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Significant step up in recording quality?

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  • Significant step up in recording quality?

    Right now I record my band live off the floor (always, no tracking) and get pretty decent results. However, being musician/hobbyist/gear-whore I'm always looking for better. My current setup is as follows:

    Mackie CR1604 (not vlz, not pro, the original)
    I use 10 channels

    channels 1-3 (XLR w/pre) = vocals (lead + 2 backup)
    channels 4-5 (XLR w/pre) = guitar1, guitar2 (both cabs mic'd with 57's)
    channel 6 (XLR w/pre) = overhead (modded MXL 603)
    channel 7 (1/4 unbalanced line) = kick (D112)
    channel 8 (1/4 unbalanced line) = snare (57)
    channel 9 (1/4 unbalanced line) = tom (57)
    channel 10 (1/4 unbalanced line) = Sansamp bass DI

    I then run 2 1/4 to rca cables from the "mains out" into an Audiophile 24/96 card and record in Soundforge.

    Question 1: Would swapping the mixer with a PV14 or Yamaha MG12 make a significant difference (the "wet blanket off the speakers" kinda difference) since I'd have all channels using bal XLRs w/pre's + rca tape outs and I'm sure a few other improvements(better pre's?).

    Question 2: Whether I change mixers or not, since I record everything live down to to a stereo track, would putting an outboard compressor in front of the kick and snare be beneficial to add punch/level control?

    Sorry for the long winded (cross)post....
    "Man......that ****************ing bass sounds fatter than Fat Albert, it's friggin' huge" - My guitarist

    wow. I think you just channeled some mikgag-level anger there... - Incubitabus

    It's with sadness that we inform you of the sudden death of mikgag. - hasbeen

    Commander in Chief of the G&L Army

    Big Edith...will **************** you up

  • #2

    Question 1: Would swapping the mixer with a PV14 or Yamaha MG12 make a significant difference (the "wet blanket off the speakers" kinda difference) since I'd have all channels using bal XLRs w/pre's + rca tape outs and I'm sure a few other improvements(better pre's?).


    A Toft ATB would, the others will, but not enough to warrant the expense.

    Question 2: Whether I change mixers or not, since I record everything live down to to a stereo track, would putting an outboard compressor in front of the kick and snare be beneficial to add punch/level control?


    Probably not unless you have the ability to tailor the response of the unit for each individual song... AND you were using a pretty high quality unit [a unit that would not be found where you found the other stuff you're running].

    Best of luck with your quest!!
    .
    CN Fletcher

    Professional affiliations:

    R/E/P -- professional Recording Engineer and Producer forums... serious hobbyists welcome

    mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
    We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

    "I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." -A. Whitney Brown

    Comment


    • #3
      So if you were to throw any money at this setup you'd suggest better mics? You think the difference between the old Mackie and the new Yamaha is that small?
      "Man......that ****************ing bass sounds fatter than Fat Albert, it's friggin' huge" - My guitarist

      wow. I think you just channeled some mikgag-level anger there... - Incubitabus

      It's with sadness that we inform you of the sudden death of mikgag. - hasbeen

      Commander in Chief of the G&L Army

      Big Edith...will **************** you up

      Comment


      • #4
        What I would do is get a multi channel card like an M-audio 10X10 for $199 or a firewire interface for the computer so u can record 8~10 tracks at the same time. Then tap the channel inserts and send them to to the interface. This would allow you to have seperate tracks for all the instruments. You van then manipulate the tracks and use compression and EQs etc as well as adjusting gain for each channel on the computer to get a really good mix.

        Comment


        • #5
          Dynamic mics (your tom/snare 57's and kick D112) plugged into 1/4" line inputs isn't exactly the "best" situation for them.

          From the way you say you are plugging things in (XLR on ch 1-6 and 1/4" and on ch 7-10) it sounds like you have a 1402 not a 1604 mixer there.

          If you actually have a 1604 you should connect your snare, tom, and kick mics to the XLR inputs not the 1/4" of course if you have a Mackie 1402 you don't have XLR on ch 7-10 (ch 7-14 actually as they are stereo or mono channels).

          Seperate control after recording would be really nice here so I would agree with WRGKMC and say look at getting a multi-channel recording interface. Get something with a bunch of inputs and you can run all kind of compressors or whatever effects you like on your tracks with software for free.

          Comment


          • #6
            Dynamic mics (your tom/snare 57's and kick D112) plugged into 1/4" line inputs isn't exactly the "best" situation for them.

            From the way you say you are plugging things in (XLR on ch 1-6 and 1/4" and on ch 7-10) it sounds like you have a 1402 not a 1604 mixer there.


            it is the 1604, 1/4 on channels 7-16 (I only use up to #10)

            As much as I'd like a Firewire setup, it's out of my budget and I'd also need a new computer. I'd like to keep the setup I have now as it's great for recording live jams/ideas and sounds good when we actually nail a song. I guess my main question is there a big enough difference in the pre's of the CR1604(non vlz) and a Yamaha MG16....(also taking into account I'd be able to switch all my dynamics from 1/4 line over to XLR/pre)

            I can get a minty MG16/6fx locally for $180....is it worth the swap, or spend the $ on better mics
            "Man......that ****************ing bass sounds fatter than Fat Albert, it's friggin' huge" - My guitarist

            wow. I think you just channeled some mikgag-level anger there... - Incubitabus

            It's with sadness that we inform you of the sudden death of mikgag. - hasbeen

            Commander in Chief of the G&L Army

            Big Edith...will **************** you up

            Comment


            • #7


              I can get a minty MG16/6fx locally for $180....is it worth the swap, or spend the $ on better mics


              $180.00 is a good chunk of a multi-channel interface, in my opinion going that route would get you the most bang for the buck by far.

              Your mics are decent and your preamps are nothing to get excited about but are usable so I would say decent software eq and compression on each channel would be your best move forward and a multi-channel interface would allow that.

              Comment


              • #8
                So if you were to throw any money at this setup you'd suggest better mics? You think the difference between the old Mackie and the new Yamaha is that small?


                There are lots of places where improvement is very possible... I'd probably suggest you start with the desk... however doing a "sideways" move [like a new Mackie or Yamaha or Allen & Heath] would be illadvised.

                Mics... new output transformers for your 57's should help big time [$75- each and about 15 minutes worth of work] and punting the MXL bit of nonsense for something close to a real mic would be a definite plus... you don't necessarily need a condenser in that application... but even something like a Sennheiser MD-441 should yeild a great improvement in clarity and distinction... then you get into the province where you'll probably start hearing all kinds of weird ["boxy"] stuff in your recording environment [unless you're recording gigs... traditionally rehearsal spaces sound like complete ass]... but there is damn little you can do about that except move.

                Hope this is of some assistance.

                Peace.
                .
                CN Fletcher

                Professional affiliations:

                R/E/P -- professional Recording Engineer and Producer forums... serious hobbyists welcome

                mwagener wrote on Sat, 11 September 2004 14:33
                We are selling emotions, there are no emotions in a grid

                "I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants." -A. Whitney Brown

                Comment


                • #9
                  You dont need a super high end computer to do multitracking even though it is a goal to get there eventually to have the additional resources available. My recomendation is get a multitrack interface first. The benifits in being able to have seperate tracks you can edit and maximize the sound quality of each with plugins like EQs Reverb Echo you name it, will blow away any hardware pumped into stereo mix. Even though bands like the Beatles did it in stereo and bouncing tracks, they had master engineers mixing the signals at the same time. Once you have multitrack capibility yes things like mikes will be next on the list.

                  As far as running drum mikes hiZ I would get a bunch of Low to high end of cord type transformers. They cost about $11 and will give alot more gain and sound quality on those mikes. (Most mixer low Z inputs have the same transformer mounted on the inside of the board to convert the signal to Hi Z before amplification)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    As far as running drum mikes hiZ I would get a bunch of Low to high end of cord type transformers. They cost about $11 and will give alot more gain and sound quality on those mikes.

                    (Most mixer low Z inputs have the same transformer mounted on the inside of the board to convert the signal to Hi Z before amplification)


                    Actually most mixers (especially budget ones) made in the last couple of decades are transformerless.


                    Mackie 1604's I have worked on had 16 XLR inputs but now that I think about it there were some that had only six and the rest were line channels.

                    $30.00 plus spent on low to high Z transformers would in my book be a waste. The $180 you are thinking about dropping on a mixer is a good portion of a computer interface especially if you look at used stuff. That's the direction you should be headed in not spending money on bandaids for your current system which is really kind of a dead end if you want to progress with recording quality.

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