Old 01-24-2019, 06:15 PM   #1
Cranky Emu
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Default Recording Live

This might be an easy question for most of you seasoned campaigners of the forum.

Recently I have been asked to record a band live, the plan was to record the tracks live to whatever medium to be mixed/processed later in my home studio.

The roadblock I am hitting is how do I get audio into Reaper? Would like the capability of being able to have 16 in / 16 out at the bare minimum.

I did contact a music shop, to their credit they gave me some options - from the likes of the Zoom L20 all the way through to high-end MOTU boxes costing in the order of $4000.

At this point, from what I have found the L20 is looking like the only real viable option, it can record 22 tracks to SD on discrete tracks 20+stereo master bus. I don't really need the mixer and other capabilities this machine offers, so I am paying a lot of money just to get audio onto digital media.

Anyone got any ideas for a reasonable inexpensive way (sub 2000) of getting 16 discrete tracks of audio (simultaneously) onto a HDD etc?
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Old 01-24-2019, 06:29 PM   #2
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Get a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and an Octopre and take your computer to the recording session?
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Judders View Post
Get a Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 and an Octopre and take your computer to the recording session?
Forgive me if I am wrong, but both of them only have 8 inputs from what I can make out. I don't want to be doing any mixing or sub-grouping etc during the recording, definitely want separate tracks for each instrument etc.

Or am I missing something here?
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:24 PM   #4
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Are you using (or have access to) a MAC? You can take two devices and make an Aggregate Device, allowing you to use inputs from both as if they were one device.
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Old 01-24-2019, 07:28 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
Forgive me if I am wrong, but both of them only have 8 inputs from what I can make out. I don't want to be doing any mixing or sub-grouping etc during the recording, definitely want separate tracks for each instrument etc.

Or am I missing something here?
The 18i20 has 8 preamps but you can plug the Octopre into it via ADAT, giving you 16 channels: https://support.focusrite.com/hc/en-...face-via-ADAT-
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:25 PM   #6
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Are you using (or have access to) a MAC?
No mate PC only here. I was considering getting a mac when I was first looking at Pro Tools before I came across Reaper, obviously Reaper won the battle.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:30 PM   #7
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The 18i20 has 8 preamps but you can plug the Octopre into it via ADAT, giving you 16 channels
Okie dokie sounds like an option, but for the same price bracket I can get the Zoom L20 - it can double as a mixer should I ever need such and also a separate interface.

I know I am sorta answering my own question here, just wanted to put it out there and see what others think and what they may use, as there seems to be a lot of people using Reaper in a live scenario.
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Old 01-24-2019, 10:15 PM   #8
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In most cases a Live performance features a Mixer. Nowadays such mixers mostly are digital and feature a (USB) multi channel output you can plug your PC to and run Reaper for recording.

A friend of mine uses a Behringer X32 for Live mixing and USB recording works perfectly with this.

For small Live jobs, I use a Behringer XR18 for mixing (with a tablet as a remote control). This is not really nice for mixing, but USB recording works perfectly. Normally I use the XR18 as the center of my tiny recording studio driving the monitors for the musicians and for multi channel recording via USB (up to 18 channels). In fact the XR18 is a very decently priced audio interface with additional mixing features.

Do you want to take a computer with you just for recording ? Many digital mixers (AFAIK, e.g. the X32) are able to do multi track recording recording on a USB stick (or external drive) without additional equipment.

-Michael

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Old 01-25-2019, 01:23 AM   #9
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+1 for the XR18. 18 in/out, Combo inputs on channels 1-16, wireless and wired control (with an additional dual-band router) I've recorded all 18 tracks via USB to an old HP laptop many times. For example, last summer at a small festival, as well as mixing the entire stage for 9 bands with the XR18, I also recorded 16 tracks continuously for 9 hours.

Current best price in the UK £332 (Bax Music) - really good value :-)
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Old 01-25-2019, 01:55 AM   #10
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If I needed lots of channels today, I'd get an RME Digiface USB. Simple box, around 500$ or less. Gives you 4 ADAT ports in and 4 ADAT ports out. Combine it with 4 Behringer ADA8200's and you have up to 66 I/O.

It brings you RME's drivers, TotalMix and Digicheck.

http://rme-audio.de/products/digiface_usb.php

With USB2 you can have 32 channels coming in and 22 channels out.
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by mschnell View Post
In most cases a Live performance features a Mixer.
I am not going to be providing a FOH mix, simply recording. The FOH and PA side of things is up to them. Most around here only have small PA systems (if any - many venues have installs) and digital mixers are very rare in this area, not only from a cost perspective but most bands tend not to have dedicated sound engineers, so they tend to go for something simple that everyone can use.

The X32 is a nice desk for sure, but way more than I need or want at this point, and certainly way more than I can afford as well. They are near on 4K in Australia.
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:41 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by cyrano View Post
If I needed lots of channels today, I'd get an RME Digiface USB. Simple box, around 500$
Here is Aus they are around $800 a box, plus whatever the TOS to XLR boxes cost.
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:44 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by uncleswede View Post
+1 for the XR18. 18 in/out, Combo inputs on channels 1-16,
$900 here in Australia.
I did look at these.
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Old 01-25-2019, 03:46 AM   #14
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Sorry, didn't notice you had your location set...

Look around for a better deal? They were on sale just a few weeks ago in Europe. Lowest price i noticed was 439 € incl. VAT.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
digital mixers are very rare ... bands tend not to have dedicated sound engineers, so they tend to go for something simple that everyone can use.
So do you want to use microphone cable split boxes to connect each mic as well to the analog mixer and to your A/D box ?

Seems not like very handy

-Michael
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:32 AM   #16
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It's pretty hard to beat the price point of that Zoom L20, especially if portability is a requirement.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:34 AM   #17
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Maybe check around to see if you could rent something.
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Old 01-25-2019, 06:35 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
digital mixers are very rare ... bands tend not to have dedicated sound engineers, so they tend to go for something simple that everyone can use.
Using an XR18 you could easily offer basic mixing service additional to the recording.

-Michael
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Old 01-25-2019, 11:16 AM   #19
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So do you want to use microphone cable split boxes to connect each mic as well to the analog mixer and to your A/D box ?

Seems not like very handy

-Michael
The RME could easily fix that.

Good mic splitters @16 channels aren’t exactly cheap either...
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:58 PM   #20
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(Ignore if 'band live' means recording them playing live in an unequipped studio, but worth a look into if it is a live gig in a venue)...

It might be worth checking which FOH / monitor desk they have for the show. On the off chance it is a digital desk with Dante protocol, easiest way would be via Dante Virtual Soundcard.
Other digital desks have various cards as options that enable easy multitrack recording.

I mix on a Yamaha CL5 mostly, and record every show to laptop running Reaper via Dante, up to 64 tracks without any hiccups (and running room analyser software on the same machine). However, I do use an external thunderbolt SSD.
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Old 01-26-2019, 12:29 AM   #21
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It might be worth checking which FOH / monitor desk they have for the show. On the off chance it is a digital desk with Dante protocol, easiest way would be via
I am not aware of any band that is using a digital desk around here. Most bands in my area are 'weekenders'.

The particular band in question for this project are a bunch of country music musos who's younger days are far behind them. The equipment they use in some cases is what they had when they first started all those years ago. They are all from the ark and technology scares the living shit out of them.

The PA is a scary combination of various PA AMP/Mixer combos and a FOH desk, which I cannot recall the name of - but it certainly wasn't any of the big names.

My plan was to run my own mics on what I could, so double-mic'ing in some cases, DI the keyboards and bass guitar (I have DI boxes that split the signal, so they can still get their feed). And for the vocal mics, I have some splitter boxes for that, although if I can take a feed from their setup then I will do so.

The more I think about it, the more the Zoom L20 is making sense. If I ever need to record additional channels, just add another L20. Plus it gives the flexibility of having a mixer should I ever require it. And as another member pointed out, the price point here in Australia is hard to go past, compared with other equipment suggested.

Most prices here in Australia, regardless of where you buy are on par with each other +/- $50-100 in most cases. Importing is no longer viable unless you can get it insanely cheap new from a dealer/re-seller. Import/customs taxes on anything over $1000 AUD have shot that to bits, and then there is GST (tax) (10%) as well.
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:43 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cranky Emu View Post
If I ever need to record additional channels, just add another L20.
Beware, that in Windows only a single ASIO device can be active. Hence if you have two hardware boxes, the driver needs to combine them and there needs to be a hardware word clock between them.

-Michael
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Old 01-26-2019, 05:58 AM   #23
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Yeah, I don't see any way to daisy chain L20s, and having two running separately sounds like a nightmare in post trying to make sure everything is lined up perfectly.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:27 AM   #24
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Yeah, I don't see any way to daisy chain L20s, and having two running separately sounds like a nightmare in post trying to make sure everything is lined up perfectly.
Just hit record on both at the same time and let them run till you need to swap out SD-Cards and hope like hell it works or spend some time post lining it all up. Not sure if they have it, but it would be nice to have some way of knowing when the card is near full.
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:49 AM   #25
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I doubt very much that would work, especially with longer recordings...
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Old 01-26-2019, 07:51 AM   #26
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Yeah, I don't see any way to daisy chain L20s, and having two running separately sounds like a nightmare in post trying to make sure everything is lined up perfectly.
It would potentially be impossible or huge PIA.
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Old 01-26-2019, 06:22 PM   #27
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I doubt very much that would work, especially with longer recordings...
It would be 'hit and miss' at the very best and a lot of work later on.

Currently, and maybe ever, it is not really an issue a single L20 will cover 99.9% of jobs I am likely to get around here. Worst comes to worst and there are bands with multiple keyboards for example, just have a separate mixer and mix them to a stereo pair into the L20 to save tying up a stack of channels on the L20 for example.

The guy I am doing the first project for was actually the first muso I worked for, so he is getting it on the (very) cheap, bit of a thank-you on my part to him. He gave me the entry into the live sound world and I got to use gear I could never afford at the time, and got to go to a lot of different places when he did his mini-tours.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:17 AM   #28
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Not too much I can add to the above comments.

For myself:
Interface(s) with enough I/O
Mac with Reaper
portable control surface consisting of iPad + midi controllers for real faders running over wi-fi (No FOH. No snake. Stage is home base and I can roam.)

For the small club on a budget with computer/digital challenged folks that will NOT ever learn to use a computer or anything digital no matter what even if it's simpler to operate:
Soundcraft 22MTK
It's a combo analog board with a 22x22 audio interface built in. Plug it into your laptop with USB and record multitrack.

Cyrano's suggestion above (RME + ADA8200's) sounds interesting. Those B-word products are the newer Midas/Behringer line and have Midas mic pres. Appears to have the clock connections and sync options you need too.
Edit: Maybe I spoke too soon? Looks like just a single word clock connection! That would limit you to two of these units with word clock. Unless you did clock over the digital audio connection (ADAT inputs).

The X32 rack is a decent amount of bang for the buck too (also with Midas pres). And its built-in mixer is very capable. Not just a simple cuemix mixer. And they already have a very well done OSC setup dialed in for the iPad. That's a lot for $900. If I were to get sucked into doing live sound more often I might still pick one of these up.

If you go with multiple interfaces, do yourself a favor and make sure they all have word clock I/O. You don't want to try sync'ing clock over the data connection (USB) for an aggregate device configuration for a live situation.

Tip of the day (for live sound ITB):
48k sample rate is still usually the sweet spot for lowest latency with lowest CPU use. (44.1k doesn't save any CPU time and is higher latency at the same block size. 96k crosses the line and takes more processing power.)

Last edited by serr; 01-27-2019 at 11:34 AM.
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Old 01-27-2019, 07:21 PM   #29
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Soundcraft 22MTK It's a combo analog board with a 22x22 audio interface built in. Plug it into your laptop with USB and record multitrack.
Thanks serr, this may be the ticket.
Looked up an Australian seller - could only find one selling it, and it comes in cheaper then the L20. Sure it is not digital from start to stop, but...

From the blurb on their website: USB Interface 2-in/2-out (24-in/22-out on 22 MTK). So by this I am taking it that it will send 22 discrete tracks via USB?

I like this option better than the L20, I can take the laptop along, record via Reaper - not have to worry with dicking around with SD-Cards and worrying if I am going to have enough capacity - or cards failing/getting lost.

Interesting enough, in Soundcrafts 'recording guide' on the desk, it actually features and explains recording with Reaper

I like!
Thanks again serr, your a legend.
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Old 01-27-2019, 08:31 PM   #30
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re: 22MTK

They do sell a version with only a 2ch interface. The multitrack version has "MTK" in the name.

16 mic pres. The rest are line in.

Very minimal eq and even more minimal dynamics (simple limiters available on the first few channels). The built-in fx are all but useless IMHO. If they would have put even minimal eq on those fx return channels it would have saved it but they didn't. (I consider eq on delay and verb mandatory. YMMV)
So... Light reinforcement in a small club is cool. You'd be bummed for an outdoor gig, for example, where you needed to make a full mix.

Don't throw it down the stairs! It wouldn't hold up like an old Peavy amp.

Price goes as low as $600

For the digital savvy though, the x32 rack for $300 more gets you actual mix capability (better eq, actual dynamics, and actual fx).

Seems to be a handful of options here nowadays for eyebrow raising low prices that didn't exist a couple years ago.

I wanted to try one of those B-word products for this small jazz club but...
Plugging a single vocal mic into any channel but channel 1 would be enough to shut down the owner and a couple other people in this place. I'm not exaggerating unfortunately. (Seriously I'm not kidding!) Fully un-trainable.
So I got the 22MTK and picked up a couple stereo DOD 32 band eq's used for $40 a pop on Ebay. Old school.

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Old 01-27-2019, 09:38 PM   #31
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Light reinforcement in a small club is cool. You'd be bummed for an outdoor gig, for example, where you needed to make a full mix.
Somewhere this has gone off track - I am not interested in doing FOH sound, I will be solely recording the live gig. The FOH side of things is their problem.

Quote:
Price goes as low as $600
In Australia? Where, send me the link. I've only found one dealer selling it so far and that is DJ City.

Quote:
the x32 rack for $300 more gets you actual mix capability
Since I am just recording the live gig the mixing part is a bit redundant, I just need to get audio onto/into wav files.

Seems to be a handful of options here nowadays for eyebrow raising low prices that didn't exist a couple years ago.

Quote:
Fully un-trainable.
Read you loud and clear there Houston! The muso who I will be doing the first recording project for, he owns a lot of gear. But he has a habit of going the cheapest route he possibly can, with the exception of mic's, oddly he always brought good quality mic's - Shure, Sennheiser, AKG, Beyer etc. I was shocked when he showed me his new M88, I thought 'Shit some sales guy was good enough to jackhammer open his wallet". Heh

In his defence, he doesn't make a whole bunch of money from what he does, think he ends up with very little actually, he does a hell of a lot of charity gigs at no cost - he just loves playing and singing.
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Old 01-27-2019, 11:11 PM   #32
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Since I am just recording the live gig the mixing part is a bit redundant, I just need to get audio onto/into wav files.
Regarding the XR18, the mixing surface (knobs/faders) of the Zoom or the MTK doubles the price (if you bring a laptop for recording). Only the Zoom seems to be able to do the recording itself (don't remember where I found this info). But the problem of dual micing or split boxed needs to be considered.

-Michael

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Old 01-27-2019, 11:20 PM   #33
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Somewhere this has gone off track - I am not interested in doing FOH sound, I will be solely recording the live gig. The FOH side of things is their problem.
Oh shit, sorry! OK, forget about all of the above then.

If the club has a system with an interface built-in that you can plug into a laptop USB, then you're golden. Otherwise you would have to bring your own mixing system and take over. The only other option is mic splitters on everything and then an interface and a computer. Mic splitters aren't cheap. You'd need the cabling to patch that all together too. You might still get lucky and find a board with analog direct outs. Then you'd just need the right patch snake to connect to your audio interface. There are SO many analog and digital boards that will NOT have that though.

It's going to get a little hairy if the club has their own system for the live sound and if it doesn't have an audio interface style output to record from. The thing that got slick is the newer devices mentioned above that let you tap off for a recording.

Honestly you really might want to consider something like the X32 and bringing your own mixing engineer as a member of the band. Bring a couple mics at least (like a couple condensers for drum overheads for example if the lineup includes drums - whatever is important that a 57 or 58 won't cut it for) and use their 57s and 58s for everything else. Give the club your stereo mix for front of house and however many monitor mixes you want to run for their inputs. From their perspective it will be like a DJ act (connection-wise). Rehearse with the system and you'll be walking in with your monitor mixes mostly dialed in and your mix roughed in right out of the box.

Don't spell this out in detail to them - it will just confuse them. Just say "I have 5 inputs for you. FOH L/R and monitor mix 1,2,&3." (for example) And then "Is it cool if we use a few 57s and 58s?"

FYI, the FOH becomes your problem pretty quickly if it's shitty. It will be all over the recording. Anything from crap sound bleeding into the mics to gross stuff like distorted inputs.

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Old 01-28-2019, 07:57 AM   #34
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Only the Zoom seems to be able to do the recording itself (don't remember where I found this info). But the problem of dual micing or split boxed needs to be considered.
Michael;
Yep that is what attracted me to it in the first place, all in one box. Although I don't mind dragging the laptop along, it is only an i3 with 4gb ram, but it should cope okay (hopefully).

As for mic'ing. Yep that is going to be the biggest problem. Drums I will use my own mics, probably mic guitars with my own as well. Keyboards I have DI/splitters so that takes care of them.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:15 AM   #35
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Oh shit, sorry! OK, forget about all of the above then.
I've tried 5 times now to respond, and my mouse is having a hissy and if I click with it, it is like hitting the back button on the browser. So to avoid me having a hissy and throwing it against the wall, I will type my response off forum and post it tomorrow
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Old 01-28-2019, 01:35 PM   #36
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OK, just read post 21 above.

If this is a small/medium room where mostly the only thing being reinforced by the PA is vocals with drums and amp'd instruments more or less live and if you have splitters for the vocals, then it could work well.

I think the X32 might still be the cheapest way to mix live and get 16 channels of audio into the computer. Now if one of the stand-alone capable units (flash card using) comes along for the right price... OK. No argument if it works. Looking forward though... if you could have the inputs + the ability to mix live with it and better convenience for the same price, it would simply be more bang for the buck. That's all I'm saying there. The digital system lets you save sessions like a DAW. Coming in with monitors already dialed and the basic mix rough'd in can be slick. Just a few tweaks and off you go. You'll have a few hundred gigs of multitrack from dozens of shows before too long. The computer is only recording so you can leave the latency high and use a light weight machine.

I understand there is obnoxiousness with pricing and availability in other parts of the world too! Sorry... all I can do is look at the prices in front of me here and the XR18 listing for $500 is hard to ignore. I'd think the Midas mic pres on that would better those on a Zoom product too? If the prices are upside down where you are or straight up unavailable... well, there it is. You might be able to find a couple old MOTU 896 units on Ebay for about $150 each. 8 mic preamp units x2 for 16 tracks. Make an aggregate device and off you go. Thay have word clock I/O and you could go 96k if you wish. (48k at 24 bit is just fine though FYI.) You'd only need a light weight computer for just recording. Set the latency high because you aren't mixing anything live. Aging units though. The firewire chip fails in some of these after all these years. Could lead to a lot of screwing around... But that would be the absolute cheapest.

As for the fidelity question, a lot has changed in the last 15 years. Used to be that only the higher end stuff delivered for mic pres and AD converters and anything budget straight up sucked. That's changed. Many budget units have a base line of genuinely professional sound now. Class A boutique stuff will maybe stand up to more heavy constant use and still deliver in the extremes (eg. lower level signals and such). But if you can set your mic pre level reasonably well you might be none the wiser. That lowly Soundcraft combo board/interface I mentioned makes good recordings I have to admit. And I was used to my True Audio preamps and Apogee converters.

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Old 01-28-2019, 02:04 PM   #37
mschnell
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
Anyone around here used that XR18? ... OSC
Every day

In fact I did an OSCIIBot script to remote control (including feedback to see modifications done by any other OSC sites attached to it), from the XTouch compact that controls my live keyboard setup. I also used it to run a very small live show from an iPAD.

-Michael

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Old 01-28-2019, 03:50 PM   #38
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Since FOH is taking signals, how many channels can you have that are independent at the source to theirs? For example, are your drum mics in addition to their drum mics? I'm guessing vocals will need to be split off from their voc mics (?) Extra set of mics/DI's on amps and keys aren't a problem, but once you need to tap some channels from the FOH it might be easiest (and still sound good) to take more than only the very minimum. If you can get good quality line signal from FOH for things that are not getting the benefit of you own mics or favorite gear, it would cut down on the amount of mic pres you need on your end. Even though mics signal splitters are ideal, getting a line level of their channels that you can't double mic or afford the splitters for isn't terrible. And has it been established that the venue will cooperate with your needs, such as getting a signal from them? Sorry if that's been covered : )

Like leighhunt says, if the venue has easy digital outs available that makes getting tracks easy if you have the right receiving format, such as Dante. But if they don't (or do and won't give it to you without big fee : ) then it's a different story.
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Old 01-28-2019, 08:42 PM   #39
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Aw jeeze...

I just ended up talking with a couple of my engineer friends and mentioned the XR18. Apparently the built-in wi-fi is basically DOA if you get more than 20' away from it in an actual live stage setting. One of them tried to go out on tour with it and ended up scrambling and picked up an X32 rack on the road. Both had glowing reviews of the X32 rack.

I guess you get what you pay for sometimes after all. I trust these opinions. Don't go for the XR18 if you need to run live sound. Home studio use where there's no interference might be cool though.

Apologies for talking up something I hadn't actually used there!

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Old 01-28-2019, 10:55 PM   #40
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In fact WiFi never can't be considered a safe connection. There are too many devices around that can disturb the wireless transfer. Especially OSC is prone to damage,m as it is not TCP, but USP based (no retry if an IP package is lost) .

That is why I use LAN cable whenever possible. Of course the CR18 does feature a LAN (RJ45) socket.

If you really need WiFI, you should use a high quality dedicated router (e.g. three antenna) box.

-Michael
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