As some of you may know, I’m in the middle of recording the first Rooted album, and I have now reached the stage where I’m needing to record the drums. This has prompted me to do some research into the best way to connect everything up so that everyone can hear everything they need to. This, then, is me putting it all in writing so that I can properly understand it all – if anyone more knowledgeable than me notices any flaws in the plan then do let me know! The idea is to create a proper studio recording setup using the Behringer MX1604A mixer I have on loan from my mate AndyC, coupled with my Mac computer, which will be doing the recording on Logic Express.
The first part, connecting the microphones, is fairly straightforward, since there is only really one place to plug them in. For the drums we shall be using four mics, each plugging into a MIC input on the mixer. There are the usual controls there for gain, panning, EQ and output level, which can be tinkered with at the time. The MAIN MIX sliders for left and right channels will take those audio inputs and control the overall volume.
Here’s where it starts getting complicated. The main output is taken from the 2-TRACK OUT into the computer, so as long as the 2TK TO MIX button is pressed we should get the computer hearing whatever inputs we have from the mics. Technically I think we could take our output from the MAIN OUTPUT, I don’t think it makes much difference except for the type of connections and hence the types of cable used. To reduce the need for adapters, I’m going to use the phono connection on the 2-TRACK as I can plug that straight into my computer.
Next we have to take the output from the computer, which will be playing back the rest of the track plus whatever we’re currently recording. This will be used for monitoring by both the musician (in this case our drummer) and the technician (me). The output from the computer therefore goes into a line input on the mixer, in this case probably something like LINE IN 11/12. At this point we have to be careful to hit the MUTE button for that track, otherwise we’d get feedback because the output from the computer would be going straight back to its input! However, this mute button also doubles up as an ALT 3-4 button, which means that the signal from that input goes somewhere different. In this case we’ll be sending ALT 3-4 to the headphones socket, which means I’ll be able to hear whatever the computer is playing back. We can also then take the ALT 3-4 outputs and plug headphones in there too, which gives the musician something to play along to.
And I think that’s about it. I’m still getting my head around it, and I’m sure it’ll make more sense once everything is plugged in and working (hopefully). There are still plenty of buttons and knobs on this mixer that I still don’t understand, but I’m getting there slowly! Having never really done much in the way of music technology, this is all rather new to me, but hopefully if I can get this figured out nicely I’ll be able to ensure the best possible studio setup, and hopefully therefore a good recording too.