Im looking to put together a recording set up in a venue I work in where buy it will be able to record the audio output in 2 separate rooms to a single PC source simultaneously. What Id imagine I will need to do is to link the DJ mixer/mixing desk in each room via audio cables to a soundcard with 2 inputs in the PC, which will have Audacity as the recording software. A few questions
1/ What type of PC would be ideal for this kind of operation?
2/ Any advice on a good value for money soundcard which could do this efficiently
3/ Can audacity record two independent sources simultaneously in real time and if not, could you recommend any programs which will?
If you are happy with mono recording you will not need anything special - most sound cards will do the job (but probably not on-board sound cards as they are usually rubbish quality. I use a Behringer UCA 202 with a mixing desk to record the main output and it works great (and only around $30). Most PCI sound cards will also work well. You would pan one “room” to the left and the other “room” to the right and would then be able to split the stereo (Left/Right) into 2 mono channels after recording.
If you require stereo for each room then you will need a multi-channel sound card (such as M-AUDIO - Delta 1010LT ) These are a lot more expensive than regular stereo sound cards, but the quality is very good. There have been reports that the Delta 1010LT works with Audacity, but sometimes needs a bit of fiddling with the drivers for the initial set up.
Other multi-channel hardware includes various firewire devices such as the Alesis MultiMix devices.
For running multiple sound cards on Windows you will need to use ASIO, so perhaps Reaper, Cubase or Sonar would be best.
On Linux to run multiple sound cards you would want to run JACK as the sound system, and then Ardour would probably be the best.
Would anyone have any advice on the spec PC needed for this job?
If it’s a reasonably modern computer then virtually any computer will have enough power. The more important issue is that you have a stable computer.
Use decent quality RAM, a decent motherboard and a hard drive that is at least 7200 RPM. It is a bonus to have 2 internal drives and a large capacity external drive, then you can use one internal drive for your OS and programs and the other internal drive as a data drive, and the external drive for backup storage.
<<<1/ What type of PC would be ideal for this kind of operation?>>>
<<<Would anyone have any advice on the spec PC needed for this job?>>>
Almost any Mac. High quality, Stereo, Line Level sound card built in.
<<<output in 2 separate rooms>>>
That may kill you no matter which computer you’re using. Chance of connecting three different rooms to each other without hum and buzz problems is zero. There’s a reason RCA home style audio cables never come longer than about 15 feet. You can get Speaker Cables longer than that, but not production audio cables. You will need balanced audio feeds between all the rooms or transformers or some method of electrically isolating the rooms from each other. All these solutions are usually expensive.
I can’t connect a PC and a Mac into a sound system at the same time. I don’t mean trouble playing them both at once, I mean playback on one is destroyed by merely connecting the other. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz. I can’t connect my FM receiver directly to the capture system in my PC. Bzzzzzzzzzzz. All this in a fairly highly controlled small house with proper power grounds and polarity verified.
So if you’re going to run into troubles, that’s where it’s going to be.