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How can I record a rock-group demo with Sound Grabber mics?

I would like to record some demos to get prospective gigs. We practice in an uninsulated basement. We haven't much money. I have a 4-track recorder with 1/4" mic inputs. We were looking at the Crown Sound Grabber PZM mics that require AAA batteries. Would two of these mics recording a live band in a small room give us any good recordings? Any kind of suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We have three electric guitars, bass and drum kit.
Rick Clark

Reply: You should be able to get a good recording with two Sound Grabbers and a 4-track. It won't sound like a commercial CD, but it will represent what your band can do.

First, you might put up some sleeping bags, blankets or comforters hung on ropes near the walls to deaden the room acoustics. This may or may not be necessary.

The Sound Grabber can handle high sound volume (120 dB SPL) but not extremely high, so try not to turn up the amps too loud, or you'll get a distorted recording.

Here is one way to use the four tracks. This method will sound more distant and "live" than the second method below.

Put two Sound Grabbers on the floor about 6 to 8 feet from the band and 3 to 6 feet apart. Or if the room is small, tape the mics on the wall opposite the band.

Track 1: Band instruments picked up by the left Sound Grabber. 
Track 2: Band instruments picked up by the right Sound Grabber.
Track 3: Overdubbed lead vocal. Tape the mic to a wall and sing about 8 inches from it. Add a little bass boost and treble cut with your recorder-mixer.
Track 4: Overdubbed harmony vocals. Same setup as for Track 3. Sing about 1-1/2 feet away.

Here's another way to use the four tracks. This method will sound cleaner, more close-up or "in your face." 



Track 1: Drum set: Tape the mic to the ceiling over the drum set. Maybe boost the bass EQ on your recorder to get more kick drum.
Track 2: Bass: Use a direct box or plug the bass guitar directly into the recorder. If the bass is plugged directly into the recorder, the bass will need some EQ (probably some bass boost) to sound good. The bass player will need to wear headphones to hear the bass, but the bass sound will be clean and clear this way.
Track 3: Guitars: Tape the Sound Grabber to a wall at the height of the guitar-amp speakers. Put the guitar amps close together, aiming at the mic on the wall. Don't turn up the amps too loud.
Track 4: Overdubbed vocal and harmony vocals. Tape the mic to a wall and sing about 8 inches from it. Add a little bass boost and treble cut with your recorder-mixer. Good luck!

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