Dismiss Notice

Psst... Ready to join TalkBass and start posting, make new friends, sell your gear, and more?  Register your free account in 30 seconds.

MOTU 828 users, what is your setup?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by deepestend, Nov 11, 2004.


  1. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    I bought a used MOTU 828 a few months ago to use with my iBook and I’m finally at a stage where I can use it. And my band is taking a little break, so I’ll have some time to set it up properly. Are any of you using it to record rehearsals? How are you doing it? What is your equipment line-up? I know how to hook it up, there are just so many different things you can do and so many different ways that I thought I’d ask some others how they are doing it. Also, what software are you using? I have a copy of digital performer that I haven’t started using yet.
     
  2. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I don't have an 828, but I do use a MOTU 1224. The signal path is pretty simple:

    Mics --> XLR snake --> Inputs on Soundcraft Spirit M12 --> Direct outs on M12 to 1/4" inputs on 1224 --> 1224 through PCI card into G4 800 Quicksilver --> Digital Performer 4 (soon to be 4.5). I have a UAD-1 card that I'll be adding soon, but that's basically it...no fuss, no muss. And NO crashes. :)
     
  3. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    So, do you do multi-tracking with that setup? I haven't tried it on dp yet...I'm curious how much space a multitrack file takes. How big are the files that you create?
     
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    I'll have to check when I get home about the file sizes, but yes, I do multitracking (up to 8 at a time, but usually between 2 and 6 tracks) all the time. It's a breeze, and very user-friendly. :)
     
  5. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Sounds good. How did you get started with dp? I have a working copy that someone gave me but don't really have a manual. I can get one online and use all of their online resources-- obviously-- but is there any one article or download that gave you a good quick sense of how to use it... or is it intuitive. Right now I'm using and very familiar with Peak LE and Garageband.
     
  6. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    The hard way - just by trial and error. There is a manual, and it's pretty good, but what really helped me get going was when I ordered the "Cool School Interactus" CD Rom for DP3...it's like an interactive "For Dummies" tutorial, and it's really great. Beyond that, it's al about just being hands-on and taking notes.

    Here's a couple of older pics of the setup:
     
  7. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
    Cool. Just found a dp4 CDROM tutorial that I ordered off of ebay. Should make it easy... I have trouble with software manuals-- but if I see someone doing it, I can pick it up quickly.

    Do you use a compressor anywhere in that chain? I'm thinking of adding one into mine, but I'm not sure if I should just put it on the whole mix or if I should just do stuff like vocals seperately.
     
  8. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Tell me about the tutorial you got - that sounds interesting!

    If I use compression, I use plugins once the signal is already tracked. It's a much better way to do it (IMO), because if you decide you don't like it, you still have your clean track to work with - you can just start over adding the effects.
     
  9. deepestend

    deepestend Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 21, 2003
    Brooklyn via Austin and NOLA
    Guitar/Bass Builder and Social Media at Sadowsky
  10. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Looks good. Let me know how it turns out when you get it!
     
  11. msquared

    msquared

    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    If you have a few hundred laying around, I'd highly recommend getting a mixer to go with your 828 if you haven't already. I have a 16 channel Mackie and it was worth every penny.

    If I'm doing a whole band's worth of tracking at once, it looks like this:

    For channels 1-8:
    mics -> Mackie 1604VLZ Pro -> MOTU analog -> PC running Sonar

    For channels 9-16:
    mics -> Presonus Digimax* -> MOTU 828 ADAT -> PC

    For channels 17&18:
    mics -> FMR RNP -> Midiman Flying Cow -> MOTU 828 S/PDIF -> PC

    For monitoring:
    Aux 1-4 and mains output -> 4 channel Behringer headphone amp -> headphones


    If I'm just tracking 1-4 sound sources (overdubs, etc), the setup changes a bit:

    mics -> FMR RNP and either Presonus Bluetube or the Mackie's preamps -> MOTU analog -> PC

    Monitoring:
    headphone out on the MOTU -> Mackie -> headphone amp -> headphones


    If it's something that's a keeper, I always go for the FMR RNP over the preamps on the MOTU or the Mackie or the Presonus gear because it sounds better and allows me to reverse phase on the fly without having to build a special XLR cable for it or do it in Sonar after the fact.

    I have this set up in my basement and I try to shanghai everyone into practicing at my house, so I record all rehearsals this way regardless of who I'm practicing with. Being in bands that don't record rehearsals is a pain. Many moments of brilliance which otherwise get lost and many "you screwed up!" "no, you screwed up!" arguments which would otherwise spoil practice are easily averted this way.

    I don't bother multitracking the vocals for practices, I just mix them down to a sub channel and record that. Even with everyone in the band singing it's not like you're going to release your practice recordings anyway. With drums I'll burn four channels on snare/kick/overheads because a lot of the time if the drums sound bad then people will think the whole thing sounds bad if they don't know what they're supposed to be listening for. Plus I find it to be useful when going back over jams and picking out things. That leaves me with five channels for guitars/bass/violin/mandolin/whatever.

    I also record at 16/44.1k even though the MOTU and friends will handle more. CD 'quality' is fine for rehearsals and saves disk space.


    * I don't usually need more than 10 channels for anything if I'm creative about how I set things up. So if I have to make the jump I'll buy a Digimax off of ebay and then resell it when I'm done.