David Lamkins picked up his first guitar a long time ago. As best he can recall the year was 1967: the year of the Summer of Love. Four decades later David has conjured up an amalgam of folk, rock and jazz solo guitar music for the occasional intimate Portland audience.
LCW on Bandcamp
location: Portland, OR USA

Facets: LCW, Stephen Caird, Joe Williams, The RadioStumptown Network, performance, recording, studio, technology, @musings info

LCW's studio setup

In this third and final installment, I'll explain how LCW records and streams its sessions. It's important to us that the recording and streaming happens without any distracting technical involvement on the part of the musicians.

Aside from the fact that we're recording direct-to-stereo, the bulk of our signal routing is very conventional.

Our instruments are an acoustic drum kit, a guitar rig and a bass rig. The drums are conventionally mic'd. The guitar and bass run direct via their own processors.

Neither guitar nor bass have their own amp for the room sound. Instead, we run both through a PA. The drums, having plenty of volume on their own, are not routed through the PA.

All of the instruments are routed to a recording bus.

The instruments are also routed to FX sends. The FX returns are mixed onto the recording bus.

We also have room mics, not for ambiance, but rather to capture our conversations for the live feed. These mics are routed to their own bus, which runs through a ducker - keyed by the instruments - before being mixed along with the recording bus for the live feed. The room mics are automatically muted by the ducker whenever we play.

At the start of a session, before we begin playing, I do the following:

  1. Create a dated folder on the recorder for the evening's session.
  2. Line-check all the inputs.
  3. Start the live feed to the internet.
  4. Start the live feed recorder.
  5. Arm the session recorder.

Once that's done, there's no further need to interact with the studio hardware until the end of the session.

During the session, we only need to be mindful to mute our instruments between tracks. We do this because the recorder automatically starts when we begin playing and stops a few seconds after we're done with a tune.

At the end of the session, I:

  1. Disarm the session recorder.
  2. Stop the live feed recorder.
  3. Stop the live feed to the internet.

Later, I delete short tracks (false starts) from the recorder, title the remaining tracks and burn a CD of the session. The CD is then imported on the computer using a script which rips the audio, encodes to MP3 and saves the track information. The track information is imported to a spreadsheet and used to print a cue sheet for the CD, which goes into the box that I mentioned in the previous installment.

In total, there's about 20 minutes of actual hands-on work needed to record, broadcast and archive an evening's session.

This article, the last in a series of three, first appeared as a guest blog post on The RadioStumptown Network.
August 18 2012 05:49:15 GMT