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Author Topic: Suggestions on eas(ier) ways to go to 8+ channels.. (mixer queries inside)  (Read 2204 times)

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Offline acidjack

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I rarely record with more than an SBD patch + stereo pair, or if I'm feeling crazy, 2 stereo pairs.  Maybe go to 6 or 8 mics syncing two decks another 2-3 times a year.  But every once in awhile - in a venue or situation where they'd let me do it - it would be pretty sweet to run a true multichannel board patch, say 8 channels, plus a stereo pair.  Now, a 788T could pretty much get me there, but, well, I'm not quite there on spending that kind of cash, yet. 

It seems that the easiest route is some kind of mixer.  Again, all I would really want would be to run a bunch of board channels plus one stereo mic pair.  I own plenty of pres, so the mixer doesn't necessarily HAVE to have a decent pre in it, though that'd be convenient.

After that, the next question seems to be what the mixer outputs to.  I guess there is the option of simply running it into my R-44, but that would mean needing to dial-in the mix on the fly.

The other option is to go mixer>computer.  I have a Macbook Air which I think would do the trick, as I could connect the mixer via USB (correct)?  Am I also correct that the input from USB will be in the form of discrete channels (so I could record, say, 8 separate channels at once)?  I know lots of people use Pro Tools, which I don't have.  Will Audition, or even Audacity, handle this function also?

Last, I really don't know much about the market for these things at all. As I said, this would really just be a fairly occasional thing to play with and not a full-on rackmount system that I would be sinking thousands of dollars into.  For example, I saw this: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004W6KREC/ref=asc_df_B004W6KREC1978673?smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER&tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=asn&creative=395093&creativeASIN=B004W6KREC&hvpos=1o1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=744469130235402472&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=  - would this or something like it do the trick?

Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline ScoobieKW

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The Focusrite unit above only has 6 analog inputs, to get the full channel count you would need a preamp or mixer that has ADAT out. Does your Mac have Firewire as well as USB? If so, Firewire tends to be more popular for interfaces, due to bandwidth.

Reaper is a fine program for recording multi-tracks on mac or windows. $60 non-commercial license, and the trial version is not timed or crippled.

« Last Edit: April 16, 2012, 05:19:40 PM by ScoobieKW »
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Offline Todd R

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Assuming you can get a firewire to thunderbolt converter cable for the macbook air, maybe you could use a firewire interface.

Maybe something like this, though I know nothing about it or whether there are better choices:

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/375362.html

I'm just thinking if you want to do this without adding too much money into the rig, an interface like this and the macbook might be the way to go.

FWIW, I wouldn't go with the mixer option. I tried 4ch>2ch mixers awhile back before 4ch recorders were readily available or cheap, and it wasn't really very easy to mix on the fly. Total crapshoot on whether you walked away with what you were looking to accomplish. And that was with 4 channels, it would be very hard to make those decisions during the show for 8 channels.
Mics: Microtech Gefell m20/m21 (nbob/pfa actives), Line Audio CM3, Church CA-11 cards
Preamp:  none <sniff>
Recorders:  Sound Devices MixPre-6, Sony PCM-M10, Zoom H4nPro

Offline acidjack

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Assuming you can get a firewire to thunderbolt converter cable for the macbook air, maybe you could use a firewire interface.

Maybe something like this, though I know nothing about it or whether there are better choices:

http://www.fullcompass.com/product/375362.html

I'm just thinking if you want to do this without adding too much money into the rig, an interface like this and the macbook might be the way to go.

FWIW, I wouldn't go with the mixer option. I tried 4ch>2ch mixers awhile back before 4ch recorders were readily available or cheap, and it wasn't really very easy to mix on the fly. Total crapshoot on whether you walked away with what you were looking to accomplish. And that was with 4 channels, it would be very hard to make those decisions during the show for 8 channels.

I also have a slightly older MacBook Pro (late 2009 vintage) that has firewire, so maybe that'd be the better option.  Otherwise that interface seems like about the price and style I'd want.

Undoubtedly stupid question... how does the computer "know" to identify the 8 tracks?  For instance, if I load up, say, Audition, and go to Multitrack, will the tracks just show up there?  I missed the entire laptop recording era so I've never really played with it..
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline goodcooker

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Very generally speaking most multitrack software allows you to assign an input and output for each channel. I would say that for your situation an interface and laptop is the way to go if you have access to mains power. I see a lot of FOH using Ableton Live to record. Personally I've used Adobe Audition and it performed admirably even on my crappy 2004 XP Toshiba laptop.

I did a few 8 channel analog mixer mixed down to stereo recordings. Hard to monitor in a live environment so my results were so so.

Take a look at the Tascam US2000. You get 8 mic pres and (i think) 6 analog line ins plus S/Pdif in an out with USB 2.0. I have it's little brother theUS800 and for what it costs it sounds fine. Rack mounted, but anything I can think of that will do more than eight tracks is going to be and require mains power.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/US2000

Kinda the bottom of the barrel but there are many other options if you wanted to spend more than $400. I wonder if the preamps on that Presonus box are decent? I had a Firebox and the pres were adequate but kind of meh. It was solid reliable though.

Schoeps MK41 > nBob > PFA || MBHO KA300 > PFA
Aerco MP2 || Grace Lunatec V2 || RAD MS2 || nBox Platinum
Marantz PMD706 || PMD620

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Offline Teen Age Riot

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If a rackmount unit works for you, you might want to look for a used Presonus Firepod. Probably less than $250 used, 8 pres, firewire. You could put it into an SKB X-Rack (or something similar) along with your MacBook and still have a very portable rig.

Also, I wouldn't worry about the quality of the built-in pres that much. Assuming you'll be recording line level signals off matrix or group outs, you won't need much gain in the first place.

Offline acidjack

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If a rackmount unit works for you, you might want to look for a used Presonus Firepod. Probably less than $250 used, 8 pres, firewire. You could put it into an SKB X-Rack (or something similar) along with your MacBook and still have a very portable rig.

Also, I wouldn't worry about the quality of the built-in pres that much. Assuming you'll be recording line level signals off matrix or group outs, you won't need much gain in the first place.

Thanks. Yeah, that was kind of my thought on the pres - the point of this would be running a bunch of SBD channels and just a stereo pair of mics generally, so the pres wouldn't matter so much.
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline Teen Age Riot

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Well, keep us posted on what you'll end up doing.
I think it's a good idea to record more than two board channels whenever possible, and I might actually buy the necessary equipment myself very soon.
The way I would approach this would be to record the main out and two audience mics and then use the remaining four channels for signals the board patch is lacking. In my case, the usual suspects are electric guitars and bass.

Offline acidjack

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Well, keep us posted on what you'll end up doing.
I think it's a good idea to record more than two board channels whenever possible, and I might actually buy the necessary equipment myself very soon.
The way I would approach this would be to record the main out and two audience mics and then use the remaining four channels for signals the board patch is lacking. In my case, the usual suspects are electric guitars and bass.
Exactly.

I mean, it does occur to me that I could probably get away with just using an 8-channel deck, or two linked R-44s... but I don't (by myself) have either..
Mics: Schoeps MK4V, MK41V, MK5, MK22> CMC6, KCY 250/5, KC5, NBob; MBHO MBP603/KA200N, AT 3031, DPA 4061 w/ d:vice, Naiant X-X, AT 853c, shotgun, Nak300
Pres/Power: Aerco MP2, tinybox v2  [KCY], CA-UBB
Decks: Sound Devices MixPre 6, Zoom F8, M10, D50

My recordings on nyctaper.com: http://www.nyctaper.com/?tag=acidjack | LMA: http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/acidjack | twitter: http://www.twitter.com/acidjacknyc | Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/acidjacknyc

Offline RichT

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Few other hardware options:

JoeCo Black box (one version is designed to plug ino mixer inserts)

2x DR680 (synched over spdif)

Although it's probably cheaper to hire if it's only a few gigs a year, so you can use a 788T

For computer interfaces a tascam us1641/1800 seems to be best for channels/money but does need mains power


 

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