How to Record Your Band Practice or Rehearsal (5 Ways)
Rehearsing is essential to being a musician or part of a band. Knowing how to record your rehearsals and reviewing them afterward can take your performances to the next level whether you’re an amateur or a seasoned professional.
- Recording with a smartphone or external microphone is a simple and cheap way to capture rehearsals.
- Field recorders can provide high-quality stereo audio and mobility.
- Multi-track recorders offer more control over sound settings and allow for individual recording of each instrument.
- Recording with a laptop, audio interface, and DAW is a versatile and cost-effective method for editing and fine-tuning.
- Video recording can visually capture performances and provide promotional content. Experimenting with different microphones and positions, reviewing performances, and choosing the right space can also enhance the recording experience.
Whether you’re looking for a simple and inexpensive way to record using your smartphone or a more advanced setup with a laptop, audio interface, and DAW, this article covers various recording methods and provides tips for choosing the right equipment and setting up the recording space.
1. Using a smartphone
The most basic way to record your rehearsals is with your smartphone. Simplicity allows you to focus on the music and not the technology.
You can just use an audio recording app on your phone such as AudioShare for iOS:
You can also check out the app Voice Recorder for Android.
You can also record audio in many different DAW apps. Garageband and FL Studio Mobile are both popular choices for iOS and Android users, respectively. You can check out our lists of best DAWs for iOS and DAWs for Android.
External microphones that are compatible with your phone are great options for getting a better recording. You can upload your recorded tracks to your DAW to edit them further. Check out our list of the best external microphones for iOS to know more.
Of course, you’re not going to get the best sound quality from a smartphone recording, but it might be all that you need.
2. Field Recorders
These portable devices capture high-quality stereo audio and are excellent for situations that require mobility. They are equipped with built-in microphones and input options for external mics. To ensure a balanced mix of instruments and vocals, it’s best to position the field recorder in the center of the room, facing toward the band.
The Tascam DR-40X is one of the best field recorders available today with great features specifically designed for musicians. Check out our article on the 10 best field recorders to see a list of other great options.
3. Multi-track recorders
These devices are mixers that also function as multi-track recorders. You can record each instrument individually in their own channels to create a balanced mix. Modern multi-track recorders can store audio using a flash drive or connect it to your computer and edit them with your DAW of choice. The Tascam DP-03SD 8-track is a relatively affordable option for recording your rehearsals.
4. Laptop with interface and DAW
Recording with a laptop and interface is a convenient and cost-effective option for recording your rehearsals. Laptops and audio interfaces are light and very portable to bring around. This allows for high-quality multi-track recording with powerful editing capabilities.
There are a couple of steps to follow if this is the route you will take:
Choosing the right audio interface
This will depend on the number of instruments you will record and the microphones you will use. The number of inputs that come with interfaces can be as little as 1 input and up to 32 inputs.
The Universal Audio Apollo Twin X DUO Heritage Edition is great a interface to use for recording your rehearsals, while focusrite offer some more affordable options that are still populate. You can check out our article on the best audio interfaces to a list of other options.
Choosing the right DAW (digital audio workstation)
Audacity and Garageband are great options that provide a ton of features that you will need to edit and record, free of charge. For those looking for more advanced editing capabilities, paid software such as Logic Pro and Ableton Live are great options and provide a ton of additional features. Check out our list of the 10 best DAWs in the world to see what works for you.
Setting up your equipment
- Connect your audio interface to your laptop using a USB or Thunderbolt cable
- Open your recording software and create individual tracks for each instrument and microphone, then assign them to their corresponding input channels.
- Position each microphone properly for each instrument and vocalist. Connect them to the audio interface with an XLR or instrument cables to their corresponding channels.
- Monitor and adjust the output levels of each instrument to avoid clipping
This is a versatile and cost-effective method to record your band’s rehearsal sessions giving you more control over sound settings, enabling further editing and finetuning.
5. Video recorders
Recording your rehearsals on video visually captures your band’s performance which can be valuable for self-assessment and promotional content.
How to get started:
Choosing the right camera
DSLRs, camcorders, or high-quality smartphones will provide a decent video recording of your rehearsals. Using more than one device to record will provide superior results, showing different angles and perspectives. To know more about DSLRs that you might want to use, check out our list of the best cameras for music videos.
Positioning your camera
For a single camera setup, place your device with enough space to capture the entire band within the frame. For multi-cam setups, place each device at different angles to capture various perspectives. Consider using a wide angle, close-ups of each band member, and the point-of-view of the audience.
Recording in a well-lit space
Using a space with good lighting will make your recording clear and look professional. It ensures every member is visible, making it easier to appreciate the dynamics of the group.
Start recording your video
Press record on all cameras simultaneously, monitor and adjust when needed.
Edit your footage
Final Cut and Adobe Premiere provide all the features you’ll need to edit your rehearsal recording. Another software to consider is iMovie, which is beginner-friendly and easy to use.
Tips to Help Record Your Band Practice
1. Consider your rehearsal space
The space where you record your practices will affect the quality of your output and your overall recording experience. It’s always better to get a good recording instead of fixing it in post.
Rehearsing in a soundproofed room with good acoustic treatment will result in better audio, though it’s not necessary if you want to just record your practice for feedback purposes. It lessens the possibility of unwanted noise being heard in the recording. The rehearsal space should be appropriately sized for the band and equipment you will use.
2. Experiment with different microphones and positions
How your mic is placed and positioned will determine the outcome of your recording. It will also depend on the type of mic you are using to record. The proximity effect is when a directional mic is placed too close to the sound source, resulting in a boost in low frequencies. If the mic is too far, it will result in a thin sound. Experiment with different angles and positions to find the sweet spot that suits your taste.
To learn more about microphones, we made an article discussing the differences between dynamic and condenser microphones.
3. Review your performance
Listening to rehearsal recordings will allow each band member to identify which areas need improvement. The band will be able to work on dynamics, synchronization, and overall balance between instruments.
You can use your recordings to experiment with different volume levels, panning, and equalization to enhance your sound. Being critical of your work can sometimes be difficult, which is why sharing your recordings with others can help you assess your performances with a fresh pair of ears.
There are several methods you can use to record your rehearsals that best suits your needs and budget. Recording your rehearsals allows you to identify areas that need improvement, track progress, develop your style, and prepare for future performances.