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PC Multi-Track Recording from multiple sources

Discussion in 'Recording' started by kmvegas, May 25, 2013.

  1. kmvegas

    kmvegas Active Member

    Hello all. Kyle Vegas here. Brand new to your community and hoping to expand my knowledge over time. I found your forum by searching the very question I'm about to ask, which was asked elsewhere but I wasn't very clear on the results of the discussion. I'll double this question as an intro to my experience with audio and what I'm working on at the moment.

    First of all, it's a safe bet to say I'm an a/v noob by your standards so if I seem ignorant on things, I apologize. I've done allot with audio as far as editting, restoration and such in programs like Sound Forge, Goldwave and Adobe Audition. I even learned Ozone over the years to remaster some old music that was "acquired" from the World Wrestling Federation way back in the day. Cassette tapes of unreleased entrance themes. I say "acquired" because we were never quite certain how they left the hands of WWF but that's another story. Bottom line is, I have no clue as to the mathematics of anything. I use my ears and I watch meters and beyond that, "I'm all like duh". It's worked for me so far.

    Now, I'm pursuing a life long dream of an amateur (and budget so low it barely exists) TV show thanks to a modern day service called YouTube which will allow me to broadcast my immature hi-jynx for all my friends to giggle at. The project is so under-funded that the budget will likely be the butt of allot of the humor and I'm almost ashamed to discuss it in serious context. But I'll cut to the chase on our starting setup. I'm not sure if we can afford even a cheap mixer during our first couple months, which means using the laptop to record the audio. I refuse camcorder audio for obvious reasons. My current plan sees me using a Samson Go Mic (USB) and my assistant with a headset that connects into the mic jack. What I need to know is if there is a practical way of recording from both mics at once, one on each track, via a multi-track software environment and if so how? I opened Adobe Audition about an hour ago to discover that I was limited to having one device at a time selected. So... is there a solution for this? Or am I forced to rethink my strategy here?
     
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Hi and welcome!

    What do you mean by "recording from both mics at once"? You mentioned the Samson Go Mic, but are you talking about a microphone on the assistant's headset as well? The Go Mic connects to a USB port on the computer, so there's no way that can be connected to a conventional audio mixer.

    It's one of the problems with USB microphones: they don't play well with other pieces of gear. It would be better if you didn't go ahead with the purchase of a USB mic, but instead went for a more conventional type with an analog output that has a chance of being combined with the headset mic to feed the L+R input channels of your laptop. The quality is not going to be great either way.

    However, there is another approach using device aggregation. With this technique, you could, in principle, run the USB mic as one channel and the headset mic as another. This sort of thing is more easily done on a Mac, but there ways of making it work on a PC under Windows. Check out this article to see if it would work for your mics and their drivers.

    Additionally, you need to tell us a bit more about your envisaged setup and what you plan to record with it.
     
  3. kmvegas

    kmvegas Active Member

    Thanks for the reply, Boswell. Basically, since I might not be able to get a mixer or a multi-tracker right away, I was hoping to use the Samson Go Mic via USB and my assistant will have a mic on her headset which I presumed I would connect through the mic jack. So to clarify, both would be connecting through the computer. Haven't purchased the Go Mic yet but in Adobe Audition, I tested the theory by plugging in a USB sound card (with mic input). Adobe only allowed me to select the mic on the USB soundcard OR the mic on the internal soundcard. I could not use them both (as in one on each channel) which is what I need to do.

    However, glancing over the article you linked, it looks like that would work for me. My preferred method obviously is to use a mixer or standalone recorder (preferred) with a phantom powered mic (probably a Behringer C-1) and whatever headset we choose. It's just that it will set us back a bit due to our "piggy bank" budget. I guess in the meantime, I could get a couple clip on Audio Technica mics and run them through my stereo mic inputs on the external soundcard. Won't be as good but good enough to shoot us an even crappier pilot episode:wink:
     
  4. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Yeah, it's doubtful that your program would let you select two "cheap" input sources, especially a choice between those two sources. When one is a built-in sound card mic input and the other is a USB mic, it would likely default to the the USB mic. And even if it did let you select each individual source, my bet is that your program wouldn't like it, and that cheap internal card's drivers would probably leave you with clicks, pops, stutters, and maybe even freeze ups that are all too prevalent when using those cheap sound-blaster or realtek devices in a modern multi track platform.

    Your best bet is to get a small two channel pre amp audio I/O, and use the standard XLR type connections - as opposed to a USB connection/mic - which, yes, would mean you would need two mics with XLR connections, so you would need to buy one, along with a USB audio I/O pre. But in the end, you'd be better off. You might get away with using a one channel mic pre and continuing to use your USB mic, but my bet is that the program will still give you grief with using that audio I/O's drivers and the USB i/O at the same time.

    The price difference between a 1 channel and a 2 channel audio i/o device on that level is very minimal anyway, not much difference in price, so you might as well look at a 2 channel i/o that will let you use two XLR mics at the same time and that your current recording platform will accept with no trouble.

    fwiw
    -d.
     
  5. kmvegas

    kmvegas Active Member

    Sounds good, DonnyThompson. Looks like we're gonna shoot some early stuff with a couple of ATR-3350 Lavaliers through my USB soundcard which features 2 mic inputs. But your suggestion of a preamp with XLR mics will be my next step. After that, I can work on getting a standalone multi-tracker. So it looks like I've got a pretty clear roadmap in the audio area now.
     
  6. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    To plug two lavs into one stereo mic socket, you will need a cable that splits a stereo 3.5mm plug to two mono 3.5mm jack sockets. Beware that this is visually similar but differently wired from the ones you commonly find in audio shops sold as headphone doublers.

    Take care also with the plug-in power for the lavs. Some sound cards provide it (at about 3V), some don't. Some lavs have an in-line battery box that supplies the PiP, some don't. The ATR-3350 does have its own battery.
     
  7. kmvegas

    kmvegas Active Member

    My external sound card already has 2 mic inputs
     
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    More new information! What make and model is your external sound card (audio interface)?
     
  9. kmvegas

    kmvegas Active Member

    lol it's not new info, it's in my post right after DonnyThompson's. Anyhow, I'm using a cheap Vantec USB external soundcard. P/N #: NBA-200U. It has 2 mic inputs I can use temporarily until I can get a preamp and a couple of XLR mics.
     

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