The Audio Recording Process

The steps for recording a live event are fairly straight-forward. Each sound-source must be miced and recorded.

This means that there will be a microphone placed on each instrument, and all of the other audio feeds will be taken direct. There will also be mics placed on the audience for their response. The mics are supplied by the house, or the recording truck, or both. There is also a transformer-isolated splitter required, and this is a key component. Each input first feeds a mic splitter that sends the signal to both the house PA as well as the audio recording/mixing equipment. Both of these systems are independent of each other.

Mics include condensers, dynamics, ribbons, and direct boxes. There are also the stands, cables, and snakes. Even in the smallest club, everything must be miced in order to be heard. Even a small jazz trio in a tiny club without a PA system will still have each instrument miced, as well as the audience being recorded. This includes the drums, bass, piano, etc. Each instrument needs to be available in post or for the live mix.

We typically mic everything regardless of any ‘minimalist’ leanings an engineer may have. This means the Kick, Snare, Hat, Hi/Mid/Floor toms, Overheads L/R, Bass DI, Bass mic, Piano Lo/Hi, Audience Front-Left, Audience Front-Right, Audience Left-Rear, Audience Right-Rear, etc.

If you don’t want to use the tom mics or the bass DI – just don’t use them in the mix. They’ll be recorded regardless.

Recording a live event using digital technology is somewhat different than tape in that we don’t EQ going to tape since nothing is lost in the recording process. The basic equipment is usually broken down into a set of mic preamps, the digital recorders and backups, and a monitor mixer so the audio engineer can clearly hear that everything is clean to the recorders. You still deal with power and grounding issues, mics/stands/cables/snakes, levels, etc.

If the show is being mixed live for radio or broadcast/streaming, then a full audio mixer w/effects is required in order to clearly provide the best mix possible as the audio mix then becomes critical when the event is live. Our involvement in many hundreds of live events gives us a special advantage with the musicians, as well as the PA company, roadies, and other tech personnel as we have deep experience in working closely with each of these key personnel.

The end result of the recording process is a set of industry-standard Broadcast Wave files that are compatible with every audio mixing system.