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PA mixer used as recording mixer?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by bassmasta94, May 9, 2010.

  1. bassmasta94


    Jul 21, 2009
    Hey guys, I have a PA system with a nice mixer, and i dont really feel like spending a whole 100 dollars or more on a separate mixer. I was wondering if i could plug all the instruments into the PA either going DI from the amp, or a microphone for the horns, and then get one of those cables that goes from the Main Left and Right to a 1/4 cable.(Not sure what its called, im a total recording noob) And plug the 1/4 end into my audio interface, and then run that through garage band, and have each track set to a different input, and record all of the musicians simultaneously. I was wondering if this is even possible. And once again i know... Im a total noob when it comes to recording.
  2. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Gotta be more precise. Are you using a powered or passive PA mixer? What kind (make, model)? I use a Yamaha MG166cx for recording, and sometimes my Carvin RX1200R ... both are passive, of course.
  3. Goodlawdy


    Mar 27, 2008
    We made a demo doing this very thing into garageband. It's been good enough to get us gigs with. I ran everything into my pa then sent it to my laptop via the 1/8"!!

    I tweaked the levels after each take, listening through headphones. It's a great quick way to record. I just did it into one track. Another good thing about this setup is the small file size.
  4. Are you using a DAW software, such as Cubase or Protools to record into? because if so, you will have to make sure you get all your levels and panning (balance L+R) how you want them before recording, as you can't mix or edit anything as it would be recorded as one stereo track, not multiple tracks.

    To cut things short, yes you can record from the L+R outs of your mixer, into your interface. Does your mixer have RCA out connections? or "record out" because you could do it that way too. Plug an RCA cable into your mixer then buy a 1/4 inch adapter to plug into your interface. Btw, an RCA is basically those Red, White and Yellow Plugs that you connect to your TV, minus the yellow as that is video. Red and White are Audio L+R. Buy an RCA to Mini jack (ipod earbud type connection) then buy a 1/4 adapter from an electronics shop and put it on the minijack and connect it to the interface. Make sure the 1/4 jack is stereo (two black rings). Most are.
  5. bassmasta94


    Jul 21, 2009
    wow thank you very much. I didnt actually think people did this. I was fantasizing about this in my dreams :D And im so glad that people do it. Does it come out good quality? Like as good as with a normal audio interface.
  6. bluestarbass


    Jul 31, 2007
    the way you are talking about doing this will not get you the result you want. First you need as many channels into your computer as inputs on your mixer. You would just be getting a stereo feed. That's the main difference between a live board and a console, direct outs on every channel. If you wanna do something other than stereo recordings you'll need direct outs on every channel of your board as well equel amount of ins on an a/d converter hooked up to garage band. Second typically consoles are much quieter and have eqs designed for recording.
  7. Herbie 80's

    Herbie 80's

    Dec 15, 2008
    It works as a means of basic recording. I've done it with my old band on a few occasions, and later on we went to a real studio. It's great for small demos, and trying it out.
  8. The quality is down to your audio interface. Its possible to make really good recordings like this if you are careful but it takes a bit of skill. As others have mentioned you will not get each instrument separately, thats not possible down 2 cables/2 inputs of ANALOG audio (digital is a different matter), as mentioned you need as many outputs on the desk and as many inputs on the soundcard as you want to have recorded separately.

    However, with a nice soundcard and a bit of learning you can get great results, think of all the recordings done to the first 1 track tape machines, even stuff a bit later where big albums were recorded to 2 track tape machines in the same way as recording a mix from a desk! They sound great, but you do have to factor in the quality of the gear and mics they were using etc. It was a simple setup by todays standards but they did have some really great preamps and such.

    If you want to record stuff as separate tracks you'll need a multi input soundcard and a desk that has 'direct outs' or unused inserts for every channel you want to be able to record.

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