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Remote tracking software advice

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I hope this isn't too long. Though I've owned and "used" Samplitude for many,many years and am currently using V11 Pro, I've posted on the Newcomer's forum because I still consider myself a rank beginner (until recently, Samp was an occasionally used "hobby" for me), this is FAR from a "professional" application, and just because I didn't want to clutter up all the ProX release excitement on the Software forum.

Since I've taken an early retirement, I now have a bit more time. Co-incidently, my church has decided that they want to start recording and posting, or at least giving away CDs of, Sunday sermons and certain other special services. I've been recording various special events as experiments for a while. Since I am the de facto audio expert (I maintain and, how shall we say, upgrade the church and parish hall audio systems), it has fallen to me to set this up. For the initial trials, I've been essentially moving my dedicated DAW computer from home to the church for these events. This is not a tenable solution for this new, every week, activity.

The church has a Spirit Digital 328 mixer with three ADAT light-pipe outputs and an SPDIF In/Out coax pair. I originally used analog signal outputs into my DAW sound interfaces, but I recently picked up an RME DSP 9652 from a guy changing interfaces. I've set up a 26 mono channel template. Although I have seldom simultaneously actually recorded all 26 channels, taking the direct DAC inputs from the mixer has worked very, very well--far better than any of the analog schemes I've tried. I have recently set up an older computer around the Hammerfall interface, with a new SATA drive controller and disks that I intend to install and leave at the church just for this purpose. My problem, of course, is that now I need to move my dongle from my dedicated machine at home to use the one at church, and this is not working out so well.

I'd love to continue to use Samplitude, if only because it's really the only "real" DAW app I've ever used. I'd just load my original Version 9SE on the church machine, but it won't allow me to record 26 channels at once. I believe this would also apply to the newer Samp Producer and Music Maker products. Since I upgraded my Samp10Classic to v11Classic and then to Pro, I don't believe it's possible to use any of those. So my question is, what software should I be looking at for this task? I don't think the church workstation will ever be used for anything other than recording and then transferring the WAV files to a flash drive, or maybe data DVD, for me to edit, clean up and mix at home. So lots of editing features, midi instruments (though it might be nice to be able to use the "tape" controls on the mixer via midi to control the DAW, this is really NOT a requirement), and effects plugins are totally irrelevant.

Keeping in mind my "limited" technical ability, the current hardware constraints, and the obviously low-budget nature of this project, are there any recommendations for software for this task? Nobody expects the results to be anywhere close to "professional audio" -- our church is a fairly large, very reverberant space, lots of people (with kids, infants, the wooden pews, etc), our sound system is adequate, but more set up for convenient use by untrained volunteers who normally just hit the remote switch to the power sequencer to turn it on and off, and to survive the inevitable abuses occasionally imposed upon it by these types of individuals connecting and disconnecting inputs. The recording system may require an equally "simple" workflow simply because I won't be able to personally do all of the recordings, so a relatively easy interface (things like a common template or templates, customizable menus and shortcuts that I can set up--I've a fair amount of "work process automation" experience) would be a real plus.

Thanks for any input.

terry webb

benicia, ca, usa

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I hope this isn't too long. Though I've owned and "used" Samplitude for many,many years and am currently using V11 Pro, I've posted on the Newcomer's forum because I still consider myself a rank beginner (until recently, Samp was an occasionally used "hobby" for me), this is FAR from a "professional" application, and just because I didn't want to clutter up all the ProX release excitement on the Software forum.

Since I've taken an early retirement, I now have a bit more time. Co-incidently, my church has decided that they want to start recording and posting, or at least giving away CDs of, Sunday sermons and certain other special services. I've been recording various special events as experiments for a while. Since I am the de facto audio expert (I maintain and, how shall we say, upgrade the church and parish hall audio systems), it has fallen to me to set this up. For the initial trials, I've been essentially moving my dedicated DAW computer from home to the church for these events. This is not a tenable solution for this new, every week, activity.

The church has a Spirit Digital 328 mixer with three ADAT light-pipe outputs and an SPDIF In/Out coax pair. I originally used analog signal outputs into my DAW sound interfaces, but I recently picked up an RME DSP 9652 from a guy changing interfaces. I've set up a 26 mono channel template. Although I have seldom simultaneously actually recorded all 26 channels, taking the direct DAC inputs from the mixer has worked very, very well--far better than any of the analog schemes I've tried. I have recently set up an older computer around the Hammerfall interface, with a new SATA drive controller and disks that I intend to install and leave at the church just for this purpose. My problem, of course, is that now I need to move my dongle from my dedicated machine at home to use the one at church, and this is not working out so well.

I'd love to continue to use Samplitude, if only because it's really the only "real" DAW app I've ever used. I'd just load my original Version 9SE on the church machine, but it won't allow me to record 26 channels at once. I believe this would also apply to the newer Samp Producer and Music Maker products. Since I upgraded my Samp10Classic to v11Classic and then to Pro, I don't believe it's possible to use any of those. So my question is, what software should I be looking at for this task? I don't think the church workstation will ever be used for anything other than recording and then transferring the WAV files to a flash drive, or maybe data DVD, for me to edit, clean up and mix at home. So lots of editing features, midi instruments (though it might be nice to be able to use the "tape" controls on the mixer via midi to control the DAW, this is really NOT a requirement), and effects plugins are totally irrelevant.

Keeping in mind my "limited" technical ability, the current hardware constraints, and the obviously low-budget nature of this project, are there any recommendations for software for this task? Nobody expects the results to be anywhere close to "professional audio" -- our church is a fairly large, very reverberant space, lots of people (with kids, infants, the wooden pews, etc), our sound system is adequate, but more set up for convenient use by untrained volunteers who normally just hit the remote switch to the power sequencer to turn it on and off, and to survive the inevitable abuses occasionally imposed upon it by these types of individuals connecting and disconnecting inputs. The recording system may require an equally "simple" workflow simply because I won't be able to personally do all of the recordings, so a relatively easy interface (things like a common template or templates, customizable menus and shortcuts that I can set up--I've a fair amount of "work process automation" experience) would be a real plus.

Thanks for any input.

terry webb

benicia, ca, usa

If you're using an RME interface on the church computer you can use the simple multi-channel recording function in RME's Digicheck.

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If you're using an RME interface on the church computer you can use the simple multi-channel recording function in RME's Digicheck.

mac,

I hadn't thought of that. In the short time I've had the card, I've never even used Digicheck other than to download it (the card didn't come with any of the drivers or docs) and install it. Tried it out this afternoon and it's really pretty good for what I need to do. Thanks.

terry

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I can't speak to lesser versions of Samp/Sequoia. I use Sequoia. I have used Digicheck Record on some mission-critical recordings (multi-million dollar productions of operas, you got one shot at it, then it is gone forever...stuff like that. No excuses will do.) I've also used Samplitude in those same situations. Either works. The advantage to using Samplitude is that you can burn the CDs directly from Samplitude, and handle a lot of quick cleanups and edits.

Personally, I suggest that you not multitrack your recording beyond a few tracks at most unless it is a special occasion that may need some really critical editing. For example, one of the operas had about 60 channels of audio. We submixed it all down to 16 for recording purposes. For most church services, I'd just mix it live to two track. Then editing is quick, and you can start burning CDs quickly. Samp is set up for fast multitrack editing, but the problem arises in that with a bunch of tracks, we can't resist the urge to mess with them. If there are only two, much time is saved.

So my suggestion: Digicheck Record is fine. But it will be worth the while of the church to invest in a full-blown Samp license to achieve their goals. You can also use Fiero software to control multiple CD recorders at once... you could construct a tower with five CD recorders in it with most any old computer, it doesn't have to be fancy or powerful.

Digicheck Record is basically like an old Studer multitrack tape deck. Samplitude is the tape deck, console, and outboard gear plus two track deck and other stuff that had not been thought of in the days of the old Studers.

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Bill,

Thanks for the good advice, and you can't imagine how honored I am at your taking time to share your vast experience. Part of the problem at the church is the sound system itself, but more than that the people who use it and the way they use it. We generally have solid, capable equipment, but in many ways it's configured for convenience more than anything else. There is no "mixing" for the six or seven services each weekend or the two daily masses: the board is basically set to one default that is acceptable for all the various uses the church building is used for but ideal for none, and stays there. I tried setting up "shapshots" on the mixer for a couple of the more system intensive music groups, but nobody wanted to walk to the back of the church and up the steep narrow stairs to the old choir loft (which is where they put the mixer when it was installed) to change them, and more importantly to change them back after they were done. There were many shortcuts taken during the installation to keep the cost at an affordable level. I've remedied many of those, but the basic problem is a lack of people (or time, as in my case) to actually support a real "sound system". Most people here think it just happens, and simply have no idea of what's involved. It was the current pastor's idea to do these recordings...he'd been stationed somewhere where they had something set up to do it (he made is sound as if there was just one button), but he has no idea of how it was done, or what did it. The CDs (or tapes) idea was based on that memory. For these initial trials, I've been editing the basic recordings and bouncing the final mix to a couple of different MP3 formats for the guy who does the parish website to make available there. So far, none of them have shown up, but it's only been a few weeks and he, like me, is a volunteer who knows things can be done, doesn't always just know how to make them happen and has limited time to do it.

Thanks again for the advice. I think I have one try to get this recording workstation put together, and was trying to anticipate what I needed to do for the most complicated, but reasonable request I may need to address (I HAVE been a design engineer for 37 years). Between Mac and you, I think I've got enough confidence now that I've got enough options at my disposal without having to worry about taking my dongle every time I go over there, and remembering to bring it back home with me.

Thanks for that.

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The other thing you can do is buy an inexpensive Reaper license, and export an EDL project, which SAMP will import happily (though check your pans, sometimes they get reversed).

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The other thing you can do is buy an inexpensive Reaper license, and export an EDL project, which SAMP will import happily (though check your pans, sometimes they get reversed).

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I actually considered this approach, based on something I'd read in the Samplitude forum. I downloaded the Reaper demo, but as I mentioned before, Samplitude is the only digital audio app (well, aside from some brief and limited experience with Audacity) I've used, and I just couldn't "get" the Reaper interface in the brief time I tried it. Since your advice echo's that I've heard before, perhaps I'll try again, although since I've finally moved the workstation to the choir loft of the church, it'll be a bit more difficult to reinstall Reaper.

To be honest, I've just gotten the workstation over there, tomorrow is the first "test" of the setup...I'll also use the little digital recorder with analog connections I've been using as well, just in case the workstation installation doesn't work, but at least I only need a couple of channels for that.

Thanks again for the suggestion ... and the warning about the pans!

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