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Author Topic: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.  (Read 15630 times)

Gordon Brinton

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Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« on: November 02, 2012, 03:45:16 am »

I was asked to stand in for another sound guy who has a steady gig with a variety pop band. The job takes place in about two weeks, but what the sound guy told me over the phone has me feeling very uneasy. Here is what usually happens with this band...

The drummer, (leader of the band) puts a portable recorder somewhere in the audience to record every show. After listening to it at home, he then tells the sound guy what to change for the next show. The problem is, every show keeps getting worse and worse sounding to the audience because he is making all critical judgements through this portable recorder. To further complicate things, the next bar room sounds different than the last.

I have worked with this sound guy with other bands and he is certainly capable of a good mix. But his instructions to me are to just mix it the way the drummer says, (turn up bass, bury the vocals and guitar, turn up the backing track...) even if it sounds wrong in the room. He says he tried to explain that things are getting worse due to this method, but the drummer won't have any of that. He is convinced he is doing the right thing.

Do you agree that a portable recorder is changing the way it sounds and lying to the drummer? (Yes, I know all about room nulls and standing waves.) I have never heard a portable recording of a live band that sounds good. It probably sounds shitty like smart-phone video does. How do I make it sound good to the audience without offending this drummer? (...who, btw, will be checking my mix the next morning.)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2012, 03:55:55 am by Gordon Brinton »
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Jeff Bankston

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2012, 04:55:10 am »

using a portable recorder as a reference for live sound is a bad mistake. if i were going make a recording to see how the pa sounds i would use somethinglike a tandberg reel to reel or a nakamichi cr7a cassette with metal tape. i would use something like an ah mixwiz and a pair of good mikes like akg c414. btw i'm a drummer and the band leader of a hard rock band. i also own the pa.
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Mark McFarlane

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2012, 06:33:54 am »

There are some amazingly good digital recorders, I don't see any problem with using one. 

The mics are important, and having them in the 'right place in the room' are important, both particularly for judging bass response.  Using a decent handheld recorder with good mics and the right placement you can make a much more accurate recording than tape based system.

Perhaps you can have a test session with the drummer in someone's living room recording a nice stereo.  Then A/B switch the original material and the recording over the same nice stereo.  If you both agree the recording was accurate then you can discuss placement of the recording system
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Mark McFarlane
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Timothy J. Trace

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2012, 08:50:00 am »

Given the artist+venue combinations with which I typically deal, I'd welcome judgement from a portable digital recorder as opposed to the often-scary practice of strapping a recording device across the FOH main outs.

Consider a loud rock band with an awesomely over-amplified bassist in a 150-seat bar.  Imagine how little bass would be needed in the mix.  The distribution of a recording pulled from the main outs might well affect my future _financial_ bottom line, if you get my drift. :)
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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2012, 08:57:10 am »

I think the crux of the matter is not working through a portable recorder but working through a drummer.........
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David Parker

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2012, 09:10:33 am »

I hate it when ANYONE tells me to turn this or that up or down. All of the bands I work with require adjustments on every song, and during many songs. I take criticism and add it to my criteria by which I mix, but mixing most bands is not a set and forget proposition. I've had bands use hand held digital recorders in the room and get good results. The problem may be who is deciding if the recordings sound good or not.
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brian maddox

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2012, 09:11:39 am »

I think the crux of the matter is not working through a portable recorder but working through a drummer.........

ding ding ding.  give the gentleman a cigar.

yeah, the real issue is trying to monday morning quarterback the mix.  you either trust your sound guy to do a good job, or you don't.  and then you find one that you do...
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David Parker

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2012, 09:35:00 am »

ding ding ding.  give the gentleman a cigar.

yeah, the real issue is trying to monday morning quarterback the mix.  you either trust your sound guy to do a good job, or you don't.  and then you find one that you do...

it's a matter of trust. I work for several bands, and all of them get feedback from their peeps. After a while, the bands trust me and it's smooth sailing after that. I can see how some band members might not ever give up the control to the sound man. Those band members will never be happy no matter what you do.
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2012, 09:46:00 am »

To benchmark the process, get him to make similar recordings of other bands at other live gigs.

That should reveal the validity of the process, or not.

JR

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John Halliburton

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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 10:04:59 am »

I think the crux of the matter is not working through a portable recorder but working through a drummer.........

"Working over the drummer...with boxing gloves on"

There, fixed that for ya.

John
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Re: Band makes judgement through a portable recorder.
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2012, 10:04:59 am »


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