Digital gig recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by AlembicBob, Jan 7, 2005.

  1. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    In the old days, I would take a 4-track tape to a gig and record it across four simultaneous tracks as follows:

    1. mic #1
    2. mic #2
    3. feed from PA
    4. DI from bass

    The mics would be placed to pick up a pretty good mix. The PA feed would help to put the vocals on top, and the direct bass track will add back in some punch as needed.

    I have tried 2-track digital, but setting up and playing doesn't allow a lot of time for balancing inputs and I haven't had these come out too well.

    Unfortunately, I haven't seen a digital HD 4-track that has the ability to record four simultaneous tracks. Even the eight tracks seem not to do it, or at least not to have more than 2 XLR inputs. Am I blind?

    The best looking thing out there that does what I want is the BOSS BR1600, but that's awfully big. I don't mind paying $1000 or so for the right piece of hardware, but I'd rather it were a bit more portable.

    Are there any experts out there with ideas?

  2. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: GK, EMG and D'Addario
    we use an apple Ibook (699 right now) and use Garageband. We only play three places in town that don't offer PA support so we have written down all of the settings for each room and it works tremendously.

    For going into the computer we use the sub-group mix from the Carvin C844 and mix that to a stereo track with a little 9v operated 4 channel mixer from Radio Shack then into an Imic that goes into the USB port on the computer and into Garageband and there you have it. We get really good recordings out of this setup. It's easier than it sounds since all of this is setup in the rack on drawers. All I have to do is look up the settings for the place and it takes me ten minutes to change it. All in all it cost me 800 for this and I couldn't be happier and I got a computer out of it, dual purpose.
  3. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    I am a PC guy not a mac guy, but I would consider a USB or Firewire based recording device. I would still want the four inputs, though. We don't play out as often as I would like, and everyone is continuously changing gear and what have you, not to mention a complete lack of discipline when it comes to managing volume. I tried recording to a stereo mix a few times and the results weren't good, that's why I am looking.

    One thing I was wondering was if you could use a pair of 2-input USB devices simultaneously to record four inputs?

  4. chardin


    Sep 18, 2000
    I've never tried it but I don't think USB 1.1 would have enough bandwidth. However, a fairly fast laptop might be able to handle 2 USB 2.0 devices such as the Behringer BCA2000 or the Edirol UA-1000. That might get pretty expensive. You might want to wait for the Edirol R-1.

    Whoops, I just re-read your post and you want 4 inputs. The R-1 definitely won't do that. In that case you want the UA-1000 which has 4 XLR inputs. Pricey and a bit bulky but might suit your needs.
  5. AlembicBob


    Dec 28, 2004
    MA, US
    Thanks for the reply. So you wouldn't think that USB could handle something like a pair of Tascam US-122s pushing four channels of audio? Should I be waiting for USB 2 versions of these devices to come out?

    Looking at your recommendation, why would I want the Edirol rather than a stand-alone unit like a Yamaha AW16G or Boss BR1600CD? I think the Yamaha is in about the same price range. My goal isn't pro-quality demo discs or anything like that, just a better-than-cassette record of the gig for converting to MP3 for posting or passing out to friends. In previous attempts with anything less than the four inputs I have named, there has always been something missing.

    I might also double-duty the device to do solo songs, but I suspect that just about anything will be good enough for me to play with in that regard. Again, I have no pro aspirations.

    I just don't get why they make the jump from two inputs to eight inputs. Am I the only one in the world that would like a reasonably sized four-input recording solution?

  6. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    I also looked for a digital 4 track, for the exact same application, and couldn't find one.

    What kind of tape 4 track do you have? I got a really nice Marantz one, and w/ high quality tape running at double speed w/ the dbx on, I am very impressed w/ the quality. When I want an mp3, I mix it down to a stereo file on my laptop using the plain old 1/8" mic input.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    We used a Boss BR1600 to record a live outdoor gig, and it worked great (I'd get the Roland version of it now, though). We had 12 channels going into the board, so I put the two drum mics (kick and overhead) on a group, acoustic and rhythym on a group, and switched two vocal mics back and forth to get down to 8. It was pretty bitchen at mix-down time, because the only thing I couldn't control separately were the acoustic and rhythym guitars. Amazingly, I could mix the kick, snare, toms and cymbals just by adjusting the low, mid and treble EQ. For a stand-alone unit, I'd recommend this one. You can go in after the fact and put effects and EQ on each track, and master it down to stereo.
  8. rygelxvi


    Jan 6, 2003
    Get a mackie oynx board with firewire care and a laptop. Check out mackie's website for more info.