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Laptop Recording

Postby porthoss78 » Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:21 pm

Hi, sorry if this has been covered a few times before.

I have an old Toshiba Equium A100 (Centrino Duo T2050 1.60Ghz with 1 gig RAM) laptop kicking around the house and I'd like to put it to use for mobile recording and then maybe one day start using it live.

I've just started playing in a 5 piece covers band and would like to record our practises every now and again (2 guitars, bass, drums and 1 or 2 vocals).

My idea is to get a 8-10 input USB mixer/audio interface with FX for it which we can use for running into the PA for front of house mix, monitor mixes (2 separate would prob be enough) and recording. As it may well only get used a few times to start with, I was looking into something cheap like a Behringer etc.

I would like to then look into using the laptop live for backing tracks and/or synth sounds (Kontakt 2 or Atmosphere probably) using a MIDI keyboard and controller for changing patches etc. Am I asking a little too much of the laptop or has anyone got a similar setup?

Next question; which software to use for the recording/live playing? This would need to be a OEM/Lite version or cheap as our budget is limited. I use Logic at home to record and would also like to be able to import the band practice recordings into it, I presume this will just be a case of dragging the recorded wav. files into it...

Thanks for reading.

Cheers
J
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Re: Laptop Recording

Postby Martin Walker » Sat Feb 27, 2010 3:29 pm

The most important thing to decide is whether you want to record the entire band in stereo through the proposed USB mixer, as a simple reference, or whether you want to capture each instrument separately for later mixdown and further tweaking.

If the latter then you'll need to record quite a few separate audio channels into your laptop, which will require more gear (I supect you could scrape by with an 8-input audio interface at first).

The actual software isn't so important, as there's loads around that could do the job.


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Re: Laptop Recording

Postby porthoss78 » Sun Feb 28, 2010 4:09 pm

Thanks for the reply Martin.

I think I was being a little stupid and thinking a cheap USB mixer would be able to record the separate inputs individually to the laptop rather than just a single stereo channel, doh. I think an 8 input audio interface will be the way forward in that case.

So, for recording rehearsals I can have the 8 inputs go into the interface and a single stereo out to feed the PA for monitoring vocals + synth/keyboards. This will then give me the separate audio files for tinkering with at home etc.
I presume the interface will need some sort of direct monitoring so there is no delay when playing, maybe an old MOTU 828 or Ultralite.

For playing live I could then change it so that everyone is plugged into the PA (prob via a standard mixer) and a stereo mix sent to and from the laptop (for recording the band and as the output from the backing tracks/synths played from the sequencer).

Have I got this correct or am i missing something?

Thanks again
J
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Re: Laptop Recording

Postby ef37a » Sun Feb 28, 2010 5:04 pm

This is just my 2penn'oth...

You are a band? So it would be reasonable to expect that "out front" you sound good? Together and well balanced?

If so just stick a co-incident pair where your biggest fan sits and record that. Just as you can't make decent job of recording a guitar amp if it doesn't sound pretty good to start with, you could be on a fools errand trying to "tweak" a band that just needs more practice!

In any event, multimiking 5,6,...instruments in a not too clever acoustic will take all night and STILL you will have spill, and that's just the drums!

I would try co-i and a couple of spots panned in where appropriate.

See..I've saved you money!

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Re: Laptop Recording

Postby porthoss78 » Mon Mar 01, 2010 4:16 pm

Cheers Dave, you have

Maybe just a mic or two in the rehearsal room will be more than adequate to record ourselves for the time being. At some point though we will need to record a live demo to send out to pubs etc. to get gigs, maybe then I'll look again at recording everyone separately using the laptop. The results might not be very good but I'm sure it'll be a bit of a laugh recording ourselves.

As for the sequencer/DAW backing track playing software thingy, I presume most of the big companies' software will be fine ie Steinberg, Ableton, Cakewalk.

Thanks again for the replies and I'm sure I'll be back on here again in a few months with questions like: Why does my band's recording sound sh*t?

Cheers
J
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