6 Ways To Record Live Sets From Your Event
We’ve all seen them. Those grainy clips recorded on an iPhone from halfway back at a gig. Hands waving and screaming and absolutely terrible sound. I mean, you are recording it on your phone.
Just say no to lousy phone clips and organize grab a live recording from the gig. It’s the perfect way for fans to relieve their experience. It’s also the perfect way for you and the artist to get your hands on some exclusive content. You can even reuse the sound again when you’re doing promos for upcoming gigs.
No idea where to get started with a live recording? We’re here to help with the basics.*
*A disclaimer: Always ensure you check with your artist to make sure they’re happy to have their set recorded. Some artists may not be keen and posting it on your page without their approval has the potential to ruin a working relationship. Always ask first.
1. From the DJ booth via the USB connection on the mixer
Most mixers these days are digital. They have an inbuilt USB soundcard and stereo output that can be routed back to a computer for recording. The industry standard setup is generally the Pioneer DJM-900 mixer combined with Traktor on the Macbook. Get your DJ to set up live recording on board their computer. The software makes this easy, and they can give you the recording once the night is over.
2. With a digital recorder and microphones
If you’re planning on recording often and in multiple locations master the digital recorder. This takes time and effort, but it is worth it. The latest range of portable recorders feature 24-bit audio with a solid state drive. This allows up to six microphone inputs for multiple channels.
The main benefit of using a digital recorder is that you can take it anywhere. They are perfect for recording all different styles of music. With correct microphone placement, you can capture the drums, bass and singer of the band.
Experiment with different mic setups to see what works best for your situation.
You can pick one up for as little as $100. Better models stretch out to around $1000 – and these prices don’t include the mics. Brands like TASCAM and Zoom are popular with sound professionals for use out in the field.
3. From the front of house desk via the output to the PA
The front of house desk is where all sound in the venue is controlled from. All larger venues will have this as a regular set up. The outputs to the PA are captured here and you can hook up your digital recorder directly to the same outputs as what’s feeding the PA. You’ll get all the sound that the sound engineer works so hard to produce.
Using the digital recorder will involve going over the recordings later and making small tweaks to the tracks to make them sound better. This takes time, and is sometimes still worse.
4. From the DJ booth with your recorder
You can also capture the sound from the DJ’s mixer directly using your recorder. Hook up the digital recorder to the audio outputs of the mixer to grab the sound directly from the booth, without the DJ having to record the set themselves.
5. From the DJ booth with a second computer
Instead of recording from the mixer via the DJ’s computer, you can also plug in a secondary computer. This way you can be in control of the recording and don’t have to leave it up to your artist. Ensure that your computer has enough power to handle the output from the mixer and grab the audio with a program such as Audacity.
6. From … your iPhone?
I know we were harping on the iPhone in the beginning, but they are not completely useless. iPhone attachment offerings from companies such as Rode and Zoom are a great way to record. You don’t need a big setup, either. They give you the smarts of a digital recorder in a compact package. The sound quality may not be quite as good as using a full-scale recorder, but it will be leaps and bounds ahead of your regular microphone.
Once you’ve recorded your audio you can then edit it on the computer to craft it carefully into a finished form. The final audio can either be hosted on your site, or via a third party service like Soundcloud. Record all your shows to have a catalogue of previous gigs available for both fans of the music and fans of your brand.