The Live Taper's Survival Guide v1.0

Copyright (c) 1995 by Jeff Maggard. All Rights Reserved. Duplication of this document permitted if and only if (1) this document is not used for financial gain in any way, and (2) if this document is copied whole, including this copyright notice.

General Thoughts:

This is a beginner's guide for taping live music.

First things first: Know your equipment. Know its strengths and its weaknesses. Know where to set your levels. Know how long your batteries will last, to the minute. Know how long your tapes will last, to the second. Practice your tape flips (a good flip in a TCD-D5M can be done in less than a second!).

Know the equipment you're likely to be patched into. Know if the operator of that equipment is competent. Is the equipment reliable? Will its batteries last through the set, the show? Does it pass a signal during the flip?

Know the venue and the sound system. Know where and how to set up your mics. Know whether or not FOB taping is allowed, and whether you'll get tossed or have your tapes confiscated if you get caught anyway.

Know the people you're taping with.

The Taper's Checklist:




...and something to carry all this crap in!

Borrow (borrowing is free -- well, everyone appreciates a beer ;-) or rent a battery powered pro portable analog deck like a Sony analog D5 ('full-sized' = 2"x8"x10"), a Sony analog D6 (walkman sized), or one of the pro Marantz models ('full-sized'). It might cost as much as $100 for a week, or $50 for a weekend to rent, plus deposit. I don't know where to get one though -- try your local pro music shop and/or the yellow pages or the dealers listed in the Mic-FAQ.

If you're going to be patching, bring a selection of patch cables. RCA plugs and 1/8" headphone jack plugs are the most common, but it can't hurt to bring 1/4" plugs too. I use RCA 'Y' cables, so I can patch into a chain from the side -- splitting the signal -- it's a lot easier to get higher up in the chain this way.

Tips (before showtime):

Tips (showtime):

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