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Old December 1st, 2006, 11:02 AM   #1
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Multitrack recording

I am preparing for filming a concert featuring four performing artists using recorded tracks for accompaniement. Will be using five cameras with tape (no live mixing), onboard mikes on for sync purposes.

This is my plan for audio: I would like to take the signal from the mixer (effects out, using shorted jacks) and record that with a multichannel digital recorder - eight tracks total (four mikes, two for accompaniement plus two for the audience). Will edit audio in Adobe Audition.

1. Please advise if my plan is technically correct.
2. What type of digital recorders should I consider? Are there any that can be used as an interface only, a computer being the actual recording medium or only models with built-in hard drive?
3. Atlanta videographers, please point me to a place to rent one.

Thanks,
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Old December 1st, 2006, 11:36 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas
...I would like to take the signal from the mixer (effects out, using shorted jacks) and record that with a multichannel digital recorder - eight tracks total (four mikes, two for accompaniement plus two for the audience). Will edit audio in Adobe Audition...
Not exactly sure what you mean by "effects out, using shorted jacks". Usually, the way you'd want to do this is to use direct outs on each mic input channel on the mixer. Some small mixers don't have this output, which makes things more difficult.

The advantages: You're using the mixer's preamps (direct out is line level), most multitrack recorders are line level in. You have the house engineer watching levels. Actually, this can be good or bad, depending. The level control will be the trim pot on the input channel, and some live sound engineers run their inputs pretty low and don't care about metering.

Alternatives include splitter boxes or splitter snakes - this gives you your own mic level feeds, which you'll have to interface with a multitrack, and watch levels. Gotta be careful when mics requiring phantom are used with splitters, typically only one side of the split can send phantom.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas
2. What type of digital recorders should I consider? Are there any that can be used as an interface only, a computer being the actual recording medium or only models with built-in hard drive?
I do just this with an Alesis HD24 hard disk recorder. Mackie also has a couple 24-track hard disk recorders. At 8 tracks, you can use ADAT recorders, there are also a series of Tascam 8-track hd recorders, which I've not used but are probably great.

Yes, this can be recorded direct to a computer hard drive. I've tended to avoid this approach, as there are so many possible points of failure with computers... if you have to get the audio, and there is only one chance to get it, and someone is paying you to do so, seems to me you want to reduce the number of possible points of failure.

Having said that, I'm sure there are many live recordings being made direct to computer every day... and I'm just very conservative about this stuff.

On the PC side, M-Audio makes the Delta-1010, which requires a desktop computer with expansion slots. Great interface, line-level. Echo Audio also makes great products. On the Mac side, MOTU makes a series of pro interfaces. There are others for PC and Mac, these are just the ones I've had experience with.

Most of these interfaces are line-level in, or, might have 2 mic pres and 6 or 8 more line-level inputs.

**************************
All of this gets pretty complicated. If the shoot affords 5 camera operators, can it afford a dedicated sound operator?
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Old December 1st, 2006, 11:36 AM   #3
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Ervin,
I have done this with very good results. I use a Korg D3200 to record directly from the effects out and pull the wave files into my NLE to mix it all down. I have found that it works quite well. Once I was burned by a sound guy who did not tell me how many inputs he was running. I told him I wanted ALL the inputs, and was quite annoyed when another source appeared and I did not have an input. Based on this experience I generally run a backup mic or two just in case!

I tried 2 of the firewire mixers without success. Neither could provide dropout free waves. I was using a Windows based laptop that met all the requirements specified. For this reason I decided to get a stand alone recorder. I would not recommend trying a firewire mixer without thoroughly testing it with the laptop you wish to use.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old December 1st, 2006, 04:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Jesion
I tried 2 of the firewire mixers without success. Neither could provide dropout free waves. I was using a Windows based laptop that met all the requirements specified. For this reason I decided to get a stand alone recorder. I would not recommend trying a firewire mixer without thoroughly testing it with the laptop you wish to use.
Jerry,

the recommendation at the end of your message is certainly good advise - however, I wanted to point out that the FireWire mixer + laptop solution can work very well. It does for me in recordings that I do on a regular basis, with typically seven channels of 24bit/48kHz audio. I have never had any problems.

I do make sure that the laptop's hard drive has plenty of space left and is defragmented before I start recording. My equipment is a Tascal FW-1082 mixer and a Dell Latitude D600 laptop - not exactly high end stuff, but they have served me very well for my audio recording needs.

- Martin
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Old December 1st, 2006, 06:22 PM   #5
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"Not exactly sure what you mean by "effects out, using shorted jacks". Usually, the way you'd want to do this is to use direct outs on each mic input channel on the mixer. Some small mixers don't have this output, which makes things more difficult."

Seth, the sound board has effects output/input, both on one 1/4 inch jack. The tip is out, side is in, plus ground. If I use regular cables, basically I cut the signal off - that's why I need to short the tip to the side connection; this way I split the line level signal.

I don't have the make/model of this digital mixer handy, but I checked the manual and this is what the manufacturer recommends.
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Old December 1st, 2006, 08:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martin Pauly

I do make sure that the laptop's hard drive has plenty of space left and is defragmented before I start recording. My equipment is a Tascal FW-1082 mixer and a Dell Latitude D600 laptop - not exactly high end stuff, but they have served me very well for my audio recording needs.

- Martin
Martin,
I have an Inspiron 600m with a pretty empty disk and could not get either a FirePod or Motu 896HD to work reliably. I did not have the time or patience to try and get them to work. The Korg is very reliable.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas

Seth, the sound board has effects output/input, both on one 1/4 inch jack. The tip is out, side is in, plus ground. If I use regular cables, basically I cut the signal off - that's why I need to short the tip to the side connection; this way I split the line level signal.

-Ervin
Mackies use the side as the out and the tip as in. I just plug the TRS in to the first click. Yahamas need it all the way in.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old December 1st, 2006, 08:51 PM   #7
 
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Jerry, it's entirely possible that the Inspiron uses the same resources as the 1394 connector. This is quite common with lower cost laptops. With a Sony VAIO, an ACER, and a couple others, I can get wonderful results with the Mackie. With some lower end laptops, I've had to install a PCMCIA/Cardbus 1394 card to get consistenly good results.
Fans, video cards, sound cards, and other resources are sometimes shared with the 1394 card and that's not a good thing in most cases.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 05:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Jesion
...

Mackies use the side as the out and the tip as in. I just plug the TRS in to the first click. Yahamas need it all the way in.

Regards,
Jerry
Sorry to have to correct you but I've just double-checked in my 1642's manual and the effects insert jacks on Mackie mixers are wired conventionally with the tip as the Send (output) and the ring as the Return (input). Pushing the TRS in to the first click allows you to tap into the signal and use the insert jack as an unbalanced direct out without interrupting the normal signal path inside the jack. Pushing it all the way in breaks the signal path to patch in the outboard device and the send appears on the tip with the return from the effects unit or whatever coming back in on the ring.
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 06:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ervin Farkas
I am preparing for filming a concert featuring four performing artists using recorded tracks for accompaniement. Will be using five cameras with tape (no live mixing), onboard mikes on for sync purposes.

This is my plan for audio: I would like to take the signal from the mixer (effects out, using shorted jacks) and record that with a multichannel digital recorder - eight tracks total (four mikes, two for accompaniement plus two for the audience). Will edit audio in Adobe Audition.

1. Please advise if my plan is technically correct.
2. What type of digital recorders should I consider? Are there any that can be used as an interface only, a computer being the actual recording medium or only models with built-in hard drive?
3. Atlanta videographers, please point me to a place to rent one.

Thanks,

1. Possibly. I assume by "effects out" you mean coming out of the channel inserts of the mixer.

2. Try a Mac running Boom Recorder software and any hardware box that Boom Recorder supports. http://www.vosgames.nl/products/Boom...tibility.shtml

You can download the software. It's supports SMPTE. A VERY neat little software.

3. Front End Audio up the road from you for the hardware. Say hi to Warren Dent for me.

Question: Since this is a direct recording only (only what comes out of the console), will you need to pick up the sounds of music amps on stage or audiences? With your play you ONLY get what comes through the board.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Sorry to have to correct you but I've just double-checked in my 1642's manual and the effects insert jacks on Mackie mixers are wired conventionally with the tip as the Send (output) and the ring as the Return (input). Pushing the TRS in to the first click allows you to tap into the signal and use the insert jack as an unbalanced direct out without interrupting the normal signal path inside the jack. Pushing it all the way in breaks the signal path to patch in the outboard device and the send appears on the tip with the return from the effects unit or whatever coming back in on the ring.
Steve,
No worries! I think that we are talking about the same thing. Looking at the CFX-16 manual page 8, they show a picture with a TS plug pushed in to the first click with the quote "Direct out with no signal interruption insert only to the first click". The next picture shows the TS all the way in with the caption "Direct out with signal interruption insert all the way to the second click". This implies that the send goes to both the tip AND ring when the plug is inserted to the first click and the print on page 22 confirms this. So you are correct I did misspeak. I should have said that the signal goes to both the tip and ring at the first click.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Spotted Eagle
Jerry, it's entirely possible that the Inspiron uses the same resources as the 1394 connector. This is quite common with lower cost laptops. With a Sony VAIO, an ACER, and a couple others, I can get wonderful results with the Mackie. With some lower end laptops, I've had to install a PCMCIA/Cardbus 1394 card to get consistenly good results.
Fans, video cards, sound cards, and other resources are sometimes shared with the 1394 card and that's not a good thing in most cases.
Douglas,
You may very well be correct. My Inspiron does not have a 1394 port built in and I was using a separate card. My main gripe was that I called the tech support for both companies and told them the details on my laptop and they claimed it should work just fine. My impression is that the root of the problem was with the drivers. I must admit that I was disappointed that I could not use the laptop/firewire combo.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old December 2nd, 2006, 04:01 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Jesion
Steve,
No worries! I think that we are talking about the same thing. Looking at the CFX-16 manual page 8, they show a picture with a TS plug pushed in to the first click with the quote "Direct out with no signal interruption insert only to the first click". The next picture shows the TS all the way in with the caption "Direct out with signal interruption insert all the way to the second click". This implies that the send goes to both the tip AND ring when the plug is inserted to the first click and the print on page 22 confirms this. So you are correct I did misspeak. I should have said that the signal goes to both the tip and ring at the first click.
Almost ... When no plug is in the jack its internal tip and ring contactors are shorted together so signal passes through as if the jack wasn't there. When the plug is inserted only to the first click, it doesn't lift the switch to break the jack's internal connection between its tip and ring contactors. Because they are shorted together, the same signal is present on both contactors. But only the *tip* of the plug itself is making contact and carrying signal - in the first click position the plug's tip is connected to the jack's ring contactor while the plug's ring isn't connecting to anything (the jack's sleeve contactor is (or should be) too close to the mouth to touch the ring in that position and it connects just to the plug's sleeve as it should). So when viewed from the plug's perspective, when inserted to the first click signal appears on its tip but not its ring. When the plug is inserted all the way to the second click, the jack's internal switch is lifted and the connection between the tip and ring contactors is broken. The mixer's signal appears only on the tip contactor while the ring becomes an input with no signal unless one is fed to it from outside. So 'dry' signal going out from the mixer will appear on the plug's tip just as before. But 'wet' signal returning from the external device appears on the plug's ring and on into the jack through its ring contactor to be passed on down the bus replacing the dry signal (wet and dry may be mixed later on, with the dry signal getting to the mix point via an alternate pathway).
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 02:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Jesion
I should have said that the signal goes to both the tip and ring at the first click.
Jerry
The above statement was from the point of view of the jack rather than the plug. I was not very clear and should have stated that the send goes to both the tip and ring contactor at the first click. Thus the send goes to the tip of the plug as you stated.

Regards,
Jerry
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 04:59 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerry Jesion
The above statement was from the point of view of the jack rather than the plug. I was not very clear and should have stated that the send goes to both the tip and ring contactor at the first click. Thus the send goes to the tip of the plug as you stated.

Regards,
Jerry
LOL - I was pretty sure you had it right in your own mind. Was writing more for the benefit of those reading the thread who might have misunderstoood what you were saying.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:51 PM   #14
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Thank you all!

The problem is solved - a friend offered to let me use his 12 channel DAT machine. His mixer has RCA outputs so he made a snake to use between the two units - and this offers a simple solution for me as well... all I have to buy is one "1/4 inch stereo to RCA mono" adaptor (see for example http://item.express.ebay.com/Musical...mdZExpressItem) per channel and the worries are gone as the tip and ring are already shorted at least in the one I already have.

Ty, thanks for the vendor's address - it's kind of far though... As to your question, as described in my original post, I will be recording the four singers, two tracks coming from their laptop (one stereo signal), that's what they use, no live instruments on stage. For recording the audience I will plug two mikes in the board. Will do all the post... in post.

Again, thanks for all the great advice!
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Old December 4th, 2006, 12:40 AM   #15
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Hey Ervin,
I'm glad that you found a solution for your upcoming event. I thought I would mention that I'm using Audition 2.0 to make 8-channel multitrack recordings on a HP laptop with a Presonus Firepod interface. The laptop has an Athlon 64 3400+ CPU and a gig of memory. As DSE recommended, I have also found a PCMCIA Firewire interface to be more reliable than the built-in interface. This configuration runs real solid for me but I do think that you need to do a lot of testing on a laptop-based solution before you want to actually depend on it for recording an event.
-Dan
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