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Advice on live rec'ding band w Mackie 24 + ADAT

Discussion in 'Recording' started by angopop, Dec 4, 2002.

  1. angopop

    angopop Guest

    Hello all.

    If anyone has any advice, I'd be most appreciative in advance.

    I'll be recording a theatre performance, 4 singers and a band. All the instruments and singers will be miked and going through a Mackie SR 24x4 board.

    Since I don't have much experience with live boards, these are my questions:

    1. I would like to record each instrument/singer on a separate track of ADAT (using two ADATS linked together). From what I understand, the Mackie's inserts can send the signal from each mic out to the ADATs inputs. Is this correct?

    2. Are the outputs on the Mackie's Inserts affected by the volume I've set that channel to. For example, I'll have the volume on the singers set so that the audience can hear them, but I don't need any volume on the drums mics because the drums by themselves don’t need to be amplified, so I'd like to have the fader on the drums mic be low or off, but have the signal go through and into the ADAT. Will this work, or should I perhaps use a second Mackie board for instruments that I don't want to send out into the live room?

    3. Balanced vs. unbalanced: Mackie inserts are unbalanced, ADAT inputs are balanced (I believe), is there any problem connecting them?

  2. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member


    You didn't mention if you'll be mixing the show too, or not, however:

    1)Using the insert sends on the mixer is not a good idea, as this will interrupt the signal from the preamp to the fader on each channel, unless you close the loop and return the signal inside the circuit you won't get any signal out to the P.A.; plus it will prevent you from using any kind of outboard dynamic processors on the channles (compressors, gates, EQ). Don't do it.

    2) Direct Outs are the correct output to use (I don't know if that Mackie model has them, but it should), even though you'll still be Gain, EQ and fader level dependant, since the Direct out is post-fader (read: every EQ tweak and gain/fader move will affect the signal recorded as well) but unless you have a splitter that's the only way to do it. A little workaround for this could be to record all of the instruments out of every single channel but to bus the drums to a stereo subgroup, say 1&2 and to not assign them to the Stereo out: this way you'll be able to separate the two, setting the right level in the hall using the subgroup, and the recording level using the direct outs; you'll still be stuck with the EQ you set on the board, but unless you do radical boost/cuts and stay fairly neutral it shouldn't be too much of an hassle.

    3) Direct Outs (if avilable) are usually balanced so using TRS jacks (usually D.O. come in that format) to the ADATs should be fine.

    Hope this helps

  3. angopop

    angopop Guest

    Lorenzo, thanks for your reply.

    We only need to amplify the vocals in the space. All the instruments we are only miking and running through the board in order to send them to the ADAT. I was hoping to not have to rent a second Mackie in order to make it work.

    I didn't see direct outs for each channel on that Mackie, which seem like a better idea if they were there. We're doing a run through tonight, so I'm gonna test the inserts to see if they affect the outgoing signal on the vocals.

    If they do affect the vocals, I have enough sends (6 I believe) that I can run the four vocal tracks out through the sends pre-fader and have that signal be independent of the live sound reinforcement.

    You mentioned closing the loop, how is that done? Would that mean getting the output from the ADAT and putting each channel back into the Mackie? What is the purpose/advantage of that?

  4. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    gerax is usually correct in his answers but in this case he is mistaken. SR 24's don't have direct outs. No big deal, Mackie makes a lot of products and it would be unreasonable to assume that anyone was familiar with them all. In his defense, he said he wasn't sure about this. You can use the inserts for di's. just plug an unbalanced cable in to the first click (1/2 way). This is a pre amp direct send, pre fader and will not interrupt the signal flow. You will not have eq and moves on the fader will not be reflected at the tape machine. You didn't say what type of ADATs you were using. Blackfaces have 1/4" ins and outs that are unbalanced. Balanced connections are on the ELCO multipin connector and require a special ELCO to 1/4"or XLR snake. XT's use rca connectors for the unbalanced ins and outs and ELCO's for the balanced. Personally I would use the unbalanced ins and outs for tracking as this will put less demand on the Mackie. It's much easier for the Mackie to push -10dB than +4. When you mix (if your using the Mackie) the opposite applies. If you can, tape returns at +4 will put less demand on the board. Mackies have few issues in their use and one of the main ones is weak power supplies. If at all possible, internal channel levels should be kept below -10 (PFL). This will help the power supply from choking and introducing distortion. ……… Fats
  5. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member


    I didn't know I was under this kind of observation ( ;) ), however, I didn't know that that particular Mackie board didn't have direct outs, I'm not a mackie board user (and I know Fats isn't fond of Mackie gear :p ), otherwise that would've been the better solution; if you want to use that board Fats' suggestion seems to be the only way to do it (other than using the aux sends, but they are tipically not high quality lines to take the signal for recording IMO), with only one word of caution: that kind of hookup is kind of risky, inserts are usually not intended for that use, what if somebody accidentally pulls out or pushes a connector all the way in the socket during the show? You loose the signal and you have to be quick to find out where and why.
    Don't get me wrong, it will work, but you'll have to be particulary carefull with cabling and with those who walk around the F.O.H..

    In the end, a good engineer knows how to use a mixer and all of its I/O for his purposes, even for the most unhortodox, I hope you'll work it out using Fats' suggestion, and that all will run smooth.

  6. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    You're correct that I am not a big fan of Mackie, nonetheless I seem to have become the owner of 2 of these things, a SR 24 and a 1604. Of the two, I would say the SR 24 sounds better. I can't explain why, perhaps because it is an early one. I bought it when they first came out and I even have the Xeroxed manual they provided because the printed ones weren't available yet! Mackie later sent me a printed one. As far as using the insert at 1/2 click, Mackie says this is ok and even inserted 1/2 way the cable jack has plenty of "grab". I have done this many times with success. Caution with cabling at FOH should always be used and if the proper precautions are taken there should be no problem. Good luck on the project. Fats
  7. angopop

    angopop Guest

    Fats, many thanks for the suggestion of using the 1/4" inserts pushed to the first click, that did the trick.

    Neither the Mackie nor the ADAT were mine (Mackie belonged to the space, ADAT was rented to capture the performance), but everything worked out and I got what I needed and the director is happy (so far)

  8. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    :w: angopop,
    I'm glad to hear that it all worked out ok. I'm glad to have been of assistance. When you finish it up post it here at RO so we can all hear what you've been up to ....... Fats
    It's my opinion, I'll play with it if I want to!
  9. mixman77

    mixman77 Guest


    I don't believe the Mackie console you refer to has direct outs. If it does they will be next to the send/returns more than likely, duh. :)
    If it does I would come from the direct out of the console on each channel to the compressor input, from the compressor to the adats. We use 6 presonus digimax for live remote recordings and they work fine.

    If it doesn't have direct outs I would track to 2 tracks on the adat. By the way, I think adat is RCA I may be wrong though. We only have one that we use to dump tracks into protools and it's RCA. Anyway, I would insert a good compressor on the problem channels like bass, snare, vocals, etc. Then use a good smooth compressor/limmiter between the console and the adats, but not to much compression or it will turn out sucky, boxy. If you have time you could track just the band to 2 tracks on the adat, then come back and track the vocals one at a time. Either way It should turn out sounding great.

    Good Luck!

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