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23-Nov-2014

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Recording Senser Live @ Underworld - [video]

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Author: admin
Date: 13-Oct-05

[dancetech database recompiled in 1999 - some articles listed April '99 are older]


The recorded tracks (16 tracks x 1 hour gig-length) were transferred to a windows PC via the built-in Alesis HD24's network FTP protocol. The individual tracks were then sent to the band's producer who mixed the final release. This was then sync'd to video recorded at the gig to create a final release DVD available from the band (http://www.senser.co.uk/merchandise/video/index.php). Details of the gig & any tech issues we encountered are below in the text. This is an older S/D video recently transferred to Youtube from our old google-video account.

Youtube - Recording Senser Live @ Underworld, Camden




I got a call from my mate Karim who's currently doing some roadying for the band SENSER. They had decided to see if it was possible to record their gig at the Underworld venue in camden (London, UK)... but this ideas was floated just a few days before the gig!

Karim called up for some help and we sat down over the phone only the day before the gig and web-surfed to various possible H/D recorder spec' pages to checkout the various machines we could hire with such short notice. We decided upon the Alesis HD24 which was commonly available & matched that with a Mackie 16 channel mixer (sorry, i didn't have time to even check the model number of the Mackie), but it had 16 channels & direct outs for each channel which was the critical thing we choose it for. We hired the gear from STUDIOHIRE in Swiss Cottage, and picked up the gear on the day of the gig.

So, we picked up all the backline from S.London and delivered it to the venue, then we had to go and pickup the hire gear.... but we forgot... this is LONDON!!... *AAAAAAARRRRRGGGHHH!!!*

Sadly due to a burst water main, when we set off on the 'short' trip of about 1.5 miles from camden to Swiss Cottage/Belsize Park, we found ourselves trapped in a massive traffic jam and it took 2 hours to do what should have been a simple 1/2 hour trip!!

Consequently we got the hire gear back to the venue late, and by the time we patched in the XLR splitters on the stagebox & wired it all up, we didn't get time to do a test recording at the soundcheck... So, to a great extent this was a rushed experiment, but actualy it went ok considering!

The gear had no manuals when we opened the cases... Stupid really we should have asked!... Not that one was needed for the Mackie - a mixer is a mixer - but for the Alesis HD24!... Anyways we managed to find all the functions easily without the manual, & I can say the Alesis HD24 is VERY intuitive to use if you have some experience of hardware and menu protocol.


So, the final setup was 16 splitter XLR connectors accepting all the on-stage mic XLR cables - One half from the splitters was being fed normaly into the stagebox to feed the FOH (front of house) and monitor mixers. The other splitter outputs were fed into a 16-way loom we had brought with us which carried the on-stage mic' & DI-box signals across to the Mackie mixer.

We fed the 16 XLR's from the XLR loom (coming from the stagebox) into the Mackie, and then connected a 16-way jack-to-jack loom from the Mackie channels Direct-Outs to the first 16 inputs on the Alesis HD24.

We then set the Alesis into '16TK' mode (the Alesis HD24 can be setup in 24TK, 16TK or 8TK mode & with different sample rates)

We also wired in an additional 16-way loom from the first 16 outputs on Alesis HD24 back to the Mackie - We did this because we HAD planned to record & playback a short session of the soundcheck to check the recording. However, as noted already, we didn't get time to do this.

All the Mackie mixer channels were set to a nominal starting 1 o'clock position with all the faders set to '0' and all the Eq set flat. We then adjusted the gain and faders on a few channels which were sending louder signals (the bass & snare) and tweaked up some of the quieter channels such as from the deejay decks and sampler, all the while checking that all the input meters on the Alesis HD24 were being driven fairly conservatively so as to ensure any sudden loud signals that might occur during the gig would not overload the Alesis and cause digital clipping.

Next the disk inside the Alesis... The Alesis HD24 has two disk caddies which take normal IDE drives. An optional Firewire adapter is available which we could have hired along with the HD24. This adapter plugs into the back of the removed Alesis HD24 disk caddy, and using special s/w from Alesis, you can address the disk as a standalone external firewire hard-disk. Ok, so I assumed it might be possible to simply remove the actual physical disk from the caddy and plug it into an IDE bus on a PC and access the recorded tracks like that! - Nope!... The Alesis it turned out, doesn't format it's disks in anyway that is compatible with windows, so when we reomved the drive later and plugged it into a standard IDE bus it wasn't recognised by windows.... drat!...

We therefore looked for another option and went for the Network connector which is built into the Alesis HD24... What a great feature!... You can assign an IP address to the HD24 and connect it into a standard network!

So we setup the HD24 with an IP Address, and accessed it via the network, transferring the 16 recorded tracks off the HD24 onto a networked PC. From there is was a simple task to then burn the audio tracks onto a couple of dvd disks to hand over to the band for mixing!

As an additional note, we recorded one PZM onto track 16, setup in the venue to get crowd noise & pa sound (fx on vocals etc).

Also, the HD24 stopped at one point about 50 minutes into the set with the display showing an error: 'DISK TOO SLOW' - We quickly hit record again, and luckily this occurred just as one song finished and before the next one started. To be fair to the Alesis unit, the venue was packed, and very hot & humid. The Underworld's ceiling is low and the unit was positioned up on a gantry area on top of a stand so that it was positioned about 4ft from the ceiling. Probably this accounted for it stopping with the 'disk too slow' error... Also, on removing the drive, (a Maxtor), we discovered it was only an ATA100 drive unit. Whether the Alesis can utilise faster disks i dunno, but considering the time it had been recording at the point it stopped (50 minutes) plus the heat & moisture, it didn't do too badly i thought!.



A special thankyou to Studiohire who allowed us to keep the Alesis for an extra day without charge. By the time we figured out we couldn't get the data off the drive by removal of the drive (about 4 am, after the gig) we then tried the FTP transfer which took some time without a manual to figure out and get working (once the IP address default was changed it was accessible). We finaly got the FTP transfer working about 5.30 am, and with about 10gb (16 tracks x 550mb)to transfer off it would have been something of a panic to get the data off for return of the unit the next morning. Also during the transfer process the connection just stopped on one file at around 93% and this wasn't noticed for a few hours, so this compounded the delay of the transfer.



As a final note, I was VERY impressed with the HD24 for several reasons, but primarily because:

It uses cheap, affordable, easy to archive disk media (you can do disk backups from HD24 Disk-1 to Disk-2)

It has a very easy to use intuitive interface.

And thirdly, because of the inclusion of TCP/IP connectivity.


One of these units allied to a decent Laptop running a mix s/w is a complete system for location recording. Actualy if you were setting up a studio primarily to record bands, one would be seriously advised to actualy consider a combi of HD24 & PC/Mac over a large 16 or 24 channel audio i/o rack system. Recording simultaneous tracks for getting backing takes down would be easy, with no chance of foul-ups from rogue pop's or click's or pci overloads etc. Transfer of audio data from the HD24 to the mix system computer would require absolutely NO expenditure on special connection cards like ADAT etc.. It would be a VERY solid 'workhorse' system around which one could build with hardware & s/w upgrades.

If you are considering using this setup to record YOUR bands live gig, you'll need:

1 x Alesis HD24 h/d unit
1 x Mackie or other 16 channel mixer with direct outs on every channel
1 x 16 channel multicore - XLR female to XLR male
1 x 16 channel loom - 1/4" jack to jack (from mixer to HD24)
1 x 16 channel loom - 1/4" jack to jack (from HD24 to mixer for playback test)
1 x Headphones.

After the gig, you can either use the special Alesis Firewire Caddy adapter to transfer the audio off the HD24 via your PC's firewire port, (but BEWARE, the s/w required has to be obtained and it's not online as far as I could tell).... or use the network transfer, but allow time for transfering the tracks to your networked machine or laptop.

Other comments would be the caddy system is so simple to use and disk replacement is easy with a slide off caddy cover & simple pc-case style screws holding the actual drive in-place in the caddy. A total beginner could change a drive in a minute.

If you're thinking to record YOUR band live, and assuming you already have access to a 16 channel mixer with direct-outs on input channels, the HD24 was £80.00 GBP per day for a single day hire which is easily affordable by a band. All you have to do is add the price for hiring the looms and splitter XLR cables if you don't have your own. You can easily transfer the audio off the hired HD24 unit into your PC after the gig using a simple cheap network cable & then take as long as you like to mix it in your PC sequencer at no charge after the unit is returned!... hey!, you can also add overdubs, double tracking of parts etc at your leisure in your home studio!

So... there ya go!... Now checkout the video!... it shows everything setup-wise at the venue, plus the transferring of the audio data over the network back at base after the gig.... if you have any questions please use the dancetech forums and we'll answer any queries.


Youtube - Recording Senser Live @ Underworld, Camden




Download Senser Tech Final 480.avi - [44.6 mb]

The video is 480 x 320.

Running Time: 11.47 minutes


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You MUST use a DivX codec to play these video's

DivX will give higher quality for a very small filesize - The player & codec are FREE - After installing, these video's WILL play in Windows media player, but for best results, use the free DivX player which is installed with the codec - Click the DivX logo image below to go to download the free codec & player!

Download DivX Now
DivX is a registered trademark of DivXNetworks, Inc.

When you get to the d/load page, choose the option:

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This is the free player & codec installer choice.


Visit the official Senser website













COMMENTS FOR:

'Recording Senser Live @ Underworld - [video]'


There are a total:  2  comments posted to this page.


Name:  Glynn
Email: 
Website?:  www.livemix.co.uk
Activity:  part-timer
Date:  20-Nov-05

I think maybe the reason for the HD24 to stop recording after 50 mins might be due to you Arming tracks that didnt have any signal going into them, i had a simular problem when i first started useing the HD24. I stopped this by only arming the tracks that were going to be used.

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Last added comment

Name:  James
Email: 
Website?:  www.senser.co.uk
Activity: 
Date:  10-Jan-06

thanks for all your help, just to let you know the tracks have come out brilliantly, dvd/cd should be ready any time soon

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