Different Methods in Capturing Good Audio at Live Event

Posted on 10/14/2013 1:40:00 PM

We've been experimenting different ways to capture great audio at live events. Here's a summary of all methods we have used.

Feed from DJ Sound Board

Connect to DJ sound board for a feed. This gives the best sound quality in my opinion. As an additional benefit, there is less ambient noise recorded. Please be aware this method will heavily rely on the level of cooperation from the D.J.
Jeffrey Stoner Video created a short piece for the benefit of local DJs and bands. Just so they can understand why we are always asking for an audio feed from their board.


Mic'ed Speaker with a Wired Lav Mic

Mic each person who will speak with a lav mic. RODE PINMIC is a great lav mic for this purpose. This will ensure capturing great sound. However, there are many unpredictable situations at a live event such as random guest speakers. Should this occur, there may not be enough time to mic those speakers.
James Lee at FoodHackTV uses RODE PinMic in the production.


Voice Recorder Near Loud Speaker

Mount a digital voice recorder on stand placing it a few feet in front of loudspeaker.
We use the Zoom H2n Digital Voice Recorder. The amazing feature for this recorder is its front 90 Degree microphone and a rear 120 degree wide angle mic. The front and back microphones record sound to the LEFT and RIGHT channel. At post, a Fill-Left or Fill-Right filter can be used to isolate the desire channel. If we want a cleaner vocal, use the track recorded with the front microphone. If we need more ambiance sound from the audience, we can switch to the rear 120 wide angle track.
Please take a listen to these clips recorded with voice recorder on stand near loudspeaker.


Dangling Lav Mic on top of Loud Speaker

Place a voice recorder with a wired lav mic on top of a loudspeaker. The lav mic will be dangling in front of the speaker Check out our previous blog article for this method. This method doesn't involve any interaction with the DJ. The sound quality is dependent on the quality of the loudspeakers used. Distortion or a loud hum could be recorded.

Shotgun Mic on Stand Pointing at Ceiling type PA Speaker

At certain church and venue, they have PA type of loud speakers mounted on ceiling. We tried mounting a RODE VideoMic or RODE VideoMic Pro on light stand with the Light Stand / Umrbrella Adapter connected to a digital voice recorder.
Take a look at this blog post Capture Sound Every Way We Could At Church Weddings


Attach A Voice Recorder on Mic Stand

This method was suggested by several wedding cinematographers. A digital voice recorder such as Zoom H1 is attached to a mic stand provided by the videographer. As each member of the bridal party speaks, they are required to use the mic stand.

Check out the following wedding film by Michael Simon Wedding Films.


Attaching Voice Recorder to Handheld Microphone

We experimented with this new method by attaching a voice recorder to handheld microphone. We use Sony ICDUX523BLK Digital Flash Voice Recorder because of their compact size, light weight, black body color, and a pair of built-in directional stereo microphones. It can be velcroed or rubber banded to a handheld microphone like this:


For more information on this method, please visit out blog Attaching Voice Recorder to Handheld Microphone to Capture Audio

Your comments and feedback are appreciated.



Posted by Adrian Tan on 1/17/2014 1:48:00 AM Hey Taky, I think that's pretty much all of them! The only ones I can think of to add to the list:
1. Boundary mics, or generally just hiding mics around bridal table, etc. I don't actually know anything about boundary mics, but if you do, I'd be very keen to read your thoughts.
2. Tuning in to a wireless frequency.
3. Splitting a feed -- so, if they're speaking from a microphone on a stand, you get a single-XLR to double-XLR cable, and plug one end into your recorder and the other end into whatever microphone they're using.
4. Plugging into DJ's speakers.

Replied by LA Color Pros Hi Adrian, thanks for your note. It is indeed very informative. I'm not familiar with Boundary mics but splitting feed and DJ speakers are good advice. Thank you.
Posted by Adrian Tan on 11/4/2014 9:40:00 PM Couple more notes:
1. With recorder near loudspeaker, Don Bloom uses/used some sort of "drum microphone". Not sure what type. Rob Adams (and I) use a Shure SM57 and SM58, and the sound can be really, really good. Clean, has a little bit of ambience from the room, nice reproduction of frequencies.
2. I think it's worth mentioning, though it's obvious, and quite similar to other ideas already detailed: just a freestanding recorder can sometimes be a lifesaver, particularly if you have zero time to set up, using internal omni or directional microphones. For instance, say there's a band at reception, or a string quartet at a ceremony. What I often do is simply put a Roland R-05 on a lightstand, and point it in their direction. One advantage: often, if you concentrated your microphone at the band's loudspeaker instead, what happens if not all the instruments are miked up?
3. Something I've been experimenting with: freestanding Mitra 3-D microphone. Can't give too much feedback about it yet, except to say that the more traditional ways of getting audio give you better audio for "cinematic" purposes.
Posted by Adrian Tan on 11/4/2014 9:49:00 PM And one more idea for today...
How to mic up something like a stage play? Well, what I've seen people do is use the overhead grid to position shotgun microphones to point at key positions. And another alternative, surprisingly effective, is to dangle lav mics from the roof, just above people's heads. The lav mics don't tend to look obvious against the background.
Anyway, maybe these techniques are useful for weddings also, once in a blue moon, assuming you have something overhead to affix the microphones to.

Replied by LA Color Pros Adrian, thank you for sharing your knowledgeable and tips. Much appreciated.
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