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Will my computer handle 18 inputs?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Twood, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    I am planning to record a band live and I need a lot of tracks to cover every instument/vocal. I have a Motu 828mkII soundcard that I`ve used for a coupple of months now. The Motu is able to provide 18 inputs (10 analog in, 2 S/PDIF and 8 via A-Dat lightpipe) but I`ve only used it with the 8 analog inputs.

    Everyone else seems to be using a hardware mixer to reduse the number of tracks, taking some load of the computer, But I want to have all 18 tracks in so that I can edit them in Cubase afterwards.

    I`m considering buying a Presonus Digimax LT (8 preamps with adat out) to use with the Motu.

    I`m running Cubase SX3 on a Pentium4, 2,66 MHz (1536mb RAM)

    My question is: Will my computer be able to record 18 tracks at the same time? (without cracle noises etc)

    Sorry if this was a stupid question...

    Any thoughts on the Presonus Digimax LT? Have anyone used this preamp? Is it OK?
  2. Dave62

    Dave62 Guest

    I run a motu 24 I/O with my Mac G5 Dual 1.8 and it has absolutely no problem handling 24 tracks at 96 khz in record. I am reasonably sure your PC could handle 18 ins with that setup, espicially if your at 44.1/48k.
  3. tubes4tone

    tubes4tone Guest

    I use the EMU 1820M with 12-16 tracks (8 of which are over ADAT lightpipe) and it works fine. I regularly record our practices which are usually 1-2 hours of non-stop recording. No hitches. My PC config sounds similar to yours: 3GHz, 512M Ram, 80Gig sys drive, 200Gig audio drive (7200rpm). I would definitely recommend a separate drive just for the audio file storage if you don't already have one.

    Also, I would make sure that you test this setup first before showing up and trying to record. Just set up 16 mics in a room, plugged into the pre's and into your interface. Let it record for 1-2 hours just to make sure that it won't fail after 30 minutes or so and that all the tracks are in sync, etc. You might find that you need to make some small latency adjustments or something, but it's better to do it in the shop than in the field. It will most likely work well, but make sure you TEST it first ;).

    Are you recording a live band at a gig, going to their home, or having them come to your studio? Just curious. There are several people here with mobile recording rigs that will be able to give advice on easier setup/teardown and maybe even easily overlooked items to bring to the session! Good luck!
  4. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest

    FYI - you don't have to set up all 16 mics, just assign all of the inputs and maybe set up one mic as a sanity check. Hit record.

    The other 15 channels with just record the electronic noise floor- but theyll be recording nonetheless snd its a perfectly valid test.

    Back your latency up all the way and you should be fine.
  5. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    I used to have a 400 mhz mac and used to load my motu 24 i with 24 inputs all the time recording bands- Your 2.66 mhz will likely cut through the tracs like butter... make sure you don't use plug ins for tracking and set the latency at the max and press record... by the way, my dual 867 mac with an 828 mkii breezes through all 20 tracks with no problem-
  6. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    Thank you for you replys...

    I`m recording a band live at a gig. It`s quite different from what I`m used to. It`s one thing to record in the studio were everything is familiar and you can do it all over again if you`re not happy, but live you only get one shot at getting it right.

    I cant wait, should be a lot of fun..
  7. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    i've done this a couple times... your set up should be fine. I would recomend inserting a compresser (outboard) on the vocals so that you can keep the recorded level up without it peaking. It sucks setting levels before and then the singer as a fit of screaming rage and the vocal is utterly unuseable. Be very particular when getting levels. One time i did a band live, and the pre i was using didn't have a very obvious clip light. The snare drum clipped all the way through. Just double check everything and if you have time, while there sound checking hit record and play it back to make sure everythings alright. And depending on where your setting up, make sure that no ones gonna accidently unplug your power jack. This happened to me once and sucks!
  8. mikezfx

    mikezfx Guest

    Another thing I thought of:

    Coordinate with the band and see if you can pick a midpoint where you can save, open a new template and begin recording again. This just reduces the chances of a crash greatly.

    I do a lot of live multitracking - be super conservative with levels (who gives a hoot about the electronic noise floor?), and having (hardware) compressors and limiters on instruments (snare kick vox bass) that may peak during musical high points can save the day.
  9. Twood

    Twood Active Member

    Again I have to say thanks for great replys...

    I`m still trying to deciede witch preamp to buy. As I mentioned I was considering the Presonus Digimax LT8. Another option is the Focusrite Octopre. Is there anybody around here who has any experience with any of these?

    I`m starting to think that maybe I`m better off buying a 4 channel preamp instead.. Maybe put some more money in to it and get 4 really good preamps instead of 8 that are only "ok".. Quality before quantity and all that.. Any thoughts on this? Could anyone recommend some decent 4 channel preamps? (with adat lightpipe out)
  10. Church

    Church Guest

    Honestly I think you should go for an 8-ch pre over a 4. There are some really good pre's out there for under $1500. One that comes to mind is Mackie's new Onyx rackmount. The new onyx pres are super dope! I haven't actually recorded through the rackmount, but I heard a recording done through the 1640, and it was amazing!

    And I haven't personally used a Digimax but I hear many good things about 'em. At one point I was thinking about getting one myself, so I did a little research and they seem to get good reviews. They are fairly transparent so you might need some plug-in action in mixdown. I only decided recently that instead of the digimax I would get the rackmount onyx. Now I'm just waiting for Mackie to start shipping them to stores...


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