How to record your band, part 6: tracking the band and trouble-shooting

For the rest of this 10-part weekly series, in association with Steinberg, keep checking the hub page.

Now we've mic'd the speakers and drums, if there are any XLR ports left in your interface it's worth adding some well-placed condenser mic's to capture the dynamic of the music in the room and add an extra dimension to your sound.

It's also worth positioning one condenser mic central to the band in the room if you can to capture the overall sound of the band playing live together.

It helps if you can have a separate person in addition to the band to monitor the sound, stopping and starting the recording and being an extra set of ears for problems the band won't have spotted. It will help all your band focus on the performance.


Some of the most common problems any band can encounter when playing live are faulty cables, electrical current and feedback problems. You can quickly fix any problems you may encounter with cables bringing spares. Use methodical trial and error to isolate any problems with pedals or use a cable tester to diagnose where a problem with a signal may be occurring. It can often be something as small as a patch cable between two pedals. 
Also, make sure you bring spare strings. It can often be overlooked but imagine if the whole band's recording session is jeopardised by a guitar's broken E string. It helps to treat this recording session like you would a normal gig in many ways so bring your gaffa tape or any other handy gear for quick fixes.

Another source of feedback in a live situation can be an acoustic guitar, though this is more likely when using PA monitors, it can still occur if you are playing close to mics and speakers. A cheap solution is a feedback buster; a rubber blocker that's installed in the acoustic's soundhole, helping to minimise the effects of feedback from the guitar itself.

Priority parts

Before you start, there may be parts like solos and leads that you want to get absolutely right. Parts you can certainly play live but would prefer to nail accurately. You may want to choose to save it for overdubbing later. It's advisable to play live as much as possible, but it might actually make for a better overall band recording if you take some of that pressure off for this session for a few choice parts.


During the performance, if you know a mistake has been made that will be noticeable on the track, stop the band playing and start the song again. There's no quick fixes in editing out significant errors in this situation so it saves time in the long run to know when to stop.

But while you're playing remember not to be fixated on clinical perfection; there's a little give and take in a live performance, and it can give your recording personality it might not have had with a traditional tracking approach in a studio. Then, once you've finished playing, take the time to properly review your recording before deciding you have a keeper.

For the rest of this 10-part weekly series, in association with Steinberg, keep checking the hub page.


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