i was the sound man (kinda)

I went to hear Chris Coole yesterday at The Local, and got pressed into the not-very-arduous duty of looking after the levels. With only voice and instrument, it’s not that hard, and I only once managed to produce an ear-splitting blast of feedback. There was a slight ring if Chris leaned forward and his guitar started to feed back a couple of times.

I also ran my first soundboard-audience matrix recording rig, with the PMD620 recording off the board, and my old minidisc recording from my table. The Local’s not short of ambient noise, so it’s nice to control it. The board gives a clean but rather dead mono recording, while the audience mics pick up lots of colour (and dropped plates, door chimes, …)

I haven’t put the full matrix together yet, but tried it on one excerpted song. Once you know what you’re doing, aligning tracks in Audacity is pretty simple – just find a clear note or beat in each track, get the tracks roughly aligned with the Time Shift tool, then zoom in as close as you can to refine the match. I suppose I should have delayed the audience track by about 0.01s to mimic the distance from the stage, but that’s a bit nerdy. Limiting the audience to 25% of the final mix, I get a great warm sound, but one that’s unfortunately almost entirely monaural.

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