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Expanding I/O: Advice sought
Old 3rd August 2005
  #1
Gear Nut
 
Sloom's Avatar
 

Expanding I/O: Advice sought

I'm currently using:

Tascam US-428 (4 In/2 Out, controller)

and...Celeron 2.0 GHz,
512 DDR RAM,
400 FSB,
Sonar 3 Producer,
Cool Edit Pro 2,
some plug-ins,
CD Architect,
Studiomaster Logic-12 mixer (routing to alternate "monitoring" source),
Fostex PM 0.5 monitors,
some other outboard stuff; guitar pedals, etc.

>I want to get some more I/O to/from the PC, especially for recording a full band live, etc.< Should I get a soundcard with more I/O, or pick up a 4-bus mixer and sub-mix into the 428?

Soundcard thinking: I could add-on to my 428's inputs with another I/O device,... also I don't mind using my US-428 as just a controller, and maybe even as a L/R pair of external mic pre's going into another soundcard's inputs (I think you can do that): I understand Sonar doesn't like to use different soundcards in tandem... Although frankly, I've been using CEP Pro 2 for mostly everything, since I'm not doing any MIDI- and I know the program better. I'm finding that keeping it down to the simplest format is doing me a world of good!

I've considered:
M-Audio Delta 1010LT;
EMU 1820;...
Something in the PCI realm.

And there's the thinking that: I could use a 4-bus board (or L and R out from a stereo-outs board to their own inputs on the 428) to submix and run into the 428. I'm into whatever is reliable and expedient. I'm on a limited "budget", obviously (I'm here!), and kind of have to make something work.

Any ideas, advice, recommedations along this line would be heard and appreciated! Thanks for your time,

Sloom.
Old 3rd August 2005
  #2
Gear Head
 

ever think about getting a tape machine and board to get more inputs. I got my Otari MX5050 8 track for about 450. I also have 16 input board. I got all this for cheaper than i could have gotten 8 inputs for protools. Now I track to tape, and send each track seperately into protools. Not only did I get more ins, but I also get the sound of tape. This might not be a viable solution for everyone, but something to consider with the rock bottom prices of tape machines these days.

Bart
Old 4th August 2005
  #3
Gear Nut
 
Sloom's Avatar
 

Well Bart,

I have a TEAC 1/4" 4-track reel-to-reel machine, and a mixer with 4 mic pre's and 4 mono/stereo ins. The mixer is pretty well spec'd- It'd be fun to find a mixer with more outs (it's got L & R Main Outs), is all. Then we'd be talking about something! I'd want 4 separate outputs (busses) going from the mixer into the tape machine, each to a track. Option of 4 subgroups. That'd be fine.

Beyond that, I am with you on this. Once the tracks are in the PC, I can mix back to tape if I want, and have the software editor and plug-ins... pretty good.

Thanks for the idea!
Old 5th August 2005
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
Bones's Avatar
 

Hey there.

I gave some advice on suggesting a mixer in your other thread without seeing this thread first, but I think my suggestions still stay the same for now.

I think the suggested option of tracking to tape is OK, but you may run into problems with syncing the 4 analogue tracks to the 4 computer tracks.

I have worked in a "vaguely similar" way before, but with standalone hard disc recorders, where I recorded everything onto the machines (Vestax HDR-6 and 8V's) and then loaded them into a PC 4 tracks at a time for editing and mixing.
I never bothered with syncing the transfers as lining them up by sight proved adequate for the given application vs desired result.

Your problem may come with an "ever - so - slight" drifting from the tape playback.

I still think it is a nice idea though ... and to offer my advice on your original question, I personally think that you should look at both expansion options.

By that I mean ... perhaps a few more inputs (your 4 track tape "may work" here) PLUS a neat little mixer to give you insert points and sub-mixing options as well as headphone cue points etc.

Personally (those more experienced may disagree) I wouldn't look at trying to "sync" your tape machine to the PC as this can be a headache.

If your current "way forward" of looking at a mixer for your 4 track machine ends up in sync-hell ... it will still be a move in the right direction as you could then get another 4 inputs for your PC ... OR look at a used 8 track machine (maybe even 1/2") and then have the best of both worlds in the long run by having a small console as well as sufficient inputs to the recording medium.

Ciao
Old 5th August 2005
  #5
Gear Nut
 
Sloom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones
... perhaps a few more inputs (your 4 track tape "may work" here) PLUS a neat little mixer to give you insert points and sub-mixing options as well as headphone cue points etc...
...If your current "way forward" of looking at a mixer for your 4 track machine ends up in sync-hell ... it will still be a move in the right direction as you could then get another 4 inputs for your PC ... OR look at a used 8 track machine (maybe even 1/2") and then have the best of both worlds in the long run by having a small console as well as sufficient inputs to the recording medium.

Ciao
Hey,

Yeah, I'm working in a pretty 'loose' way, here- and I can deal with a little analogue quirkiness (concerning 'drift'- I didn't quote that!); some fun results come in that loose sort of way. Especially with this reggae band I'm working in- it's a pretty "old-school", lo-fi thing. And the mixer advice sounds like what I'd be after.

And I take it you're suggesting above that I use the 4-track machine as additional inputs? Subbing into the tape machine's 4 inputs and feeding out to the soundcard inputs via the stereo outs? This and not necessarily going to tape at all, but using it as a basic mixer... Might be interesting. I have to try all this stuff before I go running myself into a tizzy, here!

I hear you, thanks for the light, Bones. I'll check your other reply now!

Peace,

Sloom.
Old 6th August 2005
  #6
Gear Maniac
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sloom
And I take it you're suggesting above that I use the 4-track machine as additional inputs? Subbing into the tape machine's 4 inputs and feeding out to the soundcard inputs via the stereo outs? Sloom.
Hey there.

No, that is not what I had in mind. I envisaged you recording 4 tracks via your soundcard whilst simultaneously recording 4 onto the analogue tape, then transferring the analogue tape tracks via the 4 soundcard inputs afterwards.

This is where the possibility of sync-hell could rear its' ugly little mug .... when you try and line the 4 transferred tracks up with the 4 already on the PC.

If your tape machine plays back at EXACTLY the same speed as the recording, it is really easy to line the tracks up visually in the software domain.

Try it ... if you have no sync problems it will be the cheapest and easiest solution.

Cheers
Old 7th August 2005
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

my recomendation would be to stick with a known industry standard like ADAT.

You can get reasonable cheap PCI ADAT cards, each optical input & output adds 8-channels of 24-bit 44.1/48KHz recording.


Start with a cheap interface like the Behringer ADA8000, which gives you 8 ins with mic pres and 8 balanced outs...

later you can upgrade or add more the interfaces without having to swap the PCI card in yout machine.


Personally I use the Frontier Designs Dakota/Montana cards... great idea too, get yourself the Dakota straight away, you've got 16 Channels IN & OUT (32 total), and later on you can add the Montana & double the I/Os!


I can record 32 Channels simultaneously, through interfaces which are mixed and matched, but all clocked the same via wordclock. it's just too easy!

Matt
Old 9th August 2005
  #8
Gear Nut
 
Sloom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bones
Hey there.

No, that is not what I had in mind. I envisaged you recording 4 tracks via your soundcard whilst simultaneously recording 4 onto the analogue tape, then transferring the analogue tape tracks via the 4 soundcard inputs afterwards.

This is where the possibility of sync-hell could rear its' ugly little mug .... when you try and line the 4 transferred tracks up with the 4 already on the PC.

If your tape machine plays back at EXACTLY the same speed as the recording, it is really easy to line the tracks up visually in the software domain.

Try it ... if you have no sync problems it will be the cheapest and easiest solution.

Cheers
Ah... pretty good idea. I'll try that. And anyway, at worst it could make for some interesting results! Thanks for the illumination, Bones.

Getting it this time,

Sloom.
Old 9th August 2005
  #9
Gear Nut
 
Sloom's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bernieL0max
my recomendation would be to stick with a known industry standard like ADAT.

You can get reasonable cheap PCI ADAT cards, each optical input & output adds 8-channels of 24-bit 44.1/48KHz recording.


Start with a cheap interface like the Behringer ADA8000, which gives you 8 ins with mic pres and 8 balanced outs...

later you can upgrade or add more the interfaces without having to swap the PCI card in yout machine.


Personally I use the Frontier Designs Dakota/Montana cards... great idea too, get yourself the Dakota straight away, you've got 16 Channels IN & OUT (32 total), and later on you can add the Montana & double the I/Os!


I can record 32 Channels simultaneously, through interfaces which are mixed and matched, but all clocked the same via wordclock. it's just too easy!

Matt
I'll look into that- though I'm trying not to get into too many directions here! Not all at the same time, anyway. But I've considered ADAT- I just had gotten started with the PC thing, and had already spent a little change on the TEAC reel machine. But time will open things up here and there I suppose. Meanwhile it's all worth looking into...

Thanks!

Sloom.
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