Recording to Windoze machine from a Pyle audio stack? (PA System)

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by el-John-o, Jul 15, 2014.

  1. el-John-o macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #1
    Hey all!

    So here's my quick question. I want to record digital audio files of my sermons. I use a fairly high quality wireless mic which feeds into a new system we just had installed. The mixer (A Pyle unit) has a couple RCA outputs, including some labeled 'record out'. We also have a computer (that runs the displays in the front of the church) next to the stack. I'd like to record audio from the Pyle stack to that computer. It's a windoze machine so I'll likely use Audacity.

    So the easy solution is to adapt the RCA to the microphone jack on the computer, right? But is there a higher quality / more consistent solution? What's the best way to have the best quality (with a reasonable budget of course). I've seen some USB capture devices; but don't know much about them.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks guys!
     
  2. ChrisA, Jul 17, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #2

    Recording with a Windows PC is not as easy as it seems. It helps to clear the PC of all other tasks, disconnect it from networking, remove the network drivers, stop the disk indexing and so on then replace the audio drivers "Windows sound system" with ASIO drivers. Without this you will get the normal dropouts, click and lag. Windows just does NOT do quality audio out of the box. But you CAN set it up to do that.

    RCA connections??? I think most pro quality mixer consoles will have balanced outputs. Either 1/4" TRS or XLR. Then you can cable that to your USB audio interface. But why go through the mixer? The less equipment between the microphone and the USB audio interface the better. You would get better advice if you would tell us what the entire equipment chain is with brands and model numbers.

    There are several USB interfaces that seem to all cost about $150 that would work. They are made by Presonus, Focusrite, MOTU and a few others. Ppretyy much any of the big name recording studio equipment brands is good. There are some knock-off brands to stay clear of.
    I like this one best now Scarlett2i2/

    But your plan to simply stuff the PCA out into the line in on a PC would work, if the mixer has the ability to adjust the output level. If you can't set the output level then it depends on luck.

    You could also use an audio recorder. Why use the computer? Buy a "Zoom H5" and then you have LOTS of options. You can record using the built-in microphones or plug in better external mice or record from the mixer. It is all stored on an SD card. Then you pull the SD card and transfer to some program like Garage Band and edit and mix it. The recorder works stand along and you don't have to deal with Windows. look at it here: Zoom H5 The recorder can do a lot more than the $150 audio interface. Zoom makes cheaper "H1" but this is the firs model that has the build-quality you need.

    Both of the links point to sweet water which is a good place to buy. Their sales staff actually uses that stuff that sell, free extended warranty and shipping.
     
  3. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #3
    Keep in mind I'm a noob at this sort of thing; but I'll try to break it down.

    The Windoze machine is going to be pulling double duty. It's runs our AV system (two flat screens at the front of the church), so it'll be doing that whilst recording audio in the background probably using audacity.

    Well, I'm showing my newbieness (which is why I'm here!) but why NOT go through the RCA connections? There's a 'record out' connection on the mixer I was planning on using. We're not talking about music here, just basic voice.

    No dice on nixing the mixer. The reason I've got the microphone on in the first place, running through a mixer is, naturally, to amplify the sound. When I'm speaking I'm speaking through a series of speakers which run from that mixer. The mixer is also attached to other mics, the Windows machine in question, there's a mic over the piano, choir mics, wireless mics, etc. So that's why I want to connect the machine to the mixer. As an added bonus, it'll open the door to recording audio from all of those other sources as well if need be.

    I believe it does have an ability to control the output. I've seen some of the USB units with the ability to control the input volume, too.

    Again, using the computer is because I want to use the microphone I'm already wearing. I don't stand in one spot and I'm not keen on carrying a little box around, plus surely audio quality would be far better out of my microphone than out of that thing (unless I were holding it up to my mouth or something). Again this is for recording sermons; not for recording things sitting at my desk or something, but recording live audio as it's being delivered on Sunday morning.

    The equipment in question:

    Peavey 16FX mixer feeding through a Peavy amp (and feeding into a few self-powered speakers / monitors) You can see the various wireless mic receivers and transceivers stacked on top.
    [​IMG]

    Mic is a MiPro Act 30T
    [​IMG]

    So again, we're talking about live audio; not any sort of studio recording setting. That's why the mixer needs to be there. I appreciate the help! I'll look into what you suggested!
     
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #4
    When I said not to use the mixer, I meant that MAYBE you could tap into the existing audio feed before it go into the mixer. Perhaps the wireless microphone receiver as two outputs or you could split it?

    People generally don't like to record already-mixed audio because you have fewer options later. You can't un-do whatever the guy at the mixer did.

    If the PC must do multiple functions, just expect snags. No big deal. Random non-reproducible problems. At least remove what you can and go with ASIO drivers.

    The stand alone audio recorder will likely give you the best result

    In ALL cases you want to record in 24-bits.

    Why not RCA? Likely for the same reasons none of your others connections are RCA. At least I assume none of them are. It works fine in a home environment with short cables. But those single ended connections are subject to hum and nose pickup. It will work but if you have the ability to go with balanced signals do it. It's not like there is much difference in cost.

    You say it is just voice, not music. But still if there is an audible noise floor under your voice it will give the entire project a feeling of "cheapness" and the listener will not value what you say as much, Yes that is illogical. Also listeners will put up with and may not notice audio detects in a live presentation but even untrained ears will detect ANY audio problem in a recording. Voice is not easy to record well.

    Expect to have to do some small amount of post production work, maybe EQing, some compression normally makes i sound better and a tiny bit of reverb. All at levels that are very subtle.
     
  5. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #5
    This is very helpful Chris, thank you. And I appreciate the patience with a noob here.

    That makes sense. And I could. But there will be times that I'd like to record other audio feeds and things, too. A future goal is the ability to live stream worship services on Sunday morning, so I figured if I'm going to invest in equipment I might as well set things up with this in mind. I realize there may be better ways, but talent and budget constraints are at hand (I should mention that I need to train unpaid volunteers to do these things anyway; so simplicity is necessary.)


    This makes sense. So I may tap into the microphone box and then just change if we decide to incorporate mixing other audio inputs later.

    Fair enough. Here's my issue with the stand alone recorder, though. I'm not in one spot, and I'm not going to carry anything around with my either (we spent a lot of money to have that nice wireless mic for a reason!). I don't stand behind the pulpit and preach, if I did I'd just use the pulpit mic. So how could I use a standalone recorder effectively in that situation? Unless you're referring to plugging the standalone unit somehow into my mic pack, which makes sense. Though if we do begin livestreaming in the next few months I'll need to revert to connecting to the computer (or a different computer) anyway for the audio portion. (I really dislike the idea of using the built in mic on a camera!)

    Dully noted!


    Makes sense! No, nothing else is RCA except for the computer (out to mixer) which is currently an RCA adapter connected to the computers headphone jack (for the occasional youtube video or something now again), and the CD player is also connected via RCA. Both are rarely used, and both the computer and CD player are next to the stack, no real distance. Makes me wonder then if I should make sure whatever I buy goes "both ways" so I could upgrade our 'audio out' capabilities? And you're absolutely right, of course. Production quality is important and that's why I asked here instead of just using an RCA adapter down to the mic jack on the PC. And I've learned a lot, Chris, so thank you!

    -John
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    Sorry I was not clear. The stand alone recorder would connect to you mixer in the same way the PC would. Cable, possibly a balanced XLR cable or and RCA to 1/8" TRS, goes from mixer or microphone receiver to the recorder. The recorder saves the data to SD card media.

    I would not want you to have to use a second microphone. The recorder would live on top of the wireless receiver.

    This means no messing with Windows apps and is very reliable.

    The box also can do MANY other things that you may find uses for later.
     
  7. el-John-o thread starter macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Missouri
    #7
    Eureka! Maybe.

    While looking at the system I happened to notice that, whadya know, it has a USB connection! And with that USB connection, it will send the audio direct to the PC! Windows immediately recognizes it as a "peavey mixer"

    That's a "free" (Well, the mixer was $850 but we already have it) option I can at least use for right now while I continue to explore further options. But, in investigating it, it seems to do extremely well. Which a quick run through audacities 'noise removal' filter it sounds, to my ears, pretty darn good. And I believe the little bit of humming I got would be there either way as it comes through the speakers anyway. It's very, very slights and almost undetectable through the speakers but is a little easier to hear on the PC, but audacity makes quick work of it. Certainly good enough to use in the meantime, and requires no equipment. Plus, it's less equipment and less cables, and that's a good thing right?

    There seems to be a lot of features on the mixer side through it's little LCD screen for the USB features. Including recording audio direct to a USB drive and of course taking audio both ways. I noticed an improvement in audio quality running sound out through USB than through the previous RCA. As an added bonus, the volume and mixer controls for the PC are still the same, as it was plugged into the connection that corresponded with the USB port anyway (there's a USB / Line selector switch).

    That sounds like the smartest way to go then. At least until/if we start live streaming. And that may be what I do. But for now I'm going to use the mixers built in USB while I can until I research further what I want to do.
     

Share This Page