Sound mixer: How to record and play back different inputs?
October 15, 2010 6:53 AM   Subscribe

I have a 14-channel mixer. During a live performance I want to play some channels to loudspeakers while simultaneously recording, but I want the recording to contain more channels that are not played through the loudspeakers. Details and diagrams within.

I'm now doing sound for our UU fellowship and we have a Mackie 1402 mixer. I've made some annotated diagrams of how it's currently hooked up, here:

Front Panel
Back Panel (No connections currently used here.)

How it works now: Mic inputs 1 - 5 are unmuted when someone's using them, otherwise they're muted. The room speakers are plugged into MAIN OUTPUT and the CD Recorder is plugged into the TAPE OUTPUT, so everything people hear over the speakers is recorded on the CD.

How I'd like it to work: I'd like to be able to add a mic on the piano, add this input to the recording, but not play it back over the loudspeakers.

In short, how can I decide that some inputs should be recorded and some should be played out loud even if these groups overlap? If I need to re-arrange wires that's totally fine, I just can't figure out how to accomplish it.

If I need to use the ALT 3-4 bus and give up the Mute feature, that's probably fine, as long as turning down a channel's fader accomplishes the same thing.

posted by odinsdream to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Move the CD Recorder to the Alt Outputs.

Use the sliders to control output to the PA.

Make sure the button under the Alt Master is in the "Pre" (Up) position, and use the Alt 1 knob to control the recording mix.

Should work...
posted by benzo8 at 7:11 AM on October 15, 2010

Actually, by the looks of it, you might need to feed the CD recorder from the AUX Send outputs on the top, rather than the Alt 3/4 outputs on the back...
posted by benzo8 at 7:14 AM on October 15, 2010

If I move the CD recorder from Tape to Aux Send, and then set it to PRE mode, I assume this means that the lower faders and EQ will not have any effect on what the CD records. This would instead be controlled by the Aux 1 dial on each channel?

If that's the case, what's the best way to check that the Aux Send mix sounds good while it's being recorded? It doesn't look like Phones or Control Room can source from what's going to Aux Send.
posted by odinsdream at 7:37 AM on October 15, 2010

How important is having the recording in stereo? If you can just take a mono signal from one of the AUXs pre-fader and have the fader for the piano (channel 6 probably, right?) down you should be all set. I believe you'll need to use AUX1 as it doesn't look like AUX2 can be pre'd and that might even be PRE for the AUX master. Unfortunately, if you're using your AUXs for monitors or effects you might need to pick up a bigger mixer.

Now that I think about it, do you know if the tape out is pre or post fader? If it's pre-fader then all you need to do is mic the piano to channel 6, trim it to 0, and leave the fader down for the performances.

I don't think ALT 3/4 will work for recording because if you enable that then I believe the mute button will take that channel out of the MAIN outs and put it into ALT 3/4.
posted by knowles at 8:10 AM on October 15, 2010

There are many approaches (the classic way to do this is an Aux send), but if you don't care about stereo separation, the alternative approach is to use the left channel for the loupspeakers and the right channel for the CD recorder. The advantage of this is simplicity for all your requirements (Pan the recorder-only sources hard right, while the others can be panned to create the balance you like), but the disadvantage is a loss of stereo separation.

I would use Aux sends myself, but I hate how Mackie sets up their mixers.
posted by JMOZ at 8:15 AM on October 15, 2010

If that's the case, what's the best way to check that the Aux Send mix sounds good while it's being recorded? It doesn't look like Phones or Control Room can source from what's going to Aux Send.

The CD Recorder should have a headphone monitor out, which you could use, or you could send the output of the CDR back into the Tape-In and monitor it through the Control Room switches - just be sure not to send the Tape back out through the Aux Sends or you might create, um, unholy feedback!
posted by benzo8 at 8:49 AM on October 15, 2010

The 'normal' way to do this is on a small board like that is to go with an Aux send (provided you have a free one) to the CD recorder, set up the recorder to take the mono input and record it to both channels (or just split it, if the recorder can't do that). Any remotely decent CD Recorder should have a phone jack on it with a level control so you can monitor what you're recording.

The whole mute / alt combo thing is more or less useless, in my opinion, but a lot of cheap mixers have it as a 'feature' instead of doing a proper subgroup setup.
posted by jjb at 8:53 AM on October 15, 2010

Just a quick note: Anything not diagrammed on my pictures is un-connected. I documented all connections that are currently made.
posted by odinsdream at 9:15 AM on October 15, 2010

If you could record to laptop w/ multi-input soundcard then you could use AUX pre and mix the levels later. Even with just a couple record inputs, you could record the main mix (on the Tape Out?), and the piano on an AUX channel, and mix the two after. Otherwise, I'd just use the AUXs.
posted by p3t3 at 3:39 PM on October 15, 2010

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