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Old 04-06-2006, 03:42 PM
bl_nd m_c bl_nd m_c is offline
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Default live recording on quad core g5 power mac

i'm looking to buying a quad core g5 for recording rig i'm setting up.
i was wondering if any of you have experienced live recording with these machines.
we are setting up a live stage in a cafe and desire to have live recording capabilities for up to like 16 channels.
i'm sold on the power mac, but i want to make sure there are no huge issues during live recording.
also, a recording engineer friend of mine used tdm systems, and he wasn't sure if that would be a necessity for live recording with that many channels.
i was thinking a quad core with a couple gigs of ram might do it, but i'm not sure.
any feedback would be appreciated.
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Old 04-19-2006, 02:53 AM
Tarktones Tarktones is offline
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Default Re: live recording on quad core g5 power mac

There are a couple of other questions that come along with this. The BIGGEST one being; do you intend to use Pro Tools as a live mixer as well? Or are you just taking a split or direct outs from the sound board?

The problem you're going to encounter is not so much dependent on the amount of CPU power you've got (trust me, 16 in doesn't scratch the surface of what that quad will do). You're going to run into buffer issues. It's not a matter of processing power, but rather the latency issues and time limitations. The smaller that buffer is set to, the less audible latency you'll have. However you'll be more prone to errors during recording. Also, that 16 channels is going to start pushing the limits on the firewire bus with that 002. So if you're not asking it to do anything fancy in addition to recording (i.e. you're not toying with plugins and mixing) you should be okay.

If you're just taking a split, set that buffer to a nice fat size like 1024 samples and just record what comes in and make sure there are no other devices eating up your bus bandwidth and no other programs running that might make the head on your hard drive do anything but write your audio files. I'm sure you're aware that you'll want to get a separate SATA audio drive. There are some steps to go through to disable the journaling (an option on the drive formatting through Disk Utility on the Mac) and spotlight that will reduce your chances of something else bogging down your hard drive while you're trying to record.

If you're planning on using the main outputs of Pro Tools to drive the sound system, I'd say that is a terrible idea. You're going to end up with errors and/or latency out the ying-yang.

Optimally, I would say to go out and buy a proven, stable unit like a used Alesis HD24 and its Fireport FST adapter; record to that and then using the fireport, dump the raw files into the Mac and import them into Pro Tools. I've used the HD24 on a LOT of sessions and for live recording as well and the thing is solid as a rock. My 002 into my Quad is prone to cease recording at about 5 minutes into something depending on its mood. In fact, that happened during the album I'm making right now. On the BEST TAKE of this song, Pro Tools just took a [bleep] during the climax of the song. I started rolling again and spliced in a few bars to fill the gap and now you'd never know there was an issue. But that's just extra work.

Ideally (since an HD24XR is closer to my budget than upgrading to HD) I'll be getting an HD24 myself and recording everything to that for the more stable operation for tracking and lower latency for overdubs and getting a small mixing board for rough mixes and cues.

In summary; if you're just taking a split off the sound system, make sure nothing is going to bother your hard disc or firewire bus during the process and give yourself the max buffer and CPU usage you can and you should be okay. If you're planning on using LE through the quad as a live sound rig it is a bad idea.
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