Really basic question. We have the classic 4 person rock band. I want to record them. The procedure is to set up the mics on each instrument including the vocals and to do so in a way so that sounds from the other instruments in the room have as little effect as possible? Or have them in sound separation and have earphones they can use to listen to the other players and themselves?


2 Answers 2


Earphones for everyone is generally a good idea anyway. They generally need to hear themselves much more than others, while the volume of the instrument as you need it for recording might not be what they need to hear themselves.

Rock drums are really loud, so usually the drummer needs sound separation. You might get away with having just movable absorbing walls, although it's common to have the drums in a separate room, and there is another reason for that:

To make sure you don't get too much instrument bleed you typically close-mic everything. This is easy with a guitar amp and a bass amp. It's harder with drums where you often have overheads to get the crashes and such. If you do that, you'll get a lot of bleed into the overheads.

The same often goes for vocals, they are not strong enough to overcome the bleed.

This is not a huge problem if you intend to record them live and do no overdubs. Then the bleed is not a serious problem. Otherwise it might be, where you can't overdub the guitar if it bleeds into the overheads of the drums or vocals, for example.

So it's a matter of what you want, if you have separate rooms, how good the band is, and how you record things. I've personally not recorded much in a high-end studio with multiple rooms, and therefore tended to record each instrument separately. In one case I've recorded the whole band in one go except vocals.


I'll put a guitar amp in a neighboring room sometimes - some guitar players like to really crank the amp up. You can also get by with stuffing the amp in a closet.

You can position your instruments and microphones so that the microphone's null spot is pointing at other loud instruments. Look up polar the polar pattern of your microphones to see what the specifics in your case are.

If you're not planning on compressing or gating single instruments too much, the bleed may not be much of a problem.

If you're going to separate instruments out totally, you'll need better headphone level control - meaning you'll need a complex sofware mixer and adequate outputs to go to your headphone amplifier. You could also use your outputs to route to a mixer and do monitor mixing there.

Getting the headphone mix is an art - especially when you can't hear what they are hearing. Things can get a little confusing. You can also go with just one headphone mix - everyone will some vocals and the singer will want alot of vocals. Just turn everyone elses headphones down and let them get volume off their amps.

Give yourself ample time to set up and make sure you're getting a good sound - this is often rushed.

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