recording from an ext. mixer

I am new to this program and digital audio recording. I recently tried to record a live musical show , guitar and vocals, on a hp laptop w/ a vista OS and it didn’t work. Could you tell me how this was supposed to be configured to have recorded the show?

The laptop was connected to a yamaha mixer, The audicity program had previously recorded music from a turntable successfully. Does that matter?

In what way did it “not work”?

Please describe in great detail what equipment you are using, how it is connected together, how you set it up, what you did and what happened.

Even if you leave bits out by accident, if you include model and part numbers, sometimes we can piece it all together. Pretend it all arrived jumbled in a FedEx box cold and we have to put it all together based on your instructions.


the mixer was a yamaha EMX 500012. The laptop was a HP pavillion. The OS was windows 7
I used a rca cable from the mixer to the laptop.
There appeared to be no signal going through to be recorded.
Was it possible to hear the recording while being recorded? How?

That’s a pretty serious mixer. Do you get Audacity blue waves and a bouncing red recording meter when you play music on the mixer and record in Audacity?

If you do, then you are getting a recording and we just need you to hear it. If you don’t, do you get anything coming out of the mixer? Plug an RCA/RCA cable into the mixer and listen to the end of the cable with your earbuds or headphones.

You should be able to hear, quietly, the show like that. If you don’t, then the mixer sound routing is wrong. We have sound mixers around the company that are way too complex for what they do. I’m always walking around solving missing sound problems.


thanks for helping out w/ this. The mixer was at a club and I went to a local music store to get help with how to connect the cable , where on the mixer it got connected, to where it went on my friend’s laptop. It seemed there was no signal coming through to the computer at all. I tried testing the connection and got no wavy lines at all. I tried recoding a test and don’t think there were any wavy lines in any color. It’s hard to say as this was the first time I tried to do this and there wasn’ tany tech. assistance available at the club. Maybe w/ my next show I could send you the mixer to be used and you could tell me how it works.

The show happened last month. Would the attempt still be on the laptop? I didn’t think there was anything to save, so no saving was done. I don’t think anything was done with the attempt since it didn’t seem there was anything there.

I like the sound quality of the audacity program on my computer. I want to know, if possible, why I did not get a recording
and what do do differently , next time, to have this work, to get a recording from my live show.

I don’t understand how the headphones and the cable (from the mixer?) are supposed to hook up to hear what the recoding sounds like. Can listening to the recording while the recording is being made possible? How?

there weren’t speakers attached to the laptop at the show , so headphones into a headphone jack on the laptop would allow listening after the recoding was done, yes? I wanted to see if there was any recording done, since it seemed there wasn’t. I wanted to hear the show through the mixer or the laptop while recording was happening, like in the test I did. Can you tell me again if that was doable and how it’s done. Is the connections different for every mixer?

thanks again,pat

Have you ever seen all the stuff that an experienced field mixer human brings on a field shoot?

The earbuds touching the RCA cable thing is to see if the club mixer is sending you anything at all. You can also get that same effect with a headphone extender adapter. !@#$ I can’t find one fast enough, but it’s just over an inch long and allows you to put two stereo 1/8" plugs together. The club mixer plays to your headphones first, and then you take the connector apart and plug the cable into your computer. Nothing like slaving away on the computer and killing the show only to find out later the club mixologist isn’t sending you squat.

Please note that if you don’t have working headphones or earbuds with you, you should probably give up and go home.

Then you plug the club cable into the Blue Stereo Line-In of your laptop, not the pink Mic-In. Select it in your Windows Control Panels.

Then Launch Audacity and select the same thing in Edit > Preferences > Devices.

Click anywhere in the red recording meters and they should wake up and bounce with the music.

If you’re doing all this before anybody is in the booth, you can whip out your iPod (that you brought with you in your run bag) and jack that into the Stereo Line-In (not Mic-In) of your laptop and use that for testing. Use the earbuds to set a normal iPod playback level and change the cable. That should be close enough for jazz.

If everything works out, that will give you a recording if you pressed Record right this second and settled back for a pint.

If you have even more time, Edit > Preferences > Recording > Playthrough and the Green Playback meters should light up and allow you to hear the performance. Note that if you have the red bouncing lights and blue waves, you are getting a recording whether or not you can hear it. They should never get any bigger than this.

Are you getting all this?

Recording in a club is not for the timid.

If you’re doing all this by working through someone else who’s actually in the club and you’re not, then we could be here for a long time.


That’s not all, but I’m tired typing. Koz

Where were we…

By now you should have caught on that I keep saying plug the club into your Blue Stereo Line-In and not the Pink Mic-In. Mic-In is for microphones – exclusively. If you have no Stereo Line-In on your computer, you can pull the UCA202 out of your run bag and plug that in.

You might need the extra adapter cables that you also have in your run bag.

Even before you get to the club, you should try out the laptop and make sure it’s not in Conferencing Mode. Windows laptops come set up for corporate Skype and conferencing which usually destroys music. Find those settings and turn them off.

We have a poster a couple of messages over who recorded a symphony orchestra on a Windows laptop in conference or “enhanced” mode. His whole performance is low level, gargly, and distorted – pretty much permanently.

Then, after all that, make sure you don’t overload the sound channel. Your recordings should look something like this while you’re preforming.

You can make the Audacity recording meters bigger by grabbing the right-hand edge and pulling sideways.

That should cover it.



There it is.


You should add at least one of these…

Several RCA to RCA stereo cables. 1/8’" to 1/8" stereo cables, and at least two RCA couplers.

The truly obsessive (and successful) recordist also has a backup way to record the show when the computer falls into the mud.


thanks for all your help w/ this. I don’t feel quite so much like a dummy. pat