A stack of questions...

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Member Since: May 11, 2002

I have visited your site before, under a different name, but forgot the password...
Sorry to flood this forum with a stack of questions, just answer what you feel like.
I play in a band that is interested in recording in an outdoor forest. The majority of the material we will be recording is acoustic (which is where we are having the trouble), the rest is metal, which we want a dirty sound for, so no drams there. We have found the ideal spot, but also come up against a number of problems. The quick ones first:
1. Power - I don't know if anyone has any advice, but we need to take a source of portable power to run the 4-track and amps. Originally we thought a car battery with a power inverter, as this would be silent, but this seems a bit roundabout. The location we are recording in would have to be the most silent place I have ever visited, so any kind of noisy generator would be out.

2. The site has these really cool acoustics, like this eerie reverb/echo, but outdoors amongst the trees if you can imagine that, it is so clear. We want to capture this - if our ears can hear this, will a single mike pick it up just as well or will we need to stereo mic everything? If we stereo mic instruments, does this mean we will be close-miking and not using a distance mic? Would we still capture the acoustics of the place if we used a single close mic and a distance mic?

3. Say we had a song that had 2 acoustic guitars playing at the same time and we wanted to record them one at a time (multitracking). If we were to use 2 mics on each (either a close/distance or stereo mic combination) - would it sound weird then combining the two tracks at mix down; would the different ambience or background acoustics mix really badly together? I don't know if this makes sense, basically I am asking can we get away with not recording both guitars at the same time (i.e. multitracking), or will it sound much more natural if we play both guitars at the same time and record them like a live recording?

4. Probably the main aim of the recording (and the main question here!) is to gain a very warm sound for the acoustic guitars, vocals and violin - we have sought of decided on a close/distance miking technique (but if anyone has any different ideas, pleas feel free...) We are using an analogue 4-track and face the dilema of choosing mics. I know you get this this question all the time, but I haven't quite located any one post that addresses the issues we face: To gain a very warm sound and capture the ambience of the forest - Should we use one mic or 2?; dynamic or condenser or mixture?; where should the mics be placed (eg stereo, close/distant etc)? and if you have any suggestions for a mic that delivers a warm sound that is quite smooth rather than crisp (and under AUS$600, about US$300 I think???)
Thanks and sorry about the length of this post...

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Since: Apr 03, 2002

May 11, 2002 10:06 pm

einsturzende neubauten recorded in an empty water tower. they got power up there somehow.. so it has to be possible.

id imagine a generator is the best bet.. bring some utility cords and just run it some distance so its not immediately near the mics.

tough situation, but there is always a way. unfortunately i just dont know the way on that one =)

Since: Apr 03, 2002

May 11, 2002 10:58 pm

I remember you, the recording in the woods guy...ya a generator would work, but you may be better off getting some battery powered power supply, a generator is LOUD if you use a gas one...see if you can get something that you can take a big battery to distribute power...

As fara s the two guitars issue, the only way to know if it will work is to try it, not knowing the ambience, location or anything like that nobody here could tell you if it will work or not...

I still stand by what I said a long time ago, for me it would be way to big of a pain in the butt and I would opt to try and add an ambience close to what you are looking for with processors...with enough time and tweaking you will find the sound, and it probably won't take as long as it will to orchestrate a recording session in the woods...

just my two cents.

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

May 11, 2002 11:15 pm

well for micing guitars the Aardvark Q10 is supposed to take them direct so as long as you have something with pickups it should work. . . I won't have a chance to try this on an acoustic until later . . . maybe next week depending on the lady's schdeule. . . but then there is no point in doing that in the woods because it completely eliminates the outside world.

Also running anything off of anything that isn't through some sort of conditioned power source is taking a risk with your equipment. Generators produce a blocky power output which likes to melt though computers even on surge protectors and I think it will allow for a large ammount of hum. If you're recording on tape it could fluxuate the speed of the tape deck and then you're screwed.

Before you even try hooking up anything that costs money to this system wether it be a batterypack or generator test it for a few hours on constant operation with something that can give you a readout of the ammount of power going through the system.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

May 12, 2002 12:01 am

Very Cool!

Marine suppliers would have the batteries and inverters that you need. I don't know if they can be rented or not. I have a friend who boats and will ask him next time he is by.

Maybe try micing the group like a drum set. Use small capsule condensors on the instruments and two large condensers at a distance to capture the ambiance. Bring headphones and extension cord and move the mics until you have sweet spot! I have a little water fall in the studio that I sometimes use for ombiance.
Ah-Um Would love to hear the finished product!

Since: Apr 26, 2002

May 12, 2002 03:48 pm

Recording in a forest? That's interesting... haven't heard that one before.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

May 12, 2002 11:37 pm

Ok, here is my 2 cent's worth. I use my Sony MiniDixk for just such occasion's. Bring a supply of double A batterie's and your set. They have a very good stereo mic available and there are also after market one's. The audio quality is superb, and would work fantastic for acoustic work. And best of all it is less then a pound in weight. You can bring several.

PS for collapse. I should have known you would bring up EN. And for the track's you speak of, the housed generator's inside sound proofed trailer's and ran the power up the tower. I have to confess they have given me many idea's as to what were and how to make noize. I don't think there is a piece of material on this planet they haven't used for some kind of instrument.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

May 13, 2002 04:05 am

ah so that was the trick to getting power up the tower.. and why did you think id bring that up? hehhe

i personally think that everyone should record in whatever environment inspires them or guides them in the direction they are wanting to go in.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

May 13, 2002 08:43 am

I agree with ya collapse, but there is also that line between finding your impirational place to record and all that artsy-fartsy stuff and all those same desires being an obstacle to getting it recorded at all...

I would rather see someone get recorded rather than not because they can't get the perfect location and/or get it to work out for them...

know what I mean...

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

May 13, 2002 01:02 pm

I know what you mean.

I play drums and just started with recording after my band broke up. My Guitarist went to Recording Workshop in Chillochothie, Ohio and even before that he was an absurd perfectionist.

It would honestly take him 30 minutes to tune for practice. He would also go through a half a roll of duct tape on the cords. when we tried recording with his studio it was a nightmare for anyone who wanted it done in the next two years. It was basically a computer with ProTools and a few rack mount effects and it took him two days just to plug in! He had to make sure no audio cables ran parallel with any power cables. . .

Ugh! Some times it's more efficient to go to college, become a doctor, and then go to one of those studios that charges $2000 an hour.

We ended up breaking up on the first day of laying tracks :) and being a Christian Metalcore band the "words" exchanged made a perfect ending. I couldn't help but laugh.


Since: Apr 03, 2002

May 13, 2002 01:18 pm

hehehe, I think we have all been there, actually, I was in a Christian Blues band for a while, we were quite good and had a lot of fun, but Christian or not, musicians tempers and egos flare just the same...the only real difference is that the "words" you speak of make more impact in that setting because they are not part of normal conversation in that setting (presumably :-).

For me the bottom line is getting recorded, it's never the perfect time or the perfect place, but at least music is being made, for me time and place is more a part of writting music than getting it recorded, however, a good comfortable, fun recording space will help make a better recording as well, to me it still pales to the writing though...

but it might be just me...I'm a freak... :-)

OK, we are getting off topic...just try it dude...and let us know if it works...hehehe

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

May 13, 2002 11:03 pm

I am assuming here, but my guess is you and I are probably the only one's here who know or have listened to them, and the fact that you are into cold wave Ind. Well maybe another 1 or 2 but that would be it. They are an aquired taste, very ecclectic.

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