[ardour-users] 16-24 track simultaneous recording - HW recommendations?

D R Holsbeck drh at niptron.com
Mon Jan 2 06:31:55 PST 2006

Hey something I actually know something about ;-)

I have about 10 shows under my belt, and I have realized a couple of

1 Transformer type splitters are preferable, it saves a lot of time
chacing down humms. A passive splitter will work, but if you get stuck
on a different phase of the AC power, or dont have ground lifts, or add
too much load to the input cuircuit, etc you wont be happy with the
outcome. Also give yourself lots of cable length. You never know how far
away you will be. 

2. You will need an adjustable preamp on each channel. With a splitter
you need to amplify each channel to a line level signal, which your i/o
will generally need. Or if you get a feed from the FOH or monitor
mixers, you will need to adjust your levels to compensate. We generally
use an Allen & Heath board, being thats the easiest way to get 24+
decent preamps. We even used our 42 channel board to get 36 channels
once. I also have used my Tascam DM24. Which works pretty well, and it
is easier to hook up. But I only have 16 channels that way. Though I
will be adding another 8 channel preamp/converter box to up the channel
count. Maybe in the future I will go with 8 cannel preamp/converter
boxes for everything, since they are finally becoming almost affordable,
and they are easier to rack up. Dont be cheap on this part of your
setup, you will regret it.

3. Get a good Audio interface for the computer end. Something that will
be rock solid. Being that you cant rewind and do another take. I have an
RME HDSP with the Digiface outboard box. I would strongly suggest you go
with a card that has all the inputs you need in a single unit. I tried
syncing 3 Delta 1010s to get the 24 channel count to where I wanted it,
never did work. Havent tried the RME Multiface units so that might be
different. I have been perfectly happy with the RME gear. I bought mine
at http://www.sfb.net/, they have really good prices, have a close
relationship with RME, and will support Linux users when possible. They
even gave me an exchange on my pcmcia card for troubleshooting purposes.

4. Get everything into road cases. This will save setup time and
aggravation. Try and keep your snakes simple and compact.

5. Get a second HD recorder for backup. We use a Mackie SDR. But you
could use a second Ardour system if you have the $. That way there is
less chance blowing a full nights worth of work. It is very unlikley
both systems would fail at the same time.

Well that should give you a little to chew on, and maybe Mr Parker could
add to this, as he has been there for most of the shows, and done a few
of his own.


On Mon, 2006-01-02 at 02:25 -0500, Justin M. Streiner wrote:
> I'm looking to make the move from purpose-built DAWs (Korg, Tascam, etc) 
> to a computer-based solution to provide more mixing/mastering flexibility 
> and a more sane interface to the machine-level guts when it comes to file 
> manipulation, import/export/etc.
> That said, I need to be able to support recording a minimum of 16 tracks 
> simultaneously (24 preferred, or have the ability to expand to 24 later) 
> at 48 or 96 kHz.  The primary use for this would be to record live shows.
> It looks like hardware either from RME would provide good base for this.
> M-Audio also makes some nice hardware, but since the inputs and outputs 
> are often combined into the same breakout box/cable, I'd end up paying for 
> a lot of functionality that I wouldn't need in the foreseeable future, 
> i.e. the outputs.  The fact that the Delta 1010 has a rackmountable 
> breakout box is nice though.
> Since the primary purpose would be to record live shows, I need to be able 
> to handle the appropriate inputs, typically an n x 3-pin XLR-m split from 
> the stage snake or a parallel split from FOH in a similar configuration. 
> RME makes a breakout cable that includes a mix of XLR-f and XLR-m 
> connectors, but in this case, I would need all 3-pin XLR-f inputs.
> I'd like to keep the number of converter cables between the computer and 
> my XLR input points bays to a minimum.
> If you've built something similar, what hardware did you use to handle the 
> audio interfaces?
> Also, if I'm approaching this from the wrong angle, feel free to let me 
> know that too :-)
> Thanks
> jms
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> ardour-users at lists.ardour.org
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