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.
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."