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Author Topic: Recording variety of music  (Read 915 times)

rbtakemoto

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Recording variety of music
« on: October 10, 2006, 09:56:58 pm »

I'm a total newbie to all of this so stay with me :)

I was roped into organizing and recording a church Christmas CD that will feature members of the congregation and be distributed to the whole congregation at Christmas. I'm a musician but not a sound/recording engineer by ANY stretch! Luckily noone expects this to be at all professional - just a nice momento. I would like it to sound decent, though!

I am working with the M-Audio Fast Track Pro and MXL 990/991 mics. I've figured out how to get a basically good recording of my own voice + piano but the problem is that I'll be recording a huge variety of musicians. I guess my biggest question is --- when recording a group of singers (one group is small choir of app. 20 people and one ensemble of about 8) accompanied by a piano and I only have 2 mic inputs... what's the best way to set up the mics???? For the ensemble I assume I should just gather the singers in a semi-circle around one mic and have the 2nd mic at the piano but for the choir - will one mic be enough? I'm worried that the condensor mic won't pick up 20 singers but would it be better to have the 2 mics in a central location and just pick up the total sound (choir + piano)?

Sorry for the long post and thanks for any help!
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Ira White

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Re: Recording variety of music
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2006, 11:02:34 pm »

With just two mics and two inputs, I would shoot for a natural stereo pickup of everything. Having essentially a mono recording of only two points would be poor indeed.

During a rehearsal, use your ears to find a spot in the room as close as possible to the overall group where everything is balanced. It's alright if it's a little closer to the piano for proper pickup. Then position the mics in a standard stereo arrangement and send them straight to tracks with no EQ. You can tweak EQ settings later.

Your other option is to get a multitrack recording with capability for recording most sources separately so you can tune your mix later. A 16-track recording to a workstation fed from pre-fader insert or direct outputs on the house mixer would work. Maybe someone locally has something you could borrow or rent. It would certainly give you a lot more control, or you could take it to a local studio for transfer and mixing.
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Ira White
Sanctuary Sound, Inc.

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Chris Flood

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Re: Recording variety of music
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2006, 04:46:17 am »

hey, what about using your churches sound system and mics?  what you could do is use your churches mics how they would normally have a service and mix everything on their board and have it go straight to your recorder from the main outs.  Just make sure you have things mixed the way you want them to when it hits the recorder.  Not sure if you will be able to do it that way, but thats how we record services so that would also be a good way to record your cd.    But what Ira said is a great way to do it too.

I hope that made sense, i havent gotten much sleep lately and am really tired and kind of out of it right now.

God bless

-Chris
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Justin Rygel

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Re: Recording variety of music
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 06:09:59 pm »

Most software packages that come with that sort of interface can record onto several tracks, studio-style.  i.e. you would lay down a track (or two) of the piano, then play it back while recording other tracks.  Add track after track until its done, or the software package runs into its limit.  I use ProTools LE, and it will only let you add 32 tracks to a project, we only actually ran into that limit when the artist was getting a little crazy with layering different sounds . . . The issue with this method becomes spill-over between tracks, normally that is taken care of by the artist using headphones to listen to the pre-recorded tracks, but there isn't really a practical way to give a 20 voice choir all headphones, and using monitors would put a lot of whatever they were listening to into their track, you might be able to do it with careful mic and speaker placement, but it would be tricky.  This method has the potential to give you studio-quality recordings depending on room, placement, engineer skill level, etc.

Probably the easiest method is to do a recording session from the sound board at your church.  I would reccomend trying to isolate the board from the sound of the musicians and mixing on monitors, its very difficult to get a decent sounding recorded mix when you can also hear the live aound.
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Justin Rygel
Federal Way, WA

ProSoundWeb Community

Re: Recording variety of music
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2006, 06:09:59 pm »


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