Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays



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Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby neoflox » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:54 pm

If this has been talked over already, please post the corresponding link below in this thread. Anyhow …

What’s your go-to solution when it comes to recording multi-track recordings of your band in your rehearsal space? My band rehearses in 200 sqf (20 sqm) of a not particularly well sounding room. I imagine, we are not the only ones under such conditions.

In the past, we did reheasal recordings with a stereo mobile recorder (Zoom H1) or with cell phone cameras but the quality is nowwhere near getting material worth of demo tracks. To get something worth producing, we borrowed an 8- or 16 track interface and some mics. Still without the insight of a recording engineer at hand; and hence, with not more than hardly satisfying results.

Now, being out of the amateur recording loop for a while, I wonder if there are better and/or cheaper ways to get at least seperate tracks per instrument in a sub-optimal room environment worth processing afterwards.

Any insight and experience highly appreciated!
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby Multicellular » Fri Feb 17, 2017 11:05 pm

One viable option in a bad room is to take most of the room's sound out of the mix. Deaden and close mic. Then you can add subtle reverb in the box. You still then have bleed to deal with and phase issues which you will want to study up on.

Ive never been able to get that to sound as nice as a good room, but Ive gotten close. Certainly good enough for demo work (and better than many alleged pro recording given the state of the industry).

The other option is to get everyone on headphones, running direct where possible, get a good take of the drums. You still want to deaden to keep the room out of the drum mics, but with no bleed, this is not quite such a mess typically.

One of the best beginner guides to modern recording is a thread on the Reaper forums called, "why do your recording sound like ass?" Really worth the read.

It is only a little Reaper specific really.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby crochambeau » Sat Feb 18, 2017 11:33 am

My band used to rehearse in an incredibly small room.

I found the best results were sweet spots of balance with fewer microphones instead of seeking separation between instruments. Unless you track one instrument at a time it will be impossible to dodge bleed in super close quarters, so you may as well embrace the mix the room represents because deep edits are already hamstrung.

Reducing reflectivity in the room also has benefits.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby coldbrightsunlight » Sat Feb 18, 2017 12:19 pm

Personally I've only really tried what crochambeau said due to never having much recording gear and being lazy, use fewer mics and embrace the bleed. Do a couple of practice takes to get levels and then just play. My old band got some very decent demo recordings that way using a combination of some individual mic-ing (vocals, couple of condensers pretty close on the drums, kick maybe if that's important to the sound) and a couple of room mics in decent spots. Take that with a pinch of salt as it all depends on the sound of your band and how many inputs you have on your mixer. Takes a bit of figuring out how to get it to sound good but it can work.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby frodog » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:02 pm

My band records everyhing, luckily our drummer is a sound engineer who is building a studio in the basement of the house where we rehearse. The room where we play is maybe 30 sqm, almost, and doesn't sound awesome, but is dampened a good bit by.. stuff. Lots of medium-size/big combos mic'd by SM57s, two Fathead ribbon mics for each of the main guitar amps- one on a Laney VC50, my amp shares the other ribbon mic sideways with a Peavey TKO right next to it. SM57 for vocals and my other amp, also one on the snare, AKG C414 overhead, Shure bass drum mic, an old RCA on the side+secong drum kit- that's it I think? 8 channels? Bass amp, a Trace combo, is lined because the speaker is torn and gaffaed, def need a new bass amp.

Still, it does sound good, especially after our drummer has done his thing to the mix in ProTools. The fact that there's a lot of bleed is not a big deal to my ears. The hassle of isolating stuff for just demos or archival recordings is not worth it imo, and often sounds dull. I guess it depends on what you are going for, like we play weird noise and heavy psych jamz with lots of fuzz, verb and delay, so a clean and pristine soundstage is not desireable/possible. We've also done some recordings with two ribbon mics straight to cassette, the sound you get from that is dope.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby waltdogg » Wed Feb 22, 2017 3:25 pm

for use with a multi-input usb interface and daw: deaden the walls. mic close and use as few mics as possible. make sure you have a plugin to change the phasing on your tracks and an equalizer as well to cut the bleed and rumble (a phase "switch" is usually on your eq's plugin). that's what i'd do when i used my garage or giant lockout. if you can, record live scratch tracks of everything then go back and have just the drummer play along to the scratch tracks and record that. after that, repeat the process for subsequent instruments by using the new, clean drum tracks. as for micing techniques i typically mic the drums up with four mics for glen johns style, a mic on the bass amp and a clean di signal as well, up to eight guitar tracks, and at least two vocal tracks, one dirty-ish to dirty and one clean-ish to clean for blending possibilities.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby louderthangod » Thu Jun 22, 2017 3:41 pm

I've built up slowly from a couple of shitty mics in the room to close mic'ing everything with nicer and nicer mics and better converters (I use a pair of UAD Apollo 8p's). Our room doesn't sound too bad, tall ceilings (15' or so) and I think the room is 20x15 but the walls are essentially all parallel and concrete and a ton of gear instead of bass traps and diffusers but with everything loud and close the bleed we get only seems to add to the ambience. A little cleanup on the mix and I think things sound really fucking good.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby Psyre » Sun Jun 25, 2017 6:27 pm

Performance is what it will come down to. I wouldn't consider more than 4 mics. Don't think about isolating to EQ or anything though. Think of your band as one instrument and get as much space via seperation/positioning and tone control/dynamics.

If I were picking out mics for this I'd be thinking dynamics right up on the bass and kick, beta 52's/equivalent and something like the Fat Heads mentioned above. One mono over the front of the kit, not all that tall. The second either close or backed off the guitar to taste. I'd move it around and see how it opens up and changes for a little while before recording.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby sears » Mon Jul 03, 2017 4:29 pm

1. use dynamic mics which will pick up less of the room sound and

2. don't mix in that room. mix in a treated room, or get someone to mix it

There's plenty of good stuff tracked in sub-optimal spaces
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby GardenoftheDead » Mon Aug 21, 2017 5:17 pm

Yeah the biggest issue will probably be the drums. Guitars and bass can be recorded dry & direct and reamped later to achieve the best sound. For drums the best you can do is tape some big carpets to the walls and put the overhead mics SUPER close to the kit. Those plexiglass panels you see around guitar amps at GC sometimes might be useful if you're dead set on recording live in the room together. You can fake your way out of the close-mic sound on the overheads with a high-pass filter and subtle reverb.
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby qersty » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:03 pm

When we record demos live last time we put an sm57 on the guitar, lined the bass :( and put two overheads (sE x1-d) in a ORTF configuration over the drum kit plus a kick mick; we have done it with a single overhead over the snare which works better in my opinion and got very little bleed. We rehearse in what is basically a living room that we have done some acoustic treatment in but not much and the method weve used for demos has worked fine. We have recorded using only two room mics aswell setting them up facing eachother on across the room and i belive we set one lower to capture more bass. If you have the mics close-micing is a way better option.

We play fairly loud though not as loud as we used to and we have one guitar only. Our drummer is a hard hitter though

We also once recorded a few crust songs using a handheld yamaha recorder in the middle of the room and well... it sounded about how a crust album does..
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Re: Recording multi-track in a rehearsal space nowadays

Postby boneslygrifter » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:40 pm

I'm always down to try my hand at rescuing a bad recording! If you have raw tracks I'd be down to take a crack at them.

My "niche" in town is doing cheap-as-fuck live demo recordings in people's rehearsal spaces, usually in exchange for tattoo work or gear or a small sum of cash, plus credit. I can't justify pro prices because I myself don't have great gear, but as I keep improving my equipment and adding work to my portfolio, I charge a little more. I usually stick with a pretty minimal amount of mics (one per guitar amp + a DI line for each guitar), DI the bass (although the amp is usually playing), and three mics on the drums: close mic for the snare and kick, and a condenser as an overhead as close as the drummer can stand without hitting it. I usually put the condenser behind the kit and over the drummer's shoulder to avoid as much wall bounce-back as possible. Sometimes I'll use an SM57 as an overhead instead, its less sensitive. Angle the guitar amps so they're not blasting right at the drums or each other. I try to get them to keep the guitar and bass volume as low as possible while they can still hear what needs to be heard, and I encourage them to do vocals separately.
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