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Recording Live

Hey everyone, thanks for all your input for my last post on how to learn the ins & outs of the studio.
Next question:
If I wanted to start recording my band live what would I need?
I guess I could start with what I will be using. I'll soon own a brand new MacBook Pro, and will be running Pro Tools LE. I'm looking into a M-Audio 18/14 for a preamp.
If I took the 18/14 directly into the sound board or mixer would I be able to directly record the audio into Pro Tools on seperate tracks? And if not, what setup would best suit these needs? Forgive me because I'm really new to this type of environment .
Thank you for any help you can offer


RemyRAD Thu, 08/03/2006 - 11:50
Well you are basically getting the proper idea but I don't think you're mentioned set up will be all that easily interfaced for recording?

If your PA console has direct outputs from each input module, that is all you need to feed a multi-track recorder input. But your idea of plugging microphones into your dedicated preamplifier and then plugging those into a PA board's microphone inputs is not a good idea. Perhaps you should purchase a PA Board that has FireWire connectivity? Such as the new Mackie Onyx mixers that have really nice microphone preamplifier's and the ability to track out of the FireWire optional interface to your computer, independent from the equalization used for the PA. That would make much much more sense than playing with a limited ProTools interface. Accept the fact you may be better off with a laptop PC instead of the Macintosh? But if that is the way you would like to go, there is other Macintosh capable software out there other than ProTools.

In my remote recording rig, I utilize passive transformer isolated microphone splitters, so that the PA Board and recording console are completely separate. Now that's a whole lot more money and a rather complicated interface and set up. It's the old-fashioned way to do it. If I were to do it again today, I would definitely go for what I suggested above. Besides, that way you probably won't have any ground loop problems that could cause unusable hum for your recording or through the PA system.

Give me a KISS (keep it simple stupid)
Ms. Remy Ann David

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/03/2006 - 12:40
Thank you Mrs. Remy Ann David,
So better off with a PC laptop than the Mac? humm... definetly some thinking to do. Protools is what I was planning on using because it's pretty cheap, and it's what my school uses. As far as other software, what would be comparable? I looked into Logic...but I dont have an extra $1000 bucks to spend after spending $2000 on the laptop, $500 on the preamp, and possibly another couple thousand on the Onyx.
Would it not be possible to use the house PA to use there direct outs and plug them straight into the back of the USB preamp? Like I said, I really new to this. I definetly agree with KISS (not the band...the saying), because the more stuff that I have going on...the more likely that there is something that can go wrong. If I went with the Onyx, would I just plug that into my laptop, via firewire and proceed to record all the different tracks at once? or would it be better to look at some different options....and if so, what would those other optios be?

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 08/03/2006 - 12:52
Or, were you just implying to just by the Onyx and skip the mobile preamp (M-audio 18/14)? I looked up the onyx on ebay and this came up
I think I might have misunderstood you earlier, and it's looking like it would be definetly be worthwile to buy an Onyx for + or - $800, rather than buying a preamp, then a seperate mixer. Thoughts??

RemyRAD Thu, 08/03/2006 - 14:44
Yes, that was what I was implying. But I would recommend the Mackie Onyx 1640 since it has 16 Microphone Inputs along with the Ability to Stream All 16 Microphones Via FireWire, directly to your laptop without the need for that additional " mobile preamp". The 1640 is your digital audio interface to your computer. So with it, you're killing two birds with one stoner! Just don't smoke too much of the stuff. The 1640 is actually more than twice the price of the 1620, which only has 8 microphone inputs and I think that is totally inadequate for the average small rock and roll band. These days, we all want creative capabilities to the excess and so if you settle for something less, I think you'll regret it in the end?

If the school you're going to for audio is teaching you ProTools on Macintosh and you want to stay with Macintosh? Then you should stay with Macintosh but the reason why I suggest other is because ProTools has always required proprietary hardware to be able to run the software. That was fine when they first invented the system and there wasn't any other options. If you go the way I suggested, you probably will not be able to use ProTools at all? Yes, Logic is expensive and so is Mark of the Unicorn's Digital Performer. On the PC platform however, Adobe Audition, Sony's Vegas, Avid/Steinberg's NUENDO & CUBASE, Mackie's own Traction (included bundle with the mixer FireWire option) and a dozen other software's are available to also incorporate with the Mackie mixer's capabilities. People only want ProTools because it has the word "Pro" in it. There isn't anything you cannot do with various other software's depending upon what you want to do with audio. I mean, after all of these years, Pro tools has finally integrated MIDI capabilities like it was not capable of before. So if you are really into MIDI, then Cubase might make more sense? People seem to think that Macintosh is still the way to go for both audio and video. That was true in years gone by but it's not true anymore. Think about it. Apple is now utilizing Intel processors because they are faster and more efficient than their previous CPUs were capable of, which by the way, were made by IBM, parent of the PC! So if you do have a Mac Intel, you can actually have both capabilities of both machines, running both different operating systems on the same machine! I think that's pretty cool! So your selection of a Mac laptop might be a good one? Of course, you'll have to purchase Windows XP separately. One thing you will soon find out in this business is that it is A MONEY PIT! AND THOSE WHO DIE WITH THE MOST TOYS, WIN'S!

I win! Wait a minute! I'm not dead yet. Am I??
The cold and lifeless Ms. Remy Ann David

JoeH Thu, 08/03/2006 - 15:47
You're still alive and kicking as far as I can tell from here, Remy. 8-)

Just to add to your recommendations about the Mackie ONYX for live use, they offer Traction V 2.0 software with the FW card, I believe. It used to be free when it was V1., but now there's a charge if you buy it standalone. (I believe it works on either MAC or PC, as does the firewire card.)

I'm of course a PC User running Samplitude/Sequoia for live stuff, but I'm told by many newcomers that Traction is quite powerful and good to use. If I had to learn from scratch or start anew, I'd consider it.

So, if Dustin DOES get a dual-boot Apple or a PC, there's at least reliable (free?) software included with the ONYX system to get started with.