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About to buy stuff to start recording
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stewart
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

anyone have an opinion on those shure beta 58As? i tried one at rehearsal the other night and thought it was pretty darn good. amazon were doing them quite cheap a few months back but i dithered over getting one, and they've gone up in price again.
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Mike
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would say they're normally overpriced but they're pretty great mics for live vocal use.
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Aeon
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For mixing you're going to want decent headphones, but better yet, studio monitors.

Unless of course you're going to have someone else do the mixing.
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stewart
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike wrote:
I would say they're normally overpriced but they're pretty great mics for live vocal use.


erk, i've just realised it was a beta 87A i was using, which probably explains why i was so impressed (once i figured out that it needed phantom power to work). i've no idea why they gave me that to use in an 8 per hour rehearsal space, must have just been lying about spare.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've used a Beta 91 and a Beta 57, both were very good. The 57 doesn't really sound like a 57. It's hypercardiod rather than straight cardiod and although it's a similar sort of thing it is quite a different mic. I don't know how they fare for value for money, but they're likely decent purchases.

As far as the 'have at least one great mic' idea goes, I'd actually recommend it be a dynamic over a condensor. Condensors can be invaluable for some types of recording but a dynamic will get you through a lot more. It isn't a cop-out to not get them now as you can always get a good mic as an extra later on. Do you have headphones sorted? There's a pair of Beyer DT100 headphones in a local pawn shop (I should stop visiting these places) that I can check the price for if you like. They're very industry standard, but perhaps more so for musicians performing for a recording than for mixing. Have a read and see what you think anyway.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:
I've used a Beta 91 and a Beta 57, both were very good. The 57 doesn't really sound like a 57. It's hypercardiod rather than straight cardiod and although it's a similar sort of thing it is quite a different mic. I don't know how they fare for value for money, but they're likely decent purchases.

As far as the 'have at least one great mic' idea goes, I'd actually recommend it be a dynamic over a condensor. Condensors can be invaluable for some types of recording but a dynamic will get you through a lot more. It isn't a cop-out to not get them now as you can always get a good mic as an extra later on. Do you have headphones sorted? There's a pair of Beyer DT100 headphones in a local pawn shop (I should stop visiting these places) that I can check the price for if you like. They're very industry standard, but perhaps more so for musicians performing for a recording than for mixing. Have a read and see what you think anyway.


There's a shop in town that'll do me a pair of Sennheiser HD280's for 95, and there's two other shops that say they'll beat that price. The Sennheiser distributor is only five miles away, so when the other stuff gets here, I'll be able to phone the shops and they'll have them in that afternoon.

I understand HD-280's to be very sensible headphones for monitoring and mixing? I'll have a read about Beyers.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sennheiser are generally good news. I think spending anywhere near that price you won't go far wrong. I would say even 40 or so would be plenty. I used cheap (15 or 20 from Argos) Sennheiser headphones for mixing at times and they worked well. I would tend to get a mix fairly close to how I wanted it using Pro Tools (doing things like editing, volume automation and anything else) then run those tracks (perhaps with the drums or guitars as a stereo track rather than individually) to a mixing desk and use outboard compression and the like to finish it up. There was the odd time I would record the mixed tracks back in individually then finish the final balancing with the cheapo headphones, but mostly I'd be finishing the mix over monitors (that decision was made more by the clock than by me).

Not much of that is relevant but I'm guessing it's the sort of thing you want to hear just in terms of getting your head around what will be your own process.

A friend at uni used Sennheiser HD-25 headphones and they were very good. I don't think they justify the price compared to ones that cost say 50 or so, but that's just the law of diminishing returns I suppose.

[GVideo]http://www.creativevideo.co.uk/public/product_images/altimage/06%2007%202006sennheiser_hd-25.jpg[/GVideo]
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 3:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why would you run it through the desk? Is it just a case of wanting to rack gear youse had?

I seem to remember failing a component of one module because we had to prepare a mix, but we were told that it had to include the use of some of the rack gear. Every time I went into the studio, it would be set up differently, because whoever was there before hadn't zeroed it properly and hadn't returned everything to the way it should be, so I'd have no idea why things weren't showing up in the desk despite the fact that they had when I'd done exactly the same thing days before.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
Why would you run it through the desk? Is it just a case of wanting to rack gear youse had?


That and the desk. It can also be a quicker way to tweak things. I don't mind having to use software faders to mix things, but it can be nice to have hardware faders to adjust things as you listen back.

We had no Pro Tools plugins except the stock 6.x ones. Towards the end of my final year we got Pro Tools 7.x which has a much much better EQ but the compressors and things we had as rack gear was still miles ahead. The desk was the same one (as in the exact desk, not just the same model) used on Elton John's stuff and even that nonsense single by Toploader 'Dancing in the Moonlight'. and the EQs and things sounded very good through it.



As an example, the red one in the top right of the pic is one of these.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That looks really nice.

Here, we have several small studios, that are just a Mac, a desk and a rack. As far as I know, all the racks are the same in each studio. There may be larger studios somewhere for the Postgrad stuff.

We also have the SARC, which works as a proper studio.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Righteo:

The Firebox got here yesterday. It seems solid enough, and came bundled with a stack of software that I wasn't expecting. All this software is LE's or similar, so I anticipate using them as demos to see if it's worth getting the full versions.

The mics and stands and such were supposed to have been delivered today, but no-one was in, so it's gone the the DHL depot, which is fucking miles away. I would cycle out to it, but I don't fancy trying to lug everything back on my bike.

Anyway, the next thing I need to think about is the space I'm recording in. Is it worth trying to get the room as empty as possible and put amps and such on their own, in the middle, and off the ground? I suppose there is no answer here, and trial and error is really the only way to get the best out of the space. Is it a good idea to hang up duvets on the walls or stuff like that?
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

James wrote:

A friend at uni used Sennheiser HD-25 headphones and they were very good. I don't think they justify the price compared to ones that cost say 50 or so, but that's just the law of diminishing returns I suppose.

I've used a pair of these for years and can heartily recommend them... as well as having a good response, I've been able to wear them for hours mixing without getting fatigue...
Altho it's distressing to see that all the BBC commentators at Wimbledon were using them as well...
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
Anyway, the next thing I need to think about is the space I'm recording in. Is it worth trying to get the room as empty as possible and put amps and such on their own, in the middle, and off the ground? I suppose there is no answer here, and trial and error is really the only way to get the best out of the space. Is it a good idea to hang up duvets on the walls or stuff like that?


It can be but it depends what you want to achieve. People often do that sort of thing to make a room as dead as possible, or at least as dead as can be without sounding weird. The behind it is that if you remove the natural reverb and other acoustic artifacts in a room you can add your own later and have more control. It also means you can record different parts in two different rooms and have them sound as if they are in the same acoustic space in your mix.

I've always gone with the approach of areas of the room to try and get the sound I want but I only ever recorded a few things in non-studio environment. Mostly vocals and a few things like guitars and violin. You can usually find a reasonable dead corner, or record next to a window or some other thing like that that can help you out. With close mic'ing, and depending on the volume of your sound source these things are not so much of an issue. You can pretty much stick a guitar cab anywhere and get a good sound from it. But if you want to stick a mic a metre away you'll have to start considering the room too.

I don't know how much you've studied acoustics but standing waves can be an issue. If you don't know what they are it's when the wavelength of a sound source fits within a dimension of the room so that the reflections create phasing. Clapping is a good way to hear it, no doubt you've heard in a stairwell where a clap sound or similar can create an unusual springy reverb sound (not so much like guitar reverb but its the best way i can describe it). Clapping works well because it creates a fairly broad frequency sound and is very transient. Try clapping in an otherwise silent room that you plan to use to record in. Move your hands around as you do so and you'll probably find some areas that create that springy sound. It happens more in corners because of the extra surfaces. That's the sort of time when a duvet could come in useful, or even something simple like drawing the curtains if it seems like a window is involved and the curtains are heavy enough.

I'm tending to waffle in my posts in this thread but I think it's mostly useful stuff. The key thing is to go in knowing that their is science behind most things to do with recording and it works to your advantage to have a basic understanding of the principles (when it comes to the duvet stuff, a knowledge of acoustics is useful. For example the egg-box thing does next to nothing outside of the very high frequencies). It's also worth keeping in mind that creativity is what will get you results. It doesn't matter if the music you're reording is as boring as U2, if you think about having the singer sing into a mirror because it's what they do in their bedroom, and then putting a mic behind their head aimed at the mirror, that sort of thing can make the recording. People won't say 'oh he had the mic behind the singers head and aimed it at some glass' but it will dramatically change the way the vocal sits with the rest of the mix and they'll notice that even if they don't think about it.

So in short, see what problems you have in your 'live rooms', perhaps have a read of some basic acoustics if you're not too familiar with it (I imagine you'll know a reasonable amount but it might be worth having a read that refers specifically to recording) and try to think laterally about environment problems. Definitely try clapping around the room. Clap once and listen carefully to the decay and then move your hands and repeat.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is excellent stuff James, waffle on, please.

My thinking was that a dead room with as little natural reverb as possible would allow me more control later, but I remember being told that cheap reverbs sound shit, and that there's no way around that. I don't want this to sound like Enya's blues album.

I suppose creativity is key, although the more practical knowledge I have the better, so's I'm not wasting time erecting a harness from the roof so that I can suspend a cab outside the window, pointing in, or something.

I suppose I may get busy with trying stuff out then.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want pratical knowledge I can thoroughly recommend this book.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sound-Recording-Introduction-Music-Technology/dp/0240519965

It's not an introduction. It's everything. It's almost ridiculous how good it is. I've looked up definitions of things that people tend to have an understanding of but would struggle to explain well and then compared it to definitions online. Often they were actually lifted from this book. If you could pick up a second hand copy for 15 or so, you'll never spend a better 15 on recording. If you're interested but not sure, I'll give you some more detail on it using my copy to show you.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a lot of time for a well written book.

I might well invest in that.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you go to that Amazon link you can get a preview. It also has the index and contents. The book really comes into it's own when describing microphones (both how they work and techniques for using them) and things like EQ and compression.

If you find yourself wondering about a DI box, or if using an XLR to XLR cable is always necessary or if you can get away with XLR to jack, this is where you'll get the science.
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Bacchus
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are certain things that I think it's worth having a 'bible' lying around. I suspect this is one of them.

I'm wondering if it's on the university library or not. It'd probably be a lot more useful owning a copy than having to go and look stuff up, though.
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James
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
There are certain things that I think it's worth having a 'bible' lying around. I suspect this is one of them.

I'm wondering if it's on the university library or not. It'd probably be a lot more useful owning a copy than having to go and look stuff up, though.


Absolutely to both points. It's also incredibly readable. It's very dry but the clarity and accuracy mean you can just flick through finding out new stuff without any specific goal in mind.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:55 am    Post subject: Re: About to buy stuff to start recording Reply with quote

BacchusPaul wrote:
Bacchus want to record.

What do we need? We are piano, guitar, bass, vocals, and maybe some drums, and some other things depending on how well collaborations go, such as trumpet and accordion.

So far, I'm thinking

13" MacBook (already have, is it worth upgrading the RAM from 2G to 4G for recording? Will it make things a lot easier? Also, how 'clean' should I have the hardrive? Is it worth bacing up everything I have on it so that the disk is empty? Will this make things run smoother?)
Logic Pro (already have. might get a copy of ProTools from somewhere though, depending on how good I get with Logic)
Presonus Firebox
3 x Behringer 8500's (SM58 clones, and good'uns too, by all (or most) accounts)
3 x Mic Stands
3 x XLR cables (the firebox can only take 2 XLR's at a time, but the deal at thomann.de is a bundle of 8500 + stand + cable)
The drummer that we'll be playing with has a set of cheap drum mics. They are probably shit, and I don't know what all will be in the set, but they might be useful for something or other.


Mics:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/behringer_xm8500_bundle.htm

Firebox:

http://www.thomann.de/gb/presonus_firebox.htm

Review of Firebox on SoundonSound

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul05/articles/firebox.htm

Any help here would be great. I've done a fair bit of work in ProTools and such, but I've never had to record live sound. I've only ever worked with sound that I had sourced somewhere else that was already digital. I think I'll be comfortable enough with the software side of things, but I don't want to go wasting money on the gear side. Also, this is something that I will want to use on other projects too, so flexibility will be a major bonus.


I like your ideas.
Pro Tools is great for recording only, however you don't really just pick up a copy with out picking up some hardware. I can't stand it, though.
I also hate Beringer, tbh

"I remember we were told that eq and such shouldn't really be used to drastically modify the sound, rather it should be used to make things fit a little neater. "
You don't want to boost too much, but I've seen people (and Pro Tools presets) cut the SHIT out of some sounds... EQing is all about A and B, though. Find a place to start, modifying it, coming back to it and making sure that the EQing you've done is perfect.

I forgot to say, I think they released a new Logic Pro... I'll get it in like a month, and let you know if it's dope.
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