Recording Aaron Lewis (of Staind)
Performing Live At The Bluestone
Back in July 2017 I was hired to record an acoustic set of Aaron Lewis (of Staind) at The Bluestone concert venue in Columbus Ohio. Knowing it’d be viewed by tons of people (Millions of views on Aaron Lewis’ Facebook & Hundreds of Thousands on Youtube), I really wanted to bring a new level of quality to Country Rebel Clothing’s videos; I wanted to make the listener feel like they were in the room at the time of the performance. Fortunately I have tons experience recording for live performance videos at Cleveland Recording Studio, Bad Racket. Anytime you do anything in the field you want to make sure you have plenty of preproduction discussion and get the details locked down ahead of time. That way when you arrive, you are more then prepared.
Gear Choices & Setup
For recording this I opted for my Sound Devices 664 multitrack recorder/field mixer. It offers 6 high quality transformer based preamps (Which are on par with Millenia Audio, great for a transparent clean sound), variable low cut filters, very transparent analog limiters on every input and output, flexible routing, and the ability to record the stereo mix as well as iso tracks for each input. By using the 664, I didn’t have to haul a full mixer, outboard preamps, & converters down there, making my load in/out considerably smaller. Being DC powered, I don’t have to depend on power in a building I’ve never recorded in. I fed a mix to the A & B camera as well as timecode.
With multiple close mics, relative phase between the mics becomes a big deal; This is especially important with sources that aren’t especially loud like acoustic instruments. Not knowing what the space was going to be like or what their arraignment in the rooms was like I choose to bring only multi-pattern condensers. I chose a vintage stereo pair of AKG C414EBs for acoustic guitar, a Neumann U87 for Aaron Lewis’s vocals, a hand built clone of a 70s Neumann U87 for lap steel guitar, and a stereo pair of Michael Joly Engineering modified Oktava MK012s in ORTF with cardioid capsules on the balcony above as room mics. With all the close mics I ended up using them all in bi-directional mode, with the nulls angled directly towards the source I am trying to reject. The AKG C414EBs on acoustic’s nulls are pointed towards the vocals and lap steel. The null of the vocal mic towards the guitar and lap steel, and the U87 on the lap steel’s null was pointed toward Aaron Lewis. Solo’d up, each mic had excellent rejection from one another, yielding a much cleaner recording. The room mics added a nice tail since it was a fairly reverberant room, and really put you in the room with the performance. Since this room is normally a bar, I had to go around powering down/unplugging every source of noise, which was primarily beer coolers & AC. Otherwise, in addition to bleeding in the close mics, the rooms mics would have had far to high of a noise floor to be used.
Aaron Lewis Live at Bluestone Videos
Aaron Lewis – Lost and Lonely (Acoustic) // The Bluestone Sessions
Aaron Lewis – Northern Redneck (Acoustic) // The Bluestone Sessions
Aaron Lewis – Country Boy (Acoustic) // The Bluestone Sessions