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What's needed to record to PC?

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by JTE, Nov 22, 2010.

  1. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    I don't hang out here much, 'cause I don't really have much desire to do recording. But, I'm handling the A/V ministry at my church. We're currently burning a CD of each service using a Tascam combination CD/cassette tape machine (we quit recording analog cassettes years ago however). I'd like to find out what it's going to require to be able to dump the audio directly to a PC (yeah, I know about Macs, but I've got a free PC I can use).

    What I'd ideally like is a simple feed from one of the mixer's aux outs into the PC so we can store the services on something other than a real CD, and to make it easier to burn copies when they're requested. Plus we'd like to be able to edit which I'm not currently doing with the CD's, just ripping a copy of the whole thing when people ask for a copy.

    So, I need advice because I don't even know where to start. Soundcards, USB interfaces, software, etc. And how much horsepower do I need in the computer to do this without glitches?


  2. seamonkey


    Aug 6, 2004
    Mixer out to sound pc line in May be very good.
    Depends on the on-board sound devices in the PC
    If it's fairly new, it should be fine.
    Assuming your Aux mix is separate from the main and you have a lot things mic'd.

    If you're only doing stereo - google Audacity

    Reaper is the next low cost solution. It's a full professional DAW. I'm not sure you need that much power. Tracks from Audacity with transfer to reaper if you want to.

    It's hard to find a PC that can't glitch free record a stereo in. Still Turn off the internet, virus scan, ... while you record.
  3. JPSBassist


    Feb 10, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    I record to PC all the time.
    You'll need several things.

    First, you'll need a guitar to USB interface. Cheap ones go for under $50. Expensive ones go for a couple of hundred.

    I have a cheap one for my laptop... a Behringer UC6102

    And I have a rather complicated setup for my main studio PC. I have a Ampeg SVT450 setup as a preamp, that has a series of peddle effects connected to it (like you'd do on stage).
    Then the preamp on the Ampeg outs to a 16 track stand-alone mixer. A Fostex VF160EX.
    I have that Midi out into my computer.

    Then you need software.

    On my Mac I have Pro-Tools and the little Pro-Tools input box... but I rarely use it. I mainly use Pro-Tools for cleaning stuff, and some effects stuff.

    On the PC I have:

    1) Native Instruments GuitarRig4. This works as an amp/effects emulation software. It's pretty good, but can't replace the real thing in my opinion. I program effects, filters, etc... and import raw WAV files into it, then process them out to either WAV or MP3 depending.

    2) Sony SoundForge... the PC's answer to Pro-Tools. For simple EQ fixes, sound EFX, and mainly ajusting levels without adding too much noise.

    3) Sony Vegas Studio, a really nice multi-track full-featured software suit that allows you to do both video and audio. It's really nice.

    And that's how I get stuff into my PC/Computers.

    The Breakdown is:

    Behringer Input: $50
    Ampeg SVT450: $750 (what I paid for it)
    Fostex VF160: $500... was $1200 retail, got a good deal on it.

    Native Instruments GuitarRig4: $120 (if I remember correctly)
    Sony Vegas Studio w/Soundforge Full version: $1200

    And the end result is professional sounding music capture and output.
    I hope this helps you!
  4. JPSBassist


    Feb 10, 2010
    Santa Barbara
    I forgot to mention Cakewalk. It's a Midi to USB interface box I use. That's how I get the sound in. I bypass the soundcard all together.

    So I can be surfing the web, whatever... and capturing audio and I never get any glitches.

    Yeah, going into the line in on your soundcard is prone to cause issues. Sad to say.

    I think I paid like $80 for the Cakewalk box.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    THANKS!! The PC won't be connected to the 'net so I'll be able to kill everything except the OS and the recording software. The tip on Audacity was very helpful! It looks like I'll be able to send the signal I'm now sending to the CD burner into the PC without any issues, and have some better editing capabilities than I have now.

  6. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Thanks, but this looks like more than I need. I'm not recording bass or instruments directly, only taking an auxillary buss off the mixer. Now we're going straight into a CD burner, and I'd like to replace the CD burner with the PC in order to have more options for editing, and to reduce the physical storage requirements for archives.

    The mixer is a 25+ year old Peavey Mk III (I sold it to the original owner all those years ago...) which has a dedicated "tape out" which is the L/R subs merely sent to a 1/4" TRS jack with a single level control so it's easy to set levels.

    Thanks, though.

  7. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Mixer Send -> Cord/Cable (depends on your setup) -> Audacity

    You can use an old computer.. it will take a few times to figure out levels etc.. by far for what you're doing it's the easiest.

    Your breakdown.... about $10 for some cable (no need for my $2000 setup)


    To do the CD thing.. the easiest route is find an application (there are tons) that will burn an "image" this is a complete formatted disk info file... the software then doesn't need you dragging and dropping files etc.. you do it once then create the image.


    If you PM me I can send a sample of what Audicity can multi track.. I own $$$$$$$$ software.. many times it's overkill for what we end up doing.

    I REALLY like the function that once it's setup and configured... you just hit record... I've worked at churches that did protools.. there were too many links and steps to go through to just record---- you're not doing a hit record.
  8. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    ON your peavey board.. you "may" be able to send a signal to an effects loop.. I have owned your board and forget EXACTLY how to set it up.

    I've used the tape send -- it's commonly not as high an output and slightly more cumbersome... if you were closer I'd just lend you the RCA/RCA/plug cord you could try with.


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