help purchasing an interface

Discussion in 'Converters / Interfaces' started by Crushellon, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. Crushellon

    Crushellon Guest

    hey there, I'm new to these forums and to recording and am looking for some advice on a home/live studio that i am building. my aim is to be able to record live music on seperate tracks so it can be edited at a later
    point with a setup that i am able to move for live sets and can also use in a home studio for laying single or multiple tracks. I'm thinking of either a 003rack+ factory or one of the 96-192-192digital-96i I/o family but don't know which will cover my current/future needs.

    I'm in a 3 peice with guitar, bass, drums and 3 vocals. We play loud rock music with jazz blues and metal influences. We mostly practice in a space about 4m by 5m, somtimes at friends houses and i am currently building a space for recording.

    Our vocals go through a beta58 and 2 sm58's to a yamaha StagePAS 500. the PA is powered with its own mixer so getting a mixer of some sort will be a minimum as i want to be able to record the mics on seperate racks and the built in mixer doesnt have individual outs for each input, just power out and monitor out.

    Guitar goes through a dunlop multi-wah into a Peavey Windsor with a boss
    DD 20 Giga Delay on a switchable effects loop. its not stereo or anything so im thinking i'll need 3 mic
    spots at most for it but will reserve 4 so i have room for expantion.

    our bassist uses an Ashdown blue 15-180. i have no idea about recording bass but i dont think i need mic for it, the amp has an XLR out on it..... i dunno.

    Acoustic kit with no amplification but i want to be able to amplify it if nessecary, and i also want room for expantion in the future. At the moment im looking at 9 mics: Kick, Snare, 3 toms, hi-hat, 2 crashes and a ride. Is that about how many you need (want is a better way to put it but i like need better) for a standard kit with 2 crashes?

    I use in ear monitoring via a JTS Siem 101t and 101r, i have the transmitter sitting next to the drummer so he can use the availiable headphone out on the front. at the moment i just have it monitoring the vocals.. i just plug it in to the monitor out of the stagepas but am hoping with the setup im putting together that i will be able to have a monitor mix with more than just the vocals like maybe a bit of kicker and some guitar so we can hear whats going on in larger venues and such ( would you generally have a seperate mixer running the monitoring in a live situation)

    So i figure eventually we will need to or will want to have the ability to amplify the drums and furthur amplify the bass via a PA but i dont want to have to use splitters cause from what ive read thats not the best way to do it, and i don't want to use a second set of mics for recording live sets.

    what i cant decide is because somtimes i will only have vocals going though the pa and somtimes i will also have drums and maybe bass going through also do i need 2 seperate mixing boards or can i do that with 1. i realise for the most time the drums wont be amplified and that means that the mics on the kit could go straight to the recording interface but i was thinking if all of the mics go to a mixing board does the recording interface need preamps for example the 96i O/I is a recording interface for line level equipment so if all the mics go into mixers first is that all i need, or do the outs for each separate channel on your average mixer just output a raw signal meaning the recorder still needs preamps reguardless of the fact the signal is going through a mixer.

    also, it too much for a mic signal to go from the mic (may not be the exact order i use) into a mixer for monitoring out of that into a mixer to amplify the mic and then out of that mixer into the recording interface. with all top quality cables is that just too much for the signal will it have a high quality signal left when it gets to the recorder?

    so yeah i know its all probably too much information but i wanted to be as specific as possible so i dont get vague answers

    heres an overview of what i need room for in the interface
    3 vocal mics
    9 drum mics
    4 guitar mics for lead
    4 guitar mics (for if we ever get another guitarist)
    1 bass mic/input whether i use a mic or just a lead i figure just 1 input will be enough
    2 ambient mics for live performances
    =23 zomg
    ok so i just ruled out the 003rack+ factory right there

    *any reccomendations for an interface
    *do i need a seperate mixer for monitoring
    *with the fact that the drums and bass somtimes will and somtimes wont be amplified, do i need 2 mixers for the job or will one suffice
    *does the fact that the mics are going through a mixer mean that i can use an interface that only supports line level inputs or does it have to have preamps
    *any reccomendations

    thank you very much
  2. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    Oct 16, 2008
    Frozen Tundra of CT
    This is a lot of different things going on at the same time, you basically need a new PA and a recording system.
    There are a few ideas that you put up which are typically handled a little differently than your proposed method. First off when I record bands live I usually don't use more than one mic per amplifier so dedicating three mics or channels to the lead player, and the same amount to a future second guitarist is probably over kill. Bass direct is a very common method for both live and recording situations.
    While you can mike every drum individually a more common practice is 4 mics. Snare, bass, and 2 overheads which handle all the cymbals and also the entire set . This system lets you "punch" up the snare sound and bass drum. More mics equals more potential problems especially live where feedback, bleed, and phasing can be issues in both recording and PA.
    If you could live with say seven channels for drums (snare, kick, 3 toms and 2 overheads) three channels vocals, one bass, one lead, then this board would probably do everything you are looking for rolled into one very well priced unit.
    Link removed

    It will give you plenty of aux sends for effects and monitors, has mains, great preamps and will track 16 channels via firewire to a computer. It is a good studio board and can be used for live applications. It has many other features. This would still leave you four channels for future expansion. I have never used this unit but it comes highly recommended by some very discerning pros who post here.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    The clincher on all this is whether you want to run a variant of ProTools in your studio or not. If the answer is yes, you will either need to get a PT-compatible interface or else use non-PT interface and DAW software to generate .wav files of each track which can be imported into PT for processing.

    The other major point is that very few items of professional studio equipment sit comfortably on the stage for live use. Ideally, you would want separate rigs for stage and studio, with maybe only microphone stands in common. That said, if you are prepared to use your stage mics (which are tightly directional to avoid feedback and robust enough to survive gigging) in your studio, perhaps supplemented by a couple of studio-only mics, it really comes down to what you use to mix live for PA and to how you get your raw tracks recorded.

    jg pointed out (correctly in my view) your excessive microphone count. Each guitarist needs only 1 mic for his amp plus a recording-only channel for DI input. Taking a DI track gives you the option of re-amping the channel as part of the post processing if you don't like the recorded amp sound or to give more tonal variety. No more than 4 mics needed for a live drumkit. Bass DI only. 2 Ambient. With vocals, that's only 14 tracks, so a 16-track mixer or interface is OK, at least for your current aspirations.

    Some live mix plus recording options:

    (1) Analogue mixer with direct outs per channel feeding a multi-channel external computer interface.

    (2) Digital mixer for live use with ADAT digital interface to a computer

    (3) Analogue mixer with built-in FireWire computer interface.

    (4) Analogue or digital mixer feeding a hard disk recorder (Alesis HD24)

    The first 3 options involve having a reliable computer at the live session. The fourth option is more secure, as the HD24 is a single-purpose device, but the files would need to be subsequently transferred to the computer before mixdown can begin.

    The Zed-R16 that jg mentioned comes into category (3), as also does the new Mackie 1640i, with rumoured M-powered PT compatibility.

    You are in an interesting position regarding equipment choice, so do your homework carefully before committing to buy anything!

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