recording live with protools
i shoot alot of live video using 3-4 cameras of different bands in my area but i'd like to get more serious about it and that means getting more serious about the quality of my audio also. up until now i've been using a DAT deck connected to the soundboard, and i've been pretty happy with the results, but i'd really like to have total control over what the final outcome of the audio sounds like. obviously protools is the way to go, but i'm not exactly sure what hardware i would need to hook up to the soundboard and into my computer. i'd like to keep it as portable and budget friendly as possible. because aside from what i use in my studio to do all my post work, i have a 1.5ghz G4 laptop with about a gig of ram and several 200gig LaCie firewire drives. just by casually looking around i assume the Digi Rack 002 would work for my needs, but i could be wrong.
any advice is appreciated
I don't think that moving to a Protools environment in your situation is going to be much of an improvement. If you are just taking a board feed into a DAT, then you are already digital. You say you want "total control" over the audio, but you won't have any more control in Protools than you have in any 2-track editor like Audition or Sound Forge editing your DAT audio. Plus, you will have the headaches of setting up, configuring, and monitoring your computer/Protools rig during the shoot, unless you have a dedicated audio person. It certainly is less "set it and forget it" than a DAT recorder is.
In any case, unless you see yourself multitracking sometime in the future, an M-box will be sufficient for your needs. Some really good mastering plug-ins might give you more bang for your buck.
If you really want total control over your audio, the way to go is to get a splitter snake, split all the mic signals, record them into a multitrack DAW, and remix the whole thing. That would really kick things up a notch...in quality, headaches, and expense. But it would be a lot of fun.
well, i would have a dedicated person to set up and monitor things. i want to be able to record each individual track (i.e. vocals, amps, drums etc.) thats coming through the board and mix it to my liking in post. i have some friends in a pretty well known band and they were recording a live album at a small venue and they had a guy from the recording studio they record at set up at the soundboard with a protools rig recording and the final product sounded great. i just didnt get a chance to talk to the guy about what exactly he was using...but he did it all on a G4 laptop. i'll look into an M-box.
whats the difference between the M-box and the Digi Rack?
Well, there are a lot of things to consider here. Did the guy on the other project take a split of the mics, or a direct outs from the console, or what?
If you are going to do this a lot, at different venues, and you don't split the mics but want to get a feed from the console you have to consider things like:
Is the board capable of outputting each mic seperately? Not all consoles can do this.
Is the board operator WILLING and ABLE to give you feeds. It is not his/her job to give you quality feeds, but to mix for the house. What I am saying is you have to plan for this, you shouldn't just show up at a venue expecting to be able to get each mic fed to you without prior arrangement with the sound co.
If this can't be done through the console, you have the option of splitting the mic signal at the board, again if the sound guy is willing to let you do this.
So, assuming that all this has been planned in advance, then you'll need to know how many tracks you'll need...and an interface(s) to get this audio into your computer. The Digi 002 rack only has 4 mic inputs, and a total of, I think, 16 inputs including lightpipe inputs. It comes with Protools LE, which can handle a max of 32 tracks. The Mbox is not suitable for this application. Other options are Mackie Onyx 400, Presonus Firepod, or MOTU interfaces, and i'm sure there are others. These usually come with some multitrack software, like Digital Performer or Sonar but not Protools. You can daisy chain the Presonus and MOTU products to get the track count you need. I don't think you can with the Mackie and you can't with a Digi002.
There are also PCI based solutions and some USB solutions available.
Whew. That should get you started
I do this all the time. The setup is as follows:
Digi 002 rack is connected to Powerbook via Firwire. Firewire drives are connected to Digi 002 Firewire pass-through. (for more than about 12 tracks, use a Firewaire 800 card in the card slot and connect drives to that)
Presonus Digimax LT is optical into 002 rack. (If you have more than 8 tracks.
Any 8-channel unit will do, I just like the Digimax' mic pres.
You can insert compression or limiting on the Digimax or in between the mixer and 002. (I recommend it on the kick, snare, bass and vocals-trumpet if you got one)
Everything is miked on-stage. Mics go into splitter snake (active and isolated are best, but passive splitters will do. Also "box" type splitters will work too.)
The recordist has his own console with direct outs and/or mic-pres. The mic lines are routed to the 002 from the direct outs of the mixer or some (up to 12) can go directly into the interface(s).
Watch out for hums and RF in the cabling and then just calibrate the input gain to the correct levels.
Kick back and relax try to smile as the live sound guy ruins your tracks with feedback and LF runble.