Recording a full band

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by AsianChexMix, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. AsianChexMix macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2009
    So I wanted to ask you guys since I felt this would be the best way to learn as everyone is doing stuff differently. I want to record a full band from a mixer to my MBP so that I can create a CD and give to students as I am recording this for a church retreat. A full band consists of two vocalists, one acoustic guitar, one electric guitar, one bass guitar, a keyboard and drums. From what I do know, they have a snake that allows all that to go into a mixer and I am unsure whether they mic up the amp for electric (I sometimes see this but not sure if it's the case for our setup). All of that goes into a mixer that then is outputted onto monitors (2-3 or so) and then two speakers.

    I used a MBP to record just the line for the main mic which allowed us to record sermons and seminars but it was not as successful recording music as you heard all music playing from the mic. I am assuming that the line was for just that mic.

    Would I have to refer to that mixer to understand how I need to connect my MBP to the mixer? I am using GarageBand but I do not mind purchasing things to help me do this.

    Thanks guys!
  2. a1rflow macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2009
    For this situation you would have to look into using an Audio Interface. You would likely connect the outputs of each signal (vocals, keyboards, guitars, drums, etc.) from the mixer into an interface which would convert these signals into a digital file that Garageband can play.

    I believe you can also take the main output from the mixer and route that into the interface if you want to do one stereo track instead, doing all the "mixing" on the mixer itself and outputting the whole file into your computer (through the interface).

    There's plenty of information on Audio Interfaces all over the internet, you can search the boards here or use Google (it's your friend!). The Apogee Duet is a great interface with well built preamps. Also look into PreSonus and maybe Avid.
  3. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    The mixer most probably has a simple line out. You can plug your mbp to the mixer with a simple two channel interface to record both left and right channel from the line out of the mixer. You could also run a cable directly to the line in of your MBP. But that will only give you mono sound (and not a very good one).

    Mind you, for more flexibility you could rent (price are quite high especially if you don't intend on using it a lot) an external sound card that will handle all of your inputs separately without the need for the mixer. That way, you'll be able to do much more in post production. You know something like, oh the drums were too loud.
  4. RedElectro macrumors regular

    Sep 26, 2010
    United Kingdom
    as stated in the other posts, It depends on what kind of recording you want. If it is a recording with a live feel, you could just take the output from the mixer to a simple audio interface connected to your MBP. This will only give you a stereo audio file, with no post mixing possibilities, apart from an overall EQ/compression etc, but will be adequate for a lot of "live" recordings.

    The other option is the multitrack recording where (as stated earlier) each instrument/mic has its own input on a more complicated audio interface. The recording goal here would be to get each sound to it's optimal level (without distorting) and mix the entire song in the computer during playback. This will give you much greater control and allow you to revisit the mix at a later date, if your original attempt wasn't to your liking.

    In my experience MOTU (although expensive) make excellent audio interfaces.
  5. AsianChexMix thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 9, 2009
    Thanks for the awesome replies! Yeah, I guess the low budget would be to connect mixer to my MBP and just do it that way but I can definitely see why doing my own mixing and everything would be very handy. Unfortunately, I have NO mixing experience as I am usually the guy who displays the words onto a screen for the congregation to sing to. Maybe this can be a little new project but I can definitely see the simple solution where I trust the mixing of the sound engineerer but for a more professional quality, I would need to use my own.

    Any one have an idea on how that worked where we only got the main mic instead of the whole shabang? Was it what I felt where it was possibly plugged into just the main mic channel?
  6. paolo- macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2008
    I'm not sure I understand your last question...

    But speaking of mics, putting one just to capture the ensemble would be good. Because depending on the size of the room, the engineer probably doesn't amplify everything the same because you need to consider the volume coming from the instrument it self. If it's a small venue, for example the electric guitar's amp possibly doesn't get a mic.
  7. Cruleworld macrumors newbie


    Feb 13, 2009
    I worked at a camp last summer and had to record the band/congregation the whole summer onto the camp's mac every week.

    See if there is another available Aux Channel that you can use for recording purposes. It will need to be what they call Pre-fader this means any adjustments to the house mix don't change your recording mix. This allows your recording to be consistant and your house mix to change without anything bad happening.

    Cheap method:

    Just run a cable from your mixer on an open Aux channel to your mac's input jack and record. You will have to use headphones on that output to adjust the levels before you start recording to make sure it sounds good as there will be no way to listen once you get it going. Make sure everything is miked even the electric, it doesn't matter if you have it going through the house as you only need it in your aux channel for the recording.

    Expensive method:

    Use the method above but add in an audio interface like the Apogee Duet and then add a condenser mic to capture audience noise. Then record the band on one track and the audience noise on another. This is the setup I was using all summer and the results weren't horrible.

    If you have any questions just let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.

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