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  #1  
Old 05-15-2011, 04:20 AM
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Coldhardsteel Coldhardsteel is offline
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Default How to Record Practice Sessions

Hey there, DW.

I have a few questions concerning recording, seeing as I have no experience in the matter whatsoever, and my band is in dire need of recorded practice sessions.

What setup would be optimal for this situation?

Is there a specific kind of software that could help make the whole process easier?

How should I record the drums in these situations?

Any help regarding recording would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 05-15-2011, 04:35 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

The easiest way would be to get one of those nifty camcorders, like this one:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRfidbg53A4
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  #3  
Old 05-15-2011, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Steel, what about the Zoom H2? It's cheap and effective.

I've attached a small portion of a band practice recorded with the unit placed on top of a mic stand in the middle of the room. I use the rear internal mic (120 degrees span). The sound is clear enough to tell us what we need to know.

After lots of experimentation I found that getting the active internal mic towards the PA, keys and guitar works best. These small units always seem to pick up a disproportionate amount of bass and drums so pointing it away from the rhythm section seems to work best for balance ... at least for us. Obviously that works best with an arrangement like ours where the rhythm section is at the opposite end of the room to the PA.

The attached file is raw - no EQ or effects. Sometimes I do some EQ with Audacity afterwards. Pulling down 800 hz to 1k hz takes away that honky "telephone" quality of the sound when using small recorders.

A word of caution. Don't let rehearsal recordings undermine your confidence. You lose a lot of the timbrel quality and presence of live performances while even tiny errors stick out like a sore thumb. So remember ... you're actually a bit better a musician than you sound with these things :)
Attached Files
File Type: mp3 working out do it again (excerpt).mp3 (669.8 KB, 269 views)
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Old 05-15-2011, 06:50 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

I thought about getting an H2 when I first heard of them. I'm glad I waited and ended up with the Zoom Q3 which has video as well. Having both options to record yourself is priceless.

With audio only, I wouldn't be able to see issues with my grip, stick height, tension, etc.

Whichever route you go, I highly recommend getting a unit with both audio and video if at all possible.
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  #5  
Old 05-15-2011, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

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Originally Posted by brady View Post
I thought about getting an H2 when I first heard of them. I'm glad I waited and ended up with the Zoom Q3 which has video as well. Having both options to record yourself is priceless.

With audio only, I wouldn't be able to see issues with my grip, stick height, tension, etc.

Whichever route you go, I highly recommend getting a unit with both audio and video if at all possible.
Fair point, Brady. All the band can benefit from seeing themselves but I'm guessing (?) that to get a decent video of everyone could mean compromising the placement of the gizmo in the sweet spot for sound and it's a bit of a juggle to get these things so everyone can hear their parts at a decent level.

I'm not very techy so I'm not sure if it's possible to have a splitter and use a couple of auxiliary mics to get around that. There's a good vid of Andy's band in rehearsal http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypxeXPCd6sI ... but they're in a big room
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  #6  
Old 05-15-2011, 09:13 AM
Desolation MIke Desolation MIke is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

My band records practices with a basic USB microphone plugged into my laptop and we record with audacity. I have a Rock Band mic and we just hang it in the center of the room and go at it while Audactiy records, it's worked pretty well so far, and audacity is free and has a lot of recording options. I really don't think video would be necessary unless you're critiquing the technique or look of the band. Plus the sound quality can come out better than you think.
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Old 05-15-2011, 09:15 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Mike, do you have an MP3 you can post? It would be good to hear the sound quality from that arrangement.
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  #8  
Old 05-15-2011, 09:45 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

What's your setup now in terms of recording/miking equipment? And what level of quality do you want? How much do you want to spend? If you have a mixer, my band used to just stick one mic in the middle of the room, run to mixer, mixer to computer, record with audacity. You get decent recordings for very cheap!
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  #9  
Old 05-15-2011, 10:03 AM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

get audio and video. get a zoom q3 hd and a 32gb sd card. then record everything.

Its the best thing I ever did (in terms of drumming decisions). I now record everything and I'm learning so much.

buy one, buy one buy one :)
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  #10  
Old 05-15-2011, 12:10 PM
ngebe ngebe is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNA View Post
What's your setup now in terms of recording/miking equipment? And what level of quality do you want? How much do you want to spend? If you have a mixer, my band used to just stick one mic in the middle of the room, run to mixer, mixer to computer, record with audacity. You get decent recordings for very cheap!
+1
we did the same
and like pollyanna said my confidence was shot dead when listening back to rehearsals
made me work much harder though :)
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  #11  
Old 05-15-2011, 03:21 PM
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Coldhardsteel Coldhardsteel is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Steel, what about the Zoom H2? It's cheap and effective.

I've attached a small portion of a band practice recorded with the unit placed on top of a mic stand in the middle of the room. I use the rear internal mic (120 degrees span). The sound is clear enough to tell us what we need to know.

After lots of experimentation I found that getting the active internal mic towards the PA, keys and guitar works best. These small units always seem to pick up a disproportionate amount of bass and drums so pointing it away from the rhythm section seems to work best for balance ... at least for us. Obviously that works best with an arrangement like ours where the rhythm section is at the opposite end of the room to the PA.

The attached file is raw - no EQ or effects. Sometimes I do some EQ with Audacity afterwards. Pulling down 800 hz to 1k hz takes away that honky "telephone" quality of the sound when using small recorders.

A word of caution. Don't let rehearsal recordings undermine your confidence. You lose a lot of the timbrel quality and presence of live performances while even tiny errors stick out like a sore thumb. So remember ... you're actually a bit better a musician than you sound with these things :)
Thanks for the response, Polly! I never had the intention of letting the recordings change the way I looked at my playing, my trio just needed a way to record idea that are fleeting and tend to be awesome. Our problem was that after the practice session we couldn't remember what we did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desolation MIke View Post
My band records practices with a basic USB microphone plugged into my laptop and we record with audacity. I have a Rock Band mic and we just hang it in the center of the room and go at it while Audactiy records, it's worked pretty well so far, and audacity is free and has a lot of recording options. I really don't think video would be necessary unless you're critiquing the technique or look of the band. Plus the sound quality can come out better than you think.
I used a Rockband Mic to record things before, and it didn't quite work out. Granted I didn't mess around with gain and EQ and the assorted modifications to sound quality, but I'll keep the option open. Also, getting a camera wasn't originally an option. If a camera pops up with good audio capacity and happens to just be better at its job than an audio recorder, then I'd look at it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TNA View Post
What's your setup now in terms of recording/miking equipment? And what level of quality do you want? How much do you want to spend? If you have a mixer, my band used to just stick one mic in the middle of the room, run to mixer, mixer to computer, record with audacity. You get decent recordings for very cheap!
My group has absolutely no recording equipment save for a laptop. We have no mics, no mixer, and as far as I know no recording software. I can't imagine us spending too much, but I have ways of getting equipment to record things. The setup you described was my original plan once we acquired equipment, and it would be pretty convenient.

And just as an aside, my band normally practices in a boat garage.
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  #12  
Old 05-15-2011, 06:22 PM
TNA TNA is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Even if you have no equipment now I might still recommend getting a mixer and going through that to your computer. For one you will get getter sound quality over a usb mic. Those Zoom recorders someone mentioned are anywhere from 100 to 300 dollars. With the mixer you can get a usb one to plug straight into your computer, and you should be able to get at least 8 mic spots on it for around $100. Which will give you some room to add mics if you ever want to.
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  #13  
Old 05-15-2011, 08:16 PM
Pimento Pimento is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

I bought the Zoom Q3 for $350 and havent looked back. The zoom devices give you excellent sound quality without the need to worry about mic placement
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  #14  
Old 05-15-2011, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Buy the Zoom Q3. The HD doesn't make big difference really. It sells for 140 dollar here in Europe.
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  #15  
Old 05-15-2011, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Oh, great. Just bought a Zoom H1 for $100 last month. Now everyone's saying to get the Q3. It goes back and forth it seems. Some say dont' get Q3 and get H1, others say get Q3. I really just wanted something to record my lessons with. But now I do use it for practice sessions and it is useful. I lie down on my bed and listen to my practice sessions and I can hear when I flam or speed up. I suppose in the future if I can get a deal on the Q3 that might be worth it. Not anytime soon, though.
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  #16  
Old 05-15-2011, 10:55 PM
Desolation MIke Desolation MIke is offline
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Mike, do you have an MP3 you can post? It would be good to hear the sound quality from that arrangement.
I have various MP3's I just don't know of a place to upload them, any recommendations?
It would help to note that my band is just me on drums, a guitarist and a singer. Bass will make it more difficult to record with a junky USB mic, but if you can place it right I don't think it would be too terrible.

Also Coldhardsteel, if the sound is too blown out with a USB mic I've gotten a cheap condenser mic from Musicians friend for around 20$. It's not the best quality but works well for demoing songs and might lower the blown out sound on a full band practice. the only potential problem is placing it to get every instrument in, but mic placement is usually the crucial part.
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  #17  
Old 05-15-2011, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

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Originally Posted by nocTurnal View Post
Oh, great. Just bought a Zoom H1 for $100 last month. Now everyone's saying to get the Q3. It goes back and forth it seems. Some say dont' get Q3 and get H1, others say get Q3. I really just wanted something to record my lessons with. But now I do use it for practice sessions and it is useful. I lie down on my bed and listen to my practice sessions and I can hear when I flam or speed up. I suppose in the future if I can get a deal on the Q3 that might be worth it. Not anytime soon, though.
The H1 is fine, there is a Q3 without HD for about $150 you could have purchased, but all in all i enjoy having the video option, i may invest in a H1 or similar just to place in another area so that i have the audio from that to lay on the video track, as getting thwe whole band in the picture sometimes doesnt work that well for optimal sound placement.

Honestly im very happy with my purchase of the HD version of the Q3, the software is hit and miss, but 3rd party tools will help rectify that. Id imagine if i shifted the Q3 over to my mac i would have some better options.

Honestly instead of getting the mics and mixers, just buy one of the zoom products, it provides great sound (far surpassing any single mic setup ive ever heard). Unfortunately if you want to go to the next step and get good recording for demo purposes, you need to spend a little cash, i have you tube videos up on my channel of using my Q3 both at a live concert (not even on the floor...in the stands) and during practice sessions. My band uses this for when band members cant make it, we record the basic idea of the song, and throw it up for other members to check out and write parts before we get together for our next jam. Also i find the video helps me analyze my playing and the dreaded "drummer face" lol.

Check out PimentoZ24 on youtube for samples of the recording quality of the zoom products.

Also, the zoom stuff is really simple "Push one button, plug it into your computer and go" type stuff, no worries about mixing or anything like that
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  #18  
Old 05-18-2011, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pimento View Post
The H1 is fine, there is a Q3 without HD for about $150 you could have purchased, but all in all i enjoy having the video option, i may invest in a H1 or similar just to place in another area so that i have the audio from that to lay on the video track, as getting thwe whole band in the picture sometimes doesnt work that well for optimal sound placement.

Check out PimentoZ24 on youtube for samples of the recording quality of the zoom products.
Is the sound on the Q3 w/out HD as high quality as the H1? If so, then I did make a big mistake. Because the Q3 looks just as easily portable as the H1. Thank for the youtube info. It would be a good idea for you to keep the link in your signature for more people will view it. I will need some software recommendations for the H1.
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  #19  
Old 05-19-2011, 04:36 PM
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Default Re: How to Record Practice Sessions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Desolation MIke View Post
My band records practices with a basic USB microphone plugged into my laptop and we record with audacity. I have a Rock Band mic and we just hang it in the center of the room and go at it while Audactiy records, it's worked pretty well so far, and audacity is free and has a lot of recording options... ...Plus the sound quality can come out better than you think.

I've done that as well, but I use two at different corners of the room and record to Acid Pro 7. Sounds ok for a kitchen.
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