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Old 07-29-2004, 09:40 AM
Eliane Delage Eliane Delage is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1
Default splitter box or direct outs?

I got a question about a 24ch live recording scenario at a small club.
Splitter box or direct outs?
Does anyone have an opinion or know for a fact one is better than the other?
Mike splitter on stage (HD24 gets placed near the source) or individual direct outs from the board?
If mike splitter is the answer, active or passive?
If the direct outs are pre fader level, post trim and pre eq and dynamics, it would actually give me something dry and flat enough to work with when mixing it later.
And then, one more thing, if direct outs is the answer, should I have a preamp in the chain before the recorder? Otherwise how to control what’s going in?
Thanks! This site rocks!!!
Eliane Delage
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Old 07-30-2004, 12:53 PM
trakbytes trakbytes is offline
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Los Angeles CA USA
Posts: 845
Default Re: splitter box or direct outs?

Well, you've posed a question with a lot of possible solutions. But here are my thoughts on the matter. I don't do live sound, so others may have equal or more valid opinions...

Splitter box-

Pros: You get a feed directly off the mic, so it's as pure as you can receive. I'd probably go with a passive, transformer isolated box for simplicity. Don't know what cost differences there are between active and passive boxes at this time, but that would be a factor. You can select whatever quality of mic pre you can afford to feed the recording chain.

Cons: You have to bring your own mic pre's and splitter box. How many mics? Is this in one club, or will you be mobile? Most house sound mixers with a fixed PA are not going to be too keen on splitting their fixed setup everytime you want to record a band. Plus, you'll be locked in for the duration of the show for the whole night with your rig. Do you really want to locate your mobile recording setup near the stage???

Direct outs-

Pros: Simpler setup. Less gear to buy and haul. You'd basically just need a long snake to go from the house mixer to the recording rig. This could be located in another room, which would make your monitoring much better. You could conceivably break down your rig between acts by just unplugging your snake from the house mixer direct outs. Probably less resistance from the house mixer to this setup as well.

Cons: The biggest would be that you are entirely at the mercy of the house PA's mic preamps. Some club PA's get pretty ratty before anyone considers replacing them. What comes off the mic pre is what you'll get, like it or not. You should be able to go line level direct into your recording interface. No additional preamp should be required. You might have to work with the house mixer to make sure his input trims are correct, since your direct outs would be pre fader/EQ, but post trim.

Some combination of direct outs with seperate live mics might be your best bet. You could run your own drum overheads for instance (since most small clubs wouldn't use overheads anyway), or get a direct feed from the bass guitar or amp just for recording. Take your vocals direct out from the house mixer, since vocalists won't want to be bothered with seperate mics. And you could run your own audience mics for overall pickup.

Finally, make sure you can charge enough to make the investment worthwhile! It might be just for fun at first, but will quickly get to be a chore if you're not making enough money.

Good luck. Post us with your decision.

Save early and often! (or once a day whether you need to or not...)
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