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I am working on a small rig for doing live internet streaming of a variety of shows (bands of varying genres, DJs, etc.) in a variety of venues (indoor, theater, stadium, outdoor, etc.). The streaming part isn't what I am asking about here... but I could use some pointers on the audio side.

For the audio sources, I am planning on recording a stereo mix from the FoH board, a pair of mics from FoH, and possibly a pair of shotgun crowd mics from the front of the stage, pointed outward at the crowd. Is this a wise configuration?

Assuming I go with with that configuration, once the appropriate delay is dialed in, what would be a good way to manage levels? I am thinking that at sound check time, I will pick either the FoH mics or FoH stereo mix as my "primary" source. For larger shows, I am guessing that the stereo mix will be fine, but at the smaller stuff, those guitar players on stage keep stuff so loud that there wouldn't be much of it in the FoH stereo mix.

I plan to then mix in the other sources, with compression using the primary source as a sidechain input. That way, when the band is in between songs, you can hear the crowd and what not.

Is this a sufficient plan for basic live recording? Anything you would recommend doing differently?

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2 Answers 2

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Of course, it's much better to do a separate mix rather then using the FOH's, this way you can do whatever you want with the guitars if they're too silent in the main mix. As a hybrid solution, you can take e.g. 4 instead of 2 channels out of the FOH: the main mix plus two aux sends which you can use for only the instruments featured too weakly in the mix. You're going to need at least an 8-channel audio interface anyway, so that's hardly an extra effort.

It still can't hurt to have those mics at the FOH, too, but rather to pick up more of the audience and the ambience than direct sound from the stage. Carefully set up the delay compensation.

Your sidechaining plan sounds reasonable enough. Be sure to make the compressors slow enough (with long RMS windows) so there won't be weird stuttering.

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+1, Thanks for your input. Yes, I intend to do a separate mix at some point, but for now, this is just a proof of concept. –  Brad Aug 13 '12 at 13:56
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The artists are the most important, so your stereo mix from the board should be your primary source (I wouldn't use the FoH mic as a primary.) And no matter what the guitarists are doing on stage, get your board feeds in from each one mixed right at sound check, so that at worst case you can stream the artist live.

For crowd mics, try and avoid getting any of the artist sound into them - directional mics pointed at the crowd are your best option here.

You could use side-chaining, but as live gigs can be very unpredictable I'd be tempted to keep a hand near the crowd mix level so you can crank up the crowd volume when they are singing along to the popular numbers.

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Thanks Dr. Mayhem. @leftaroundabout suggested using a slower configuration on the compressor, and I tend to agree with his suggestion. Can you elaborate why you would recommend faster timing? I am thinking that a 0.5 to 1 second attack and a 4-5 second sustain would be fine. I do plan on making adjustments on the fly, for those times that call for it. –  Brad Aug 13 '12 at 13:59
    
I think your numbers work fine. I wouldn't go faster than that though. –  Rory Alsop Aug 13 '12 at 16:11
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