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There will probably be no mixing on our end
we will just record the live feed and mix it afterwards
The important thing is the transformer isolation. This article helps explain why: http://whirlwindusa.com/support/tech-articles/microphone-splitters At the end of the day, buy what you can afford/justify, but a better quality splitter will reduce the possibility of signal-based problems.RedEye wrote:1) Regarding the splitters, what should I watch for to know if they're good enough quality? I really have no idea. Are they all good? does it matter?
The HD24 is a hard-disk based recorder. You pass signals into it, it records them and can play them back. It's a glorified, digitial, multitrack tape machine, in other words. It doesn't mix, it just records & plays back (and can edit) multiple channels. To mix with it, you have to feed the recorded channels out of the HD24 onto a mixing desk, just like with a tape machine, and you mix and add reverb etc there. Or you can export the files digitally and put them into a computer, if that's how you prefer to do it.RedEye wrote:2) I am not familiar with the Alesis HD24. I'm pretty sure they will probably want to tap in the live stream feed through whatever system we have (because house mix sucks when not in the house). Does it have basic mixing features?
By far the easiest and most compact approach is a laptop with a bunch of interfaces. It's a simple approach, just a single cable from the interfaces to the laptop, done. However it has limitations, mainly that it lacks flexibility, will be overall slightly lower quality and it's harder to upgrade or replace individual bits, such as the mic preamps. With the HD24 you can plug ANY mic preamp(s) or mixing desk into it. The HD24 doesn't care as long as it sees a line-level input. That means you can mix & match your preamps (or indeed anything you put in front of the HD24). For example you could have 8 really nice mic preamps and 16 average/cheap ones. However the individual price of mic preamps means this is a much more expensive route. You're looking at around $300-500 per pair of preamps at the "budget" end, plus the extra cabling. It's more expensive, but more flexible and customisable. Most commonly the HD24 is used with a mixing desk, because you can record from the desk to the HD24, then pass the recorded signal back to the desk for mixing. You've indicated that the space issue rules out a mixing desk, so I would suggest that even though it's technically fine, you shouldn't go with the HD24 + individual mic preamps.RedEye wrote:3) I mentioned space was a problem, but vertical space is ok. Just physical space on the ground. As such, rackmount PC vs laptop doesn't matter. It will all be in the same rack box anyway. If we go computer route, they will probably buy a completely new computer. Given the extra price tag of a new computer, would you recommend getting the alesis24 with preamps?
You don't need to. Once you've split the mic signals, you have your own copy of the signal to do what you like with. So does the FOH guy. You'll never touch each other's gear or signals. Nothing he does will affect you, nothing you do will affect him. That's the whole purpose of splitting the mic signals with mic splitters. You get a raw copy of the mic signal, which you record and can subsequantly do whatever you like with without having any impact on the FOH mix. You can be set up in a different room for all it matters.RedEye wrote:4) Given the price tag already incurred, I would rather not worry about touching the FOH.
There's some debate about the impact preamps have on the sound overall. There's no doubt they are important, but you will find that the differences between preamps are subtle and as long as you have some standard, decent preamps there is little to be gained from putting in high-end preamps. This is all the more so with a live recording rig, where there will be far more important variables outside of the preamps to contend with. You're not going to have the luxury of owning and auditioning multiple different preamps to get the best sound, you'll only have the opportunity to plug up and check the signal levels. Again, this is generally a case of "buy the best you can afford". But, as mentioned, it's most common to use the HD24 with a mixing desk. I kind of mentioned the individual mic preamps as a "hey, look at the crazy stuff you *could* do" option, in reality it's usually only done in studios or if you have a high enough budget that you CAN drop big bucks on individual mic pres.RedEye wrote:As such, if I get the Alesis24, I would need to get separate pres. I very much doubt that they will be amiable to $2500 per 8 channels unless justified. I see price ranges for these go for 400 to 5k. How much does the quality matter for these things given that we are not using studio mics but instead the mics given to us by the house? Given this, can you advise what I should be looking at? I know this is a loaded question, and I apologize in advance. No need to go into full details, I know a little about pres and quality from what I have.
Certainly. A reliable computer is very important, and that is one of the strong arguments for the Alesis HD24. It's very reliable and doesn't suffer from many of the problems a PC does. It's explicitly designed for this type of application, with high throughput and long sessions with large files.RedEye wrote:5) When I was recording with my pc, I was sweating bullets, worried it would crash. I have never done recordings that long. Logically, I know computers nowadays are powerful enough that it shouldn't crash while recording the few tracks I've done, but I was nervous nonetheless. Am I overly paranoid about this or is this a concern? I've never recorded with more than 6 before the concert, should I be concerned about 24?
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