This last weekend I recorded a gig. Multitrack. 16 channels. Into a MacBook Pro. With Logic Pro X. All tracks at 96khz. It was an interesting learning experience.
The equipment used was a Mackie Onyx 1620i mixer (firewire enabled), and an old Presonus. The Presonus was basically being used for the preamps and each one of those was being lined into the Mackie mixer. We tested this several weeks ago, and it seemed to work just fine. On the gig, the Presonus didn’t sound all that great. Not sure why, perhaps I didn’t have the gains up enough, or what. There was too much going on and I didn’t check every little thing. Luckily we were just using the Presonus for the drum set, and it did get the snare, kick, and two toms fairly well. The floor tom, for whatever reason, sounded like crap. Not sure if the mic was crapping out (Audix drumset mics, fairly new), or bad cable or connector or placement. It was rattling and picked up more hihat than floor tom. Basically that track was lost. Luckily the overhead mic, my trusty Rode NT4 did a most excellent job capturing the drum set.
The piano player brought his set of Audix SCX25A piano mics. They sounded fabulous. The bass player had a line out of his amp, and I also placed one of my AKG C414s in front of his bass to get the plucking sound. I was pretty happy with that. For trumpet, since I was running out of mics, we used a Sennheiser 421 on trumpet. On woodwinds, we used my other AKG C414 (the EB version, the other 414 is a ULS).
Setting up was fairly easy, but I ran into a couple of problems. First, not enough cables. I thought I had brought enough XLR cables, but when I was unpacking, there were not enough. Well, there were cables, but I generally needed LONGER ones than I thought I would have. That is a problem I didn’t expect and whenever I record in this setup again, I hope to bring longer cables. It was also one of the reasons I used the NT4 for a drum overhead rather than my “plan two” (which is a simple stereo recording using my Marantz recorder incase shit happens with the computer setup). I didn’t have enough cables to do two drum overheads.
Recording into Logic Pro X was easy. In fact, that was the only thing I didn’t seem to have to worry about. I had planned out a great strategy ahead of time. I bought a 120 gig SSD external drive for the Macbook Pro, and used that to record all the audio too. Worked absolutely flawlessly. The Mackie was connected to the firewire and the SSD was on the USB. No glitches, nada. Flawless. $140 well spent.
There was a LOT of bleed across almost all the mics. Not really a bad thing, as I don’t really need to use any reverb plugins at the moment (still in the process of tweaking things)