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Steve Moore, B.A., J.D. Author Steve has been in the music business for over 30 years! He's worked as a professional musician, producer, and has been involved in almost every aspect of the music business. He's also the author of "The Truth about the Music Business"

Recording Live – If I was in a band…

IF I WAS IN A BAND – I’d Consider this…

I’m sure there are 100’s of different ways of doing this – and EVERYBODY”S opinion on the BEST way to do this is completely different – but if you want an INEXPENSIVE way to CREATE a LOT of CD’s for Sale, for download, or for whatever reason – they this blog may be of interest to you.


IF I was in a band that would stay together, play together for a LOT of shows and get SUPER TIGHT…then I’d love to capture those gigs LIVE!

And then I wanted to really REACH my audience – this is what I would do…

I would get on E-Bay and find two or three ADAT machines – probably $100 to $150 a pop…

I get myself some Y Adapters and a good vocal compressor – I’d take the ADATS – two would suffice as that’s 16 channels

Let’s say Kick, Snare & Hi Hat – and two OH mics – that’s 4 channels – you could close mic one or two mounted toms and one floor – that’s 3 more

or NOW 7 channels used – 9 more to go!

Bass Direct – 8

Guitar – 9

Other instrument 10

Vox – 11

Vox  – 12

Vox   13

Vox 14

Percussion/vox 15

Percussion/vox 16


Buy 1 hour ADAT TAPES – let them roll for 50 minute sets and replace 2 at a time – that’s still 16 tracks

Play next set – 50 minutes – Next set – 50 minutes – just make sure to not go over the time of the tape lest you risk losing that GREAT performance…

If you have to do 4 sets- well use another set of tapes (BTW – you cans use and reuse the tapes over and over)

(6 to 8 tapes will get you through 3-4 hours of live music)

Take the Y cables from each source – and/or if you have a EFFECTS SEND – put the ¼ cable ½ way in and run direct into ¼” in on the ADAT or RUN the Y XLR in on the ADAT and just run the lead Vox through a decent compressor – even a $50 one would do.  But the better the compressor, the better the control over plosives, silibants and dynamics and will keep you from clipping if you hit some heavy or high DB notes.

Set the levels leaving plenty of head room – no clipping and forget it!  Go play!  Just remember to change tapes between sets.

If you don’t have a good “pro tools” set up – buy the MBOX or even A used Digi-001 $150?  – You only need 16 channels but MUST have a LIGHT PIPE input – Take each ADAT and light pipe the tapes into pro tools – use a plug-in that allows you to sync both taped signals together (I’ve got the plug-in)

Then mix the FIRST SONG really well – ad whatever post effects you want in pro tools and once that 1st song it mixed – save that as a template and apply to the rest of the songs you decide are the best performance – mixing the rest of the songs should take WAY less time in fact probably about 3 listens – you’re not making MONSTER QUALITY PRODUCTIONS – if you’ve got GREAT SIGNAL IN and a GREAT but SIMPLE mix – you’ll end up with GREAT MASTERS! I could probably mix the entire 4 hour show in about 6 hours – as you really may just need to automate 2 or 3 channels for Vox and maybe a lead or two…

Mix down to TWO TRACK – by using bounce to disk  – pop that into Cool Edit Pro (can get you the whole shebang with all the plug-ins) and master all songs to match an A-B mix of something you know sounds GREAT – and then use CD ARCHITECT to order the set and master the levels – so they are uniform – then burn ONE MASTER with CD ARCHITECT $200??

Order maybe 100 printed and packaged – just to get a feel for how they sell at shows or off the website or wherever PHYSICAL GOODS or sold.  Order more AS NEEDED!

Put the LIVE SHOW in HIGHEST QUALITY up on Band Camp – a decent picture from the GIG is the cover – ad some TEXT GRAPHICS for credits, label, etc and the cover and back art is done!

Set a minimum price per song – but on Band Camp CD’s outsell singles 16 to 1 and let your fans PICK THE PRICE!  Don’t give it away but come close – in fact, the price of the CD should be the cover charge for those who could NOT make the show – your real fans – if you put something on there that we’re almost giving this away sure would be nice if we could make a little EXTRA…HINT, HINT – you could end up getting $25 per CD as that’s what a fan would pay for GAS to gig, drinks and cover….

Rinse and repeat within one year you could easily have 24 LIVE SHOWS recorded for Next to NOTHING in Time or MONEY spent…

IF I was a TRUE fan – I’d love to hear the shows I couldn’t make it to – and would GLADLY pay at least $10 for a show I didn’t get to see or hear!

Break even analysis would be next to nothing and the rest is PURE PROFIT – and your fans can hear the shows they missed!

Plus you’ve got a decent pro tools set up to record demos, live stuff around the rehearsal space – whatever…and all that could be run off a pretty decent laptop or better still a decent Work Station – with an extra PCI BUSS

You could get even trickier and get a few Digital Cameras with time stamps for SMPTE and use SONY VEGAS $99.00 and do two static cams and one AUDIENCE VIEW CAM – make LIVE DVDS – post edit would take longer but you can charge way more for DVD’s – but that’s a lot more work, time and effort – when it’s really about the MUSIC – but you could fit all 10 songs in MP4 format on a DVD if you wanted to…and sell them – or put up a few on YOUTUBE and instead of a shitty DVD with somebody with a shaky hand and thumb over the mic – which probably sucks – you could have QUALITY stuff.

24 CD x $10 per CD x 100 CD’s sold is $24,000 – 10% = $21,600 – x 100 more $216,000 a year – do that for 5 years and you’ve just made WELL over $1,000,000.00 yes, that’s right 1 COOL MILLION DOLLARS – and that’s AFTER paying 800,000 in taxes and extra costs- just from recording what you’re already doing anyway – and if you only sell 10% of that – you’ve still made well over 100,000 for very little extra work – and that’s NOT including the DVD’s!



But that’s just me – and IF I was in a full time band….

(THIS IS JUST A SUGGESTION – IF ANYONE HAS A BETTER IDEA THAT CAN BEAT THIS WITHOUT SPENDING A TON OF MONEY – I’M ALL EARS!  But not everyone much less MOST Bands out there on the circuit can afford a ton of GREAT EQUIPMENT much less something that’s pretty much set and forget!)

Steve Moore – Music Square One

High Cotton Records

Steve Moore & The New South

“The Truth about the Music Business”

ButterMilk Media

A New South Development Company


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