair of outputs and then record those outputs.  Yeah it requires a little bit of extra effort for the FOH guys to set up a second output, but nothing they probably wouldn't do if you offer to buy them a beer.  As you probably already know, recording the room mix is oftentimes not a very good option since the room dynamics can oftentimes shift the balance to the point of distraction, say if vocals need to be loud in mix because of the room, or if lead or rhythm guitar is way low in the mix because of the room or how loud you have your amp on stage.

If that's of interest, what I'd do is buy a Zoom F3 that uses 32-bit float format and then use that for your FOH recorder.  Press record an hour before the show and you never have to think about it again (assuming you have sufficient power).  Then use your Tascam to record the SBD recording...yeah make sure and set levels with plenty of headroom.  Or better yet, get two Zooms F3's (or the multi-channel Zoom with 32-bit float) and you never have to worry about levels.

EDIT:  Holy shit, just checked out your link...you guys are in Richmond!  I live in Chester, but I'm working out in Cali until November.  When I get back home, I'll come out and do all of the above for you.  I've got quite a bit of high end gear and have been doing the taper thing now for over 25 years.  I love taping new bands and helping them get great sounding recordings.  That's one of taping passions, actually.  I wish I was there now so I could help out sooner, but November will be here soon enough.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2024, 10:00:40 PM by fanofjam »

Offline d5lefko

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Re: What's a good next step?
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2024, 03:26:03 PM »
Oh wow, what are the odds -- RVA all the way!

Thanks for the tips, I'll definitely start looking into an F3. And absolutely, whenever you're back in the Richmond area, come on out to a show!

Offline Scooter123

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Re: What's a good next step?
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2024, 10:25:24 PM »
I would stick to one recorder to avoid having to time synch a pair of recordings. 

Drums typically take up most of the XLR space in any band, so unless you have about 16 channels you'll have to compromise a bit. 

A Zoom F8 has phantom power and 8 channels and is nice and compact.  It can be operated via an iPad via bluetooth.  Get a pair and synch the two time clocks if 8 channels is not enough. 
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Offline Gutbucket

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Re: What's a good next step?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2024, 03:34:16 PM »
Consider how much work you are currently willing to do afterward, and how much you are likely to remain willing to do on a regular basis.  If recording only certain "special" performances, doing a lot of work afterward may not represent too much of a burden, but when recording every performance, all the stuff you need to do afterward to complete the finished recording is quite likely to become the most significant constraint and largest hassle.  Be wary of over-complicating things.  Seek to keep things as simple as practical while achieving the quality you want.

No matter what you will want a stereo pair of mics in the room.  That provides the "live there-ness" in any live recording. The next question is what you need from the SBD to best support and improve that.

Fully isolated multichannel outs from the board provides many options - most often far too many!  Stems can make that somewhat more manageable.

But recording a stereo pair of microphones placed at the stage lip, along with a simple stereo soundboard feed which provides good vocal clarity (and anything else that isn't well represented in the room mic pair) is most often going to be the optimal answer for regularly producing good quality recordings while balancing what is possible with what is practical.  Recording both of those sources to the same recorder eliminates the hassles of aligning and synchronizing sources which were recorded to multiple devices. 

^Shoot for this as a goal.  Over time you'll figure out what you like most from the AUD pair and what you need from the SBD feed to support the AUD and really make it shine.  You can optimize things to achieve excellent quality in an efficient way that to minimizes the workload.

A Zoom F6 (capable of recording 6 separate channels) may be the sweet spot for you in doing that.  F3 is great but can only record two channels, F8 is also great and capable of eight, but  may be more than you really need.

Sticking a USB drive in the board to grab the ISO channels will be an excellent insurance policy, but to my way of thinking should not be your primary go to source.  Very nice to have available if the SBD feed you record along with the AUD has a problem though.  Hopefully once you get things optimized you won't need to use that often and can can just archive those unused files along with your primary raw source files, or simply delete them from the USB drive in preparation for the next performance.
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