Home/Church Recording

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by yepbuddy, Mar 3, 2005.

  1. yepbuddy


    Sep 27, 2004
    i've been on TB for a while, but this is my first post. i've seen all of the other recording setup posts, but i think this is a little different situation. i'm the minister of music at my church, and i'm also trying to start doing my own recording/production/etc. i need to know what type of equipment (computer, software) would be best for home recordings, as well as being able to record at the church that i attend.

    the church already has a professional system used for services(36 track mixer, monitors, speakers, preamp, etc) and we can already record to cd, but i wanted to know what i need to record this to a computer so that i could go back and further edit the sound. i would also like to do some home recordings of myself, or the band. i'm thinking that i would probably need a laptop to take care of portability. i'm also wondering what software is best for recording. finally, i was wondering if there are any programs that are good for both recording and notation. any help that you can give would be appreciated. thanks
  2. NINO3000


    Feb 10, 2004
    Mount Vernon NY
    WHat your asking is so broad its hard to answer. but from what it sounds like you would actually need two things a seqeuncer software like cubase (that will allow you to record at home convert to notation track, mix and sequenc) but for the live recoding part you would need a DAW (digital Audio Controller) If you be a little more specific I might be able to help you out a little more.
  3. Hi yepbuddy! Welcome to Talkbass...

    I've recorded a church choir using my laptop and audio interface. I can give a short answer here but if you want to discuss specifics then please send me a personal message (PM).

    First you will probably need a computer. Laptops are good and portable and can be brought into the church and taken away again for security as required. And hey! You can use it at home too! ;) There are one or two specs of the laptop that are important - one is the amount of RAM: 512Mb is a good starting place and most laptops have at least this much nowadays. The other is hard-disk space and speed. Audio takes up a lot of room: about 5Mb per minute of mono at CD quality. Now if you've got 8 tracks or 16 tracks then simple maths will show that you're going to need a fair sized hard-drive. The hard-drive speed dictates how many tracks of audio you can record to at any one time. Faster drives sustain higher data transfer rates, and so you get more tracks running simultaneously. So, for starters try to get at least 60Gb+ space and 4200rpm+ speed. The speed of the processor is important when it comes to number crunching the audio - faster chips get the job done quicker and can handle more effects simultaneously. However I've put together tracks on a 600Hz Pentium II with 512Mb RAM so by today's standards your going to be doing pretty well any way you choose. HOWEVER, Pentium IV's produce a fair amount of heat and when the fans start whining they can cause disruption to recordings. And be quite irritating. Centrinos or Pentium M class (same thing) are pretty nice and run cooler. Pentium M seem to offer slower performance, but if you multiply the number you see by 1.5 you're getting close to the equivalent Pentium IV, viz: A Pentium M 1.7Ghz will be close to 2.6ishGhz Pentium IV. Battery life also tends to be better with Pentium M and Centrinos. Screen resolution can also be an important factor - more acreage means that you can view the full mixer when recording your tracks and so you won't have to scroll around the screen to see what the drummer's levels are!

    Audio interfaces come in a wide variety of types now. Firewire interfaces are faster than USB devices (except USB2 but they're rare at the minute). Firewire will offer something of the order of 8-10 tracks of audio recording simultaneously at CD quality. USB will offer 4-ish at CD quality. There are differences as well in terms of latency - the time it takes for the audio to go from the inputs on the interface to the outputs having gone through the PC. You can get Firewire interfaces like the Firepod which has 8 mic inputs. Very handy for choirs and church bands. You can run the inputs straight off the mixing desk. There are some other audio interfaces which allow you to chain together multiple inputs to increase the number of channels you can simultaneously record.

    Usually if you record choirs and musicians you may need to record sub-mixes from the mixing desk so that you get down to the 8 or 10 channels your audio interface allows. This still leaves some flexibility in mixing after the event.

    Software is a matter of taste. I can only really recommend downloading demos of certain programs and see how you like them. Cubase and Cakewalk Sonar also work with MIDI notation so you could use these to score pieces, produce chord charts and also to record the works themselves. Other software like Adobe Audition is purely audio recording, but does that very nicely.

    For laptops, it's usually better to stick to a reputable brand - Dell, Sony etc. since these tend to be more foolproof when it comes to connectivity - but it's worth checking with a retailer whether the laptop you're thinking of will work with the audio interface etc. Check on user forums for the different brands. Audio is a finicky business sometimes on computers since it places high demands on the system for uninterupted transfer of data. Some laptops are more geared towards surfing the net or fragging newbs in some shoot-em-up game. There are also machines specifically spec'ed and built for audio but these seem to carry an extra premium in cost.

    For audio interfaces, many come bundled with software. The Presonus Firepod comes bundled with a version of Cubase SE.

    The next port of call: Try Sound on Sound for great advice on recording to PC's from Martin Walker. http://www.soundonsound.com/ Computer Music is more geared towards folks producing "dance" / loop-based music, but has a cover DVD jammed with software demos, tutorials and WAV loops. http://www.computermusic.co.uk/main.asp

    Hopefully now the FAQ in this forum may start to make a little more sense... Check out previous threads here around Firewire interfaces. Several other folks have been thinking along similar lines.

    Welcome, have fun, hope you get up and running soon!
  4. The church where I play one of my regular gigs uses a Mac laptop. I'm pretty sure a starter rig, including the Mac, Digital converter, software, and a mic or two will run about $6,000-$7,000 as my nephew just bought a rig. Pro-Tools is probably the best, but there are cheaper programs.
  5. Pro-Tools is obviously an excellent piece of software, but experience (and from other sources here at TB) have found that it can be quite picky about the hardware it runs on. It does seem to be more stable on Mac platforms, but I've heard people having trouble with certain soundcards etc.

    The difference between Pro-Tools and other sequencer software is narrowing all the time. Many pro's are using Cubase and Sonar now.

    As for rough costings (UK prices):
    A Sony Vaio (Pentium M 1.8Ghz, 80Gb HDD, 512Mb RAM) = £1350
    Presonus Firepod: £486
    Cakewalk Sonar 4 Studio edition: £180

    Of course, you could get cheaper laptop PC's...

    Also it is worth bearing in mind that if you go the Mac route then you can take advantage of their garageband software which is bundled with the computer. Mac's also have a reputation for being fairly robust (no sudden crashes) and user friendly. Having said that my XP installation rarely crashes that badly. Firewire interfaces work on both PC and Mac.
  6. Dr. D

    Dr. D Loaded For Bear

    Jan 13, 2005
    New Orleans, Louisiana
    The boss br-532 or the br-864 are both battery powered and would do this job fine. FWIW I have a boss br-532 for sale right now, I bought a Br-1600 to replace it, as I need a 16 channel recorder. But the Br-532 will record 4 channels, and 32 virtual channels. it is like new, and has the manual, and has several accessories I will throw in. e-mail or PM me if you are interested.
  7. yepbuddy


    Sep 27, 2004
    so i talked with my pastor, and found out that we do have a laptop with adobe audition that's used to do some radio broadcasts. the computer's running @ 512, but that's all i know about it. also, the mixer is an allen & heath PA28. can i run straight from the mixer to the computer, or do i need to run the feed to an interface before sending it to the computer. thanks for the help so far.