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

Justin M. Streiner streiner at cluebyfour.org
Mon Jan 2 08:45:34 PST 2006

On Mon, 2 Jan 2006, D R Holsbeck wrote:

> Hey something I actually know something about ;-)
> 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.

The splitter snake I plan to use next time around is transformer isolated 
on each channel with switchable ground lifts.

> 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.

This is another part of the whole package I'm still settling on.

> 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.

At this point I'm leaning toward RME gear, but it's not set in stone yet.

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

I'm also working on that.  I'm trying to strike the right balance between 
building in what I want/need and keeping it man-portable.  I looked at 
some shockmount racks on caster plates and the weight for the rack alone 
was typically 75-100 pounds.  Throw in the computer, its guts, outboard 
gear, UPS, etc, and the weight adds up very quickly.

> 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.

Excellent - lots of stuff to chew on.  Thanks for the detailed response!


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