Recording bluegrass band @ home - I think I need...?

Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

OK so the band wants to record. We've done it before (we even used the
"famous" Smart Studios for our first one...) But this time we're hoping to
do it at my place (house) - we have a good room (400+ sq. ft, 22' - 13"
vaulted ceilings...)

I have AMR/Peavey VMP2, FMR RNP, a few nice mics (TLM103, KM184(pr), a few
OK mics- Shure SKM127(pr) CAD E100 (love this on dobro), GT AM11, Shure
SM33 ribbon.

All of this would go either to the PC (Vegas) or the ADAT (I'm thinking the
ADAT will be "faster" for tracking and take some stress/learning curve off
my poor (erswhile) assistant (wife ;-)

This is yer basic band (guitar, mandolin/fiddle, banjo, bass, dobro). I'm
thinking I'm OK on mics. I'm thinking I will need at least two more
channels of preamp. I'm not adverse to getting another RNP, but would like
a different flavor. I can use mixer channels but my mixer really isn't up
to it (Alesis Studio 32, not horrible bur far from great). Monitoring is
Tannoy PBM 6.5's. I _think_ the band might be talked into doing this w/o
headphones (at least for basic tracking), so not worring about cues right
now. The project might or might not get mixed at my place. We'll see what
we get first ;-)

I'm thinking one of the VMP channels for bass, one for vox, the two
existing RNP channels for vox, and then...???

My place has never recorded anyone but me, so I've got other issues to work
out (stands? gobos? snakes? media?) so can't spend it all on preamps but
can go 1 large or a little more. I've read (more or less universal) good
things) about the John Hardy personal pre, the Great River ME1NV. But got
no place nearby to lay ears on 'em.

Any well reasoned insightful input appreciated.

Scott
8 answers Last reply
More about recording bluegrass band home need
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "SRS" <sshankSTRIKETHIS@ameritech.net> wrote in message
    news:NBDqe.4991$jS1.512@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com...
    > OK so the band wants to record. We've done it before (we even used the
    > "famous" Smart Studios for our first one...) But this time we're hoping
    to
    > do it at my place (house) - we have a good room (400+ sq. ft, 22' - 13"
    > vaulted ceilings...)
    >
    > I have AMR/Peavey VMP2, FMR RNP, a few nice mics (TLM103, KM184(pr), a few
    > OK mics- Shure SKM127(pr) CAD E100 (love this on dobro), GT AM11, Shure
    > SM33 ribbon.

    If it's a good room, have you considered doing a two-mic setup with the
    KM-184s as a crossed pair, running through the VMP2 to take a little of the
    edge off? Bluegrass is one of the easier musical styles to do this way, and
    of course it's the way Bill would have done it.

    Peace,
    Paul
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    > If it's a good room, have yov considered doing a two-mic setvp with
    > the KM-184s as a crossed pair, rvnning throvgh the VMP2 to take a
    > little of the edge off? Blvegrass is one of the easier mvsical styles
    > to do this way, and of covrse it's the way Bill wovld have done it.
    >

    Been considered, might get tried. We've recorded tow other "live" CD's
    this way (one @ a very nice theatre, another in a mvch smaller place).
    Both worked ovt nice, bvt the notion is that we'd like to have at least the
    theoretical ability to do some overdvbbing and/or pvnches...We're after a
    little more "polished" sovnd this time arovnd (think Union Station).

    Yeah, the Old Man wovld hate it ;-)
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    "SRS" <sshankSTRIKETHIS@ameritech.net> wrote in message
    news:iXDqe.5167$jS1.2017@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com...
    >> If it's a good room, have yov considered doing a two-mic setvp with
    >> the KM-184s as a crossed pair, rvnning throvgh the VMP2 to take a
    >> little of the edge off? Blvegrass is one of the easier mvsical styles
    >> to do this way, and of covrse it's the way Bill wovld have done it.
    >>
    >
    > Been considered, might get tried. We've recorded tow other "live" CD's
    > this way (one @ a very nice theatre, another in a mvch smaller place).
    > Both worked ovt nice, bvt the notion is that we'd like to have at least
    > the
    > theoretical ability to do some overdvbbing and/or pvnches...We're after a
    > little more "polished" sovnd this time arovnd (think Union Station).

    If yov want a chance at overdvbbing, try to rovnd vp some mics with figvre-8
    patterns to get better separation, especially between singers and the
    instrvments that they're playing.

    Oh, the banjo is going to try to bleed into every open mic. Some gobos
    arovnd the banjo player might help.

    Hal Lavrent
    Baltimore
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    In article <_ODqe.934432$w62.926998@bgtnsc05-news.ops.worldnet.att.net> pstamlerhell@pobox.com writes:

    > If it's a good room, have you considered doing a two-mic setup with the
    > KM-184s as a crossed pair, running through the VMP2 to take a little of the
    > edge off? Bluegrass is one of the easier musical styles to do this way, and
    > of course it's the way Bill would have done it.

    And, like Bill, you could save the outtakes and release them 40 years
    later.


    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
    However, until the spam goes away or Hell freezes over,
    lots of IP addresses are blocked from this system. If
    you e-mail me and it bounces, use your secret decoder ring
    and reach me here: double-m-eleven-double-zero at yahoo
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    On 6/11/05 11:40 AM, in article
    NBDqe.4991$jS1.512@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com, "SRS"
    <sshankSTRIKETHIS@ameritech.net> wrote:

    (SNIP much obsessing about preamps, mics, lack of any basic gear etc)

    First bluegrass group I ever recorded was with a Biamp 16 ch mixer, a
    collection of leftover 60's era EV mics that were clean but rejects from
    Other lives, in a carpetted library-den, direct top 2-track tape.
    It still sounds dandy 3 decades later.

    Methinks you protest too much.
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    SRS <sshankSTRIKETHIS@ameritech.net> wrote:
    >
    >Any well reasoned insightful input appreciated.

    If the room is really good, and the band is really good, set up the
    pair of KM184s and start playing. You may have to do some fiddling
    around to find the right positions, and that might mean mixing the
    band up and having people take a few steps forward to take their
    solo, but it can sound amazingly natural and it won't require
    anything that you don't already have.

    It worked just fine for Bill Monroe.
    --scott

    --
    "C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.pro (More info?)

    Has this band done studio recording before? If not, I can almost guarantee
    that they will want to record without phones once they have tried a cue mix
    off a board, unless you've got a mighty nice cue mix system.

    There's something to be said for using nulls when micing lots of acoustic
    instruments in close proximity but the banjo is going to bleed all over
    everything anyway so your expectations of doing overdubs may not happen.
    I've recorded a bit of bluegrass and my experience has been that once they
    see what a PITA it's going to be to achieve continuity with overdubbing,
    inevitably the players will want *start from the top* and play it straight
    through.

    If you want a nice sound, make sure you have a couple of good room mics on
    either end of your soundstage and a nice LDC on the double bass right up the
    middle.

    I'm not familiar with all of your mics and preamps. I've got some MP3's here
    of a bluegrass band demo I did recently using 8 different mics on a 5 piece
    band. The mics were :

    2 x C1's as stereo L/R room mics
    Mojave Audio LDC on double bass centered
    KM184 on mandolin
    Oktava Mk012 on dobro (hapercardioid)
    KM184 on guitar
    Oktava Mk012 on banjo (hypercardiod)
    U87 for vocals and to nail down the middle on instrumentals..

    You could get a pretty similar vibe going with the mics you're describing.
    They should work if used properly.

    The band was lined up straight across the room like they were accustomed to
    set up on stage with no attempt made to use the nulls. I did end up flipping
    the phase on a couple of mics to get them tuned in.

    I just told them to get busy and we rolled out 8 songs in about an hour.
    Took another hour and a half to mix and they were very happy with the result
    and it was tracked in a room similar to what you're describing.

    I'll e-mail you some MP3's privately if you want to hear this.

    DJ


    "SRS" <sshankSTRIKETHIS@ameritech.net> wrote in message
    news:NBDqe.4991$jS1.512@newssvr17.news.prodigy.com...
    > OK so the band wants to record. We've done it before (we even used the
    > "famous" Smart Studios for our first one...) But this time we're hoping
    to
    > do it at my place (house) - we have a good room (400+ sq. ft, 22' - 13"
    > vaulted ceilings...)
    >
    > I have AMR/Peavey VMP2, FMR RNP, a few nice mics (TLM103, KM184(pr), a few
    > OK mics- Shure SKM127(pr) CAD E100 (love this on dobro), GT AM11, Shure
    > SM33 ribbon.
    >
    > All of this would go either to the PC (Vegas) or the ADAT (I'm thinking
    the
    > ADAT will be "faster" for tracking and take some stress/learning curve off
    > my poor (erswhile) assistant (wife ;-)
    >
    > This is yer basic band (guitar, mandolin/fiddle, banjo, bass, dobro). I'm
    > thinking I'm OK on mics. I'm thinking I will need at least two more
    > channels of preamp. I'm not adverse to getting another RNP, but would
    like
    > a different flavor. I can use mixer channels but my mixer really isn't up
    > to it (Alesis Studio 32, not horrible bur far from great). Monitoring is
    > Tannoy PBM 6.5's. I _think_ the band might be talked into doing this w/o
    > headphones (at least for basic tracking), so not worring about cues right
    > now. The project might or might not get mixed at my place. We'll see
    what
    > we get first ;-)
    >
    > I'm thinking one of the VMP channels for bass, one for vox, the two
    > existing RNP channels for vox, and then...???
    >
    > My place has never recorded anyone but me, so I've got other issues to
    work
    > out (stands? gobos? snakes? media?) so can't spend it all on preamps but
    > can go 1 large or a little more. I've read (more or less universal) good
    > things) about the John Hardy personal pre, the Great River ME1NV. But got
    > no place nearby to lay ears on 'em.
    >
    > Any well reasoned insightful input appreciated.
    >
    > Scott
  8. Hi,

    Just read your posts and it's sure nice to see anyone, anywhere discussing recording something other than electric guitar, electric bass, keyboard, drums, midi, or choirs in churches ;)

    I'm about to record my band (5 piece, ‘hard’, traditional bluegrass with up to 3 part harmony) with a very similar layout as to the one you've been considering (stereo general 'room' pickup then supplement with instrument mics).

    Here's what I'm using:

    (2) AT 4033 large-diaphragm condensers in a coincident 90-degree stereo setup at the center of a semicircular band layout - these to function as room pickup and vocal mics at the same time
    (1) Neumann KM184 condenser on banjo
    (1) AT PRO37 condenser on the guitar at the 12th fret, 6-7 inches out (lows are picked up by the AT 4033s because guitar is center and is also the lead vocalist - closest to the 'room' mics
    (1) AT 3031 condenser on mando, up to 6-7 inches from lower f-hole (man that's a hot mic)
    (1) AT PRO37 on fiddle about 6-7 inches above and pointing down to the bow-meets-string
    (1) ATM350 on bass in the middle of the 'upper' f-hole pointing in

    These are all my mics ... except an AT ATM450 side-address condenser ... not sure how to make use of it in this setup. Would like to, hmmmm...

    I know that semi-circle promotes more bleed, but I find the performance is way better, especially when everyone's feeling unusual pressure to remember arrangements precisely ;)

    All mics are going into a Yamaha n12 interface/digital mixer / Cubase AI 4 setup. Room is about 20x20ft with 13 2x4' fiberglass filled acoustic absorbers I built hanging around at the boundaries. No resources left for dividers etc.

    Preliminary tests extremely good. Bleeds not really a problem - supplementary mics good for highlighting breaks, entries, fills etc. However, I'd say get the best band arrangement in relation to the room mics as if you had no other mics, and then add the other mics.

    One problem is that if the singer who is close to the dual-duty room mics / vocal mics is also chopping mando or playing a good solid rythm guitar, that instrument is high in the room tracks mixed in with the singing. I need some ideas for how to isolate the guitar from the room mics a bit due to his needed proximity to them for singin'. any ideas? Some kind of stand mounted absorber? Weird.

    Also ... have you encountered any VST compressor and/or eq presets out there for the specific bluegrass instruments? I probably won't have time to compress/eq from scratch and would like someone else's presets to start with as a baseline.

    Speaking of baselines (not bass lines), regarding my mixing levels, I intend to treat the 2 room mics as my nearly self-sufficient band mix (as if the band backup is pre-mixed to an acceptable degree in that stereo track from the room mics), leave all the supplementary instrument mics all the way down, and then raise only one at a time when that little extra is needed - as opposed to trying to blend them all together somehow.

    Geez long message ... sorry ... any comments?

    Derek
    Toronto, Canada
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