Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

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Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chinagraf » Sat Apr 28, 2012 6:47 pm

Hi, I mentioned in another thread I've been chatting with a mate about recording some gigs at his tiny venue. Most of them are small acoustic sets, and sometimes he has some nice touring acts there, it's behind his record store.
It's only a small PA, 8 channels and maybe a stereo audience mic, so 10 tracks total.
Can I have some opinions on using a setup of either -
1) Macbook Pro i7 and an RME Fireface running Cubase 6.5
2) A dedicated recorder like the Ta@#$% MX2424, like the one Gareth was selling earlier this year.

I will be using my own Pres, mainly Neves, Great Rivers and Tele's, but I might build a rack of Joe's BA's for it. Mixing will be back at my studio.

Advantages of the MBP are I can give the option of just recording the gig and batch export so the acts can take them away on a DVD as data and mix when they get home if they want for a smaller fee. I can also setup quick mixes to play a bit back to them after the gig etc. I also already have all the gear for this setup, so no outlay.

Advantages of a dedicated recorder is no chance of a crash, but they all have a lot more tracks than I need. I could also set it up to be there permanently as part of the PA system, so could maybe get some cash even if someone else hits record on lesser known artists gigs.
I don't know which would have the better converters out of the Fireface and the Ta@#$% MX2424..anyone heard both?

It will be isolated splits from the stage box, pre the mixing desk.
The stage is tiny and the option isn't there to go mega complicated and add a bunch of my own mics, although I will add my own for the kit, as it's not normally mic'd up. We are talking about 45 people capacity room, tiny.

thoughts....opinions...?
Thanks.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby gigpiglet » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:26 pm

hi andy -
for that kind of gig, i don't think the chance of a crash will end the world... i.e.: when you are getting paid 10 thousand dollars to do a live broadcast with a million people watching, and 50 grand on camera guys - if you mess up the audio you are in BIG trouble.
if you have a little acoustic band in your mates venue and you lose a song.... life goes on.

having said that - i didn't sell the Ta@#$% - and didn't have time to ebay it, was just thinking about it last week, so happy to discuss!

i think for that gig its going to come down to ease though, whatever you can quickly integrate and not mess around with, cause i expect you will not be getting huge dollars, so don't want to spend a huge amount of time.

whats the venue (if you don't mind me asking)
certainly not stealing your gig - sounds like a cool place for some of the smaller acoustic acts i manage though..
Gareth Stuckey
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chinagraf » Sat Apr 28, 2012 8:58 pm

Hi Gareth,
it's a place called Pure Pop. It's a record store with a small venue out the back in St Kilda. We drink there a lot and the owner is part of our local crew. He gets some good acts in there, Tim Rodgers, Even, Swell Season did an awesome gig there when they were out here a little while back. Some good broken down versions of acts play there to support an album then do signings afterwards etc.. and he includes a copy of the album on the door price as he has the record store at the front.
Conway Savage (Bad Seeds) is doing a gig there tomorrow arvo for some new stuff he's been doing with Susie Higgie.
It would be good to be able to do some of the better acts without worrying about a crash though.
Won't be happening for a little while yet as he's about to do some work closing the courtyard in and soundproofing it, so we were talking about doing something after that.
Not so much about the money, but I see a chance to record some nice acts doing smaller intimate versions of their albums that they wouldn't normally do that they could use for webcasts or bonus tracks etc. PLus it's 3 minutes walk from my front door and I already drink there all the time. It's not the sort of thing I want to do at other venues or as a full time service etc..
If I can get enough to cover the gear involved it would be cool. I already have a bunch of sweet pres and a nice room to mix it all in.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Drumstruck » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:34 am

gigpiglet wrote:
having said that - i didn't sell the Ta@#$% - and didn't have time to ebay it, was just thinking about it last week, so happy to discuss!



Hi Gareth,

If Andy doesn't want your MX2424 I may be interested ;-)

Pls PM me if you are.


cheers
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby mylesgm » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:33 am

I use a macbook pro/fireface 800 for lots of live and/or studio on location stuff. In fact I'm writing this from a small 1860s church in country tasmania running that exact setup with outboard preamps. The conversion is perfectly fine, the reliability is excellent though with 'studio on location' work if there is a dae error then its not a major problem as we just retake but that said a DAE error is pretty rare unless you are emailing/surfing/whatever whilst you are actually recording. Even more reliable if you are tracking to an external drive. I often use this setup with my API500 rack and the balance of flexibility and portability is great.

On the other hand if other people are going to use it then the simplicity of a stand alone recorder and a straight 8 channel BA mic pre would be a very good option.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chinagraf » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:00 pm

Myles - are you using a firewire drive chained off the FF800 or a usb as an external drive? My internal is 7200 rpm so I was thinking I'd just have to use that as the FF800 will be chewin up the firewire input,

Ian - It will be spring before I decide to go with a dedicated recorder if I do. I'll try a few lesser known gigs first to see if the laptop rig does what I need or not and how often the recording hting is going to happen, so by all means go for it with Gareth's rig.

Cheers
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby mylesgm » Sun Apr 29, 2012 12:31 pm

The FF800 allows you to limit the bandwidth of the unit (select analog only, analog and adat 1, all etc) so there'll be no issue with using a hard drive chained with the ff800 regardless of samle rate/bit depth. I've also used internal drive with no issues either (as long as there is ample room for the recording, there should always be many gigs of fee space on a recording drive so that the drive does haven't work hard to find empty sectors) so both options are good. In regards to your transformer iso box I probably have suitable tx for you. Let me check when I get home but any 1:1 tx should do fine with the circuit you posted the other day and just decide which pre you want to send phantom from and then connect that pre to the non tx isolated side.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby audioio » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:32 pm

Chinagraf wrote:Myles - are you using a firewire drive chained off the FF800 or a usb as an external drive? My internal is 7200 rpm so I was thinking I'd just have to use that as the FF800 will be chewin up the firewire input

There's no doubt that FW (full-duplex) is better than USB (half-duplex). However, if you're not doing lots of tracks or overdubbing into an already edit-dense session (and, by the sound of it, you won't be), you'll probably get away with it. If you're really want to separate the audio interface from the hard drive and your MBP has an ExpressCard slot, you could fill the latter with a FW adaptor card.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Gillian Lee » Sun Apr 29, 2012 10:51 pm

Hi Andy,

I record concerts for 3MBS radio and have always used my MBP on the internal disk +RME UFX and haven't had an issue (touch wood). I do almost always use a UPS though after a stage lost power in Brisbane a couple of years ago - but at least everyone had to stop and regroup then, not just me!
-Gill
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chinagraf » Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:05 pm

Thanks guys and girl.
Cheers.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby lonearranger » Wed May 09, 2012 3:47 pm

Heres another option.

I have used a shuttle/micro PC with maudio 1010lt a few times(4 or 5 gigs - never crahsed). If you are doing an installation setup then this could be a very cost effective solution, and with 2 cards you would have 16 tracks which you could feed off the inserts/groups on the desk. Bands could just bring in their own usb/firewire hard disk and take the tracks at the end of the night. You would only need a basic recording package like cubase LE or reaper, and a small lcd monitor.

Cheers
Michael Luchich
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Chinagraf » Tue May 15, 2012 12:39 am

Thanks Michael, never heard of the shuttle pc's. Checked em out, cool. This won't be left there, so I'm gonna go with the MB Pro for now as it's only a suck it and see type thing. They also use a Bearinjer (see how I got round that Rick)
desk, so I don't want to go near using inserts.
I do like the look of the RME UFX, which can record to a USB drive or memory stick via a USB slot on the front at the same time as feeding the laptop, or even just work standalone. Neat idea.
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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby reddirt » Fri May 18, 2012 12:37 am

Andy, Hard drives can go south on both types of machine; my mate's 2424 died in the bum and of course they are old technology; a new uncluttered version of that style is the Joeco box.
I have done a 3 day show using my Macbook pro i5 onto the internal 7200 (admittedly only stereo off a metric halo ULN-2) and it was faultless .
My experience probably doesn't help you a hell of a lot but given that there's not cattle stations riding on the reliability I'd be inclined to go the computer route for it's sheer versatility (burn after show quick CDs etc , etc) but obviously wouldn't want to leave it there for any and everybody.

Cheers, Ross

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Re: Live recording with a Macbook Pro?

Postby Kurt » Fri May 18, 2012 12:57 am

Be brave/trusting/honest and capture the show with a stereo mic. With only 8 lines you're going to have to pick and choose anyway. Obviously that would sound terrible because of the mixing desk though...

Slightly more seriously though.. In my experience if people are prepared to pay for a live recording they're prepared to wait for it to turn up in the mail. I've done a fair few with my Fostex D2424 and I've never had anyone complain that they have to wait for it.
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