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Multi-track recording on the cheap

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Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby dallascaley » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:16 am

Here is what I would like:

A) A mixer with 8 inputs (XLR or 1/4 Phono)
B) A mixer that can either record the 8 inputs directly on to a usb thumbdrive (while preserving all 8 tracks as individually editable) or one that can send a signal via USB (or firewire) to my Mac where i can record the 8 tracks.

I have been told that this will do the job: Behringer X Air XR16. however in all of the descriptions of the product it only mentions stereo recording.

I don't know If I am asking the right question because the answers i get are not specific so this is exactly what I would like to do:

A) Set up mics on all the instruments in the band (3 on the drums)
B) Record us playing live, all at the same time
C) have some sort of editing software where I can go back in after the fact and adjust the levels of each of the 8 tracks separately.

What is the best/cheapest way to achieve this?
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:42 am

There’s lots of options and a consideration for you will be what extra functionality would you want from the mixer.

QSC TouchMix and Zoom Livetrack L-12 spring to mind and I believe a number of the Allan and Heath digital desks allow direct recording to thumb drive.

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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Dan LB » Wed Feb 20, 2019 2:45 am

Welcome to the forum.

Yes you are correct that the XR16 will not do what you want.

Seeing as you have a Mac already, might I suggest the Behringer UMC1820?

8 microphone inputs, connects by USB to your computer for recording the individual tracks in your DAW of choice. Around €185.

Other features include MIDI i/o and ADAT which allows you to add a further 8 mic inputs at a later stage if you want.

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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby The Korff » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:47 am

The Behringer UFX1604 would seem to be just the ticket — and per this thread, the prices on them seem to have dropped significantly!

https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 04#p583074

BUT... I've just Googled around, and availability seems to be a bit of an issue. If you can find one around the £300 mark though (as forumite Mike Stranks did recently), you'll be laughing.

Good luck!

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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:00 am

Another vote for the Zoom Livetrak L-12 (or L-20 if your budget can stretch).

I've had mine since Christmas and I've used it to;

Capture rehearsals (2 or 3 mics on kit)
Record drums
Mix us live on stage inc individual monitor mixes for the band
Record our gig (as I would a rehearsal)

It has it's shortcomings (as you would expect at the price), most notably the lack of effects on the aux mixes, but it is excellent when it comes to capturing stuff 'on-the-fly'. You can hit record then play and it starts recording all armed tracks to a folder. Hit stop and it takes a couple of seconds to store the data then hit rec + play and you are off again recording to a new folder. It really has been thought through from a musicians point of view.
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:02 am

The Berry XR18 will do what you want but, obviously, costs more than the XR16. The XR16 can only record a stereo mix.

Behringer mixers are incredibly cheap in the UK at present, XR16 is £260, XR18 - £330 and even the X32 Rack is only £608 which is nearly £400 cheaper than when I bought mine :headbang: (all prices from Thomann)
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby CS70 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:09 am

dallascaley wrote:Here is what I would like:

A) A mixer with 8 inputs (XLR or 1/4 Phono)
B) A mixer that can either record the 8 inputs directly on to a usb thumbdrive (while preserving all 8 tracks as individually editable) or one that can send a signal via USB (or firewire) to my Mac where i can record the 8 tracks.


If you find an Alesis Multimix 2.0 8 or 16, it's very economical and does a lovely job - will transfer your individual tracks to a DAW with no problem (no USB drive tough)
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:19 am

Do you need this to use as a standalone mixer as well as for recording?
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:42 am

Sam (Spoons): I'm not sure that the XR18 can record direct to external hard drive/USB stick.

OP: if you don't want sophisticated 'mixing' facilities then the Zoom R16/R24 might suit.

But I'd agree that overall probably the Zoom Livetrak will be your best option.

(I think you've missed the boat on the UFX1604. They were cheap because it was end of line and now most have been sold at the bargain price for which I got mine.)
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Feb 20, 2019 10:58 am

@Music Wolf, have you updated your L-12 to the latest firmware? The L-20 does allow you to have effects in the aux mixes, and I was told this is down to new firmware which is also available for the L-12.
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Sam Spoons » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:27 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Sam (Spoons): I'm not sure that the XR18 can record direct to external hard drive/USB stick.

You are right Mike, The XR18 can't record multitrack to a USB drive only stereo but the OP asked for the ability to record 8 tracks either to a USB drive or to his Mac over USB. :thumbup:
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:30 am

Sam Inglis wrote:@Music Wolf, have you updated your L-12 to the latest firmware? The L-20 does allow you to have effects in the aux mixes, and I was told this is down to new firmware which is also available for the L-12.

No I haven't. I hadn't heard about this, I'll check it out immediately.

Thanks for the tip :thumbup:
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Music Wolf » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:04 pm

Well that's worked. Happy days :D
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Sam Inglis » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:10 pm

Wooo!
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Humble Bee » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:29 pm

Music Wolf wrote:
Sam Inglis wrote:@Music Wolf, have you updated your L-12 to the latest firmware? The L-20 does allow you to have effects in the aux mixes, and I was told this is down to new firmware which is also available for the L-12.

No I haven't. I hadn't heard about this, I'll check it out immediately.

Thanks for the tip :thumbup:

Oh thats good news indeed. The only reason I hesitated a bit. :thumbup:
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby OneWorld » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:41 pm

dallascaley wrote:Here is what I would like:

A) A mixer with 8 inputs (XLR or 1/4 Phono)
B) A mixer that can either record the 8 inputs directly on to a usb thumbdrive (while preserving all 8 tracks as individually editable) or one that can send a signal via USB (or firewire) to my Mac where i can record the 8 tracks.

I have been told that this will do the job: Behringer X Air XR16. however in all of the descriptions of the product it only mentions stereo recording.

I don't know If I am asking the right question because the answers i get are not specific so this is exactly what I would like to do:

A) Set up mics on all the instruments in the band (3 on the drums)
B) Record us playing live, all at the same time
C) have some sort of editing software where I can go back in after the fact and adjust the levels of each of the 8 tracks separately.

What is the best/cheapest way to achieve this?

Be aware that many of the mixers that allow multi-track recording only allow all the tracks to be recorded at the same time, whether the tracks are empty or not. In other words, if the mixer allows 16 tracks to be recorded, they have to be done concurrently, there is usually the option to record a stereo track too.

The exception to this is the TASCAM Model 24 (and the Zoom L12, L20 I would think) which does indeed function as a multi-track recorder would.

I almost bought a A&H QU16 as it records 16+2 tracks and thought great, a Portastudio that's a mixer as well - well, no, not quite
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Dan LB » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:54 pm

I’m not entirely sure that the OP needs a mixer. I thought he just wanted the cheapest way to record multiple tracks and *thinks* that a mixer is required - apologies if this is not the case

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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby blinddrew » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:29 pm

Good shout Dan, if all the OP needs is an 8-pre interface then something like a Tascam US 16x08 would do the job at around £200
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:40 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:
Mike Stranks wrote:Sam (Spoons): I'm not sure that the XR18 can record direct to external hard drive/USB stick.

You are right Mike, The XR18 can't record multitrack to a USB drive only stereo but the OP asked for the ability to record 8 tracks either to a USB drive or to his Mac over USB. :thumbup:

Ah yes! I'd thought he'd wanted a both/and ability... looking at his spec again it's either/or... :thumbup:
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Re: Multi-track recording on the cheap

Postby dallascaley » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:10 pm

Holy crud!, I am amazed and impressed by the response to my very first post in this forum that I just discovered yesterday. If you people all got into software development (my field) we would probably not have so much crappy software, anyway.

So, there is a lot to digest here, sorry for not replying individually.

I've done a cursory review of all the products suggested to me and I am leaning towards the Behringer UMC1820. While it does not record directly to usb card it will do it directly to my Mac and that's probably better anyway.

As for the others, I'm not seeing any of them that explicitly state that you can record 8 tracks individually. There's one that says it will do 4 but that's not enough.

Also someone else mentioned that I probably don't really know what I'm asking for in that I am asking for a mixer. I think this person is correct. I don't really want a mixer i simply want an 8 track recorder. I'll let the software do the mixing part.

Again, thanks all for your support and welcoming a newcomer to this forum. I'll keep you posted on what I end up doing.
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