Recording Live Shows If band already had a mixer

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by kingrj46, Nov 29, 2007.

  1. kingrj46 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #1
    Hi, Ive been wanting to record some friends during their live shows. Im completely new and have no idea how to start. They already have a mixer and and am not sure if i need something like icontrol or mobilepre usb. I do have some griffin cables that connect to my macbook and have the other end to connnect to guitar or mic. Is there a way just to connect my macbook to their mixer and record or should i buy one of these other products?
     
  2. Tarkovsky macrumors 6502

    Tarkovsky

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Location:
    London/Norwich
    #2
    it's possible with your macbook out the box but for a half decent recording you'll need an external interface/soundcard.
     
  3. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #3
    A good audio interface, connected to your macbook through USB or (better) Firewire will give you much better quality than the built-in input. Good ones will also have the connectors (XLR and 1/4" phone), balanced inputs/outputs and signal levels that pro audio gear uses, so it'll be much easier to connect to the band's mixer.

    Be advised that it's probably a bad idea to only record the live mix from the band's mixer. The reason is that the live mix is optimized for the audience in the room - they hear the instruments directly and through the mixer/speakers. So by recording only the mixer's output, you are missing a good portion of what the audience hearss during the event. There are several solutions to this problem: maybe the band's mixer has aux outputs that can generate a different mix, or you could have a ambience mics and record those along with the mixer, or - high end solution - record each individual channel going INTO the mixer during the event and create your own mix in post-processing.

    Good luck!

    - Martin
     
  4. kingrj46 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2007
    #4
    Thanks for the help. yeah I meant if the mixer had an aux out. I am thinking of getting an M-audio usb interface. Also, how would I record each channel directly to mix later? I know it may be alot to ask, I am just really new to all this. If anyone would be willing to tell me how i should get started with this. The 2 main things I wanna do is record live shows with the bands mixer that does have aux out. and also just to record me and my friends messing aroud with the guitar and singing. Cause sometimes we tend to write songs, but never record them. Please if anyone can help. id greatly appreciate it
     
  5. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2006
    Location:
    One Nation Under Gordon
    #5
    Perhaps better than perching a computer near a mixer in use for other stuff might be getting a standalone recorder which you can patch into the mixer.

    A standalone recorder would not only be more reliable and simpler than juggling with a recording app, it'd be a whole lot easier to carry around.

    M-Audio sells the Microtrack II which is probably the best option for your general needs.

    However, if you want to record multiple tracks simultaneously then you will definitely need a computer with an external interface. It depends on how many inputs you want to record at once but a starter interface for >4 input performance would be something like the <$400 Edirol FA-101 in addition to a DAW software that can handle the simultaneous inputs required. The issue will however be that you'll need to patch outputs from the mixer in order to have multiple inputs coming in from the mixer - and most, if they're in use in a live situation, wouldn't be able to give you that many outputs and you may well find that stereo is the best you can get.
     
  6. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #6
    This is where things start to get more expensive. There are at least two parts to your question: (1) how to get the individual channels, and (2) how to record them. Let's look at these separately.

    How to best get the individual channels depends a lot on the sound board that the band/venue uses. Some of the better mixers have line outs for each channel; ideally, they can be switched between pre-fader or post-fader. What that means is that you can choose whether fader movements by the sound guy during the performance affect your recording or not. If at all possible, I'd go for pre-fader - otherwise, some changes made by the sound guy (which you may or may not have in your final mix) will have to be compensated for in your mix. This scenario is also convenient in that you don't have to invest in high-quality pre-amps yourself, because you will be using the ones in the venue's sound board - hopefully of good quality. All you need is an audio interface capable of capturing the desired number of channels (line-in), and of course one audio cable per channel (typically with 1/4" phone plugs).

    If the sound board doesn't have line outs, it gets more tricky. In theory, you could put each instrument/voice by itself on one aux channel and record that, but aux channels are limited in number, so you will have to group inputs and mix them during the recording, which kind of defeats the purpose. Still, this can give you more options during post production than just recording a stereo mix.

    Another way would be to use splitters for all the inputs into the sound board. This gives you the same flexibility as the first solution (individual line outs), but at a higher expense because you'll need a splitters for each channel - plus you need to worry about pre-amps, who provides phantom power, etc.

    Now let's look at part two: how to record all these channels. The MicroTrack mentioned by Sesshi is not a bad device - I have one myself, use it as a backup recorder - but to record a live music performance and mix it in post you'll need to record way more channels. There are FireWire audio interfaces for laptops that can help you - which is what I used to do until one night the laptop just decided to stop recording halfway through the event. Looking for a more reliable solution, I asked around and was pointed to a PC-less solution consisting of a recording mixer (with line-outs) and a multi-track recorder. I ended up buying a Soundcraft FX-16 mixer and a 24-track harddisk-based recorder, the Alesis ADAT HD24. I installed both in a rack for easy transportation, and I couldn't be happier with the solution. Not cheap, but it gives me tremendous flexibility and very high recording quality.

    - Martin
     
  7. kozz00 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Saint Louis
    #7
    what you could do

    I would suggest a tascam us122 it a great simple usb driven interface. The cost is around 150-200 and you can record in stereo from your mixer.
     
  8. MicBook macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    Location:
    Mooresville, NC
    #8
    What you do is first buy a 1/4" to Stereo mini adapter then when you are at the gig you will come out of an AUX out on their console into the line in input on your MacBook open Garage Band create a new "real instrument" track and hit record

    Couple of notes:

    Make sure you change the sound input device on your MacBook from internal microphone to line in

    Make sure they turn the AUX out on their console up so you get some input sound

    Good Luck
     

Share This Page