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Remotes: recording with Multi-track vs. Laptop/interfaces, what's your take?
Old 16th August 2014
Lives for gear
Lorenzop's Avatar

Remotes: recording with Multi-track vs. Laptop/interfaces, what's your take?

So I guess nowadays its either recording to multi tracks (from cheaper ones to Nagras) or setting up a laptop DAW multitrack.
I'm talking maximum medium sized gigs and classical where 8 tracks is usually enough, maybe up to 16 for bigger records/with monitoring.

Anyway let's keep it simple: for relatively purist recording sessions, what's your setup and why do you prefer one or the other?
Did you "choose" one or the other method or did it evolve naturally into one (gear purchase after fear purchase, budget restrictions?)
Or maybe you use both! But if one as backup I assume it doesnt really count, I mean what woukd you consider uour MAIN setup then?

And finally, is anybody still using DAT (if even as backup!)?
Old 16th August 2014
My on-the-road setup:
8-ch D/A interface with decent (= affordable) preamps: Focusrite Scarlett 18i20
8-ch pres for main mics: RME Octamic D
connected through ADAT, which gives me 16-ch when needed or 8-ch in higher bitrate.

I try to keep things simple with less microphones in good positions rather than twenty mikes in bad places.
For most of the things I am doing (baroque orchestra with vocals, or choir with instruments, or chamber music) I have enough with 6 to 8 channels.

I record multitrack in my DAW.
Old 18th August 2014
Gear Addict
DaveyJones's Avatar

I use an Orion 32 da converter, as many line audio 8mp preamps as I need (8 channels per 1u) and a racked mac mini with a USB powered monitor. Works a charm. 8 channels fits into 3u inc conversion and DAW computer and Ivan get 32 channels into 6u.

Put into a rolling rack case and it makes for a VERY portable location rig.

Old 18th August 2014
Lives for gear
wildplum's Avatar
I use both and consider it a must for this sort of thing. After all, you only get one chance. I also think it a must to use a UPS, to allow the safe shut down of both devices in case of a power failure.

typical set up for classical:
mics- DPA (4006, 4011) Nuemann (KN140, KM150)
preamp- Millennia
converter- Mytek 8X192
recorder- (via light pipe from the two lightpipe sockets on the Mytek) laptop running either ProTools or Reaper AND alesis hd24xr
Old 19th August 2014
Lives for gear
tourtelot's Avatar
Lots of threads on this on this very forum. Take a look.

I use 2 to 4 mics plugged into a Sound Devices 788T. No computers on location for me; badly burned once. Never again.

Old 19th August 2014
Lives for gear
sonare's Avatar
I have 2 rigs with a UFX at the heart of it (and one is up for sale in classifieds). The "session rig" is a UFX with Pueblo, DAV, and RME micamps. It weighs a bit and with the external Pueblo PS in another 2U rack is a PITA but the sound is top-drawer. Reserved for projects with a decent budget, however. And generous setup time.

The smaller concert rig (currently up for sale) is a UFX with DAV BG8 and RME pres in a padded and rolling 2U rack. The actual recording duties for both rigs is done with a Sager laptop running Sequoia and recorded to an internal SSD. Still takes a while to be ready to record not counting mic setup.

I have recently concluded that the wonderful sonics from the smaller rig is overkill for most concert work. I plan to drastically reduce setup time and the eliminate the higher risk of using a laptop for capture. Will probably look at a Tascam HS-P82 sporting dual CF card recording or maybe a Sound Devices. For some smaller concert work I use a Tascam DR680. The convenience is VERY attractive. I have only encountered one defective SD card out of hundreds of events. Unfortunately it was a very important concert and there was unpleasant fallout. I SHOULD have carried the UFX.

The UFX will record polyfiles (at chosen resolution) of all inputs to a bus-powered USB drive but unless one is disciplined enough to ALWAYS stash the data in the same folder as the DAW files they become somewhat useless because they are impossible to easily identify. The UFX cannot time/date stamp them cuz there is no clock. This has bitten me in the past.

So there you have it--

Old 19th August 2014
Lives for gear
DCtoDaylight's Avatar

My approach to date is a 4-channel setup, using two laptops (MacBook Pros), each connected to a Metric Halo ULN-2 interface. The ULNs are synced via word clock and interconnected via ADAT, so that each laptop records all four channels in sync. As an extra level of backup, I record a SPDIF feed off each interface on old MAudio handhelds; I've had mixed results syncing the two recordings, but at least I have usable copies of both my cardioid and omni pairs.

The next step would likely be to add a UFX, which would provide four more preamps and the internal backup recording, which would let me ditch the handhelds. And the forthcoming Metric Halo USB upgrade should make the interconnection a little simpler.
Old 19th August 2014
I use (2) rigs depending on the size of the ensemble , the space and if the musicians or producer require a rough mix immediately (on site)

For most classical chamber ensembles I use a SD 788T SSD with up to 8 mics: Usually a spaced AB pair of omnis, a NOS pair of cardioids and a few spots as needed. It's small, lightweight, has internal battery back-up as well as an external Anker 12 volt battery power pack, so is immune to line power issues, and works fine with any mic I've ever tried it with.

For larger groups and for those times when a rough mix is required at the end of the concert I use an Apogee Ensemble with Grace pres for the main channels and if more than (8) mics are required, a Presonus Digimax ADAT for the spots. The Ensemble connects to a 17-inch MacBook Pro i7 running Logic Pro with an external 240 GB SSD for file storage. The laptop is used for nothing but audio recording-no Microsoft Office, no Photoshop, no Bluetooth, no wi-fi, no TimeMachine, no Internet access. I also always carry a SD USBPre2 in case a couple of extra channels are needed or if I have to provide a S/PDIF feed. An external LG USB CD drive allows for quick "rough-mix" CDs. So far it's been 100% reliable. Before powering down and leaving the location I back-up the external SSD to the internal MacBook drive and to a small external USB drive while I'm picking up cables an packing everything.
Old 14th September 2014
Gear Head

Great thread. I'm doing classical 8 channel recordings direct to Logic on my laptop. I have a Millennia HV-3D and Apogee Rosetta 800, and go in to the laptop using firewire. This is the 2012 MacBook Pro laptop I use for everything else. Email, accounting, facebooking, mixing, etc., etc. Has been rock solid. 128 GB internal SSD, with OWC Data Doubler 500GB 7200 RPM drive for recording to. * I USE A CLEAN user profile/account when I'm on location recording. I.e., I restart the machine and log into a 'recording' user account that has NOTHING else going on in it.

I get great results, but have always wanted a standalone recorder. I just discovered the Tascam HS-P82 and this really looks like the ticket. With the 8 channels of AES in, I imagine simply plugging the Rosetta into it, and recording only to it without the laptop, or even keeping the laptop in to have a backup. For smaller budget work, I imagine using mics directly with HS-P82, leaving the heavy box at home, and still getting very good results.

Can anyone tell me from experience if two HS-P82's can be synched to record 16 channels at 96k?
Old 14th September 2014
I am using a Zaxcom MAXX. No computer for the actual recording. But I have used the MAXX for initial multi tracking with a band on location and then went directly into the computer for subsequent tracking of individual instruments. So I guess it just depends upon what I am doing.

Most of the time these days I am recording sound for video and film productions and work out of a battery powered bag, so obviously my choices are relegated to mixer/ recorders, like my MAXX.

For tracking sessions, I still will use the MAXX as a front end because the converters are VERY nice and I can send out up to six AES channels into my computer, meeting most multi tracking needs.

I realize most folks will be coming at this problem from recording live music. My situation and needs are different. But it is still recording sound. And to tell you the truth, if I were to go back to mainly recording music remotely, I would still want to primarily use devices like my MAXX recorder/ mixer or similar. It is now my preference.
Old 15th September 2014
Lives for gear

Burned by laptops (even MBP) so switched to SD788T-SSD for concerts.

One 788T instead of two laptops, two converters (at least one 8 channel rack unit) and a 8 channel preamp.

Less cables, less setup time and as someone mentioned already, good enough for the typical concert. The gear is typically not a bottleneck. Acoustics and mic positining are.

Also use the same setup for conference documentation gigs.
Old 15th September 2014
Lives for gear
pkautzsch's Avatar

Up to 8 inputs: 788T. I do have an old 4-track Edirol recorder in the car for that Murphy's Law case.
Larger scale: pre/interface via firewire into laptop, and via ADAT into Mackie MDR.

The most obvious differences are setup speed and loading exercise.
Maybe I'll rent another 788T for the next larger job.
Old 15th September 2014
Lives for gear
fred2bern's Avatar

for mr it's one RME UFX with + 2x RME Octamic XT + 1x Octamic II + 1x Andient Mico. 30 tracks in a laptop if needed.
What is cool with the UFX is that you can also use it as a stand alone recorder with a USB2 hard drive (max 2 gigas). So at the end you have a backup on a HDD.

in the car one Steinberg UR824 + one Behringer ADA 8200 just in case.
My personnal laptop as a spare computer also in case.
Old 15th September 2014
Lives for gear
Tommy-boy's Avatar

I generally don't need more than 8 channels. I use a Sound Devices 788T with a Roland recorder as a backup. I've used laptops in the past. For me, I like the simplicity and convenience of using a dedicated recorder. I go totally on batteries, which is simple with the recorders. I also like the built in pres on the 788T and the limiters have saved me on occasion.

I do all editing in post after I fly the files into my DAW. If I had to produce a CD on the spot, I'd probably go the laptop route. But I generally have a week or two to get a CD out, so I'm happy using dedicated recorders.

Old 16th September 2014

Just opened this thread for the first time, hit Rich's post, and just about started crying. I can't believe he's gone.
Old 16th September 2014
Originally Posted by king2070lplaya View Post

Just opened this thread for the first time, hit Rich's post, and just about started crying. I can't believe he's gone.
OT or not, it's always OK to remember the good guys. This happened way too soon. R.I.P. Rich Mays.
Old 16th September 2014
Lives for gear

Never directly interacted with sonare, but being of a slightly more advanced age, it is still a prescient intimation of one's own mortality.

Pity we never corresponded directly because we seemed to share some common values.

Back to topic. I run a Nagra VI for chamber gigs, and a UFX/BG2+1 rig for bigger gigs. I can only say that, based on my experience, that if you use an interface of high repute and with a commitment to driver integrity, and a laptop that is regarded not as a personal computer but another piece of audio equipment, assembled and maintained accordingly, then there is very little difference between the 'dedicated' hardware approach and the laptop and peripheral. It all depends on your operation environment and personal preferences.

For some 'mission critical' gigs, to CMA, I have put the main pair through/recorded on the Nagra, then AES'd it into the UFX to add the extra stuff. If some idiot pulls the mains power, then I still have something via the battery powered 'never-say-die' Nagra to broadcast.

Like the old Goon Show tagline: "It's all in the mind, you know!"
Old 18th September 2014
Gear Maniac
I used to use AETA 4MinX 8-track. Then I went latop+interface (Digigram Cancun + Lavry & John Hardy M2's) because of flexibility and quick post-prod. This was kind of a mistake, some recordings went wrong, and I realised how much more hassle it was. In fact, i think any laptop option is going to be stressful. Adding the fact that I sometime am myself playing the piano at the performance...

Then I went Nagra VI.
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