Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Rethinking a Recording Path

So my recording path. I'm rethinking it.
Months ago, when I was starting to figure this out I was convinced that the quality of the A/D converters out in the wild were widely variable. I have since come to the conclusion that this is incorrect. The difference between the most expensive Millennia converters and whatever converters are on the back of a random piece of Tascam gear is relatively small.
Added a power supply output. Shouldn't Brent Averill have used females for the hot side of the supply? Well, he didn't.
What my mis-thinking led to was the consideration that I needed a new outboard A/D converter. I don't. I just don't. But I did. So I had this absurd signal path where the audio came out of preamps and into the M-Audio 2626 mic inputs (because there's actually more headroom on those inputs than in the line inputs -- go figure) and then to a Focusrite Scarlett A/D converter (which has substantially less headroom than it even vaguely occurred to me was possible) via TOSLink so that my laptop could be fed the signal through USB.
This, as you can imagine, is a pain in the tuchus.
But wholly unrelatedly I also needed to get a multitrack portable recorder. The Tascam DR-680 pretty much fits our needs for multichannel production audio for movies (I, er, blogged about this on one of the other blogs). The DR-680 has six analog inputs.
Which, by coincidence, is exactly as many as I need for recording City Samanas.
  1. Bass
  2. Kick
  3. Drums L
  4. Drums R
  5. Guitar Greg
  6. Guitar Drew
See? Perfect.
But now my whole path of trying to plug things into the back of the SKB rack case is just not going to work. So all those XLR's? They do... not a whole heck of a lot. Or, rather, they won't very soon. Basically the SKB will have four preamps — two Neve and two Lindell — and power conditioning and XLR males and females on the front panel.
As far as I can guess the only thing which has to/wants to be on the back panel is the 5-pin XLR for the power for the second set of Neve preamps. And after months of trying to get it I finally did. There's a big arrow pointing to it in the picture above so you can't miss it.
All the other stuff, the FireWire, the TOSLink, and the XLR's are about to become meaningless because of the Tascam DR-680. The Tascam will eliminate my need to carry two freakin' A/D converter boxes. And because it's just going to sit atop the rack in rehearsals, I'll just pull the feeds in and out of it via XLR's in a cheap single-rack XLR patchbay. See how easy things are?

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