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  #1  
Old 11-02-2008, 10:16 AM
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Default recording... living room or dining room?

my band is recording a 6 song demo of some of our more popular cover songs on monday evening. we have decided to make a simple live recording at the house. these are songs we have played 1,000 times so the playing wont be a problem. we were however wondering if it would be better to play in our bigger, untreated living room.

just to bring you in... heres our gear:
macbook w/ logicpro
presonus firestudio w/ 8 inputs

mics:
1. sm58 - vocals (w/ cheap a.r.t. tube preamp)
2. direct - acoustic guitar
3. sm57 - electric guitar
4. direct - bass
5. audix d6 - kick
6. audix i5 - snare top
7. at3035 - drum overhead/room
8. at3035 - drum overhead/room

we have our instruments setup in the dining room which is 9 1/2' x 12' with 8' ceilings and two open doorways, the bigger one being 6' wide. this room has cheap foam padding on the walls to cut down some of the high-mids and echo.

we are thinking about moving into the living room for this recording. the living room is 17' x 20' w/ 8' ceiling and is joined to the dining room by the 6' doorway. there are three doors with one going to a 4' x 3' closet in the corner. the walls are untreated and there is also a 8' bay window with drapes.

NOTE: both rooms have hardwood flooring...

which room would be better? i was thinking that the living room would sound better because of the natural reverb and bigger sound. we dont really want to do much EQing and we dont have any real effects processors. what would you do?

EDIT: if we should move, how should we setup in the living room?

heres a small diagram i drew up...
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  #2  
Old 11-02-2008, 02:24 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

I don't think that the bigger room will give you the reverb that you want. You'll get a lot of immediate room sound in your mix, and I don't think it will sound very good. I'd stick with the quasi-treated dining room.

Hang a heavy blanket over the open doorways to contain the sound.
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Old 11-02-2008, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

I doubt the living room will ad a whole lot to the sound. I guess for me the real question is room for setting up mics. If you are really cramped you run the risk of more mic bleed. In the living room you may be able to spread out, maybe place something between the different players to get a little more isolation. baffle off as much as you can,easier. Even using some cardboard boxes like walls between will help, If you are doing live vocals I would put the vocalist in another room. It is awful trying to mix / EQ vocals with cymbals ringing in them

The cleaner the tracks the easier it will be to get a good sound.
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Old 11-03-2008, 08:13 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

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Originally Posted by tbmills View Post
...we dont really want to do much EQing...
Ok, good luck trying impress the people you're sending the demo to. It'll sound very amateur and they'll probably throw it out immediately. If you don't EQ then you're going to get alot of background noise and bleeding. The mix will sound a bit crowded too, so please EQ! ! !

Good luck with it though :)
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

You have Cubase LE, you have plenty of effects to choose from
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:37 AM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

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Originally Posted by punkuzz900 View Post
Ok, good luck trying impress the people you're sending the demo to. It'll sound very amateur and they'll probably throw it out immediately. If you don't EQ then you're going to get alot of background noise and bleeding. The mix will sound a bit crowded too, so please EQ! ! !

Good luck with it though :)
were not trying to impress... were trying to give them an accurate representation of our band.

NOTE: it is worse to try and make this sound professional and fail than to make it sound like a bootleg live recording.

this recording is for the bar owners here who we are already talking with and would like to hear how we sound. we will eq but i dont want to try and polish this too much. it WILL sound worse...

Quote:
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You have Cubase LE, you have plenty of effects to choose from
we dont want this to have heavy effects. just clean. it is supposed to sound live and makeshift.
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Old 11-04-2008, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

Quote:
Originally Posted by punkuzz900 View Post
Ok, good luck trying impress the people you're sending the demo to. It'll sound very amateur and they'll probably throw it out immediately. If you don't EQ then you're going to get alot of background noise and bleeding. The mix will sound a bit crowded too, so please EQ! ! !

Good luck with it though :)
Actually, the original poster is asking the right questions. In theory, you shouldn't have to EQ much to get a natural sound provided the recording is done in the right environment and manner. This obsession with 'perfection' drives me mad - and I'm doing a degree in Music Technology. Go and listen to the latest Portishead album and tell me the imperfections inherent in the recording detract from the music. Not one iota.

There's a great difference between an amateur engineer and a professional engineer in that the professional should know how to get a natural sound out of the drums to begin with an use EQ only as a minor tweak - rather than the average amateur who uses EQ as a tool for damage limitation. The original poster is quite clearly asking the right questions in the first place.
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:25 AM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Actually, the original poster is asking the right questions. In theory, you shouldn't have to EQ much to get a natural sound provided the recording is done in the right environment and manner. This obsession with 'perfection' drives me mad - and I'm doing a degree in Music Technology. Go and listen to the latest Portishead album and tell me the imperfections inherent in the recording detract from the music. Not one iota.

There's a great difference between an amateur engineer and a professional engineer in that the professional should know how to get a natural sound out of the drums to begin with an use EQ only as a minor tweak - rather than the average amateur who uses EQ as a tool for damage limitation. The original poster is quite clearly asking the right questions in the first place.
yeeeh wassup.
do you understand what were looking for? we did some originals a while back and tried to make them sound like something youd buy in a store. not happening... there are many reasons why engineers and producers go through as much training and get paid as much as they do... its hard and expensive to sound like that. there is NO WAY that my brother and i (for that matter, 99% of people on this board) can get truly professional sounds with the budget equipment and space we are limited to use. we have decent but not professional mics, decent drums, pro quality guitar rig (my brother took out a student loan), a macbook, a firepod, and 1 $30 pre.

punkuzz,
i appreciate you chiming in on this, but it is never a good idea to bring an attitude like that to this board... keep in mind, i live and play in a small city, with small bars, with small bar owners. we dont need to sound like nickleback's latest album to get a job. i take pride in my playing and in the playing of my bandmates. for where we are, we are good. all i need is a simple recording to show that.

and by the way, if your eq line looks like anything more than a small ripple, you may be doing something wrong...
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Old 11-04-2008, 10:07 AM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

Personally for your needs I'd go as dry as possible on the recording and mix in some outboard reverb. That goes against most of what I actually like to do, but in this instance it might just be easier. Record the drums in the second smallest room, record the vocals in the little tiny room and record the guitars etc in the same room as the drums. The rooms themselves will need some treatment - try a sofa or blankets on the walls. Hardwood floors can make things a bit tricky when you're going for dry, but you'll get the hang of it.

Usually I'd recommend a lush recording using ambient mics and all sorts of nice natural reverb tricks, but there's no really much point if you're looking for a simple setup and it is difficult to get it 'right'. So go simple.
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

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Originally Posted by Mediocrefunkybeat View Post
Personally for your needs I'd go as dry as possible on the recording and mix in some outboard reverb. That goes against most of what I actually like to do, but in this instance it might just be easier. Record the drums in the second smallest room, record the vocals in the little tiny room and record the guitars etc in the same room as the drums. The rooms themselves will need some treatment - try a sofa or blankets on the walls. Hardwood floors can make things a bit tricky when you're going for dry, but you'll get the hang of it.

Usually I'd recommend a lush recording using ambient mics and all sorts of nice natural reverb tricks, but there's no really much point if you're looking for a simple setup and it is difficult to get it 'right'. So go simple.
that sounds good. drums, guitar, and bass are in our dining room (the smaller one mentioned earlier). the ceiling and walls are treated with foam mattress padding and theres a rug under my set that covers a pretty big part of the floor.

the two windows have vinyl blinds but nothing absorbent. should we do something about them? also, as you can see in the pic, theres is a 6 foot door frame opposite my drums. should we hang a blanket? we took down the door to the kitchen. should we put it back up or no?

lastly, the picture shows how we are currently setup. should we change it? if so, what is the best setup for recording?

thanks

EDIT: by the way, my bass player has a swr 400w 4x10 but since he is lining-out he will be fairly low as to keep bleed down. the guitar rig is a 2x12 cab with a 100w mesa head. he has to be at real volume for the recording to catch his cabinet's real sound (it really doesnt sound right played quiet). should we turn his rig out towards the living room or towards a wall?

even though this is a live recording, i dont need to hear them loud and clear to be together. the guitarist is my brother and all is need is to see his hands.
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Last edited by tbmills; 11-04-2008 at 11:48 AM.
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Old 11-04-2008, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

Well if you're just doing it live, that should work ok. I understand about the cranked guitar, bass can be DI'd, but guitars are never quite the same through a DI. Throwing something absorbent on the windows is a good idea, basically any flat surface should be broken up. To be honest, I don't see anything massively wrong with this setup. You're going to need a bit of separation on the recording with regards to panning and the like to stop it sounding muddy, but actually old-fashioned room recordings can have great results.

If possible, it might be an idea to have a monitor feed from the bass to some headphones so you can follow easier. Sometimes in small rooms it's really easy just to lose the bass and time as a result.

My instinct is to leave the door as it is. That's just a hunch.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:16 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

You might just record the whole thing together at a moderate volume, and then go back and re-record each instrument at full volume.

That way, you can get loud tone, but with no bleed.

In any event, be sure to use a bit of reverb to push the drums a little "back" in the mix, and do some panning to separate the bass and guitar. Vocal should probably be right in the center.

Oh, and one trick with the guitar... you can put the amp in a different room altogether to help reduce bleed (especially if you can close the door). You can even grab a high gauge speaker cable and leave the head in the room with you but run the speaker and mic to a different part of the house. He could then play at full volume without bleeding into the other mics too much.
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Old 11-04-2008, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

Heck by now you could have tried 10 different configurations

How is the recording going?
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: recording... living room or dining room?

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Heck by now you could have tried 10 different configurations

How is the recording going?
its not going so far... were all students with jobs. were still trying to find the time...

i think were gonna try it out tomorrow. ill post something as soon as we get it.
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