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A Unique Problem

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by ehque, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    Hey guys, im a bassist for a small church in singapore, and we'd like to do a live recording, and cut a cd to be produced in small numbers - mainly to raise money for a mission trip to east timor.

    our equipment. we have a 24 channel mixer, and the set up for this particular session is 4 singers, A and E guits, bass, 4 mics for drums, 2 keyboards, and 2 backup singers. thats a total of 15 inputs, maybe with one more for audience noise. mixer has 6 outs that have been wired to monitors for lead singers, keyboards, guitars, bass, drums, and choir. also has 2 main outs for a auto-time-delayed overhead speaker configuration, about 10 of them bring sound to the house.

    the bass uses a SABDDI, acoustic guitar's on a lr baggs DI, e guit's got a POD live. all are direct inputs into the mixer. we have no dedicated amps.

    my unique problem is that we have no budget for a recording mixer or multitrack of any kind. however, i do have quite a few laptops. i was wondering, could i use that "jack halfway in" trick to get the unmixed signals out of the mixer, and record them in stereo pairs into 8 laptops using audacity, then transferring all the wave data (later) into a main computer running cubase/audacity?

    would there be any problems with this, and would the sound quality be useless/reasonable/good/pro?
  2. WalterBush


    Feb 27, 2005
    Yuma, Az
    Full disclosure, I'm a certified Fender technician working in a music store that carries Fender, Yamaha, and Ibanez products among others.
    The theory is sound, if you leave enough space between the time you hit record on all the laptops and the time you actually start playing--getting them to sync together is impossible, so you'd be reconstructing the performance on one computer for mixdown, right? The sound quality has the potential to be reasonably good, depending on the engineer and the quality of your post-production.

    This sounds like an amazing amount of hassle to me, though. If you're used to performing live, it will take much, much, much less time to do a few soundchecks to make sure everyone's balanced in the mix, and just record the stereo output of your mixer.

    Since you're recording live, you'll have bleed between microphones as it is. The only advantage I can see to recording the way you describe is the ability to use effects after the fact on the tracks. It sounds to me like you'd be making an awful lot of work for yourself.
  3. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    thanks jabber for the reply.

    yes, exactly that, i will be transferring all the sound data to one computer for mix down. any problems with drifting?

    the problem with mixing down live is that - yes, you have pointed out both. i want compression on my tracks, there being none on my mixer. i also want to effect up some of the inputs. (chorus on the backups, reverb on the lead singers who are not leading at that time, chorus on acoustic guitar during quiet solos). cant do this live, not enough effect boxes.

    one last thing. because my church is a small (300-400 ppl) venue, the drums are mostly getting to the audience acoustic. even tho we have 2 condensers + snare mic + kick mic, not much gets into the mix. and our stereo outs are going to the main speaker array. if i boost the drums to mixdown level, wont everyone in the hall die?
  4. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    another question. i know laptop sound card quality isnt excellent, but how would 16 tracks on 8 laptops sound VS a stereo-mixdown to one computer?
  5. maybe i dont understand the situation, but can't u just hook up a single recording device thru the mixer and capture the live sound?
  6. doh nvm, i saw all the outputs were being used - can't just unplug one?
  7. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    nope, guitarists are sharing one and keyboards are sharing one already. the acoustic guitar guy is usually already dying due to the electric guit.

    werbo, thats not what i want. that way i'd get a stereo (or worse, mono) mixdown. i dont think that gives any room for post-production work. i dont want a live mixdown, i wanted individual tracks for post-production/mixing. even if i unplugged all my (normal) outputs, with no sound for monitors/audience, i dont have enough outputs to record that many tracks.
  8. DougP


    Sep 4, 2001
    can you route your signal inside the mixer only to the monitors and not to the main outs? if you can do that i would suggest playing normally, but not having your bass recorded with the mix. then you could overdub later with compression.

    the same could go for the guitars and keyboards also.
  9. ehque


    Jan 8, 2006
    by "my signal" do you mean the signal of the bass? my monitor is not loud enough to bring the bass to the back of the hall.

    if you were talking about all signals, then thats a no-no. our monitors are mostly talking volume (shouting volume for the e guit) except the drummer's one. cant use them to reach the audience.

    i DO have a recording out where i can remove the bass, but,this way, (which is what i read your suggestions as), i'll only end up with 3 channels. bass, stereo-master-mix left, and stereo-m-m right. thats still not enough for per-track compression.

    if i then choose to overdub the guitars and the keyboards, ill have to bring down the stereo-master-mix in the final mix (to prevent them from being double loud), leading to a drop in whatever i dont/cant overdub. cant overdub audience. and the drums, cos my drummers cant play to click-tracks properly.

    sorry doug, but it doesnt solve my problem.

    the most current bashed out setup is one master-stereo-mixdown using recording outs on the mixer, 8 laptops taking all signals in stereo, then using the stereo mixdown to align the 16 seperate channels before applying post-production effects. im really trying to avoid having to overdub.

    really the 2 questions i have is,

    -will the time drift on computers of different speeds, especially over an hour long recording session (without pausing)? if it DOES drift, could i save it with post production?

    -and, will the quality be reasonable?

    ok, thats really 3 questions.

    if the 8 laptop setup really screws up, then hey, ill still have a stereo mixdown.

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