Recording a live band can be a complex task, and to get the best results, you need to consider a whole range of factors: location, monitoring, microphones, cabling, I/O, headroom, and much more. Headliner has put together 10 Top Tips on how to record a live band to help you avoid any major hiccups if you’re about to cut a demo.
1. Make Sure The Band Is Well Rehearsed & Comfortable
Usually, when embarking on any live recording session, you’re working against the clock, so make sure the band is as well rehearsed as can be, and that they are comfortable in their surroundings.
More space – hiring out a hall, perhaps – could be a much better option than cramming five people into a hot and cramped rehearsal room. And as it’s live, forget overdubs - the take is the take. Plan ahead to avoid disappointment - nothing sucks your confidence more than heading in to record a four-track EP and coming away with two tired-sounding songs. Get them zoned in.
2. Use A Decent Laptop & Know Your DAW
Assuming you’re recording onto a Mac or PC, and not a standalone recorder (which of course can also do a great job) then make sure it has enough CPU power and all the basic essentials to do the job at hand. Ensure that there is enough room on the machine, too, as there will likely be a lot of data firing into it, and that you are well versed in your DAW of choice.
Check out our list of the best DAWs for more info.
3. Take Enough I/O to Multitrack
Make sure your audio interface has enough I/O and works seamlessly with your laptop. Normally 16 tracks should suffice, but it can be done with less. Let’s assume, for example, you’re working with a five-piece rock band, and you’re close-miking everything: seven tracks for drums (kick, snare, hi-hats, rack, floor, overheads); two for guitars; one for bass; three for vocals; two for keys.
That’s 15, with one spare for a click track. And if you’re working with a stripped-down three- or four-piece, you could get away with eight if you work smart: kick, snare, overheads, bass, guitar, lead vocal. That’s seven, and one spare for the click.
Sometimes limitations inspire creativity… but on the flip side, it’s better to be safe than sorry!