Mobile Recording Project

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G-master G
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Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Wed Nov 12, 2014 7:56 pm

This may be more of a personal indulgence than anything else but I have gained a lot from reading this site and I try to give back as much as I can even though music is a part-time hobby for me and not something I do all the time.
I am embarking on what is for me a rather ambitious project to take some newly-acquired hardware and integrate it with Auria on my iPad via my Scarlett 18i6 and do some recording in little place called the Jazz Cellar here in Perth.

The overall project will involve:

Drums
Electric guitar
Bass
Keys
Synths
Acoustic Guitar
2 x vocals

I will use this post as a diary to record what I have done, how I have done it and what successes and failures I have along the way; and in doing so it may be of use to others who might be embarking upon a similar project or have thought about it but considered it a little beyond their capability. If you have questions or suggestions or advice please feel free to contribute.

Here is the first post.

Novemeber 13, 2014: Test-run for equipment and recording drums.

Equipment
iPad 4 with iOS 8
Focusrite Scarlett 18i6
Presonus Digimax D8

Pre-recording set-up:
This morning prior to going to work I connected the 18i6 to my computer and in Scarlett Mix Control I loaded the latest settings for iPad zero latency tracking.

I then connected the D8 to the 18i6 and set the Clock on the D8 to 48k internal.

Then via Mix Control, I set the Sync Source on the 18i6 to ADAT and confirmed that the Sync Status read Locked.

Then via Mix Control I saved these settings to hardware (File > Save to hardware) and then I disconnected everything, packed it in a box and put it in the boot of my car ready for this afternoon’s test run.

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martygras
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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by martygras » Thu Nov 13, 2014 6:17 pm

I am interested to hear of your ups and downs in this remote recording experiment. Particularly in recording both miced instruments and internal synths simultaneously.

...And good luck in your endeavor.
Marty Schulte [I'm a drummer. So, there's that.]
iPad AIR(128), Akai EIE, Akai EWI USB, illudium q-36 explosive space modulator
Head First Audio (live sound for Southern Oregon, USA)

G-master G
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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:36 pm

I arrived at the Cellar at 3.30 and began to connect my equipment and create a little work area in front of the drum kit.

The 18i6 and the DigiMax D8 connected just fine. I ran six mic cables from the XLR jacks at the back of the D8 and proceeded to route those channels in Auria via the input matrix.

Barney arrived with the mics (and the drumming talent) and we attached mics to rims, place one in front of the kick and mounted a couple of condensers on boom stands at about 10 and 2 o’clock from the drummer’s perspective.

We angled these at the snare and checked distance with a mic cable to make sure that they were in phase.

I asked Barney to drum while I brought up the levels on the D8s preamps and checked for recording levels in Auria making sure that nothing exceed -10 to -12 and also making sure that all of the faders were set at 0.

I used this initial recording to check the sine waves of the overhead mics and discovered that they were in phase.
There was nothing else to do except set a bpm, activate the click track, arm the 6 drum tracks, hand Barney the headphones and hit record.

All-in-all a very successful maiden mobile recording venture.

Next Thursday night, the drummer from the band will be at the Cellar to record 1 maybe 2 drum tracks that will be used on the following Saturday by the rest of the band. So from next Thursday I will be very busy recording the tracks, editing them to tighten the timing, playing 2 gigs myself and then doing an all-day recording session on Saturday: needless to say that posting might be sparse until I have some time to breathe.

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Thu Nov 13, 2014 8:41 pm

martygras wrote:And good luck in your endeavor.
Thanks Marty.

All ups so far - the iPad and Auria worked a treat recording drums last night at the test run before the main event next week.

My friend Barney who drummed last night said that he found it very easy to drum along to Auria's click track coming through headphones with all the faders down and there was no latency whatsoever.

The signals were nice and clean and clear.

The only down for the evening was that I misplaced my car keys and had to catch the train home and leave my car at the Cellar. But I found the keys this morning at the shop above the Cellar where I had left them yesterday afternoon.

I will keep you posted.

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by Reathpd » Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:59 am

Looking forward to future diary comments as well as post recording - mixing and mastering. I have been recording on a much more modest level using Auria. Mobile recording to distribute the sounds as a learning tool for the musicians I am playing with.

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:26 pm

G'day Reathpd,

I started using Auria as a mobile recording device for (I think) much the same purpose as you. I played guitar in an original band for 18 months and whenever the singer/songwriter brought a new composition to practice we would play it through, agree on a basic structure and then we would record a very simple version just using the iPad microphone on a single track.

Then when I got home from practice I would e-mail it to the other members of the band so that we would have it as a reference. That way we could get the structure right and we could also develop the creativity to a backing track more or less.

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Tue Nov 18, 2014 10:55 pm

Novemeber 18, 2014: Test-run for equipment and recording the main band instruments.

The main recording session this coming Saturday will involve the following instruments:

1. Electric guitar
2. Bass
3. Synths
4. Keys

All instruments will be recorded direct to the iPad; ie, there will be no amplifiers used (at least that is the plan). The guitarist will use my Line 6 Pod XT Live to emulate an amp/cab combo and also to set whatever effects are required or alternatively he may use the Overloud plug-in that I have in Auria or if he requires more options than my XT live can deliver simultaneously he may use a combination of both.

I am going to DI the bass, synths and keys straight to the Focusrite 18i6 or to the Presonus D8 (haven't decided which yet).

Because there are no amps to be miked there are no issues with using the house PA at the Jazz Cellar to monitor the performance; ie, the musicians don't need headphones (which is good because I don't have the kit to provide individual headphone monitoring for each player).

So last night's objective was to simply see if I could create a live monitoring environment ready for Saturday.

I set up the 18i6 and the D8 in the same way that I did for the test-run for the drums on Thursday night last week and everything was working fine.

Then I connected outputs 1 & 2 on the 18i6 (these are the outputs for what would normally be your monitor speakers) and connected them to channels 1 & 2 on the house mixer/amplifier. The leads that you use for this are quarter-inch TRS to the 18i6 and XLR male to the mixer/amplifier.

At this point in time all my master and channel volumes on the PA, D8 and 18i6 were turned down to 0.

I plugged my electric guitar and bass into channels 1 & 2 of the D8 (these 2 channels double as instrument channels on that unit when you use the quarter-inch sockets on the front of the unit). Then I plugged 2 keyboards into channels 3 & 4 on the 18i6 (quarter-inch sockets to the rear of the unit).

Now that I had all of the instruments plugged in (and turned on in the case of the keyboards). I brought up the volume on D8 channels and also the master volume on the 18i6. Then I brought up the 2 master volumes on the PA/mixer and didn't hear anything nasty so I figured so far so good.

I took my guitar and turned up the volume and armed the guitar track in Auria and got sound through the house speakers. I also tested the sound with Overloud activated and it sounded great. I did the same test with my bass and got a basic untreated sound via the D8's preamp. I then tested the two keyboards by bringing up the volumes on each unit and they worked too.

The final thing that I did was bring up the faders on the drums that I recorded on the previous Thursday and then pressed play in Auria; the drums sounded fine and I was able to record some improvised bass whilst playing along to the back-beats that Barney had played on Thursday.

I left satisfied that everything is ready for this Thursday night's and Saturday's recording sessions and also knowing that if there are challenges on the days, they will more likely be musical rather than technical or equipment-related.

Please feel free to post comments, ask questions or make suggestions; part of the reason why I am sharing this information is so that I can pick up some tips along the way in addition to sharing my own experiences.

Cheers

Grant

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Joepno
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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by Joepno » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:52 am

Hi G-master G,

I am very grateful for your diary and can't wait hearing from the next steps because I am pretty much in a similar situation. Have read a lot about recording over the last 6 months, have bought a
Scarlett 18i20, Octopre Mk II, headamp art 6
use an ipad4 and an analoge mixer Yamaha MGP16X.
Have recorded my piano and vocal but have not managed to find a weekend where the entire band
2voc ba gtr gtr keys dr is free.
Will report my experience once I have more. So far I found it very challenging to plan the setup
MGP 16X -> 18i20 -> Auria
-> Headamp
and find the right cables.
I know the MIXER coukd be left out, but I am planning for a live recording, where I prefer to use faders instead of knobs.
best,
Joepno

G-master G
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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:32 pm

G'day Joepno

You have some very nice kit and you raise a very interesting point regarding the planning. One thing that I did not mention in my posts is the amount of mental gymnastics to which I subjected my brain trying to figure out exactly how this recording session could be conducted given that we don't have isolation of any kind or a control room and only one set of headphones!!

The obvious (well at least it is to me now!!) drawback was that if the band members hear themselves through the house PA then it would result in the monitored sound bleeding into all of the mics so that you would get a recording of the recording and not to mention the risk of feedback.

I sat at home and started drawing diagrams of how it might work and then listing the pros and cons of each configuration, slowly ruling some things in and some things out until I came up with the plan that I currently have.

The other thing that I planned very carefully was the equipment requirements to make sure that I had access to enough microphones, mic cables, stands, and other bits and pieces. I have a 4-way headphone amplifier but at this stage only have one pair of nice isolation headphones so I have no way of giving everyone access to personal monitoring - I think that will be a big challenge.

As it stands the drummer tonight will use the headphones and then on Saturday the vocalists and acoustic guitarist will use them in separate sessions and the band members will play along together with the sound coming through the house PA.

I will take some pictures and up-load them here so that you can see how we have set things up for each of the sessions.

Cheers

Grant

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by JosephDignamMusic » Thu Nov 20, 2014 5:56 am

Awesome Man!

Im always trying things with my equipment and always "making do" with something or another so very interested in your findings.

I am from Perth too! Good to hear some locals are also in love with App and this style of recording!

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Thu Nov 20, 2014 6:34 pm

G"day JoesephDignamMusic

Do you know the Jazz Cellar at Mt Hawthorn? It is behind the Salvo's shop on Buxton St just off Scarborough Beach Rd. If you have some time on Saturday swing by and come through the red phone box and you will find us there completing the project.

You can point out all the things that I am doing wrong :-).

Cheers

Grant.

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by JosephDignamMusic » Thu Nov 20, 2014 7:01 pm

G-master G wrote:G"day JoesephDignamMusic

Do you know the Jazz Cellar at Mt Hawthorn? It is behind the Salvo's shop on Buxton St just off Scarborough Beach Rd. If you have some time on Saturday swing by and come through the red phone box and you will find us there completing the project.

You can point out all the things that I am doing wrong :-).

Cheers

Grant.

Hey Grant - It dawned on me that I am a very introverted muso... spend most of time locked away in my music room and tend to ignore the growing music scene in Perth. Im in Balcatta so just down the road to where you are!
I probably should start mixing with some other like minded people and I am always keen when it comes to recording and have never done anything with anyone before. All of my recordings are 100% me including all instruments etc.. :?

PM me you facebook or soundcloud info if you like - I am by no means an expert in recording, mixing or mastering - i think you would be teaching me! :)

joe

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:06 pm

G'day Joe

I would welcome some collaboration regarding recording, mixing, writing, performing. I forced myself into the scene via the Metro Big Band in which I play and it has done wonders for my playing. Earlier this year I read Pete Townsend's biography which for some reason inspired an outpouring of lyrics which has resulted in some finished and some not-so-finished songs.

I have some guitar riffs that I have developed that I really like and I have some melodies in my head that I really like and I would like to be able to pull it all together into something worthwhile and go and gig it around the place.

The offer is on the table.

Cheers

Grant

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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by G-master G » Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:41 pm

Well,

The recording session on Saturday was a resounding success. In summary:

Everything was recorded in the way that I had pre-planned - at no stage did I come across a problem that I hadn't anticipated which required some sort of work-around to be developed on the spot.

The smooth running of the session resulted in the group finishing an hour ahead of time.

The iPad and Auria performed without fault throughout the day.

My biggest concern was the power requirements but with the screen brightness turned down I used 14% of the battery life over the period of time from 9 am to 3 pm with no breaks in between.

CPU usage was well within the unit's capacity; all the hardware and interfaces worked with the iPad and Auria like a dream.

To recap the interface setup that I use is:

Focusrite Scarlett 18i6 plus a Presonus Digimax D8 preamp unit.

Session 1:

Bass
Guitar
Piano
Synth

Bass
The bass went into a Galien-Kreuger amp head and cab. The head has an XLR line out so I took the signal from that and ran it into a mono track via channel 1 of the D8. Note: not the instrument input at the front but the XLR input at the rear.

Guitar

I ran the guitar through my POD XTLive and created all the of the amp/cab, stomp and modulation effects within it and then ran it into a mono track via input 6 of the 18i6 (line level input to the rear).

Piano

I ran the piano to a stereo track via inputs 3 and 4 of the 18i6 (line level inputs to the rear).

Synths

I ran the synth to a mono track via input 5 of the 18i6 (line level inputs to the rear).

Everything was running direct; ie, no microphones being used to mic cabs/amplifiers etc.

I ran the 2 monitor outputs on the 18i6 (outputs 1 & 2) to 2 of the inputs on the house PA amp/mixer and we used the 4 house monitors to hear the performance. In short it was like a band playing live.

We had allowed an hour in the schedule for setup from 9-10 but we were done by 9.30 - good start.

We first used the drum tracks that I had recorded on the Thursday night but the band preferred to use the click track in Auria so we did 2 full takes of 2 songs and then did some punch-in editing to tighten up a few places and re-record some mistakes.

The kids in the band were very switched on and demonstrated a high level of musicianship and the session was over by 11.00 an hour ahead of time - good progression.

Vocals

We used a very professional sounding Rode large diaphragm condenser mic with a 3-pattern mode set to cardioid.

I ran it direct to one of the 18i6 pre-amps and recorded 2 vocalists separately.

Both used isolation headphones to listen to the band as it had been recorded previously and we did a couple of takes for each singer.

It was now 12.00 and lunch-time - pizza!!

Acoustic guitar.

I indulged myself a little here and used a Rode small condenser mic and the Rode large condenser mic to record to a stereo track via the two preamps on the 18i6.

I placed the large condenser mic facing the body of the guitar and the small condenser mic aimed in the direction of the 12th fret.

One thing I disappointingly forgot to check before I began recording was the phase so I may have to flip the phase on one of these microphones during the mixing process.

Percussion (Djembe and glock)

I recorded these with the same large-/small-condenser mic setup as the acoustic guitar. We did a couple of takes of the glock but the Djembe was a single-take affair.

We finished it all at 3 on the dot and we were packed up by 3.30

It was a long day but a very rewarding one.

I have no doubt there is room for improvement from a recording perspective (it is the first time that I have ever recorded anything) but what I know I have done well and to the best of its ability is harness the recording power of my equipment to capture multiple signals across different instruments and voices - that was the aim of the project; to get the equipment to work.

The kids really enjoyed the studio-like experience and what it means to do a recording and the way in which it is done. Irrespective of the quality of the recordings and of the final product, the exercise has been a success in understanding and executing the logistics of a multi-session recording project using just a single room with no isolation.

On the strength of that success I have offered my services to a mate's band whose members have expressed a desire to do some recording.

Another project that I have will be to do a live recording of a band.

I think that I will also get a headphone amp/mixer that will allow me to do some multi-track recording with bass and guitars where, instead of going direct, I mic the amps/cabs.

All of it is food for thought and I am sure that it will throw up its own set of challenges that will require solutions and work-arounds.

When I get a couple of minutes I will post the raw tracks so that everyone can hear them.

Cheers and thanks for stopping by and reading and making comments.

If there is any particular detail that you would like to know about the day's events just post me a message and I will respond.

cheers

Grant

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martygras
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Re: Mobile Recording Project

Post by martygras » Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:41 pm

Cool man. sounds like a good session.
I also agree that there is no comparison to micing cabs for guitar and bass.
Marty Schulte [I'm a drummer. So, there's that.]
iPad AIR(128), Akai EIE, Akai EWI USB, illudium q-36 explosive space modulator
Head First Audio (live sound for Southern Oregon, USA)

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