music A bit Heath Robinson as sound recording setups go...

So as a professional, corporate film maker, I have a good sound setup. Well, good for corporates! The setup is also good enough to shoot a very frugal feature film (currently in production). And thanks to a certain MLesemann for feedback. She's amazing!

However, I have a crazy situation where I have some friends who might want to do a live take of their band singing. This is a group of friends, not very serious, so I'm happy to do them a favour. However, while I'm comfortable doing my corporate thing, I don't know how to do the music thing! I have a couple of mics (e.g. an Mkh416 etc...) and could probably borrow a really high end mic for the singer and am trying to avoid buying a proper mixer / soundboard thingy because it's not something I particularly use when doing corporates.

So could we get away with taking everything into a couple of Zoom recorders? Sure, I get that monitoring's an issue but my thoughts are that taking the sound into a load of different tracks, independently just means we'd be able to balance it a bit more in post.

Secondly, the the idea is to look as if they've just wandered into a bar and spontaneously started to make music so it's probably 'just' a singer and acoustic guitar and percussion might be a table as a drumkit. Might have keys as well so something like this:

Acoustic guitar: Straight into a sound board / mixer from a pickup. Secondary mic pointing at the strings. So two tracks, maybe taking that into a 2-track recorder through something like an SD Pre-D.
Keyboard (might not have one): XLR it straight into an F4N
Singer: Mic into the mixer. We'd borrow something super high end so there's a guy with a pretty expensive mic and again, take it into an F4N.
Drums: Maybe have them drum stuff in the bar. E.g. Use a table with a couple of beer mats and glasses as a percussion set so could point an Mkh416 in the general direction and again, feed it all into an F4N.

As a recorder, we have an F4N and an other zoom something-or-other with two tracks so can record six tracks independently. But do we absolutely need a proper mixer / soundboard thingy and if we absolutely do, what's a cheap one?

It's a bit ghetto but to start with, is this feasible, albeit with limitations?
 
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If you are going to be using the F4n or similar multi-track unit the "easiest" way to go would probably be using multiple active splitters. This way you have absolute control over the input levels on your recorder. When the gig is done you load it all into your DAW and have A LOT more control when you mix - no recorded EQ or effects.

I'm sure that you know, but for the rest of the folks here, a splitter is sort of like a "Y" cable, so you can send the same signal to two (2) separate places. An active splitter insures that there will be no reduction of signal output level. (Much more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea...)

The other option is taking an AUX send from each channel on the FOH (Front Of House) console. The downside is less control over the recorded signal.

Both of these scenarios were used for live or later broadcast when I was musical director for the Del Vikings. (5 Vox, 6 Keys [3 keyboards/3 rackmount], 8 Drums [kik/sn/hat/3 toms/2 OH], guitar, bass, sax - total 22 lines)

I would suggest renting what you need; I'm sure that there are plenty of professional sound support rental houses in the UK. Just a quick look and I could get a splitter for US$10/day to US$15/day and a Sound Devices 633 6-track for US$115/day.




EDIT - BTW, you could look into a splitter snake like those used to split between FOH and monitor consoles.......
 
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If you are going to be using the F4n or similar multi-track unit the "easiest" way to go would probably be using multiple active splitters. This way you have absolute control over the input levels on your recorder. When the gig is done you load it all into your DAW and have A LOT more control when you mix - no recorded EQ or effects.

I'm sure that you know, but for the rest of the folks here, a splitter is sort of like a "Y" cable, so you can send the same signal to two (2) separate places. An active splitter insures that there will be no reduction of signal output level. (Much more complicated than that, but that's the basic idea...)

The other option is taking an AUX send from each channel on the FOH (Front Of House) console. The downside is less control over the recorded signal.

Both of these scenarios were used for live or later broadcast when I was musical director for the Del Vikings. (5 Vox, 6 Keys [3 keyboards/3 rackmount], 8 Drums [kik/sn/hat/3 toms/2 OH], guitar, bass, sax - total 22 lines)

I would suggest renting what you need; I'm sure that there are plenty of professional sound support rental houses in the UK. Just a quick look and I could get a splitter for US$10/day to US$15/day and a Sound Devices 633 6-track for US$115/day.




EDIT - BTW, you could look into a splitter snake like those used to split between FOH and monitor consoles.......
We can probably cover the number of inputs without needing a splitter. I think. We have a couple of recorders so that sort of works. Fills me with confidence that it's probably OK. And the benefit is that it isn't a gig so we can get multiple takes.
 
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