For the past 4 or 5 months, we have been recording our rehersals and gigs for both bands using a setup I put together and it has been very beneficial for everyone.
Not only does it give us “work tapes” (in this case, CD’s) but it helps to show our progress. When I listen back to live or rehersal recordings from 5 months ago, I can hear the distinct progress and that is very rewarding.
Both bands had talked about having some way to record shows and rehersals, but we weren’t sure how to do it. I had the idea that if we could get a CD burner and a preamp, we could run a pair of mics on a stand in the rehersal room or inside the club and get a decent recording.
George (singer from orange is in) has a nice CD burner with XLR (microphone cable) inputs on the back – very handy. I just took my ART tube preamp and ran a pair of Audio Technica condenser mics into that and out of that into the burner. Remarkably, that simplistic setup worked GREAT.
Over the holidays, I’m finally going to get around to rack mounting the burner with the preamp and probably a power strip. I’m also going to get a pair of 50-foot and a pair of 3-foot mic cables – the shorter to run from the preamp to the burner and the longer to run out to the mics. It is helpful to have long cables at clubs so the mics can be at a distance but the cables will reach the stage so I can keep an eye on the levels for the preamp.
I’ll probably drill a large hole in the back rack cover so we can run all the cables out of that and not risk someone getting in there and dislodging them.
It is a great and not terribly expensive system. A pair of cheap condenser mics ($100 – $200), 4 cables ($50 – $100), CD burner ($150 – $300), preamp ($100 – $300), rack ($25 – $100) and you are all set. If you look around, you could probably find used burner, preamp, mics and rack, all for under $250. And, if you can, get a spool of cable and some connectors and make your own cables.
It’s a huge advantage to have those recordings and worth every penny.