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Author Topic: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!  (Read 13613 times)

Steve A

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Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« on: May 15, 2009, 02:43:06 am »

Hello everyone,

Man, I hope I'm in the right place...

Mods, if I'm not please kindly move me to the correct location or point me in the right direction...

I have been doing the live sound for our church for the last few years. This is a small church so nothing very fancy at all: a small Yamaha board, a Sony CD/minidisk deck, some wireless mics and some old peavey speakers...

Well, recently we have been talking and our praise team wants to record some of their music. Nothing too crazy but they DO want to be able to offer a CD to members of our congregation. All fine and good, but as the audio guy they want me to record this for them. I can probably get it done but I am sorta feeling a bit overwhelmed right now. I hope to find some help here on this forum. I know most if not all folks on this board are professionals. I am not. Just a guy being asked to create a miracle! they just see me as the audio guy... "Recording is audio stuff. Hey Steve..."

We won't be recording on the Yamaha board but may be using some of the mics at church. Wired and Wireless. (Just so we will have enough mics) Well, here is where I am at:

Tascam NEO2488 with internal HD
3 Sennheiser Wireless EW100's
4 OLD Audio Technica DB125's

I will be recording:

1 drum set
1 electric acoustic guitar
1 electric guitar
1 bass guitar
1 keyboard
3 vocals

My thought is to:

1. Track the drums first using all the mics
2. Track the remaining instruments
3. Track the vocals

I guess my question is 3 fold.

1. Can I get a CD ready recording on the Tascam NEO (after all it has a built in CD burner!)  Wink

2. I KNOW this is less than optimum but this is what I have now. What else do I HAVE to have? (There is NO budget for this by the way. I am expected to do it on what I have now.) Sad

3. Can I record this in our church? (wide open space, high ceiling) or should I bring them to my house? (Very small space)

They are not really expecting to do this tomorrow so I have a little time to prepare. I think about 3 months so I have some time to prepare.

I have recorded some of my own stuff on my home pc but not anything put out for consumption so my abilities will be sorely pressed. I am actually excited for the opportunity as I have always wanted to learn studio recording and would like to have my own home studio one day, but so much for the dream... this will be a lesson in harsh reality I'm afraid.

Anyway, any and all help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,

Steve
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Halfway Competent

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2009, 06:21:04 pm »

Hi Steve,

I'm not a professional, but I've done some recordings in less-than-ideal situations so I'll chime in.  That, and nobody more qualified than myself has done so.  Wink

Does the music sound good in the church?  If so, record there.  
If you don't like the sound of it there, then record elsewhere.

I'm not familiar with the AT DB125 mic, so I don't know what it is.  Instrument?  Handheld vocal?  Anyway, your proposed approach sounds reasonable enough to me.  Check with members of your congregation and see if anyone's got a home studio with any decent gear...  At least a couple of condenser mics to put over the drums.  But also try what you have.  The good news is several of your listed instruments (bass and keys, notably) can go directly into the board.  The acoustic w/ pickup could also go direct, but also try blending direct and miked.  I'm not sure what you'd use your wireless lavaliers for, but if you feel creative, you could probably find a use for them somewhere.  I'd avoid putting them on really loud sources like kick or snare, or a really loud guitar amp.  (I blew up a rather nice studio mic by using it inside a kick.  Oops.)

As for what else you HAVE to have...  As long as you've got stands and cables for all of your mics, you'll be able to get something.  The Tascam unit looks like it probably has EQ/comp/effects in it (maybe?) for use in mixing.

To answer your question of whether you can get a CD-ready recording on the NEO...  I'm not familiar with the unit, but it looks like it's probably capable of that.

I would spend some time to learn the full capabilities of your recorder, and how to use it.  A recording session is a bummer of a time to learn a DAW.

Good luck, and have fun!
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thedoc

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2009, 10:15:01 pm »

I would look into hiring an engineer to help out and look at rental equipment for the gig as well.
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Doc

Nacho

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2009, 12:50:06 pm »

thedoc wrote on Fri, 15 May 2009 21:15

I would look into hiring an engineer to help out and look at rental equipment for the gig as well.

+1
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"The act of accomplishing nothing other than wastefulness is both exhausting and debilitating to the soul." -Mixerman
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Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2009, 05:05:42 pm »

Halfway Competent wrote on Fri, 15 May 2009 17:21

Hi Steve,

I'm not a professional, but I've done some recordings in less-than-ideal situations so I'll chime in.  That, and nobody more qualified than myself has done so.  Wink

Does the music sound good in the church?  If so, record there.  
If you don't like the sound of it there, then record elsewhere.

I'm not familiar with the AT DB125 mic, so I don't know what it is.  Instrument?  Handheld vocal?  Anyway, your proposed approach sounds reasonable enough to me.  Check with members of your congregation and see if anyone's got a home studio with any decent gear...  At least a couple of condenser mics to put over the drums.  But also try what you have.  The good news is several of your listed instruments (bass and keys, notably) can go directly into the board.  The acoustic w/ pickup could also go direct, but also try blending direct and miked.  I'm not sure what you'd use your wireless lavaliers for, but if you feel creative, you could probably find a use for them somewhere.  I'd avoid putting them on really loud sources like kick or snare, or a really loud guitar amp.  (I blew up a rather nice studio mic by using it inside a kick.  Oops.)

As for what else you HAVE to have...  As long as you've got stands and cables for all of your mics, you'll be able to get something.  The Tascam unit looks like it probably has EQ/comp/effects in it (maybe?) for use in mixing.

To answer your question of whether you can get a CD-ready recording on the NEO...  I'm not familiar with the unit, but it looks like it's probably capable of that.

I would spend some time to learn the full capabilities of your recorder, and how to use it.  A recording session is a bummer of a time to learn a DAW.

Good luck, and have fun!


Thanks Halfway,

The sound at the church sounds ok I guess. I was just worried about reverberation. That brings up a question. I was not going to give the group sound thru the monitors (I normally do during live play at services) on the stage but just have whatever sound they make themselves. Basically trying to kill any of the reverberation I can. What would you guys suggest. headphones for each player/singer?

The DB125's are cheapy vocal handhelds. We got them about 7 or 8 years ago on sale, and they were 3 for $99. Those are the 3 I have listed earlier.

The wireless are handhelds as well... We DO also have 2 lavelier mics that I forgot to mention earlier though...

I'll do my best to get up to speed on this board but it won't be arriving for at least another month and a half and I'm sure they will want to get going as soon as the board arrives. That's what they are mainly waiting for.

I'll just have to try and push it back a little so I can get some training on the board....

Quote:

I would look into hiring an engineer to help out and look at rental equipment for the gig as well.


Thedoc & Nacho...

You may have missed the part where I said there is no budget for this. If any money gets paid out for the recording process it will have to come from my pocket. Now, I wouldn't mind doing as you suggested however I am unemployed myself right now...

It would be great if we had a recording engineer coming to our church. I would be that guy or girls best buddy! I am willing and really do want to learn to do it myself I just am kinda overwhelmed at exactly where to start. For now I will just have to jump in and learn for myself what works and what doesn't...

Can anyone suggest any online places to begin my self teaching classes? that would be a great resource to me. IS there anything here that I have over looked?

Thanks again guys!

Steve
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Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2009, 05:13:20 pm »

OOOOPPPSSSS....

My bad guys...

I thought I had said so before but after further review I saw that I had NOT put the tidbit of info on here about there being no budget for the recording process. It is expected to do the recording with what we have.

Sorry about that...


Also, my last post said 3 DB125's and my 1st post said 4 DB125's...

well the reality is:

3 DB125's and an old Radio Shack Mic

so to me they are 4 all the same hence the discrepency...

Again sorry about that
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hargerst

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2009, 06:14:32 pm »

Where are you located?  Networking might just be your best friend if you can get a few home studio guys involved. (Hint: They have mics and stands, etc.)
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

marcel

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2009, 07:24:04 pm »

Hi Steve:

It may also be worth checking out if any of the technical colleges (etc.) in your area offer recording or engineering courses.  The students in these programs are often hungry for clientele (in order to fulfill course requirements), and often have access to some measure of equipment through the school they attend.

Participation in these programs is by no means a guarantee of competency or professionalism, but it's better than nothing.



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Best, Marcel

Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2009, 11:30:16 pm »

Hey guys,

I am from Ohio.

I actually remember hearing about a place called Recording Workshop near hear...

I would LOVE to attend that as a student but if I remember correctlt it was near $10,000 to attend an 8 week class. I may be wrong on those figures... I'm just going off memory on that.

Not sure if it is still in existance or not. Guess I need to do some research on that. Maybe getting in on the sessions needed for class credits would be a good option for us.

Yeah, networking is always a good way to go in my opinion. A win-win. If someone can help me then at some point hopefully I would be able to help them as well.

Thanks for the suggestions guys.
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compasspnt

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2009, 12:09:34 am »

Hi Steve,

A few things...

*Even though the board will arrive later, surely you can get the manual for it online, and thoroughly learn it before the unit even comes.

*Handheld microphones often give a more compressed and/or "pinched" sound, so they are not ideal for recording, when there is an option. I do understand that you may not have that option, however, given your (lack of) budget, and availabilities.

*Surely you are near to someone on this board in Ohio. I would ask our Forum members who might be near to you to make personal live contact, and help you out in any way they can. If I were close, I would be happy to help, but my location and schedule would unfortunately prevent that.

*One thing I think important will be to not push your equipment too hard. Keep levels reasonably conservative, and try to avoid over-driven sound and distortion.

*Use any kind of acoustic treatments you can in the large room to reduce the ambient reverberation. Blankets, pillows, drapes, etc...anything like that an help. Don't worry what it looks like, the sound is important. Be sure to explain to the musicians/singers/church officials what you are doing, and why...and tell them not to worry about how it all looks.  It is amazing how much reverberation can show up on recordings. You will benefit from any reduction you can make.

*Walk around and listen as they rehearse, to find places that microphones could be placed for best effect. If it sounds good in a spot to you, that's a good starting point to place a microphone. Look for photos on the 'net of live sessions...even old big band type things...they often used few microphones in large spaces, and some of those sound great.

*Don't try to get too fancy...just keep it simple.

Best of luck!

Enjoy it.
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cgc

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2009, 12:16:45 pm »

I would start with recording using the equipment you already have.  Use a computer to record the two channel output of the Yamaha mixer - there are free recording apps like Audacity that will work fine.  Once you listen to that recording you will probably have a better idea of what you need to improve on for the later recording.

Definitely record the group live as trying to do overdubs will complicate the process too much.

There are some YouTube videos that cover the basics of the Tascam unit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cHelqnFNjE&feature=relat ed
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Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2009, 04:01:42 pm »

Quote:

I would start with recording using the equipment you already have.


Well, we did this just last night. It wasn't the most opertune set up but we had an open air concert (Not quite outside but was close. Well, let's be honest... It was in a barn. HA! The site has been converted over to host concerts in. The sides have 2 big doors that will open up to allow tractors and stuff in. Well, it's no longer used for that stuff but used for concerts at least once a month...)

Anyway, I sat up a camera and recorded the the concert. The audio I have is from the camera. The total overall sound is ok. I can definantely tell which instruments and vocals were louder or fit within the range of the audio mic for the camera...

I actually like this idea so that with each passing time that I record I can tweak and adjust so that (maybe) by the time we actually record it to put on CD I will have been well versed in the material as well as the intrumentation and vocals.

Next time I will try to record out of the sound system to get a better recording.

At this location we have a Mackie 808 head unit. No outboard equipment. Just the Mackie, the DB125's and a pair of EV Eliminator speakers. Well, and 1 MTX monitor for the stage.

I have recorded from this in the past and used the mixer line out to my laptop using Soundforge. The problem here, is that I mix for the house and when listening back to what goes to the laptop, it is usually blown out (almost full meter showing clipping) I think the next time I try this I may need to adjust the line in on the laptop. I may have just fixed my own problem on that one Smile

Anyway... I will continue to record them everytime they sing so I can get some experience doing it over the next few months. I may even record some of their practices too. I don't know. They may not want me poking around while they try to practice. I'll explain that if they want to sound good on this CD I will need to be around anytime they pick up a mic or instrument. It's pretty easy for me to do that, as I sing with them sometimes. That might make it harder though since I will be pulling double duty at that point...

Guys, I really appreciate all the help you have given me on this issue. I also want you all to know how much I value this forum. It is a great resource.

On a last note... I looked up that Recording Workshop I mentioned earlier and sure enough they are still around and seem to be putting our some great engineers, so I am seriously looking into take their course. It's an 8 week course total. And of course the deciding factor will come down to money as it always does, but if I can get some aid in the financing department I will take the course. That remains to be seen though since I am unemployed right now....

Again, thanks

Steve
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Jeff Roberts

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2009, 12:47:56 pm »

What Compasspoint and cgc said.

If you can get hooked up with some local PSW professionals they will probably be a much better resource than a $10,000 eight week course.

A few years ago I mentored a lad from my local high school for a semester. He came over twice a week for about five hours total each week.

I taught him soldering, signal flow, system hookup, and had him bring in a band to track and mix so I could show him how to run a session.

After his semester with me his Dad spent $28,000 on a recording course. After the course, my former student said that he learned more from me than the school.

I don't think it was because I'm the best teacher, I think it was just a better learning situation.
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Jeff Roberts
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Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2009, 03:30:22 pm »

Jeff that kind of situation would be great for me.

I have been think over the recording school classes and have sort of decided to steer clear of this for now.

This is for 1 main reason:

Up to this point, anything I have learned has been either self taught or being around someone who does it for a living and learning from them. And this is in other stuff besides just recording. I mean other careers.

I think I will trudge along and kinda do the self teachin g thing until I find somone with whom I can mentor. Ohio isn't quite Nashville so I can't just walk down the street and pick my choice of 10 different studios to find somone I can learn from. It isn't quite like that around here, however I did a search for recording studios in ohio and was surprised to find more than 30 listed with 20 of them within an hour of me.

Anyone know how to get an internship at a local studio? Is there normally any prerequisites? That would be like on the job training, which for me is a great way to learn.

Back on the main subject, I talked with the drummer over the weekend and he said that he has access to a drum mic kit. Not sure what they are or anything. I figure I can set it up and record to see what they sound like and then record with the mics we have and listen to the difference. Then go with whatever sounds best.
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Steve A

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Re: Elected to be recording engineer... HELP!!!
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2009, 12:07:20 pm »

I was just looking on the sweetwater site and saw that they offer program leasing to startup businesses...

Now, I'm thinking that I could spend $6,000 to $10,000 on the recording school or I can lease some equipment and just do the self learning thing.

Would I be further ahead to invest that same money in something I can readily make money at rather than invest that money in somone else so that I can maybe make money later for what they teach me?

The question I am wondering is if any of you have done this leasing of equipment? If so, how did it work out for you?

Also, if I went this way and got the equipment, I have heard a couple of you say that it would take most of a year to really learn my equipment. What could I do in that year to make money with it while I'm learning? (and I know the simple answer of record someone with it...) But if I am just learning, then why would somone come to me to record something?

I would ask some of the guys who have posted some advice on this thread to maybe chime in again if they would but I am open to anyone suggestions as well.

Thanks,

Steve
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