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need help with a biamp 8802 stereo mixer!!!

Discussion in 'Pro Audio Equipment' started by drike, Jul 3, 2010.

  1. drike

    drike Guest

    Hi everyone,

    First of all, i just want to say that this is my first time posting on this forum, so excuse me if I end up sounding a bit uncultured, lol. My band and I just fell into a biamp 8802 mixer and being that we are all somewhat broke, it was a great fit for us to record demos. We all, however, have no experience in mixing/recording, and as such, we are in serious need of some help. Basically, we are looking to hook up our mixer to an asus laptop and then into audacity to record. any help with these systems or mixing/recording in general would be much appreciated.

    cheers!
    drike
     
  2. bouldersound

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

    Start by getting the rather quaint manual.
     
  3. dvdhawk

    dvdhawk Well-Known Member

    Hi drike and welcome to RO,

    You might get better responses in the "Home Recording" or "Budget Gear" forums, but I'm sure you'll get some help here too. I'll give it a shot.

    The Biamp manual is so bad it's amusing. Typewritten pages crookedly Xeroxed, sporadic bits of information and crude illustrations, - very appropriate since this mixer was originally made before a lot of people (or big companies for that matter) had computers and desktop publishing capabilities.


    Anyway, you got a free mixer. That's all good. I'm just hoping your expectations are realistic. 20+ years ago when I'd guess it was new, it was still a budget mixer. So if you're expecting crystal clear pro-quality recording by today's standards, you're probably going to be somewhat disappointed. If you're looking at it as your starting point to learn the basics it will be a good way to get your feet wet in mixing.

    There isn't any good way to hook your mixer directly to the inputs of the laptop. There are a number of bad ways, but the quality will be lousy.

    I think your best bet would be to save up a few bucks for a reasonably priced USB recording interface that will work with virtually any computer. The audio inputs on 99.99% of computer soundcards are just awful. Unless it's a computer built specifically for recording, the soundcards aren't meant to to anything that resembles serious music recording. A reasonably priced USB interface (or better yet - Firewire interface) will make a bigger improvement to your recordings more than anything else right now. For under $100 you've got several worthwhile interfaces to choose from - Presonus, M-Audio, Lexicon, Emu would all be worth investigating (among others). If you can scrape up a little more cash the options get even better. Just do yourself a favor and avoid the really crappy brands. There are lots of folks here who can give you much better advice on the pros and cons of each unit. Search the forum here and read some other online reviews - I'm sure something will catch your eye at a price you guys could afford.

    The less expensive interfaces will usually only have 2 inputs and they all come with some type of recording software that you may like even better than Audacity. With the 2 inputs you can record 2 things at a time, or put your Biamp mixer to use and mix several inputs into the interface. [Main Left/Right outputs from the Biamp into Channel 1 & 2 of the interface]. But remember, if you mix 8 inputs from the Biamp into a single channel or both channels of the interface - you're stuck with the mix of those instruments. You can change the EQ later in the software, but you'll be stuck with the overall blend forever.

    But if you record into the interface one or two instruments at a time, you will have infinite mix adjustments you can make later but this can get tricky too if you're new to it. Either way will work, as long as you think things through. Some people would record a rough-mix or 'scratch tracks' using the Biamp mixer - then go back and overdub new tracks one instrument/vocal at a time. This would be pretty typical of a professional recording. You can get much better fidelity that way - but if you're not used to playing along with and recording to tracks, the music can lose it's feel. This is where experienced studio-musicians shine. It's especially important that the rhythm tracks have a good steady groove. Once you've got that under control you can layer on the vocals and guitar solos.

    No matter which method you use, it's a good learning experience. Every time you do it, you'll get better at it. Have fun with it. With a little patience, effort and a few reasonably affordable mics you should be able to get demo-quality recordings without laying out much cash.

    If you find you guys are loving it, or better yet making some money, you can try a professional studio or invest in some more high-end gear down the road if you want more professional results.

    Well, that's enough info for now. I hope that helps. Good luck.
     

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