Remote Recording is Possible
Remote recording is possible with today's technology, and the advent of the Covid-19 pandemic, there are ways for an audio engineer to run a recording session remotely. Have you ever needed technical support for your computer and the IT person can connect to it even if they are half way across the world? With that same type of technology, remote recording is possible.
Now, what do you need to do a remote recording for a live instrument band (rock/country/blues/jazz/etc...)? Well, you'll need to have all the recording equipment. Some places can rent you the equipment if you don't have the budget to buy $100's to $1,000's of equipment.
Here is the short list of what you can use to get a decent recording:
Shure SM57 (dynamic microphone) - Very versatile microphone. It can be used on almost anything and is used a lot on the snare drum, guitar cab, toms, horns.
Shure SM7b (dynamic microphone) - Great vocal microphone, and other instruments as well. Michael Jackson used it on his vocal for all songs on his Thriller album, except for one, which I think I read somewhere that it was the ballad.
You can buy a drum kit microphone pack, from repitual microphone companies, so you can have a few options and they can be used on multiple sources, not just drums.
Speaking of drums, when set up correctly, you can make 1 to 3 mics on the drums sound amazing!
1 microphone: Move it around the drumset until it sound the best.
3 microphones: Overhead left and right and kick. Make sure that the distance from the left and right overhead mic is equidistant from the center of the snare. 48" is usually good, but find what sounds best to you. You want them equidistant so you don't have polarity or phase issues.
DI box (some amps have a DI out)
DI boxes (direct inject) takes your signal from your guitar/bass/keys/etc... and line level matches it so you can send the signal directly from the instrument to your mic preamp. This allows the engineer to reamp the signal if needed during the mixing process and can also mixit along with the already amped signal.
Microphone Preamp and Interface box
Like an electric bass and electric guitar, a microphone needs to be amplified as well and there are many preamps out there, and mixing board/consoles have them built into them already. If you have a decent /mixing board/console (Soundcraft/Yamaha/Allen&Heath/etc...) then you only need a few more items. If not, you'll need to get a hold of one or multiple individual preamps if you're going to record more then one track at a time
To get the signal from the preamps into your recording medium (Usually a computer running a DAW - digital audio workstation) you'll need an audio interface. What an audio interface does is that it converts the analog signal into 1's and 0's so the computer can understands convert waveforms on the screen. That is called an A/D convertor (Analog to Digital) and then you'll need a D/A if you need to send the signal back to analog. Most interfaces have both built in. If you use a stand alone recorder, digital ones will already have one built into it (if it is a decent one). If you are into doing it old school with analog tape and never going to do you mixes in digital, you will not need a convertor.
There are also all in one boxes that have the preamps and the convertors built in.
DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)
This is the computer program that your recorded tracks get organized in, played back in, and can be mixed and master in. T
his is called ITB recording, or In The Box.
This is where a person like myself comes into the picture when you are doing a remote recording session. With a simple remote operating program (i.e: AudioMovers) I can connect to your computer and run the session. Record, punch ins, arm tracks, make headphone mixes, solo certain instruments, make mic adjustments, be a producer if needed, make suggestions, etc...
There are other things that can be done as well. I can connect with other studio musicians in other locations, fly the session to them, have them lay their part down, fly it back to your session and continue on. For example, if you don't have the means to do live drums, we can record the scratch tracks for tempo, fly that to the off location drummer to lay their part down and when they are done, fly it back to you. What about an orchestra?
Once the recording is complete, then the engineer can ready the tracks for mixing.
The recording engineer can prepare them for you for a future mix the session by doing a render/consolidate the tracks, place them into a zip (compressed) file and send them to whomever you hired to mix the session.
There are many products on the market that can get you going on your project. If you need some options, send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have. Please share this if you found it informative and know of others that may be interested in the information.
Have a great week!
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