Professional Sound - Indepth

The Art Of Recording Live Sound by David Norman

If you’re in the process of recording your live show to get those better bookings, do a live CD or to critique your performance, here are some suggestions to make your life a little easier. This article will deal with recording from your live console straight to a DAT machine. With any recording worth making, it’s important to make time for experimentation.

When you decide which of your venues that you’ll be recording at, it’s always a good idea and call the in-house sound engineer and let him/her know of your plans. They’ll most likely have suggestions or feedback to make your life easier before you even walk in the door.

Make sure to fax ahead of time your stage plot and input chart so the sound crew will know what to expect. On your stage plot, show the locations on the stage of the band gear, wedges and the band members’ names to expedite things. It’s also a good idea to show the location of AC drops for power. On your input chart, include your microphone stand and microphone type (plus alternatives). Each channel of your input list should also indicate what type of insert (gate, compressor, etc.) that you would like. Once on site, and you have your gear set up, here are some suggestions to make the best recording possible. Have shock-mounts on all of your vocal mics and use rugs on stages to keep the sound of people walking back and forth down and eliminating that nasty stage rumble. You’d be surprised at how you can pick up from people walking back and forth across the stage.

Another great suggestion that I’ve found is to have Plexiglas placed around the drum kit. This brings your entire stage volume down, prevents leakage of the drums into your vocal mics and makes for a better recording overall. For drums, I try to always use Drum Claws on toms. This is great for keeping the mics in place and not having to worry about someone accidentally knocking into one of your mic stands.

David Norman has mixed such acts as The Neville Brothers featuring Aaron Neville, Peabo Bryson, Michael Hedges, Lisa Germano, Susanna Hoffs (The Bangles), Diana King and many others. He can be reached online at

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About Andrew King
Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief at Professional Sound. He is also a co-host of Canadian Musician Radio and NWC Webinars’ series of free music and entertainment industry webinars.
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