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What is D.C. Live Tracks?

D.C. Live Tracks is a site for all the live music I’ve recorded, both audio and video, in the Washington, D.C. area and points beyond(on the somewhat regular occasions that I travel for a show).

For the gearheads:

All audio is recorded using a Zoom H2 digital recorder, split into tracks using Audacity, and exported to 256 kbps CBR MP3 using the LAME encoder.

All video is recorded using a Canon G9 digital still camera, converted to H.264 using Quicktime Pro, and uploaded to Vimeo.

I create all of the album art for these recordings myself, using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator CS4(I speak not to the quality of said album art. I just futz around until something I think is usable turns out).

All of this magic happens on an Apple MacBook Pro 1.83GHz Core Duo, with 2 GB of RAM, a 320 GB hard drive spinning at 7,200 RPM, and running OS X Leopard 10.5.7.

9 comments

  1. Go, T, go! Great site…


  2. Am thinking of getting into a similar rig to record my cousin’s band’s shows – am curious as to your preferences for placement/location within the room, suggestions as to how to prevent audience chatter on the recording… any tips along those lines?

    Your Hold Steady 9:30 Club recording is fantastic, and I’m hoping to achieve similar results. Thanks for posting it – it rocks! Posted my pix from the show here if you want to check them out:

    The Hold Steady.

    All the best,
    Rupe


    • Great photos!

      The thing with the Zoom H2 is that you don’t have a lot of options for analog input levels before the sound hits the DAC, just : Hi, Med and Low. So, if the source material is too loud and clips, even if you adjust the digital recording volume, you will will still get the clipping, only the whole recording will still have the clipping(popping and crackling) but the recording itself will come out quiet overall.

      So it’s best to just leave the digital recording volume(what you adjusting the number value that you see on the unit’s screen) at 100(the default) and then start playing with the H, M, and L switch on the side and finding a good spot place the recorder within the venue.

      For loud rock shows, I’ve found that it’s best to go up to the balcony and attaching my recorder to the railing, if a venue has one. You can cut down on the distinct bits of retarded conversation that the recorder might otherwise pick up without cutting out the cheering and clapping and sing-alongs that make a live show a live show. Plus,if gives you more flexibility if you have a unit like the Zoom H2. You have more freedom to play with the H, M, L switch to get good input levels.

      For a quiet show like an acoustic set or an a capella vocal performance, being close and whatnot is entirely possible.

      It really all comes down to experimentation though. Once you’ve decided on a recorder for your budget, I would suggest hitting a forum for users of that recorder and get a general idea on where to start with initial settings, then start taking it to as many shows as you can. And something that is especially helpful is taking it to see the same band and the same venue as many times as possible, and playing with placement and record settings. That way you have a baseline sound to compare results against. You know how loud a band plays in their style in that venue after the first show, so you can then adjust to fit it rather than going in blind.

      That way, if a band you really want a high quality recording of comes to town to a venue you’ve experimented in a few times, you know how to set up to get the best recording.

      Hope that helps!


      • Heya – just wanted to let you know that I did go ahead finally and get an H2 and love it! First recordings came out great, and am very thankful for your guidance and advice… especially because my cousin’s band played “I’m In Love With A Girl” this past weekend in tribute to Big Star and I’d not have it captured without your great wisdom.

        THANK YOU!!!


  3. http://www.megaupload.com/?d=CHEN7YU5

    nice meeting you!


  4. great stuff!


  5. Hi there,

    We host a party for charity once a month here in Annapolis – about 3-400 people and 3-5 bands. In January we are hosting one for Save the Coconuts, a breat cancer group. We want to reach out to find some all gal bands..and I am having trouble finding any…your name came up at Jimmies Chicken Shacks show at the 8×10. If you know of any…or can give me the names of some associations/orgs who might be able to help, I would be grateful!

    I am also starting a foundation with Bobby Parker…the next show is at the 8×10 and opens with John Lennon giving Bobby credit for most of the Beatles riffs & hooks…just a heads up.

    Gratefully yours, Iam

    Chard
    410-263-4424..the shop #


  6. Nice meeting you at the 9:30 last night (Hold Steady). I hope your recording came out well and I look forward to finding it here. Keep up the good work!

    Jeff


  7. Hey, short notice, but any interest in recording at the Red Palace tonight. I have no idea if you’ll get this but shoot me an email if your interested. We can pay you, buy beer whatever works for you. Shoot me an email if you get this. Thanks.



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