Tag Archives: live

Recording a Gig

This last weekend I recorded a gig. Multitrack. 16 channels. Into a MacBook Pro. With Logic Pro X. All tracks at 96khz. It was an interesting learning experience.

The equipment used was a Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer (firewire enabled), and an old Presonus. The Presonus was basically being used for the preamps and each one of those was being lined into the Mackie mixer. We tested this several weeks ago, and it seemed to work just fine. On the gig, the Presonus didn’t sound all that great. Not sure why, perhaps I didn’t have the gains up enough, or what. There was too much going on and I didn’t check every little thing. Luckily we were just using the Presonus for the drum set, and it did get the snare, kick, and two toms fairly well. The floor tom, for whatever reason, sounded like crap. Not sure if the mic was crapping out (Audix drumset mics, fairly new), or bad cable or connector or placement. It was rattling and picked up more hihat than floor tom. Basically that track was lost. Luckily the overhead mic, my trusty Rode NT4 did a most excellent job capturing the drum set.

The piano player brought his set of Audix SCX25A piano mics. They sounded fabulous. The bass player had a line out of his amp, and I also placed one of my AKG C414s in front of his bass to get the plucking sound. I was pretty happy with that. For trumpet, since I was running out of mics, we used a Sennheiser 421 on trumpet. On woodwinds, we used my other AKG C414 (the EB version, the other 414 is a ULS).

Setting up was fairly easy, but I ran into a couple of problems. First, not enough cables. I thought I had brought enough XLR cables, but when I was unpacking, there were not enough. Well, there were cables, but I generally needed LONGER ones than I thought I would have. That is a problem I didn’t expect and whenever I record in this setup again, I hope to bring longer cables. It was also one of the reasons I used the NT4 for a drum overhead rather than my “plan two” (which is a simple stereo recording using my Marantz recorder incase shit happens with the computer setup). I didn’t have enough cables to do two drum overheads.

Recording into Logic Pro X was easy. In fact, that was the only thing I didn’t seem to have to worry about. I had planned out a great strategy ahead of time. I bought a 120 gig SSD external drive for the Macbook Pro, and used that to record all the audio too. Worked absolutely flawlessly. The Mackie was connected to the firewire and the SSD was on the USB. No glitches, nada. Flawless. $140 well spent.

There was a LOT of bleed across almost all the mics. Not really a bad thing, as I don’t really need to use any reverb plugins at the moment (still in the process of tweaking things)

Here is a track that I mixed down. Enjoy.

So You Wanna Record A Big Band — Redux

Back in October 2008 I did a post that estimated the cost of getting all the gear to have a recording rig for your big band. Now, lets take a look at if things have changed.

The original post I went with an Alesis HD24 which was $1600 then. Its the same price now. For preamps, I went with the PreSonus’s DigiMax D8 which were going for $450. Now they go for about $400. We need three of these to give us 24 tracks. For mics, I had two options. Option one was 13 Shure 57s with stands and cables. Then they were $124 each. Now they are $109. Lets keep it simple and stick with that option.

Case for the PreSonus preamps and the Alesis. Its still about the same, $200. And we will keep the same snakes, which are still the same price. We need three of them. $200 each.

Running total now is $5017. Before it was $5412. The only real price difference was the DigiMax D8s and the Shure Mics. We still need to add in drum set mics which haven’t changed in price ($400), and two Rode NT4s, one for the drum overhead and one for acoustic piano. They haven’t changed in price. $530 each. And two SKB mic cases, which haven’t changed in price either. $150 each. And you need a vocalist mic, a Shure 58, which is $99, was $109.

Final total…..$6876. A year and a half ago, it was $7277. The single biggest cost are the microphones. I went the Shure 57 route due to cost and their reliability, but there are alternatives out there that are cheaper. And there are alternatives that are more expensive. If money was NO OPTION, I would probably replace the 13 mics used for the horns with Sennheiser 421s. However, at $299 not including stand and cable, replacing the Shure 57s with these would about $3887 and that is NOT including cables and stands. However, the microphones are really THE thing to spend money on.

So, it is slightly cheaper to get the gear. This is for all new stuff too. If you are internet savvy, you could probably score most all of the gear off Ebay or Craigslist or you could get the scratch and dent deals or open boxed ones. This could lower the costs by hundreds of dollars.

Live Jazz Concert Recordings

Sometimes on the internet, you find some great sites. This is one such site. “You Are What You Hear” is a great site that has concert recordings from great artists such as Dave Liebman, Michael Brecker, Chris Potter, John Scofield……to name a very few. Well worth spending some time getting some of the recording here.

I think the best recording is the Michael Brecker : Montreal Jazz Festival 27.6.2001. Simply amazing.