How Do I Work?I schedule an early arrival so that I allow plenty of time for traffic jams on the way to the show, and allow plenty of time to to setup my gear at the club and to talk to the club and band.
The Club: If there is a sound board, I talk with the sound man to work out any issues that may arise. ie, where can I set up, is there anything I need to be aware of, ...
The Band: If I am trying to record on spec (the band did NOT ask me to record them) I talk with the band and ask permission to record and give them my business card (with my contact information).
If it is a band I have recorded before, I let them know that I am there and ready to go when they are. In some cases, where the layout of the venue and the setup of my gear is appropriate for it, I also assist in selling the band merchandise. I also bring a digital camera, and take photos in between recording and selling merchandise.
The Gear: I use professional gear (Fostex FR-2 2 channel deck, Audio-Technica AT-801 microphones-omni-directional electrect condenser microphones), to get a quality sound.
I use care in the placement of my microphones to get a good mix. I keep and eye on my gear and microphones to minimize the effects of people bumping into my gear, spilling drinks, ....
The Setup: Recording with only 2 channels is a mixed blessing. By placing microphones on stage, I am bypassing the mixing board / P.A. / ... This close to the stage, the drums are usually as loud as the amplified instruments. This allows me to get a good instrumental sound and mix, and avoid any problems that may happen with the house mix (which may or may not involve placing microphones on all instruments). If I am working with an instro band (no vocals) then I just try to place the microphones on or in front of the stage, at each end, while keeping out of the way of the band.
It gets a little more complicated if the band has a singer. In this case, I can't place the microphones at each end of the stage or I wouldn't be able to capture the vocals. Therefore, I place my microphones within a foot or two of the stage monitors, which usually places the microphones closer to the center of the stage.
In either case, I end up with a stereo recording, which I burn onto CD. The difference is that with instro bands, I can get a wider stereo separation.
Advantages: I can usually be done setting up before the band is finished setting up. Two microphones require very little stage space, so I can record in clubs with very little stage space. The Fostex FR-2 (and battery pack) take up very little space, so I can set up almost any place without being in the way of the band or the audience. I charge so little, that you can afford to have me record a few of yours shows. :-)
Disadvantages: Usually I am recording under circumstances where a sound check is not possible. This means that if there was a problem, I won't be aware of it until I listen back to the recording. This means you may need to have me record more than one show. If you need to boost the level of a particular instrument or vocal, that is not possible. Although with mastering this can be changed slightly.
If someone sees me recording and wants to buy the recording, I always refer that person back to the band.
After The Show: The Fostex FR-2 records the entire show as one large WAV file. when I get home, I transfer the file from the FR-2 to my computer. I then boost the volume levels, balance the volume levels, delete the leading and trailing dead air (I always start my recording early, and let it run until I am sure there will not be an encore). Then I create the track IDs. The next step is to burn the CD. In addition, I also create an insert for the jewel case. I included the band name, date of recording, location of recording and the song titles (where known). The final step is then to put the CD into a mailer and take to the post office.
I do NOT do any mastering at this time, as I belive that if the band is going to want to use my recording, then they will probably want it mastered to their taste.
Some of my recordings that have ended up on commercial releases can be seen here:
Some of the bands that have had me record them can be seen here:
Some of my recordings have ended up on the internet, and links can be found here:
have audio recorder will travel
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Last updated by Chrome Oxide on 08/15/2008
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