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Audio Refugees • View topic - I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

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I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby thelonerambler » Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:25 pm

Does anyone have any experience with this? What programs and equipment do I need?
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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby Stevo » Fri Oct 02, 2009 6:14 pm

At the most basic level, all you need is the laptop itself, any recording software, and a cable.

Typically the board will have an extra pair of line-outs, either 1/4" or XLR jacks - 1/4" probably more common. Your laptop should already have a stereo 1/8" line-in jack. You can pick up a cable that has 2 male 1/4" plugs on one end, and a stereo 1/8" plug on the other. Like this:

If your laptop is a Mac I think it should already have software that can record stereo audio. If it's a PC, there are number of free audio recording programs on the web. Just do a Google search for "free audio recording software" and take a look at some. Be sure and choose one that will work with whatever Windows OS you are using.

(I use Sound Forge which is a great 2-track recorder/editor, but it does have a significant price tag.)

A couple of caveats:

1) Your laptop might only have a mic input and no line-in. If that's the case, you can still record, but only one channel (mono). In order to record in stereo you would need some kind of USB or Firewire audio interface. There are a zillion of them out there, with a wide range of features and prices. Here is just one example:


2) Unless you are in a large venue, you might not get a good mix directly from the board. The reason is that in small to medium sized venues, the PA is often used just to supplement what is coming directly off the stage. In other words, it's mostly drums, vocals, and some bass going through the PA, with little to no guitars, as the guitar amps might be loud enough already. In these situations, you won't get a very good mix off the board for recording. If the board happens to have a completely separate output bus for recording purposes, and the you're really nice to the sound guy, he might be able to dial in a specific mix to send to your laptop that is completely separate from the mix going to the PA. If not, your best bet is to just set up two microphones for your laptop and record the live room sound.

The absolute ideal recording setup is being able to record multiple channels at once, like 8 or 16 channels, fed by direct outs from each channel on the board, and then you are able to take it home and mix it down however you want. But for that you have to invest a lot more money in audio interfaces and software (and a cable snake). I can go into more detail on that if you want, but it sounded like you were just after the basics at the moment.

Hope this helps!

Peace,
-Stevo
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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby thelonerambler » Fri Oct 02, 2009 11:56 pm

Thanks Stevo
That was great, alot of much needed info!!
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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby pharquartt » Sat Oct 03, 2009 4:47 am

now is the infinite opposite
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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby thelonerambler » Mon Oct 05, 2009 9:13 pm

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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby Stevo » Mon Oct 05, 2009 10:07 pm

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Re: I'd like to record right off the board to laptop

Postby Jay » Tue Oct 06, 2009 6:35 am

Do you want to be able to mix individual tracks or just record whatever the house mix is? If it's the latter, prepare to be somewhat disappointed because what you get from the board on a live mix rarely translates well to a recorded medium. If you want a decent mix, you should record as many tracks individually as possible in which case you'd need some kind of interface. There're lots of options out there; M-Audio is good mid-level option -- lotta bang for your buck.
Prunes!
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