Once the children are in the room then get them in there.
set it running (if you can get someone who knows what they are doing with computers to sit in there with the computer, starting and stopping it running, and saving the files)
An Alternative use of the stereo channels for this application:
Here is an idea for you. Rather than recording in stereo – why not try this?
Your mixer will have a “pan” knob. What this does is send the signal coming in from the microphone to either the right or the left channel, or both if its in the centre.
If you turn the channel thats on the piano all the way to the right, and the two microphones that are on the choir all the way to the left you’ll get the choir recorded on one track, and the piano on the other.
Then, after the children have gone home you can play with the balance between the piano and the choir. You don’t have to worry about the piano being too loud during the recording, you just have to make sure that you have a good clean signal that isn’t “peaking”.
You then mix it down to a mono track, and then separate it back to stereo before burning the tracks to CD. This way you’ll get a nice clean representation of the childrens voices and your piano playing. It wont have true “stereo” but you’ve got to ask yourself..does that really matter?
This is a cheap and nasty way of doing what they do in sophisitcated recording studios where they have many many tracks available. With a standard computer you have two input channels (right and left) – that is it, and this method allows you the most important thing.. being able to hear your children sing.
The second question… adding Keyboard and Drums
If it was me doing this… then I don’t think I would bother – I would use the method suggested above, and then give out a CD that the children could be really proud of because it is what their choir sounds like.
However, if you want to do it – this is what I would do:
I would record the piano first – using MIDI, and record it to a click track. You need sequencer software to do this, such as Cubase, Cakewalk or Garage Band. There is probably free ones available, but the one i’m familiar with is Cakewalk Home Studio. Its fairly easy to use, and you hook up a digital piano using MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) cables.
Once you’ve got the piano recorded to click track, you can go ahead and add midi drums, keyboards, sound effects or whatever you like, whenever you want to.. as the click track will hold it all together in time.
Programs like Cakewalk home studio have facility to record Audio as well, on top of Midi – so you record the choir direct into the software, but I wouldn’t suggest playing at the same time.
Ifm you’re going to do this I would:
1) Record the piano via midi to a click track.
2) Record the choir while conducting, not playing. You’ll need to have the piano being played back through a speaker of course so the kids can hear it, but you want to minimize the amount of piano coming through, as you dont really want it to be picked up by the microphones. As it is exactly what is on the final mix it shouldn’t matter that much. Your computer needs to be more powerful to do this, but better computers should cope with it.
3) Add the drums, keyboard, sound effects on the top in Cakewalk Home Studio and prepare it for mix down using this software
Once again, I would ask myself… does drums and stuff really matter? I think I’d try and focus more on the physical qualities… getting the CD produced nicely with good quality printing on the CDs and booklets.. These CDs are physical items that if done well the children will cherish for ever… lets face it, they aren’t going to get played much, but they will be kept… particularly if they have the children’s photos on. So my priority for budget would be:
– Hiring good microphones and a mixer for around $100
– Getting good quality CD printing and artwork done.
only THEN would I think about adding other tracks and fancy stuff.
This is a huge topic, and I’ve only scratched the surface. Others will surely have other ideas on