Log in
Log in

Create an account


Tips For Recording a Band Live in the Studio

By moosers on 07/27/2009 - (Anyone)


This tutorial will give you some tips about how to record a band live in a recording studio.  While it largely depends on your space and equipment, I will try to account for all situations.  Recording live music is becoming a lost art and I believe it is the best way to do it as nothing can beat the feel.  Please keep in mind that these are only ideas and tips and that you should always be trying things your own way!

Step 1

While recording live in a studio can produce great things as far as feel, it is often tricky to isolate all of the instruments and minimize bleed.  If you do not have enough isolation booths to isolate everything, I would recommend with recording as much as you are able to at one time without having too much noise in a single room.  For example if you have a single room and are recording a band with drums, bass and guitars, I would recommend recording just drums and bass at once, taking the bass direct.  This will provide your sound with a good feel with the rhythm section while still providing adequate isolation.  If you have some isolation rooms, take it from there and do as much as you are able to at the same time.

Step 2

Since drums will always be the loudest, it is always a good idea to give them as much space as possible.  This means putting them in the largest room available, unless you are going for a really tight drum sound in which case it is okay to put them in a smaller room.  I always like to have some good room sounds on my drums, so that is my reasoning for generally keeping the drums in the largest room possible.  While I generally record bass guitar directly, I like to get a amped sound when I can, so if a space is open that you can isolate the bass from the drums, definitely go for it as it can only help.

Step 3

Electric guitars definitely need to be isolated from the drums when recording because it will simply be too loud and there will be a ton of bleed into each others microphones.  It is probably the most important thing to isolate from each other and I would definitely isolate the electric guitars from the drums before anything else.  Of course you need to have an adequate monitoring system in order to hear things that are isolated, but I am assuming that if you have isolation booths you have this.

Step 4

The hardest part of getting a good live sound is probably getting the vocal.  If you don't have enough isolation and need to do vocals in the same room as the drums, which I often do I would recommend doing a few things.  First place the vocal mic as far away from the drums as possible and of course face it away from the drums.  I would also recommend tracking the vocals with compression so you can get them as loud as possible and try to use the attack and release parameters to bury the drums out as much as possible.  This can be quite tricky but it is possible to get a good vocal sound and usually you can even take out the vocals without having them bleed too much in the drum mics and just overdub the vocals.

Step 5

While it really all depends on what type of equipment, room, and other capabilities that you might have, you should be able to track some of your parts live if you so choose to, no matter what the situation be.  One thing to keep in mind is that even though to me it is crucial to get the live feel down, this doesn't mean that you can't overdub...Recording live is definitely harder than just overdubbing everything, but I promise that if you try it once you will keep doing it!


I feel that all engineers and home studio owners should be equipped with the knowledge and capabilites to record live when possible.  However, if a band doesn't want to do it and feels more comfortable overdubbing, I would recommend to let them do what they want.  However, for the bands that do want to do it you should definitely try to help them do as much as they can live as I really believe there is no better sound than that of a band playing together live in a room.
Be the first to post a comment about this tutorial

    Would you like to comment this tutorial?

    Log in
    Become a member