[Ardour-Users] Live Recording Techniques

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Mon Jul 20 20:36:30 PDT 2009

On Mon, 20 Jul 2009, Christopher Stamper wrote:

> I've used (and loved) Ardour a lot, recording in a studio-type
> environment. Now, it looks like I'll be doing my first live recording
> of a choir. Plus I have to use ardour on OS X - and I've never used a
> mac. And I've got to do it tomorrow.
> -And my biggest question. We will probably be doing 3-4 different
> songs; I don't want to make a project for each one, yet this is what
> I'm used to doing. Howo do you recommend I do it? Just record the
> entire session on one track, with no pausing? Should I do each song on
> it's own track, using soloing/muting?

You can do the initial recording as a multi-track setup, and make use of 
Ardour's markers to note the location of the start of each song.  No need 
to worry about splitting things into individual songs until after the 
mixdown.  Don't worry too much about pausing - you can always trim out the 
excess audio as you get things cleaned up during the mix.  Better to 
record too much than not enough :)

I generally don't worry much about plugins during the during tracking, 
especially when it's live, and try to rely on them as little as possible 
when tracking a studio project.

> It's not *really* 'live', so we may sing each song more than once if
> we need to. However, I want to treat it like it's live, so the choir
> director is free to do as he sees fit.
> I've never recorded more than one song in a project, so this is kinda
> confusing for me. I want to be as efficent as possible...

The markers make it easy to keep track of where a new song starts (and 
ends) in a multi-song project.

> Also, is Ardour on OS X stable enough for this?

I'll defer to others with more experience in using Ardour under OSX on 
this one.  I was in a similar situation last year, and ended up tracking 
the project using AudioDesk (came with the MOTU 8pre audio interface I 
was using at the time), and then pulling everything into Ardour later to 
mix and master.  This was because I was having issues with getting JACK 
to play nicely with the system (first time I tried to run Ardour on an 
x86 Mac) and didn't have time to get those issues sorted out before the 
show.  I'm sure it was a relatively simple/solvable problem - I just 
didn't have much time to do a lot of troubleshooting the day before the 

Also, take advantage of any soundchecks and warm-ups the group does before 
you go 'live', so you can get all of your levels at least roughed in 
before hand, and make sure things like mic pres on your audio interface 
don't get saturated during loud passages.

If possible, set up an ambient mic or two some distance away from the 
choir, if logistics and room space permit.  That's often a much more 
affective way to get some of the room acoustics (if it's a good room) 
and crowd reaction (if this will be done in front of an audience) into 
your recording, than trying to emulate it after the fact with plugins.


More information about the Ardour-Users mailing list