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Travelling without an interface...
Old 2 weeks ago
  #1
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thenewyear's Avatar
Travelling without an interface...

Hi,

I've got a short tour residency thing coming up as a player, 2 nights in Bristol and 2 nights in London (UK). However I'm hoping to multi-track the shows & rehearsal with the view to making a record out of it at the end.

I'm planning on travelling with mics and laptop but use the venues' cables and stands.

The first venue has a Soundcraft Si Impact which should talk to my laptop (Pro Tools 10 and 11 running on MacBook Pro Yosemite) via USB.

The second venue is in London and I don't have an interface for that yet (wondering about hiring/borrowing if anyone knows of anywhere suitable...).

I'm a bit skittish about relying on an untested set-up. Any thoughts from any battle-hardened remotesters about this?

Thanks in advance,
Old 2 weeks ago
  #2
Lives for gear
How many channels, you don't reveal whether you're solo or a member of a band (ie how many members/instruments/whether a simple stereo pair or more will do) ?
Old 2 weeks ago
  #3
Gear Head
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

I’d start by checking ou the mixing consoles in the venues. Many of the digital consoles have built-in multitrack recording capabilities, typically directly to a USB stick or hard drive. Makes life very easy. You might want to put one or two of your mics up for audience reaction, which adds a lot to a live recording. They can be brought into the house console but not put in the mix, and faded in and out of the recording as required.

Of course, you’d also need to check at what point the signal is recorded. Typically it is straight after the preamp, but if it is pre-fader/post-processing it might not be so good if they have an engineer mixing the show live for you.

Also, if you choose that approach, be sure to use a USB drive with its own PSU. Bus-powered USB drives that are not solid state will typically go into sleep mode between soundcheck and gig, and won’t spin up in time when the console is told to record. I lost an entire concert recording due to this; I pressed the ‘record’ button on the console, only to find out it left an error message saying “Cannot find drive” and nothing was recorded. Bugger.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #4
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thenewyear's Avatar
Thanks for this. I should've provided more details.

There are:
  • 5 voices (possibly a 414 in wide-cardiod or KM185s in XY)
  • Fiddle - DPA4099
  • Guitar - DI or possibly mic on short stand
  • Bouzouki - mic on short stand
  • Shruti box - mic on short stand

I'm unlikely to take the voices individually as the group normally perform without PA/sound reinforcement. Only a little of the instruments will be going through the desk for amplification.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #5
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thenewyear's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Simmosonic View Post
Also, if you choose that approach, be sure to use a USB drive with its own PSU. Bus-powered USB drives that are not solid state will typically go into sleep mode between soundcheck and gig, and won’t spin up in time when the console is told to record.
Thanks Simmosonic. I don't have an external drive now. I can get an 120GB SSD for around £60GBP which might be worthwhile if I come across a desk that will track to a drive and not act as an interface.
Old 2 weeks ago
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by thenewyear View Post
Thanks for this. I should've provided more details.

There are:
  • 5 voices (possibly a 414 in wide-cardiod or KM185s in XY)
  • Fiddle - DPA4099
  • Guitar - DI or possibly mic on short stand
  • Bouzouki - mic on short stand
  • Shruti box - mic on short stand

I'm unlikely to take the voices individually as the group normally perform without PA/sound reinforcement. Only a little of the instruments will be going through the desk for amplification.
So just to confirm, when you say that you'll be bringing the mics...they are the mics specified here, to be used for both the PA and the recording ?

This sounds like it's going to be as much about the PA as it will be about the recording. Is it a sort of set and forget PA setup, in that you'll set levels of instruments and vocals and then the desk will stay pretty much untouched all gig...ie no tweaking of levels from song to song ? I take it you won't be the PA mixer person for the gigs ...or do you wear that hat as well as performer ?

As Simmo says, you need to confirm that the Impact feeds you USB outputs of each PA channel pre-fader (if the faders are going to be ridden by a mixer person) or if they won't be touched it's less critical, once you have established levels for each channel.

What about the London leg...is there a known mixer provided there ? If not, can you hire an Impact to keep the variables to a minimum ? Presumably there will be a PA system there also, you need to establish whether the mixer can provide you a similar USB output to the Impact, and whether it's pre/post fader ? If not, you may well need a mic splitter and an 8 channel interface.

Once you find out what it is to be, do as much research as possible before the tour...do you have the right drivers installed to communicate with the desk software etc. Leave nothing to chance. Factor in reherasals in each venue, which you'll record as if they were the concerts (you may need them for patches/repairs, if the concerts have bum sections, anyway)

Good communication with the PA mixer person is vital (easy if it's you !) to avoid feedback etc. Will channel eq also get printed to the USB feed ? I'm assuming no monitor speakers to further complicate things ?

Good luck...homework will be your saviour !

** alternatively, and in complete contradiction to the title of this thread (and perhaps the reputation of Scots folk for parsimony !), just buy or hire an 8 channel interface, and run the mics directly into that (for the recording)...then take line outs from the interface and feed them into the PA mixer. This will ensure that your recording gets a pristine first bite at the incoming mic/DI signals...and then it gets handed over to the PA for reinforcement. In effect your 8 channel interface becomes a mic splitter. Failing a power cut, the PA should cope quite well with direct line inputs from the interface, rather than mic inputs
Old 2 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Head
 
Simmosonic's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 View Post
Good luck...homework will be your saviour !
Absolutely!!!
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