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Thread: Advice for plugging into sound board at live gigs

  1. #1
    Forum Mogul nolonemo's Avatar
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    Default Advice for plugging into sound board at live gigs

    (Mods please move if this is the wrong area)

    This is a little OT, but it sounds like there are a number of people who are recoding live gigs and may be able to shed some light.

    Last summer I filmed my son's jazz big band concerts using an on-camera external mic (AT-822), and was been quite pleased with the sound I've got; it generally seemed to have good detail and the room sounds were not obtrusive. At the concerts, the band is mic'd with stand mics that are fed through a sound board to a PA system, so I was pretty much recording what came through the PA speakers up by the stage.

    This summer, I'll be video recording the concerts again, and was thinking of recording the sound out of the sound board to my Zoom H2 as well, to see if I can get better sound that way. (I would take the board's line feed through a Rolls MX34 pre-amp, which I think will take care of any problem with the line signal being too hot for the H2).

    The band director will be arranging with the venue for me to be able to plug into the board, but I'd like to be able to interact with the sound guys without sounding like a total noob (although I will be one).

    What do I tell them I want to do? "Hi guys, I'd like to _______________."

    Also, what kind of connector on the board is it likely I will be plugging into (the boards used are all portable boards although some are bigger than others)? XLR, RCA, 1/4" phono? I probably will put together a number of adapters, which most likely will end up running into the Rolls' dual XLR inputs. I want to have enough of a variety of adapters to cover the bases.

    Thanks

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    Although there are much better solutions, what I do is use my microphone cable. It has 1/8" and XLR connectors. I plug the XLR right into the sound board, then during the first song I adjust the audio.
    As soon as band starts to play I look at the "audio levels" on the HV20's LCD to see if it looks like its being clipped. If its being clipped the bar wont move at all, I turn down the volume level on the Sound Board until I see the levels on the HV20 moving. Then I adjust the audio level on the HV20 to increase the signal strength. It does not come through in stereo, but in post I convert it to stereo and it sounds better than anything I can get with the mic on the HV20 or the Rode VideoMic I have as well.

    You could use a 1/4" to 1/8" cable and connect to the headphone outlet on most sound boards instead of connecting to XLR outputs. The benefit being that you will have stereo sound instead of mono.

    So far I have found that the volume levels on the sound boards work best when set to like 1 or 2. Anything more and its too loud.

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    Senior Member geekd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nolonemo View Post

    What do I tell them I want to do? "Hi guys, I'd like to _______________."

    Also, what kind of connector on the board is it likely I will be plugging into (the boards used are all portable boards although some are bigger than others)? XLR, RCA, 1/4" phono? I probably will put together a number of adapters, which most likely will end up running into the Rolls' dual XLR inputs. I want to have enough of a variety of adapters to cover the bases.

    Thanks

    I do this all the time. You will get a much better sound from the board into your zoom H2 than you would with an on-cam microphone. You should use the on cam mic, too, though, as a backup and to make syncing to the external board feed easier.

    Try to talk to the sound guy as early before the show as possible. Try NOT to talk to the sound guy when he is busy setting up. Tell him in a few short scentences what you are trying to do ("I'm video recording my son's performance, and I'd like to get a board feed into my Zoom H2 here, so I can sync it up with the video later")

    What kind of cable will depend on the board. I've had to use all 3 at one time or another. RCA, 1/4" and XLR. Try to get a stereo mix if they have it.

    Some sound guys are going to treat you as a nuisance, some are going to be indifferent, and some will be genuinely interested in helping you out, and maybe checking out your Zoom H2. I even had one sound guy give me a special mixed stereo feed for my recording, while sending a mono feed to the PA.

    When you go to edit the video, listen for a count in from the drummer, or some other audio cue. Set your in point there and match, then you can roll back the video to the beginning.

    Listen to the audio from the soundboard along with the cam mic. Do you hear an echo? Shift the video and cam mic audio forward 1 or 2 frames. Did it get better or worse? Tweak until you get the best match.

    Here's a video of mine using a soundboard feed:
    http://www.vimeo.com/714554

    -geekd

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    "Hi guys, I'm shooting a video of the gig and I'd like to able to get an audio feed from the mixer. Would it be possible to get a line-level feed of the house mix? What connector do I need to plug in to the mixer?"

    The easiest thing for them if they aren't using it already would be to let you use an RCA output - most mixers have these and it is there for just this purpose. This will be a stereo output straight off the main bus but bear in mind that, although there will probably be 'left' and 'right' speakers, you may just have a mono mix anyway. That is, both channels are the same. Unless they actually pan the individual mike channels to the left or right on the mixer.

    Seeing as you have a good recorder, plus a pre-amp, and know what a line level signal is, I shouldn't worry too much about sounding noobish if I were you. But I think most sound guys will appreciate a simple arrangement so that they can concentrate on the show. If you turn up wanting to connect to your pre-amp via XLR, that means they have to send the mix to that output bus - they might have to do that on every channel possibly, depending on the set up. So ask them what's easiest - if you can eliminate the possibility of a solo instrument somehow not being sent out to your feed then that's a good thing.

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    Forum Mogul nolonemo's Avatar
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    Great advice, thank you, guys!

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    Junior Member Kid A's Avatar
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    Default HELP!!! Quick: Do I need a Pre-amp between a Zoom H2 & a soundboard's "tape" out??

    Hey all, I'm kind of in a pinch and need a way to record decent quality audio of a concert next week Thursday. (It will mainly be a solo performance--vocals + acoustic-electric gtr, harmonica, maybe banjo, etc.) Was thinking of getting a Zoom H2 shipped fast, since the HV20's audio (especially in HDV mode) seems to be not that good.

    I'd plug the Zoom H2 into the soundboard, which has a pair (L,R) of RCA outs labeled "Tape". Would I need a pre-amp between the board and the Zoom??
    I would think, no, but I'm a little uncertain and really don't want to eff this up!

    Also, FWIW, I would be also be getting audio thru two HV20s--one tripoded next to the board & one roaming side/near-stage, with an Azden SMX-10 stereo mic and a Rode VideoMic (mono). Any suggestions which mic to put on which camera?

    Should I just scrap the Zoom idea and plug the soundboard directly into an HV20? If so, should I shoot in DV mode (at least with that camera) for the PCM sound?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Kid A; 2008 April 24th at 10:35.

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    I would shoot HDV and record with an external recorder if possible. You could, for easier syncing record the board mix on the H2 and HV20 near the board, and use an external mic on the other HV20. I would NOT want to have a 2 camera shoot with DV and HDV combined if I could do HDV on both cameras.


    Most of the time you need 1/4 TRS or RCA, if the board has XLR out, it's usually already taken for the FOH. If the board has a CTRL room output, be careful, the sound op might PFl on some channels, and CTRL RM usually also outputsx those signals, you don't want them recorded at that point though. SHould you get a dedicadet AUX Subgroup, make sure it's set to AFL, so that they are only live when they acually come through FOH, otherwise even when muted on FOH the signal is recorded - not good. Best would be either the RCA Tape otu, or a second main-mix out.

    So for most situations you should be able to take a stereo RCA, or have 2 mono 1/4 going to your recorder.

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    Forum Mogul sdeming's Avatar
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    As for recording live sound, if you have the option, try and get your audio completely independently of the camera. I'm making a documentary on a band 'keslinger', and for the clip below, I've recorded the audio separately. Using the left and right sends from a mixing board and a stationary sm57. After a little mastering, the sound quality is superb. I'm sure you have a friend with a simple four track recorder or even a minidisk recorder could do the trick (using a left and right RCA stero send to an 1/8 inch adapter.

    Here's a link as an example. All the shots were two hv20s and the three tracks were captured on a portable studio by tascam, and then mastered in cubase. All the film editing was done in vegas pro 8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWtLFAV4z-8

  9. #9

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    The sound reinforcement mix is not usually an ideal mix for recording because it is there to reinforce sound (acoustic and amplified) generated by the instruments and vocals. The engineer is adding to the presence of the instruments and amps in the room, and taking that mix will not usually be good for much other than giving you a clean representation of all the instruments.

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    Senior Member Rentakill's Avatar
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    Great thread people, thanks for the info..............

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    Moderator bluegrass's Avatar
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    Default Any suggestion would be appreciated

    Here's my scenerio and equipment. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Equipment:
    1 - HV20 - wide angle lens - 2 channel passive audio adaptor
    2 - HV30 - Letus Mini - various lenses including 50mm & 70-200mm - 4 channel Juicedlink with Phantom
    3 - Micro litepanel mounted to either cameras shoe
    4 - 2 channel Asden wireless - 1 lapel mic & 1 transmitter that accepts any mic
    5 - Zoom H4
    6 - 2 Seinheiser dynamic mics
    7 - 2 dyanmic & 1 condensor mic
    8 - plenty of XLR cables and 2 XLR to 1/4" adapter cables

    Shooting scenerios:
    1 - Outdoor stage with huge speaker farms on each side of stage. Lawn chair seating. I always setup about the 3rd or 4th row left center isle. I can run cables from the speaker farms and sound board to my chair. I have had pretty good success with putting one mic up in front of one of the speaker farms on a mic stand and feeding that to both left & right channels. I believe that both sides of the stage get the same audio. I will have access to the sound board this year as well. The festival is 8 days with shows from 11 to 11, so some of my shooting will be at night. The stage has a fair amount of light at night.

    2 - Interview performers, jammers, fans - Some may be in a small private setting and some may be at a small stage with an audience. I might have to provide some lighting if any or done at night.

    3 - Campground jams. Mostly at night.

    My ideas:
    1 - Stage performences - Setup H4 on the sound board but perhaps run a set of cables down to my chair in case I want to plug directly to my camera via adaptor. Run a single mic from the left speaker farm to my chair and capture to my "A" camera on both channels. Use my "B" camera (HV30) with the Letus Mini for mobil shooting - perhaps side of stage shots, audience, and angle shot from right side of the stage. When I'm on the move with my "B" camera, I will leave my other camera setup to capture all performers (wide). I would probably just capture the sound with the built in mics for the "B" camera to use for syncing in post.

    2 - Interviews - I'm thinking of setting up the "A" camera to shoot over my shoulder at the interviewee. I most likely will not have anyone to help so both cameras will not be changed during the interviews. I would put two mic stands up, one for the interviewee and one for me. Both would feed to the "A" camera. I might setup a "B" camera in a position that would capture both the interviewee and myself. I don't think I would bother to use external mics on the "B" camera. I'm not sure whether to attempt making the "A" camera the one with the Letus Mini or not.

    3 - Camp jams. Anything goes here. I will probably setup 4 mics on stands around the semi-circle or circle of pickers. I will also setup the H4 on a stand in the middle somewhere. The 4 mics will feed my Juicedlink which will also be my "A" camera. The mics can each be panned left, middle, or right, independently. I may setup an incadescent light on a stand. It just can't interfere too much with the ambience of a campfire jam. I will also have my "micro light panel" on my "A" camera more than likely. I think I will use the "B" camera to move around the jam some. Sometime jams tend to be a full 360 degree circle, in which case it requires moving the camera to a lot of different postions.
    Last edited by bluegrass; 2008 June 9th at 11:33.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdeming View Post
    As for recording live sound, if you have the option, try and get your audio completely independently of the camera. I'm making a documentary on a band 'keslinger', and for the clip below, I've recorded the audio separately. Using the left and right sends from a mixing board and a stationary sm57. After a little mastering, the sound quality is superb. I'm sure you have a friend with a simple four track recorder or even a minidisk recorder could do the trick (using a left and right RCA stero send to an 1/8 inch adapter.

    Here's a link as an example. All the shots were two hv20s and the three tracks were captured on a portable studio by tascam, and then mastered in cubase. All the film editing was done in vegas pro 8

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWtLFAV4z-8
    Hey that sounds great, would be perfect for our purposes, where did you position your SM57? We have a Beta57, i think its slightly different, thanks in advance

  13. #13
    Tropical Legend cgbier's Avatar
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    The SM57 was used to get ambience I'd assume. You can place it in the audience.

    When you record from the house deck, your sound will be too clean or sterile, nearly like a studio recording. A microphone in the audience adds the live feel to your mix.
    What you call a grumpy German? - Sour Kraut

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    Then again, the camera mic will do the ambiance part also and probably better than a mono sm57.

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