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Looking for a live recording setup for band.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by donsimpson12, Oct 15, 2011.

  1. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    Hello everyone,
    I'll start with what I'm wanting to do, then I'll list my equipment.

    I want to be able to record our band at live performances, then take the recordings afterward for review and usage for demos, etc.
    We are a 5 piece band, but not a very typical one.
    Drums - Vocals
    Bass - Vocals
    Guitar - Vocals
    Keys - (3 Keyboards)
    Keys/Guitar - Vocals (4 Keyboards)

    The only things mic'd on stage are drums and vocals and the keyboard players guitar amp which is encased to hold the sound down.
    In fact, that is the only stage volume we have. everything goes out the mains.
    We use a separate monitor mixer and run individual in-ear monitors.

    The Main Mixer is an A&H gl2400 32 Channel. (wish I would have gotten the 2800x40) we are using 31 channels for the band.
    This includes all the effect returns to channels as well.

    I don't want to drop things into matrix or sub mixes for lessor track recording. I want to use the channel direct outs. and record all 31/32
    tracks simultaneously.

    What I have in mind is about a 6 space rack that contains a computer and interfaces and a multi-pin plug to the main mixer. This would make things
    portable and easy.

    Now... What hardware do I get to achieve my goal.. I've been looking around and don't see a clear winner..

  2. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Specifically for what you are needing, the clear winner is:

    If you switched out your console for the new StudioLive 24.4.2 , all you would need is a good laptop with firewire ( and everyone needs a good laptop anyway). One FW cable and you are recording. As a bonus... if you have an ipad around, you can interface it as a remote control to mix and control your entire console in the packing lot! Check it out before you go any further. It may be what you are dreaming about here.
    It comes with recording software as well. Less is more in this case. Especially for what you are exactly needing here.
    In my opinion, this is a much better option than buying more of everything, not to mention, hoping to get everything to function "well" together. I think you would end up spending less money in the long run with greater results in all aspects.
  3. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    They're getting a little out of date, but a couple of synced Alesis HD24s would do it. They start up fast, don't require any desk space for mouse or monitor, are fairly simple to operate and are more reliable than a computer. Normally they use older parallel ATA disks, but somebody makes caddies for serial ATA disks.
  4. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    I looked at the studioLive and... I like the easy matrix for the channel control, but thought the effect area was poorly designed for live performance. Also, We require 32 channels.. I can't remember if they make a larger version or not.. The design of the effects section was the deal breaker for me.
  5. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Two Thumbs (one for each suggestion) from someone who uses both.

    You already own a decent mixer, so I doubt you'll buy one... but the StudioLive is ridiculously good at what you want to do but limited to 24 channel recording. It's true you can chain two StudioLive consoles together via the firewire to make a 48 channel console for live mixing - but you cannot record more than 24 tracks via Firewire 400. Even a Venue SC48 can only record 18 tracks.

    The Alesis HD24s are really reliable and dirt cheap if you can find 2 used units in good condition, you would good to go. But if you want to mix/edit in a computer rather than in analog, it will require at least a ADAT / Lightpipe interface, or the Fireport 1394 to import the tracks into a computer for mixing/editing. Sync up two of them and you've got 48 track capability for very little money invested.

    If you're not into the Alesis idea and have a reasonable budget - look at the JoeCo BBR1B Black Box recorders (again limited to 24 analog inputs). If you had a digital mixer it opens up a lot higher channel count with JoeCo - up to 64 tracks with digital mixer using a MADI protocol and up to 32 tracks with the Dante network protocol.

    RME makes some seriously nice converters, someone else can surely chime in with a recommendation there regarding a 32 track mobile rig.

    If you do find some interface that will take 32 analog inputs, you need to be prepared for the expense of a serious computer if you don't already have one.

    Best of luck
  6. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    How many tracks will an HD24 record simultaneously ? I'm also assuming that I need a rack unit for the additional Pre's?? and then an unit to sync 2 units together?
  7. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    The HD24 is a standalone 24-track hard drive recorder. Just patch TRS from the Direct Out on your Allen-Heath channels to the TRS input on the HD24, arm the tracks, press record. If your gain structure is under control, the HD24 recorder requires no additional pre-amp. You can sync up to 128 tracks if I remember correctly.

    You may also want to look for the XR version if you care about recording at a higher (96k or 88.2k) sample-rate.
  8. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    Honestly, I'm thinking about the Alesis setup. With the know that I would need to convert from analog to digital with LightPipe.. Reading about them now.. lol..
  9. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Syncing HD24s requires a simple DB9 cable.
  10. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    I'm new to this so thank you so much for the advise.

    This is looking more and more as the way to go.. I'm guessing that I would have to use the Fireport to import tracks separately from each HD24 unit.
    Or can I simply work with Protools and pull and work with each of I had to Fireports?? I'm also thinking that getting the tracks to the computer
    would be a fairly time consuming process??
  11. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Yeah, you have to transfer the tracks to work with them. At a gig I sometimes have two drives so I can be transferring the first set while I record the second set. I can easily move 18 tracks from the first set over during the second set and so on, transferring the last set during teardown. But usually I just do it later. There is alternative software for transferring that will let you just move the time segments you want.
  12. donsimpson12

    donsimpson12 Active Member

    I'm thinking I'd like to have drives big enough to contain the entire night. Or.. Swap them out between sets. Would I loose the time sync by doing this??
  13. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    As I said, I usually just use one disk all night and transfer later. I start a new "song" for each set. I only switched disks if a client wanted the files that night. 48k/24 bit takes about a half GB per track per hour.

    I don't think you would lose any "sync" because the tracks will all have the same start time. You just throw them in your DAW and slide them to the start of the project.

    I hear that the clock on the HD24 is a bit off for 44.1kHz, but dead on for 48kHz, so record in 48k.

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