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Recording off the board at the gig


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  • Recording off the board at the gig

    I recently bought a ZOOM R16 recorder (8 simultaneous inputs) to record our shows with (and maybe do a few demos too).

    I hooked it up at last practice using the line outs on my MixWiz and found that even with the gain on the Zoom inputs all the way counter clockwise, I was still tickling the limiters on the inputs.  


    There doesn't appear to be a PAD on the input of the Zoom (boy that would have been handy), and no way to tune down the line outs from the MixWiz.  

    The options I have come up with so far:

    1. Return it and get something else
    2. Get line attenuators for all 8 lines
    3. Mess up my mixer setup and lower the gain on all channels

    On the positive side, the Zoom sounded very clean in its recording ability.  At practice, I was able to quickly make a decent mix out of the recording, apply a little verb to the vocals, and play back our music making it sound almost indistinguishable from the original performance.

    I also took the SD card out and was able to very quickly put the files on the computer and edit in my DAW. It appears on the DAW that the limiter lights were not lying.  Strong kick hits, bass slaps, and loud portions of the vocals all clipped digitally.  I would say that the amount of clipping in the actual recording was way lower than what the limit lights would have led me to believe (which I sort of figured since the playback sounded pretty good).

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding

  • #2
    What about th headphone jack? It would have a volume knob...
    PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

    LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


    • OneEng
      OneEng commented
      Editing a comment

      That would only have the stereo mix, not all 8 input tracks.

  • #3

    Well, looking a little closer at the specs and it looks like the Zoom R16 has a max input of 4db.


    I generally setup the gain so that the max transient goes to around 6-8 db, so I guess it makes sense that I am getting clipping on the input of the R16.


    Where do you guys set your gain?  On my MixWiz, 6-8db is about 3/4 into the yellow VU meter.


    I think that if I were to set the gain so that the max was closer to 0-2 (near the green to yellow on the VU meter), it would keep this from happening.

    Are there any adverse effects to the live sound from setting the gain like this?

    With Greater Knowledge Comes Greater Understanding


    • Pro Sound Guy
      Pro Sound Guy commented
      Editing a comment

      You said....I think that if I were to set the gain so that the max was closer to 0-2 this would solve the issue.


      Indeed you have hit the nail on the head.  Run the output of the Mixwiz so your hitting Zero (unity)


      Keep in mind this is zero's and one's and not tape saturation


      Very simple fix for a seemingly complex issue.



  • #4

    Zoom recorders are notorious for having line inputs designed for "consumer line input" (-10) and overloading when fed a +4 signal from pro gear.

    If you're not using the channel inserts, then what about tapping into the channel inserts with a shorted 1/4" TRS insert cable? You can get those pre-made from HOSA, or make them up yourself. The signal will still run through the channel as usual, you're just gettin a tap for recording. This also gets you a clean signal pre-FX and EQ (I think?) which gives you more flexibility for mixdown, later on.

    I use the HOSA cables on the inserts of my Soundcraft MFXi8 to make rehearsal recordings and it works fine. I'm using gear that accepts a +4 signal without problems, but the signal coming off the inserts is lower level anyway (usually), so it should work on Zoom gear. You can try it with just one shorted cable to see if it works.


    • OneEng
      OneEng commented
      Editing a comment

      I checked out the more expensive Tascam db24 and it only accepts +2db max, so this doesn't appear to be just Zoom.


      I just received a TRS 8 channel snake.  I'll give it a try.

  • #5

    I use the ZOOM R16.... don't have much problem recording with it.   Just make sure you have your gain structures set on the MixWiz.


    Either that, or... Allen & Heath is now coming out with the ICE-16.     Looks to be a really great product.


    ​Boston Common Band - Boston Wedding Bands
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    • #6
      I guess run all your mic gains lower, use the zoom as a guide, and the. Have your master louder...
      PA Unity15's over LS800p's. YX15's, YX12's IPR power, RM32AI

      LightsMartin Minimac Profiles, Chauvet Intimidator Spot Duos, Blizzard 3NX, Fab5, Hotbox


      • agedhorse
        agedhorse commented
        Editing a comment

        A couple of things...

        The balanced input is looking for a mic as a source, while I prefer about 3k as a mic input impedance, 1k is going to be plenty fine as well. For line input, 50k is common. I also suspect that the 50k line input Z is part of a pad network that feeds the internal head amp, and 50k//1k is a 34dB difference between mic and line in a pad configuration making it a likely reason.

        If you are having an issue with too much level, you can build 12dB of pad into the send connectors using 22k series element and 4.7k shunt element. Using 1/8 watt resistors there's plenty of room. This is a simple -10 to +4dB conversion.

    • #7

      I record live bands off of my MixWizard into a M-Audio Microtrack II recorder all the time and it sounds great. Here's the trick... use the two AB Out jacks to feed the recorder. This is your front-of-house mix, and you can set its volume from the AB Out volume knob just above the main sliders. I set mine at about 9 o'clock (one quarter volume) and adjust my recorder so it doesn't go into the red. It makes great recordings!

      Just make sure to set the detented switch to the up position for ALT LR OUT.

      MixWizard AB Out VolumeMixWizard Rear

      Attached Files


      • VanHalen
        VanHalen commented
        Editing a comment

        You will probably need a different recorder if you want to do multi-track recordings unless you can find a way to attenuate all eight direct outs.