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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 03:43 PM Thread Starter
 
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Audio interface(s) question

Ok, to take my mind away from the trivial matters of guitar for a little while

I've recently purchased a Mackie compact mixer (havent even set it up fully yet ) and I'm curious as to how to go about achieving a certain setup.

If I go through the basics in my head, I essentially run the mackie mixer into my computer using one of the auxillary out terminals. Before buying the mackie, I researched into the Digi002 model and was somewhat frightened by the technical jargon and the price!

As I see it, a built in combination, such as the Digi002, allows the user to control the entire sequencer, in this case Pro Tools, through the desk. I have an analogue desk, and so obviously, cannot do this. (Am I right so far?)

Now, what I want to know, is how do I record every single channel on the mackie at once? (Say, if I were recording a live band for instance)

I've come to the conclusion, that the audio card that I have, Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum, will not do this, as it will only allow one connection of each type at once at once. Will an audio interface such as a Motu 828 allow me the capability to do this? What I mean is, if I can run a microphone, a keyboard and a guitar plus a few drums at once in the mackie, but have to record all of them at once, but only on one track of the sequencer. (therefore, I would HAVE to record each instrument seperately) Is there a way that I can get a setup that will allow me to record all of the instruments at once?

I'd imagine that an audio interface is the way to go, but seeing as I'm an ignoramus at such things, could someone point me in the correct direction?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 05:35 PM
 
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We're really not talking about a sequencer (which records MIDI performance information),we're talking about recording the actual audio, right?

If so, and you REALLY want to record everything to one track of mutitrack recording software, yes the audigy can do it. But since you'll never be able to edit, EQ, or split up those instruments individually in the future, are you sure you wanna DO that?

The Audigy can record 2 tracks at once (it's stereo), and you can get that from aux sends, master out, or monitor out to mix the tracks you want to one or two. To record, say, SIX tracks at once, you'll need an audio interface that can handle that. There are a bunch out there, usually in 2, 4, and 8 track configurations. Some will do, say, 2 inputs but 8 outputs for those who overdub everything themselves. There are several good pieces, but I'm partial to Echo's line of cards.

The Mackie might be able to do this (you didn't mention model) by using the insert on each input channel. If you have enough inputs with inserts, you needn't spend extra money on a PC card with an XLR breakout box & phantom power.

Any of this make sense?
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 05:50 PM Thread Starter
 
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hehehe yours made sense, mine didnt

(note to self: do not drink beer and post on jemsite )

model is mackie 1402-VLZPRO. It's a pretty sweet mixer, my only qualm is that I can only record the master out from it. (see below)

What I want to do is to be able to record every single channel. But retain the ability to edit and modify each one in turn. Adding processing in Cubase or using the wave editor to edit the drum channels or whatever...

My problem is, the Audigy only has LINE IN. Now I have a feeling that I can run all of the channels on the Mackie out in some form or another, I just need to know how to get em in my PC!

so, the idea occured to me, what about this audio interface thingies?
to put it simply. I want each channel of the mixer, to have a corresponding channel on Cubase.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 06:12 PM Thread Starter
 
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Just been looking at the Echo Layla 24.

I think this style of interface would probably best suit my style of application. (thanks for the heads up JESTER)

Are there any other products from other companies you would suggest I take a look at for research purposes?
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 06:32 PM
 
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Check out the MOTU 2408mk3.

It has CueMixDSP onboard for latency free monitoring. 8 analog ins. Up to 24 Channels of digital in, so if you ever decide to upgrade your mackie to a digital one, you could go digital into the 2408 via lightpipe.

www.motu.com for more info.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 06:49 PM
 
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Well for recording at least two tracks at once.
Pan each track 100% (e.g. track 1 100%left track 2 100%right)
Your computer thinks of each phono input as individual, not part of a stereo input.
So that's two sorted.

If you want to record more tracks at the same time, yes a USB or firewire interface is necessary, you can't magically increase the number of inputs on your computer.

You could get a new soundcard, one with more inputs, e.g. a M-audio card.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 06:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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MTK, looked at the 2408MkIII that you reccomended. Unfortunately, I think its a touch out of my price range. (Best part of 900)

Some others that I've looked at around the 400 - 650 mark are:

Echo Layla 24

Edirol DA2496

M Audio Delta 10/10 PCI

So, if you guys can help make recommendations to similarly priced items, or even which of those items I should get and/or avoid like the plague

EDIT: Just to clarify, but in my ignorance, I have chosen products here which appear to be similar in usage. Please correct me if any of those are completely the opposit of what I need! Like I aid at the top, I'm a nonce at these things!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 07:22 PM
 
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The M-audio delta will suit you fine if your recording up to 8 analog tracks at once.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 07:44 PM
 
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When I need to record up to 8 tracks simultaneously is to use my fostex D-90. You can get them cheaper than a good breakout box. I hit the fostex with all 8 tracks and then dump them into the computer using the optical cable. It's just another solution to the same problem. I'm not saying its the greatest, but the A/D converters sound good to me, and it's a clean transfer using the optical cable. Then you have a portable 8 track to lay tracks with in the "field" without the computer if you need to.
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 08:25 PM
 
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I operate similar to the way Frank does, except I have a Fostex VF16 (a 16 trk hard drive portastudio). Strangely enough, I also have the same Mackie mixer you do. You can go directly out of the inserts on each of the 6 XLR input channels on that puppy. They're on the back. In fact, I sometimes do this with my Fostex, because the Fostex only has 2 XLR pres (that I don't think are as good as Mackie's). Anyway, with the fostex I use a $200 lightpipe PCI card. Mine's a Frontier, but there are others.

I also have an Echo MIA that has 2 analog ins and 2 digital ins. The a-log ones are 24 bit, so they're better than the Fostex convertors. Pretty much any decent card these days will be 24 bit.

There's lots of ways to skin this cat, so you need to figure out how you would work best.
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 08:28 PM
 
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Oh, yeah - to respond to your question, I heartily recommend the Layla. M-Audio has some good stuff too (their Audiophile is basically a twin of my MIA), but I see more driver complaints than from Echo. That could be coincidence, though, and it's still way below what you see from, say, Creative's customers.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 09:25 PM
 
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My optical in comes from the Lexicon Core. It's an okay setup, I mainly use it for the optical in. They sell for ridiculous prices on e-bay nowadays.

Now, I've never tried this, but you might be able to use the Fostex/optical in in real time. That is, do a record/pause setup on the Fostex, and just be using it as a real time 8 channel breakout box. If that's possible you might be able to also use the Lexicon (or whatever) analog inputs simultaneously, although that is almost certain to create time alignment issues. You could solve them by delaying or moving one or the other. You could also pinpoint the time difference by recording the same program to each simultaneously and seeing how off they are. Then you'd know exactly how much to move those other tracks. I don't know if it would work, but I'm pretty sure slaving the Fostex as a breakout box would work.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-24-2004, 09:32 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frankfalbo
Now, I've never tried this, but you might be able to use the Fostex/optical in in real time. That is, do a record/pause setup on the Fostex, and just be using it as a real time 8 channel breakout box. If that's possible you might be able to also use the Lexicon (or whatever) analog inputs simultaneously, although that is almost certain to create time alignment issues. You could solve them by delaying or moving one or the other. You could also pinpoint the time difference by recording the same program to each simultaneously and seeing how off they are. Then you'd know exactly how much to move those other tracks. I don't know if it would work, but I'm pretty sure slaving the Fostex as a breakout box would work.
This definitely works with the VF16, but I never tested the latency, so I dunno if overdubbing would be doable. But for the initial tracks, it does open up more possibilities.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2004, 12:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Ok, Ive come down to two selections (Based on budget):

the M Audio DELTA 10/10

and the

Edriol DA2496

which one is the better system?
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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-25-2004, 05:10 PM
 
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I'd say the edirol, what's the price difference?
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