LIVE MUSIC RECORDING

Tracks listed below represent some of the many recordings made under the banner of Ladybird Studios. Each has a short description of where and when it was made, and described below the playlist is the equipment set-ups used for the type of recordings made at the time.

All the the examples in the playlist were recorded
live.

We can still record in all the formats mentioned below, and can digitise old formats (copyright permitting).

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  1. Cassette (1976)
  2. Digital Audio Tape (1996)
  3. Minidisc (2005)
  4. MP3 / WAV stereo recorder (2010 - )
  5. Zoom R16 multitrack recorder (2013 - )
  6. Direct DAW multitrack recording (2017 - )

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HISTORICAL RECORDING EXAMPLES

Cassette
1976
Progressing from Vortexion and Sony reel to reel recorders in the early 1970s we used a JVC 'portable' stereo cassette recorder - more like 'transportable' in that it was physically about the size of an A4 sheet of paper and 4 inches thick. It was state of the art in its day, and arguably still better than the overpriced 'audiophile' machines that followed it some years later. We had a pair of battery powered electret microphones to capture the sound, and it was recorded on Chrome tape with ANRS noise reduction.

DAT
1996

Our first venture into digital recording was with Digital Audio Tape as the computers of the day (that we could afford) weren't powerful enough. This recording was sequenced on an Atari computer in a studio environment using 'Cakewalk' to provide the backing, then recorded live with the addition of the guitar DI'd via a multi-effects pedal.

Minidisc
2005
Very few recordings were made with minidisc which never really caught on. This was captured on a Sony machine fed from the PA mixing desk. The vocal microphones were JBL and Shure with the guitars being DI'd into the desk. The minidisc was attached to the monitor output of the mixer.


CURRENT RECORDING METHODS

Sony portable stereo recorder
2012 -
In about 2010 we acquired a Walkman sized Sony digital recorder capable of high quality MP3 and WAV format stereo audio capture and coupled this with a Sony stereo condenser microphone. This was primarily used for monitoring 'band practice' but did have the occasional outing in its own right. In the example track the recorder was set up on a tall pole next to the control tent at Cudham 2012 and left to get on with it while we videoed the event.

This recorder is now our main method of recording voice-overs and ambience for video projects because it is small, very high quality, and extremely portable.


Zoom R16 multitrack
2013 -
With the exception of some experimental studio recordings using a four track high speed cassette deck (no examples here) our first real venture into multitrack recording was in 2013. We coupled a Zoom R16 multitrack recorder to the sound desk at the Cudham Craic music festival. The desk only allowed five tracks to be recorded off the aux busses, however with good grouping of instruments prior to recording, and a steep learning curve using Logic Pro in post production surprisingly good results were obtained.

We now primarily use this recorder as the audio interface into our video cameras and to capture up to 8 separate audio channels for surround sound video production. Natively it has 8 recording tracks onto a standard SD card which can be post-mixed to 2 outputs sent to the camera.


Direct DAW recording
2017 -
Following the good results in 2013, and the demise of the mixer used there (later replaced by a Behringer X32) we ventured into direct audio capture of up to 32 tracks of raw data from the desk at Knockstock in 2017. This is now the sound recording method of choice at large events.

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FUTURE RECORDING METHODS


We have acquired a Behringer control surface for Logic Pro to make post production easier and look forward to the next mix down. The next big challenge on the audio front is multi-channel output for both sound recording and video. Surround sound video should be fairly easy, concentrating on effects for the surround rather than main dialogue. Of most interest however is to create surround sound live music for general publication purposes, and to experiment with multi-channel front speaker presentation so that different instruments and vocals are presented to the listener from dedicated channels.

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