I am the main sound guy at a church and recorded this as a rough proof of concept to show the team what is possible. this is In Christ Alone, a multi-track recording done live on a sunday (so ignore the singers mistakes) morning done with the Allen & Heath QU-24 and edited in Ardour, featuring drums (kick, snare, 3 toms and cymbals) bass guitar, electric guitar, 2 keyboards and 4 singers. This is my first time mixing in software as I normally just do live so (constructive) feedback would be appreciated
I don’t know if you can do anything with it (may be in the original recording) but the backing vocals sound like they are being recorded through a speaker with blown tweeters. They are “boxy” and have no “air” at all. (except for the back vocal right at the end comes through nice) So look for a peek between 100 and 200 hz to pull out and see if the high end can be opened up. That is the only glaring thing for me. (if all else fails use the level control to take that offending backing vocal right out
Another proof that the whole concept of a singer who is a “star” is all promotion. There are great singers everywhere.
I don’t know if this is the norm with this style of church music, but it strikes me as drowning in reverb.
I appreciate that some magnificent recordings have been made in churches and cathedrals with huge reverberation times, but
in this recording it doesn’t sound to me like the natural reverberation of the church.
I agree with previous comment about the lead singer
I would guess like many church worship teams these folks are doing this in their spare time and eking out just enough time for rehearsals, so first, an impressive ensemble and good singers! The lead singer has a seemingly effortless range.
I would echo (pardon the pun) that the sheer amounts of conflicting reverbs (effects + room acoustics) are muddying the water significantly. People love to hear reverb when they are performing but it often robs things of definition and in some cases can mess with tuning and timing between instruments. I’m not saying don’t use it sparingly but a little dab 'l do ya in most cases, it’s also better to use one reverb as well, for instance if your keyboard player has digital reverb in their piano patch and your guitar player is using onboard reverb in his amp or FX boxes and then the singers are using multiple effects built/wired into your sound system then it collectively clashes and makes things sound unnatural and harsh not spacious. If all instruments are coming into your board then have the musicians play as dry as possible and use the effects processing in your mixer, tune it to what sounds good and then reduce it 25% further because your ears become dead to it after some time. The drums here could benefit from some work as well, the snare is tuned far too low and it acoustically lacks punch and power, it sounds like it also could use some close miking or at least more gain and a nudge at 1khz and 6khz but not until after it’s tuned up, the kick drum and toms are hard to define because between the muddy reverbs and the piano low frequencies there is a lot of stuff going on around 250-400hz. Anytime you have digital keyboards and bass players in the same band there will invariably be an overlapping unnatural buildup of low mids around 250hz and I often target and reduce this frequency on the master bus by at least 3db and often more…
I’m no expert by a long shot so take my comments with a grain of salt, Congrats on your first mix! Hope to hear more in the future.
As a further comment, I realize this was the recording of a live performance, however if you wanted to record a live performance for future distribution it is best to leave the reverbs and channel dynamics to Ardour itself and bring everything in dry so you have the most flexibility to have things exactly how you want in post production, Effects, Compression and EQ are easy to add in the DAW but almost impossible to remove if they are tracked improperly on the way into the DAW.
I would add to the last comment. (I agree pull the record signal as close to the pre as possible) There appear to be two options (not named as I would expect). Direct out: Normally I would expect this to be pre eq… but in this case it is not. Insert Sends says it is “pre - processing”… So that is what you want. It looks like it is possible to do a per channel setup for where direct out comes from, but the global insert sends makes more sense because you do not want any of the live processing at all if you can avoid it.
I am realizing that the eq is set for the room and monitors (for things like feedback reduction). In larger setups recording may even use different pres with the analog signal split before going to two different boards. In this case right after pre should be fine.
Final question: do you record 18 track to USB drive? or 24 track to computer? (the settings should be the same as the USB drive gets it’s streams from the USB I/O block)
Thank you all for the feedback, I’ve been working on a version 2 based on it. I’ve slightly modified the backing vocals vocals and that seems to help as suggested by lenovens. GMaq, you are correct, everyone on the team is a volunteer (including me) and we usually get just one night per week to rehearse for about 1-2 hours and do any other practising in our spare time on our own parts. unfortunately, while I do have each instrument on its own channel/track, I do not have any spare channels to take raw track of the guitar and just have a mic on the amp and I’m not sure what either the guitarist nor the keyboard player use for their reverb and delay settings. the snare is miked with an sm57, for the 2nd revision I’ve boosted its overall level and nudged up 1k and 6k as you suggested. I dropped 250 in the master and gave the toms work to make them a little more “defined” (may have overdone it for this particular song) though this was difficult due the amount of cymbal bleed as the drummer refuses to raise his cymbals.
anahata and GMaq, with the reverb, I’m so used to being told to put more into the live mixes of this band that I just started with more than I would normally like, although I was still deciding on what reverb effect to use because I have access to a lot of different ones, none of which could get the effect as nice as the mixers built in effects. I have now found one I like more than the one in the 1st version, switched to it and toned it down a lot.
The comments from all of you have really helped so here is version 2 https://soundcloud.com/andrew-newton-80888317/in-christ-alone-revision-2
@andybobnewton: Thanks for sharing!! Sounding good. Keep it up. Mixing/editing is an like working an instrument in itself just like musicians with their guitars, drums, piano, etc… We only get better with practice. For some reason revision 2 didn’t work.
Andybobnewton, do you have a computer hooked into the usb-b port in the back of the qu-24. And if so are you seeing all 32 channels for recording. I can not get AV-Linux to work right with Ardour to see all my channels, I to have the QU-24.