Recording a jam session in a basement longer than wide

I have a monthly or twice per month jam session with friends in a local club house, which actually is a cellar.

The room we’re doing it is about twice as long as wide - and it has stone walls.

Treating the room is not possible, but I’d still like to give people an option to take some music home with them - we usually have:

  • A few acoustic guitars
  • 1 or 2 electric guitars
  • Saxophone
  • People singing
  • Acoustic bass
  • Electronic drum kit
  • Le me on keys

It’s not too loud because we don’t want to annoy the neighbours too much.

So I wonder - what do I do? I want to be able to do a nice stereo recording and possibly reduce the influence of the room (which I guess would sound strange on a recording).

Is XY or MS better? And, in case of XY… are SM58s usable for what I’m trying to achieve or do I need to get a pair of small diaphragm condensers?

Hm…

Hi, if you only have two SM58s I’d suggest a spaced pair. If you can obtain an M/S stereo mic and M/S encoder (often comes with the mic), then you might use that. Probably a simple spaced pair will be best to start with.

See: In The Studio: Stereo Microphone Techniques http://www.prosoundweb.com/topics/production/stereo_microphone_techniques/

If possible, have friends bring over blankets or quilts and hang them from the walls to reduce the slap-back from the walls. Better, put furniture blankets on the floor and walls if you can obtain them.

Good luck, have fun. :wink:

Hi, I record my band a lot in whatever the room is that we’ve got at the time. I don’t think you should stress over the sound of the room unless it sounds bad to you while you’re playing. Then, as Stephen says, bring in the upholstered furniture and blankets until you’re happier with the sound you’re hearing while playing. After a few beers!

Another way to use the two SM58’s is to put them both front and center in an x-y pattern. Takes care of any phasing issues, and still delivers a decent stereo field. That’s how I would do it. If you use the spaced pair, remember the 3-1 rule: mics have to be three times farther apart than either of them is to the sound source, to reduce phasing issues.

If you’re going to buy more mics, that will help assuming you’re interested in a more studio-like recording. I don’t know what sort of interface and inputs you have, but in my case, with guitar, keys, bass, and drums, I use 7 inputs and record 7 tracks - 4 mics on the drums (2 overheads (always equidistant from the center of the snare top), one on snare, one on kick), one mic on the guitar amp, and then I take a direct input from the bass and the keys. My mics are real cheapos, SM57’s and two low cost large diaphragm condensers, which I use as overheads. There’s lots of bleed from one mic to the others, but that seems to help mush it all together.

Doing it the way I do it requires you to address mixing it all together to produce a stereo file. Which is a completely different topic. If you want to hear any of the stuff I’ve done as I have described, I have posted recordings on the “made with cubase” forum.

If you have line inputs, you could feed the electronic drums and the keys into your interface, and that takes the room out of the equation for the tracked sound of those (but these sounds will still appear in any other mics you are using). You are then tasked with adding “room” to these using reverb/delay plugins. That’s what I do.

But if you’re just trying to capture the spirit of the moment, without getting too crazy, I’d say go with the x-y, and SM-58’s will do well enough for that.

The best thing about once or twice a month jam sessions is, you have them!!! How great is that.

[quote=“Early21”]

Another way to use the two SM58’s is to put them both front and center in an x-y pattern. Takes care of any phasing issues, and still delivers a decent stereo field. That’s how I would do it. If you use the spaced pair, remember the 3-1 rule: mics have to be three times farther apart than either of them is to the sound source, to reduce phasing issues. /quote]

Seconding this, great idea and good points. XY may be better than spaced pair.

Also, wanted to mention that a garbage can, preferably a clean one :wink: , can be filled with some heavy blankets and placed in a corner or elsewhere in the room to act as a bass trap. I’ve you never tried that, you’ll be amazed at what it can actually do in some rooms for a quick fix. Guerrilla recording techniques 101 :slight_smile:

Here’s some help with “room modes,” invaluable: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/room-modes-101/

Nonsense! Why is room treatment not possible?

Do this:

http://nickcrosby.net/Studio/photo-album/

Thank you, everyone! :slight_smile:

Some treatments may be actually doable, yes… it’s just that this place has usually an entirely different purpose and so we can’t do anything big.

Your treatments can be decorative. Always remember that. All you need to be is a little creative. Enjoy the jam! :slight_smile:

I’d buy loads of cheap Chinese sm58 copies which can be bought for as little as £15 each plus cheap stands and cables and a little Behringer mixer (if you have insufficient inputs on your interface), close miking everything will minimise the impact of the sound of the room, but this would be a hassle to setup and tear down.

As others have stated plenty of quilts/blankets and a x/y sm58 setup might do the trick.