Problem: Recording the multi channel USB output from a soundboard.
System Configuration: Tecra A11, i7 M640 2.8 GHz, 3GB RAM, WIN XP SP3, Realtek Audio Drivers Audacity v2.0.1
I am trying to record the channelized output from most common soundboards equipped with a USB output, up to at least 16 individual channels. In the past, I have been limited to an Aux output, or headphone monitor output. These have been a mixed stereo output being input to the computer via the stereo mic jack input.
When I load Audacity the default settings are as follows:
Audio Host: MME
Optional Choice: Windows Direct Sound
Input: Realtek HD Audio Input: Mic Volume
Optional choices: Realtek HD Audio Input: Stereo Mix, or Microsoft Sound Mapper – Input
Are any additional drivers or Codec required in order for the computer AND/OR Audacity to recognize the channelized board output VIA the USB connection?
What would be the correct Audacity settings for Audio Host and/or input in order to record the multi channel input?
Once any needed drivers or Codec are installed, and the mixer/computer are connected via the USB, will Audacity automatically recognized all available channel inputs and create the necessary audio tracks, or must sufficient audio tracks be created and assigned manually?
I believe these are the three major problems to overcome in order to capture the proper recording.
I sing with what might be considered a semi-professional (all volunteer) gospel choir, and have been trying desperately to record our
performances. Many of the venues we perform in have their own sound systems and boards to which I am able to patch into via my laptop. We also sometimes have a sound engineer and equipment but to date no proper recording capability. I believe that with the right configuration of software that I can capture a proper recording.
You used a couple of fuzzy words there. You have an external, self-contained sound mixer which you think has a multi-channel digital bitstream USB output. The object is to capture that bitstream as a multi-channel project in Audacity (or some other program).
You left out the description of the sound mixer. That’s important. Most mixers mix down to stereo before they deliver the USB show. Did the mixer come with any software or drivers? Does it specifically say it supported multiple digital channels?
Audacity will manage multiple audio tracks at once, but nobody can get that many channels in and out of the computer.
I am trying to record the channelized output from most common soundboards equipped with a USB output, up to at least 16 individual channels.
You’re trying to make a 16-channel recording, right???
First, check to make sure the mixer’s USB output supports multi-channel recording. Many do not, and you only get the mixed stereo. If it does support multi-channel recording, I’d check the manufacturer’s website to see what recording software they recommend. If it does do multichannel recording, usually the mixer it will come with some software, or you may need to buy a full DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as [u]REAPER[/u] ($60 USD for personal/non-profit/small business use).
I sing with what might be considered a semi-professional (all volunteer) gospel choir, and have been trying desperately to record our performances. Many of the venues we perform in have their own sound systems and boards to which I am able to patch into via my laptop.
With that kind of music, sometimes you’ll get the best results by recording with a pair of carefully placed microphones, separate from the PA/sound reinforcement. A lot of the sound is acoustic, so the PA mix is different from what you hear live so the PA mix doesn’t make a good recording. With stereo mics, you loose the benefits of close-micing (unwanted audiance noise) and you loose the ability to adjust the mix in post-production, but you also save the time & effort of post-production mixing.
If I was recording this type of performance… In a “perfect world”, I’d use a minimum number of microphones/tracks (but probably more than 2 mics/channels) and I’d rely on the acoustic mix and the “room sound”… And, I’d record with no audiance.
And you’d get a lot of pushback from the producers. A theater with no people in it is a echo-ridden cavern and performances without the audience are sterile and flat.
-[audience support and applause].
The trick is kill the audience mics during the show.
But you’re right. We recorded our chorus and band for a recording millions of years ago using multiple techniques, and the best recording was the single microphone at the back of the theater – full of people.
You are right, that’s up to the producer. But come-on, most recorded music is not recorded live. Probably 1% of my CDs are “live”. And, when non-live music is recorded in a concert hall, there are acoustic treatments to compensate for the lack of a sound-absorbing audience.
Thanks for the fast replies.
Most of our performances are made in surrounding churches. Many of the people “in charge” of the host church equipment are extremely cooperative in allowing me to patch into and in some cases operate their equipment. I have run into a few who are not all that “familiar” with all the capabilities of their equipment. The one engineer I talked with said that his board was capable of exporting up to 16 separate channels via the USB interface. When I connected my laptop to the board, it seemed like my laptop did not recognize the connection, which made me wonder if I needed a separate driver for the laptop to see the connection. In some of the venues we were in, I was not able to patch into their boards because I did not have the right cables or adapters. That is why I made up a stereo XLR – ¼” cable and purchased a XLR gender changer just in case I ran into that again.
As I am one of the performers, I try to arrive early just so I can find the sound people and try to work something out. I am by far not a pro at this but understand much of the basics so I can talk with the sound people without sounding like a complete novice and they are more willing to help. This also means that I usually do not have a large amount of time to setup and check all the input levels to their boards and completely adjust my program or laptop settings. So many times the recording has been “saturated” and a large amount of clipping takes place, especially during any of the solos. Therefore, I was thinking that if I could record the channels I could do a better job of post editing/mixing the individual channels rather than trying to massage the bulk audio.
Once I learned that the one boards had the ability to export the channels I started thinking that for those that did that I came across I could take advantage of that feature. For those that did not I would have to spend a tad more time on setup to avoid saturation of the recording.
By the way, I am a member of The Pittsburgh Gospel Choir and we do have a website to which we recently posted a few songs from past performances we were very lucky to capture which turned out better than most. http://www.pittsburghgospelchoir.org