Mobile 8 track rig, looking to upgrade interface
Old 11th May 2013
  #1
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Thread Starter
Mobile 8 track rig, looking to upgrade interface

***extremely low end gear warning!!!***

Looking for recommendations on a small 8 track (simultaneous) preamp/interface/soundcard for mobile drum recording. Does such a thing exist?! I've seen single rack space 8 channel interfaces but wonder if there's anything even smaller that can handle 8 mics at once.

Size/mobility & cost, followed by build quality and finally preamp/sound quality is the order of importance. It's not something that will be used on every project, smaller projects will use my other interfaces (MicPort Pro & Lexicon IOnix 42s), so I see no point in going for expensive preamps, I'm mainly looking for something more portable than my existing 8 track setup.

Currently using: ZOOM MRS 1608 digital hard disk recorder
This is not ideal for several reasons, firstly it's noisy due to grounding issues (not helped by what I believe are very cheap preamps). For drum purposes it works out quite well because the signal comes in quite hot and with some gating and EQ the noise hasn't really been a problem.

The main problems are interfacing with a PC and size. Being such an old piece of kit it doesn't interface directly with computers. Project files must be burned to CDs and converted to import to a DAW, which works fine but takes time and tons of discs with large multi-song projects. There is a USB addon card which is rare and therefore overpriced but also relatively pointless, it only partially solves the problem.

Just FYI my current mobile laptop is the Dell Mini 10v!! But don't start hating on that. It copes perfectly well with 4 tracks and if necessary I'll replace this at a later date or use one of my other computers for 8 track.

Any ideas anybody? Single rack space is fine if there aren't smaller products, I'll listen to any recommendations!
Old 15th May 2013
  #2
Lives for gear
 

I've had nothing but good results with my Zoom R16, had no ground hum problems with passive splits, and the SD cards transfer to PC painlessly. I can appreciate you wanting to try a different brand, but there's no beating the R16 for your main priorities, mobility and cost. My only problems have been that channels 1-4 and 7-8 can't handle phantom power when sent from FOH, but I've got a two channel phantom power supply that actually blocks phantom when needed, so far 4 phantom channels has been enough.
Old 15th May 2013
  #3
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Try M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R in used market. It could be around $150.

But the netbook may not be able to handle 8ch over USB anyway. I previously tested several netbooks with USB interfaces, and they worked okay until I loaded 8ch.
Old 15th May 2013
  #4
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Richard Crowley's Avatar
 

+1 on the Zoom R16. Unbeatable for price/performance/functionality.
Old 15th May 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masaaki View Post
Try M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R in used market. It could be around $150.

But the netbook may not be able to handle 8ch over USB anyway. I previously tested several netbooks with USB interfaces, and they worked okay until I loaded 8ch.
Were you recording to the internal drive or to an SD card? The SD card may succeed where the internal drive won't. 8 Channels of 24-bit 48kHz audio is under 2MB/s, but the boot drive isn't ready for it in a timely manner it might as well be 2GB/s.

A Fast Track Ultra won't be much of an improvement on the Zoom preamps, but until recently good preamps were exclusive to Firewire interfaces, so there aren't many options.
Old 15th May 2013
  #6
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AC2SPL View Post
Were you recording to the internal drive or to an SD card? The SD card may succeed where the internal drive won't. 8 Channels of 24-bit 48kHz audio is under 2MB/s, but the boot drive isn't ready for it in a timely manner it might as well be 2GB/s.

A Fast Track Ultra won't be much of an improvement on the Zoom preamps, but until recently good preamps were exclusive to Firewire interfaces, so there aren't many options.
It was 100GB HD or something similar size, internal HD, and the CPU was the first generation of Atom processor. Maybe current netbooks are more powerful.
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