You are here

Small mobile rig for recording live

For performing musicians and engineers: stagecraft, engineering and gear.

Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby manwilde » Sat Aug 29, 2020 9:21 pm

Hi all. I´ve been asked to help with the live sound for a small concert tomorrow. It´s drums, bass, one electric guitar and one singer. The band has a small PA system (https://www.thomann.de/es/yamaha_stagepas_400bt.htm), and it would be a matter of just helping setting up and keeping an eye on the sound while they play. No problem, but... they want to record the gig also.
I´ll carry my small setup: HP laptop i5 @2.8Ghz, 8G RAM, 256 Gb SSD, Win7 Reaper, RME Babyface (two analog inputs) + Focusrite Octopre via ADAT, DI boxes, headphones, etc. I will also take some mics on my own along with what the band has, which I know nothing about.

Tomorrow I´ll find my way and try to do everything as practical as possible, but I think I´ll have more similar gigs coming up, so I´d like to ask:
Would you try to go first into the mic pres and feed the live mixer from the analog outputs of the recording rig, or would it be better to buy some mic splitters (ART S8 comes to mind)?.

First choice would allow me to do some basic mixing from Totalmix (even from Reaper without using lots of plugins to avoid latency problems?), and save me some money and cable hassle. Right now my latency at 48k is 4.4 ms at the lowest buffer size.
Second one (mic splitters) would keep me from depending on computer crashes or latency problems; my laptop and Reaper feel both rock solid, but you never know...

What would you do?

Thanks a lot in advance for your advice.
manwilde
Poster
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby James Perrett » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:26 pm

I'd say that the mic splitter route is going to be the safest - that's what I do for live recording although more and more venues have digital desks where you can either just plug in a computer or a disk to capture everything.

There are a few budget splitters around including Studiospares' own brand though mine is home made.
User avatar
James Perrett
Moderator
Posts: 9679
Joined: Mon Sep 10, 2001 12:00 am
Location: The wilds of Hampshire
JRP Music - Audio Mastering and Restoration. JRP Music Facebook Page

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Aug 29, 2020 10:32 pm

Splitters every time.

Great is the wrath if you as the recording person inadvertently compromise the live sound in any way. Been there... done that... lesson learnt. :oops:
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7445
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:34 pm

And another vote for splitters from me. Running everything through the computer first is asking for trouble!
User avatar
Hugh Robjohns
Moderator
Posts: 28330
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2003 12:00 am
Location: Worcestershire, UK
Technical Editor, Sound On Sound

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Ramirez » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:52 pm

Hugh Robjohns wrote:And another vote for splitters from me. Running everything through the computer first is asking for trouble!

Agreed. Though if you’re going to do it, RME and Reaper is as safe a bet as any!

If you’re looking at doing this kind of thing often, the Soundcraft UI24R is a very well packed box of tricks, and offers onboard multitracking as well as working as an USB interface, so you have a backup record path.
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Pwllheli, Cymru
www.stiwdiosain.cymru

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby AlecSp » Sat Aug 29, 2020 11:59 pm

Ramirez wrote:If you’re looking at doing this kind of thing often, the Soundcraft UI24R is a very well packed box of tricks, and offers onboard multitracking as well as working as an USB interface, so you have a backup record path.
As does pretty much any digital mixer - definitely much less faff than setting up splits and all.

Obviously, this isn't much help if you don't have said mixer - though the investment needn't be high, and might be less than a whole load of splitters.
AlecSp
Regular
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:00 am

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby manwilde » Sun Aug 30, 2020 12:51 am

Thanks for your replies. Tomorrow's gig is a very humble affaire. The small mixer this band uses has only 4 mic pres. I wonder if they just use one mic per instrument, including drums...
If I go first to the Octopre and use its analog outs to go to said mixer, am I getting the computer out of the live sound path? I mean, if the computer crashed, the Octopre would still be feeding audio to the mixer, am I right?

Just thinking...
manwilde
Poster
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby AlecSp » Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:16 am

manwilde wrote:If I go first to the Octopre and use its analog outs to go to said mixer, am I getting the computer out of the live sound path? I mean, if the computer crashed, the Octopre would still be feeding audio to the mixer, am I right?.
Er, RTFM...?

"LINE OUTPUTS 1 to 8 – eight balanced analogue line outputs on ¼” 3-pole (TRS) jack sockets. These connectors are always active, and carry the outputs of Channels 1 to 8, enabling the Scarlett OctoPre to be used as a stand-alone, high quality 8-channel analogue mic pre."

"By connecting the line outputs of the Scarlett OctoPre to the analogue line inputs of a mixing console (or any other device), the unit can be used either as a purely analogue, 8-channel microphone pre-amplifier. "
AlecSp
Regular
Posts: 462
Joined: Tue Nov 16, 2004 1:00 am

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby manwilde » Sun Aug 30, 2020 8:21 am

Yes, I already knew that, but thank you anyway. My concern is whether any pop or crack sound would be passed through the analog outputs of the Octo if something goes wrong with the computer and I have to turn it off and back on, or if the ADAT cable comes out of the socket by accident...
manwilde
Poster
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Ramirez » Sun Aug 30, 2020 9:05 am

AlecSp wrote:
Ramirez wrote:As does pretty much any digital mixer

Most don't allow dual-path recording, at least not with an extra/after-market card.
Ramirez
Frequent Poster
Posts: 1124
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:00 am
Location: Pwllheli, Cymru
www.stiwdiosain.cymru

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby manwilde » Mon Aug 31, 2020 5:57 pm

Hi again. Yesterday I recorded the gig using six inputs on the Octopre coming into the computer via Babyface´s ADAT IN while sending the line outputs from the Octopre to the PA mixer. Everything worked perfectly!.

Still I keep in mind what you all said about trying to avoid leaning on a computer for this kind of job, and one thing got me thinking: since both Babyface and Octopre can work in standalone mode, with no computer attached, I´m willing to simulate an accident, setting up to record just as I did yesterday and abruptly unplugging the laptop´s mains socket to see what happens (of course this will be in a private event, no actual live performance taking place).
As soon as I manage to proceed with the test I´ll post the results just in case it´s helpful for anyone reading this.

Any thoughts or words of advice?.

Thanks all!
manwilde
Poster
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Aug 31, 2020 6:35 pm

Surely pulling the laptops mains connector will just cause it to switch to battery, you need to either shut it down or, for a real test, cause it to crash...
User avatar
Sam Spoons
Jedi Poster
Posts: 13365
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 1:00 am
Location: Manchester UK
Finally taking this recording lark seriously (and recording my Gypsy Jazz CD)........

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Aug 31, 2020 8:51 pm

manwilde wrote:Hi again. Yesterday I recorded the gig using six inputs on the Octopre coming into the computer via Babyface´s ADAT IN while sending the line outputs from the Octopre to the PA mixer. Everything worked perfectly!.

Still I keep in mind what you all said about trying to avoid leaning on a computer for this kind of jobl!...

Glad it went well. :thumbup: :clap:

The 'two paths' approach with splitters is much more than avoiding "leaning on a computer". I've been involved in all sorts of sound jobs where the live-sound and recording are sharing the same set of mics - on both the live and recording sides. You wouldn't believe the number of different ways there are of screwing-up the duality if one aspect is dependent on the other. :)

In my fairly considerable experience - and having the war stories to illustrate it - the safest ways are splitters or an integrated livesound/multitrack system. Anything else will probably bite you on the bum at some point...
Mike Stranks
Jedi Poster
Posts: 7445
Joined: Fri Jan 03, 2003 1:00 am

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby manwilde » Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:08 am

@ Sam: Yes, sorry. That´s what I meant, shutting the computer off. My laptop never has the battery attached when I´m home (I use a PSU instead), but I obviously it does when working outside. Thanks for pointing that out, anyway. Out of curiosity: how do you make a computer crash on purpose?

@Mike: Thank you for your advice. Taking a look at mic splitters that won´t break the bank, and following suggestions on this thread, I´ve found that the Studiospares RED800 (https://www.studiospares.com/8-channel-mic-splitter---studiospares-red800_458950.htm) sells for 110€, while the ART S8 (https://www.studiospares.com/art-s8-8-way-passive-mic-splitter_325480.htm) is 285€. I guess the difference in price is due to quality construction?. Is the Studiospares reliable enough?.

Thanks all.
manwilde
Poster
Posts: 49
Joined: Mon May 07, 2018 3:57 pm

Re: Small mobile rig for recording live

Postby Saxum esse et non provolvere » Tue Sep 01, 2020 8:31 am

It might also be worth considering this :

http://orchid-electronics.co.uk/micsplit.htm

Not that I’m affiliated with them in any way - just a happy (and repeated) customer.
Saxum esse et non provolvere
Regular
Posts: 58
Joined: Wed Feb 22, 2006 1:00 am
Location: Wherever my van is, UK

Next