Hi everyone! I have a few questions as I’m fairly new to Audacity and was thinking of using it as the recording solution for a table-top gaming podcast a group of us are looking to set up.
I’m wondering if anyone has run into any recording issues with Audacity from multiple USB multi-sources?
I’m considering picking up one of two hardware setups and wondering if I’ll run into any issues:
TASCAM US-16x08 (16 channels is overkill for me as I truly only need 6 maximum)
TASCAM US-4x4 and US-2x2 (ideally using the both sets of XLR inputs as I need up to six hard mics).
Will Audacity automatically grab the channels from the TASCAM usb device or will there be configuration within Audacity required (other than “select recording source”)?
If I have two USB devices (if I were to use both the 4x4 and the 2x2 simultaneously), will Audacity allow me to select both USB audio-sources and will it automatically see and record the total of six channels (4 from one device and 2 from the second)- or will I have to Macgyver Audacity to see both separate sources simultaneously?
Lastly, has anyone had any issues/experience with recording a 4 hour audio session in Audacity? I’m worried about lock-ups or freezing.
The pc I’ll be using is an i7 4790k, Windows 10 x64 OS, 16gb memory (in case anyone needs to know).
Not quite the right words. You want a four hour uncompressed multi-track recording. And then, the first change or edit you make, Audacity is going to try to save the whole show again as an UNDO. And it will do that at every edit.
So horsing around all that data is only one problem, actually recording it with no skips, jumps or pops from live data management problems may be a challenge.
I’m not saying you can’t do that, but that’s a massive job and I would put money on not being able to finish the production without some problems somewhere.
And that’s if the machine isn’t doing anything else. If this is your email, browsing, Skype and DropBox machine, chances of success go way down.
I guess I should have said “4 hour audio project” or something along those lines? Still new to how it works, heh.
So my recording machine is only being used for recording. As we’ll be playing a table-top (pen and paper) game, the pc will only be used for recording. As for adjustments/levels, I should be able to adjust them in real-time via the mixer board I’m considering picking up (the TASCAM 16x08) so I won’t have to stop editing or whatnot on the pc. The only exception being if/when we take a short break mid-gaming session, it would make sure the recorded sessions would only be about 1 to 2 hours (give or take) in length at most.
I have a half terabyte (512gb) worth of space on an SSD pair in RAID0 - so reading/writing is leaps and bounds faster than traditional spindle drives. I would assume that recording without and stuttering at that point shouldn’t be a problem (given the write capabilities of the SSD in RAID0, the 16gb memory as well as the sheer power behind the CPU (i7 4790k 4.0ghz quad core). Has anyone had issues with the initial recording (and subsequent editing) of anything over three hours in length?
It’s good to get all those other words in there as well because they all help predict the amount of data you’re going to have to juggle. Even if you do a plain mono voice recording, the “size” of the work inside Audacity is going to be larger than straight sound files. Audacity works at very high quality internally to allow effects and filters without harming the quality. And then you intend multiple ones of those and then keep the whole thing working for four hours.
You’re much further ahead on this compared with New Users trying to jam all that plus a computer game plus conferencing all on the same machine. There is zero chance that would work.
I can think of two operating and one nightmare problem. Are you going to individually mic each person? Lavalier? Each one is going to leak. You will never be able to completely isolate one voice and correct it or apply effects or filters. You will always have a tiny fraction of all the other voices in there with the target voice.
It’s not by accident those two people are so far apart.
The fuzzy rule is 3 to 1. Measure the distance between the microphone and lips. The next performer should be at least three times that distance further away. More is good.
If you pause the recording to go out for lunch… Ummmm. The obsessive part of me wants to select each track and File > Export Selected save each person as an individual WAV sound file. Then start up a whole new session when you get back. DO NOT use MP3 anywhere in the production.
Yes, you can File > Save A Project only once and that should save all your tracks in proper order, alignments, volumes, etc. That’s what Projects do. However, there are regular instances where Projects do not play back after you make one. If a project fails, there’s the first half of the show straight into the mud.
The nightmare scenario is having one of your RAID drives fail. Even with patching, undo and data retrieval, there’s no good way to bring back the show if that happens. That’s not likely, but there’s no production I can’t make worse with almost no effort.
There used to be a 13-hour time limit, but I think that’s gone in Audacity 2.1.2.
You should probably restart the computer and let it settle before you press record for the performance.
I should be able to adjust them in real-time via the mixer board
I probably wouldn’t fall in love with that idea. I would get voice levels from everybody and make sure no voice ever goes into overload and then leave it all alone. This is the perfect scenario for multi-track Post Production. Balance all the voices later…if you need to.This is assuming we’re still recording six or eight individual tracks.
What’s the product? What’s the goal? Why are we going through all this?
How live is the room? Is this going to sound like six guys recording in a barn? No, scratch that. Barns are actually not that bad for recording. Like six guys recording in a Kitchen.
I’m glad to hear I’m a bit further ahead on this! While I may be new to digital recording, the basics of audio recording and engineering I learned at a young age (small 10 channel sound board for a band in highschool saw me move to a 32 channel for the church I went to in school, haha). The basics are going to come in handy I’m sure
What we’re doing is identical to what comedian Brian Posehn did with his friends (podcast called “Nerd Poker”) and this general setup pictured is what we’ll be doing ourselves:
It’s literally a group of us long-time nerds (each with a profession within the comics/artist/gaming industry) all getting together to play a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. We were approached by a podcast network in our city if we would be willing to put a weekly show together and this is what we’re tossing around now. I have months to plan ahead so I’m just getting the preliminary work out of the way.
Distance between players right now is about 3 feet as we have a large enough space for it.
The room we’ll be recording in is a low-ceiling basement (ceiling about 6’4" tall), 25’ long and roughly 12’ wide. As for echoing, there is virtually none as the space is fairly packed with buddy’s junk since it’s a basement, so as for acoustic foam on the walls, I can’t see it being needed.
Each participant will have a mic to themselves (thus each channel being recorded simultaneously and individually). I’m on the fence about “acoustic backing” to each mic (rounded faux-wall to help lessen sound from leaking in except directly from the front/user) so testing will be done.
For recording and pausing, what I’m thinking I might do (to lessen any potential for memory strain) is have us all stop simultaneously every 30 minutes to 1 hour simply to save the project as is (i.e. “group_part_1”) and then begin recording, saving that another hour later as part 2, etc. You’re saying that when I stop recording, I can save each individual channel as its own individual wave? For example, when everything is recorded as is (we break to record another hour), would I go FILE > EXPORT MULTIPLE and simply “yes” to everything?
I still have a 10k RPM Raptor drive in this tower I could easily use for my project drive if I don’t like how the SSD RAID is going (or if I’m paranoid). The eventual hard copies of the files I’d work on would be stored on to my spindle drives regardless (SSD RAID would just be the temp/recording drive to ensure it’s keeping up with the recording as it occurs). From there I would network transfer it to my 24tb media server in my office room (that’s another story for another day, heh).
I can’t either. Boxes of trash are good. We like trash. I turned out two terrific sound shoots from a storage closet with boxes of paper files at work. Garages are not terrible places to record for the same reason.
Audacity doesn’t Save sound files. It only saves Projects. To get a sound file you have to Export one. I’ve never used Export Multiple so you may be the expert on that.
Try it as an experiment to make sure you get what you think you’re going to get.
I think you have most of this nailed. The only shortcoming I can think of is making the mixer mount as a multi-channel device. Some mixers get to “multi-channel” with collections of stereo channels. Audacity will only recognize one stereo service. If you really offend the sound gods, it will be the last one.
“How come Audacity only records mixer channels 15 and 16?”
Audacity does not easily support ASIO software.
I would put a moving blanket on the desk to avoid “slap” echo. Pay attention to just the desk in these pix.
Koz, you’ve been a great help in providing plenty of information I hadn’t thought about (especially the towels/blankets) and cause to make me re-think things I thought I had figured out, heh! I appreciate all of it!
I’ll easily get to play around with things as I’m beginning to think I’ll grab the Tascam 16x08 board and begin playing with it as soon as I can (it will still likely be a minimum of a month or two before I pick it up), not to mention the mics themselves. Since table-space is needed while playing, I may end up getting some sort of an “attachable” stand to mount to the table itself (along the edging) but that could easily change over the next few months.
As for playing with Audacity, I don’t have any mics or anything like that connected to my pc at present, but just for fun I recorded two blank tracks simultaneously for about ten seconds. I used the Export Multi function and it created two respective wav files to my desktop, one per track and labelled them 1 and 2 for me. Beyond this I’ll have to wait until I get the board and test it out to see how it goes (not to mention test various recording lengths to compare against file sizes).
You’re miles ahead of most first-time users, so I’m not worried. Post back if you find a problem you can’t explain or fix.
Export Protection Copies of each shoot, or make, say, thumb drive copies before you start post production editing. There should be no reason to go back and shoot it again unless the original recording was damaged.
It’s a very new-user mistake to make a recording and then edit that exact sound file, stepping on the file with corrections as they go. Then the computer falls over and their show is garbage all the way back to shooting it again.
The pictures show other tricks. That book/towel thing is how to avoid picking up floor and building vibrations in your microphone. You need both. The towel provides sloppy isolation from the desk and the book provides a high inertia, heavy base. Between them you get almost total isolation.
The gold conference room microphone is heavy and sitting in a rubbery vibration mount. So that’s the heavy and sloppy. This is the mount with a different microphone. You can just see the black “rubber bands” in there.