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Live recordings/ console or splitter?

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by Caine Dreiling, May 20, 2004.

  1. Caine Dreiling

    Caine Dreiling Active Member

    I am opening a cafe_coffee shop that will feature music on the weekends. I have purchased an mx2424 and plan to use the direct outs on a midas venice to feed the recorder. There are 2 rooms that will be used for recording. One room is larger than the other and both have venice consoles...320 and 240 respectively (all recordings are live). I am considering downgrading the consoles to mackie and purchasing splitters and pres. The total cost of the 2 venices are around $6800. Could I get enough quality pre's and a splitter for that money, or would the midas boards do just as good? I think eack channel has jumpers for pre and post eq on the direct outs..
  2. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Hey nice business you are starting there, I wish more coffe shops of your type could open over here :roll:

    I'd stay with the Midas, which have some of the best pres and overall quality as far as live consoles are concerned; feeding the recorders via an Aux send set pre-fader is a workable solution, though I think getting (or building) a passive splitter isn't going to cost a lot; I built one 32 ch passive with isolation transformers for the studio I worked in a few years ago, and the sound quality was outstanding, we used that for all the remote gigs we did.

    How many channels do you need for recording? And how many channels are the desks?

    Getting 24 channels of outboard preamps could cost you the same as the whole console if you want to get decent quality gear; the only thing that I can think of as a preamp/splitter combo is somethig like a Focusrite Octopre with ADAT lightpipe card or Presonus Digimax, that way you could use the analog out to go line in to a Mackie console and the digital side to go to the MX2424 (BTW great sounding machine, hope the software is fixed now, I had some not so pleasant experiences with it when it first came out): I did it for several gigs I mixed FOH for and recorded at the same time, works great.
    Ballpark price for an Octopre with Digital I/O is around $1000, so for 24ch is $3000, if you have to provide pres for both rooms that will bring you around $6000 and you still have to get the Mackies and splitters...and then there's that Mackie EQ that I won't put against a Midas (even if it's a Venice and not an XL4).
    Maybe somebody (Fats?) can suggest something more suitable, but I think that 8ch preamps aren't that economic if you want to get near the quality of a Midas pre (even JLM pres aren't cheap...).
    After the math I think that Midas is the way to go, you can always add a splitter later if the recording gets serious.

    Hope this helps.

  3. Caine Dreiling

    Caine Dreiling Active Member

    Thanks, I'm pretty excited. I think it's going to be a hit in my area.

    Some simple math:
    total budget: $6800-7000
    --consoles for 2 rooms: $2500 2x mackie SR24's
    --24 jensen JT-MB-C xformers @ $47.27e: $1135
    --Miscellaneous hardware for mounting xfmers $500

    That leaves $2865 for 24 channels of mic pre.

    I'd like to have 24
    The 320 has 24 mono and 8 stereo
    The 240 has 16 mono and 8 stereo
    Each stereo channel can also function as a mono mic pre.
    Also, I believe the direct outs can be internally set for pre eq/ fader level.

    I really only need analog out, because the 2424 has the analog i/o module. I currently have a digimax and it seldom gets used. The pre's are very noisy. By the time you get the gain to a usable level on acoustic guitar or something soft, the noise floor is way up there.

    How does the octopre stack against the digimax?
  4. sheet

    sheet Well-Known Member

    I don't get what you are trying to do. If you take the direct outs from a Venice, then you need no other pres.

    If I were you, I would stick with the Venice. The pres are going to hands down stomp anything that Presonus or Focusrite Silver range has to offer.

    You get what you pay for in sound with the Venice. Mackie makes everything sound so small and thin.
  5. Caine Dreiling

    Caine Dreiling Active Member

    I want the best quality for the money so my question is:

    Route 1 Should I use the pre's and direct outs from the venices (i have 2 of them for 2 separate rooms).
    Route 2 Or, should I spend less money on the consoles and buy a splitter and mic pre's

    The 320 has 28 mic pre's which comes to $135/ channel. So one could figure $50-70/ channel for the pre (which is totally a guess).
    If I take route 2, there would be approx $2865 for 24 channels of mic pre. that comes to $120 per channel of preamp.

    So Sheet,
    If I understand you right,
    you are saying the midas is going to sound better than anything I could get for $120/channel of straight mic pre.

    Like anyone, I want to research and get the most bang for my buck. I am more concerned with how the recording sounds, than how it sounds live.
    If I take the mackie route, only the house will hear them.. The recordings will hear whatever type of mic pre i buy.

  6. mistals

    mistals Guest

    My opinion is to keep the Midas consoles if there will be music going on simultanously in both rooms. If only 1 room to be used at a time, why not use same console(bigger of 2) in a centrally located spot & run snakes to both rooms or use 1 snake & moving it back n forth from stage to stage if it doesnt create a big eye-sore for your patrons. A big factor is your mic arsenol. Do you have over a dozen great mics? You need a fine mic to go with every preamp to justify getting high-quality outboard preamps. 24 channels of high-quality preamps need 24 high-quality mics. Maybe you might need to consider selling smaller console to beef up mic collection if you dont have a killer collection already. The Midas will have more flexability in routing, subgrouping, using EQ, monitoring, as well as recording than racks of outboard pres. Just my thoughts.
  7. lorenzo gerace

    lorenzo gerace Active Member

    Though a splitter and separate mic pres is the most flexible approach, if you make sure that you can set direct outs prefader, pre EQ I'd definitely go with the Midas route, you'd kill two birds with a stone, as the recording would sound good (and unaffected by FOH mixing decisions) and the FOH mix would sound good too.

    According to the math you made the budget left for the preamps will allow you to get 24 channels of Octopre (3 units) without the digital option that you say you don't need, as the splitter and the MX2424 converters (which are very good) will do the work.

    There's pros and cons to this approach:

    on the pros side you can even mix and match preamps types, you are not stuck with the same pre for all of the 24 ch.
    You are not forced to commit sounds to "tape" already EQed, as they are going to the recorder before any signal degradation, and this seems to be the most flexible approach.

    About preamp quality, the Octopre I have is by no means a "boutique" preamp or in the same league as its bigger brothers, but to me it's a good bang for the buck, as it sounds good and clean enough for my basic tracking needs, I'd say it's a good workhorse, certainly better than most of stock preamps in mid line live consoles (Mackie to cite one, which I tested head to head with it), maybe not big as the one in a Midas. Noise has never been an issue, I have plenty of gain available even for the quietest sources (I record acoustic music mostly) and the tracks scrutinized in my control room never sound noisy.

    The cons of this approach will be that the room will have a lesser quality mix, due to preamps and EQs in the mackie boards being inferior, but if you say the house can live with it I'll take your words.
    Another thing to consider is the "cool board" factor: I've been touring with a band for some time (mostly clubs and small venues) and very few had a Midas board available, but whenever they had one the sound was night and day; if guest engineers are regular at FOH in your place, maybe a good board isn't to be skipped over so lightly, just a thought.

    Hope my mind wandering around has helped you somehow.

    You have a cool thing going, Best of Luck.

  8. Caine Dreiling

    Caine Dreiling Active Member

    I looked at the block diagram of the venice, and it looks like the eq and fader can be bypassed on the direct outs.. I would love to have a single console for both rooms, the only problem is the larger room has foh on a platform 7 feet in the air accesed by a spiral staircase....
    On the mics side, I am getting several great mics
    Beyer TG-X80 lead mic
    by the way, i'm a bit disappointed in this mic... It does not have a very tight pattern, so positioning is going to play a big part in using it. It also has a pretty large woffy 100 hz boost if not eq'ed properly. I think it is capable of great sound though
    beta 58's and 87's

    Thanks for the advice.
    I will problally sitck with the midas consoles... They do possess the wow factor and will make the house sound really nice

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