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Tony Palmer


From:
St Augustine,FL
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 5:35 am    
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I’m remodeling my music room and need a new PA (head only). I have two standard PA speakers in good working order and thinking of getting a powered mixer to drive them but want it to do double duty to send a mixed signal to a recording setup (currently a Tascam DP-01 but soon to change to a laptop and recording software).
My thought is to have my steel and guitar set up to their respective amps, each miked, and a Roland arranger keyboard direct to the PA and of course a couple of vocal mikes.
Looking for a powered mixer that will mainly be used for vocals and the keyboard live but also able to take a mixed output to send to a recording device.
In other words a music room for jams or full band rehearsals but is already set up to record.
Thoughts?
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 10:42 am     Questions & Ideas
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What is the desired price range? With or without built-in effects? USB port digital stereo output or is an analog stereo line level output okay?

Here are some examples of available powered mixers: https://www.guitarcenter.com/Powered-Mixers.gc#pageName=subcategory-page&N=19715+1078&Nao=0&recsPerPage=30&postalCode=27402&radius=100&profileCountryCode=US&profileCurrencyCode=USD

I believe you will have difficulty finding a powered mixer with a USB audio interface at a reasonable price.

At the same time line mixers with a USB interface are very common so prices are competitive. If you are seeking something with a USB audio interface I would search for USB line mixers and use the analog output of the mixer to drive an amplifier. Here is one example: https://www.americanmusical.com/alesis-multimix8usbfx-eight-channel-mixer-with-effects-usb/p/ALE-MM8USBFX

For mixers with a USB interface there are a few things to be aware of. 1) Most mixers offer a digital stereo out through the USB interface. If you want to send one channel or instrument to the computer you will need to mute or turn down the volume undesired channels. 2) The USB interface may, or may not allow audio to be streamed from the computer. You may have to set up analog cables to receive computer audio.

If having the capability to have a recorded audio file of each instrument is important or desirable you might want to look at the Tascam DP-32SD, Tascam DP-24SD, Tascam Model 12 or Zoom Livetrack L-12. Note the Tascam 32SD & 24SD are the same price ($499 US) and less expensive than the Tascam Model 12 or Zoom L-12 which do less.

https://www.americanmusical.com/tascam-dp-32sd-32-track-digital-portastudio-recorder/p/TAS-DP32SD

https://www.americanmusical.com/tascam-dp-24sd-digital-portastudio-24-track-sd-card-recorder/p/TAS-DP24SD

https://www.americanmusical.com/tascam-model-12-all-in-one-production-mixer/p/TAS-MODEL12

https://www.americanmusical.com/zoom-livetrak-l-12-12-channel-digital-mixer-and-recorder/p/ZOO-ZL12[/url]
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Jack Stoner


From:
New Port Richey Florida
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 12:02 pm    
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If you are going to do computer recording, you don't want to do any mixing prior to recording with the computer recording program. You want everything on separate tracks and then do the mixing or whatever else you want to do to each track with the recording program.

This does require a USB recording interface unit with multiple analog preamp inputs (at least 4). And a computer recording program (DAW) that also has multi track capability. The free Cakewalk by Bandlab is suggested if you need a professional program.

I've been doing computer recording for about 15 years (with paid clients).
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Tony Palmer


From:
St Augustine,FL
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 3:16 pm    
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Thanks guys. I’m trying to balance the value of all separate tracks vs quick convenient recording ability via the mixer/stereo outputs.
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 5:56 pm    
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I agree with Jack that Cakewalk by BandLab is likely the best free DAW available for computers running a 64 bit Windows operating system. https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk

Likewise, Garageband ships on Macintosh computers.

However, there is something to be said about keeping recording capability off a computer. Look at the Tascam DP-24 or 32 reviews. They all talk about how quick and easy it is to record. If you leave your microphones and equipment connected full time to the recorder you can literally push two buttons on the recorder (on and one button record) and be recording in a little over a minute. How long does it take for you to get your computer powered up, audio interface powered up, DAW opened, song project started and tracks armed for recording? With a dedicated recorder like the Tascam recorders you can always export the individual tracks, or the stereo mix, or both to the computer and DAW for additional processing. The recorders can also receive audio files from the computer.

I would get the Tascam DP-32SD recorder if it was me. I have Cakewalk and use it but I use a recorder to create my tracks. In my mind it's the difference between creating music (recorder) and processing audio (the DAW). They are separate tasks that require different skill sets and mind sets.
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Godfrey Arthur

 

From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 18 May 2020 6:25 pm    
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You might want to consider that your recording mixer interface is the first in the chain, all mics going to the recording mixer first, and then a line out of that to the PA head to be used as a monitoring device.

The sonics of the recording mixer would most likely be better than the PA head's.

But if you plan to focus on recording, monitoring what you're hearing should be on something recording grade not sound reinforcement.

Your PA speakers would not be a reference for a recording.

If you segue to a digital recorder, try and get gear that emulates this chain.

If you're going for a live session, you'll have to experiment through trial and error as to what it sounds like to your recording vs what it sounds like live. The more hats you wear you're going to have to get good at most of them.


Muscle Shoals
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Jim Fogle


From:
North Carolina, Winston-Salem, USA
Post  Posted 21 May 2020 9:49 am     Godfrey Arthur Has Got It Right
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I agree with Godfrey Arthur that it is a lot easier to concentrate on one thing, in this case recording, than many. That is way I like keeping the recording function outside the computer.

Dedicated recorders give you the tools (except sometimes a microphone) you need to make a good recording and typically are as easy to use as a cassette or reel-to-reel tape deck.


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Tony Palmer


From:
St Augustine,FL
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 11:17 am    
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Ok I will upgrade my Tascam, as I’ve always liked it and made some decent recordings on it.
However the question remains, I still need a PA head...any recommendations if not a powered mixer?
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Godfrey Arthur

 

From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 23 May 2020 11:34 am    
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Tony Palmer wrote:
Ok I will upgrade my Tascam, as I’ve always liked it and made some decent recordings on it.
However the question remains, I still need a PA head...any recommendations if not a powered mixer?


You need to define for us what your purpose is for this equipment.

Getting a powered mixer is fine but are you recording as you play through your PA? Or do you need to hear yourselves as you record?

There is a bit of confusion as to your plans.

An outright powered mixer can be a Behringer.



But are you going to want to plug and unplug mics away from your recording gear to set up your live sound rig?

And then have to reconnect all that for recording?

Skipping ahead, perhaps you just need a power amp to tap your TASCAM line-outs?



Quote:
Looking for a powered mixer that will mainly be used for vocals and the keyboard live but also able to take a mixed output to send to a recording device.


If you do the above, you may want to consider that (again) recording will be a different process and criteria for a good recording that will be dependent on your source signals than it will be for a live sound system.

Having a PA mixer might work for live but it might not do as well for recording. It depends on which mixer you use for the PA.

You will then need to send lines from each instrument/mic from your PA mixer to your recording mixer. This would mean your PA mixer would need channel inserts (sends from each channel) to go to the inputs on the recording mixer. Still this does not deal with the audio quality of the PA mixer providing signals to your recording mixer. Which would then mean a "snake" cable from the PA mixer to the recording mixer and then individual lines from the recording mixer to your recorder so you can achieve separate tracks.

See how complicated this can get?

It may be easier and better sounding to use your TASCAM as the main mixer, send your recording signals to your recorder from that, and then just send a mono or stereo line to a power amp to feed your speakers off of the TASCAM.

Do your mixing from the TASCAM.

BUT the two processes cannot be expected to go without a hitch. You have a band who will want to hear more or less of themselves. That will present its own set of issues.

And if your recording is done in the same room you plan to do your live playing, the recording engineering will suffer from no separation from the live instruments even if he/she wears headphones. How will you tell what is showing up in the recorder if your're hearing the live amp at the same time?

Can't serve two masters in this case.

One will have to take a back seat.

Expect more connectivity and cable purchases.

Or use headphone mix systems. And those can vary in what they do and how much they cost.

Video below, live jamming in church, acid test for bad acoustics in a quest for sane recordings. Note they use an AVIOM headphone system and a drum shield.

Granted this may not be as far as you'd like to go but these are today's basic environments!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RihPNxg15IU


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Tony Palmer


From:
St Augustine,FL
Post  Posted 2 Jun 2020 6:52 pm    
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Thank you Godfrey. You’ve given me a lot of options I appreciate it.
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Godfrey Arthur

 

From:
3rd Rock
Post  Posted 2 Jun 2020 9:12 pm    
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Tony Palmer wrote:
Thank you Godfrey. You’ve given me a lot of options I appreciate it.


You're welcome Tony!!! Smile
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Nicholas Cox


From:
California, USA
Post  Posted 2 Aug 2020 1:22 pm     Mixer and amp
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I think a mixer and a separate power amp would be the best way to go. That way you can get any mixer you want.
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Bill Moore


From:
Manchester, Michigan
Post  Posted 8 Aug 2020 6:51 pm    
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It sounds like you want to make recordings of rehearsals or gigs. I have made many recordings like that. I used Mackie powered heads, either the 808 or the 406, they both have insert jacks for each channel. By plugging a cord into the insert, just to the first detent, you get a direct line out of that channel. There's probably many other powered micers that have these insert jacks. This was used for all the vocals, and the other instruments were either miked or a direct out from the individual amps. The actual recording device was a Zoom R16. Insert jack, signal out is pre-eq, so you still need to mix each channel for your final recording. All the finished tracks were transferred to the computer, I used Reaper to mix them, add effects etc. Not exactly studio recordings, but the results were pretty good, depending on how much time you wanted to spend mixing.

If you just want a quick recording, and are not concerned with perfection, you can use a 2 channel digital recorder, locate it someplace in front of the band and don't bother with using the powered mixer at all. I used a Zoom H2, to record the whole band at once. If you experiment with where you set up the recorder, you can get a decent basic recording. But even this type of recording can be improved a lot by adding some effects and EQ, I used to load these tracks into Reaper for that.
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