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Macintosh: Audio Recording/Edit Software ?

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by PEC-Memphis, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    5,112
    826
    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    Our church has a D&M (Denon & Marantz) professional CD-R. It has been kind of flakey - sometimes it works just fine - other times it terminates the recording at +/- 30 mins without finalizing the CD.

    We would like to get the entire audio for Midnight Mass as well as Christmas Morning Mass. The CDs are reproduced and given to shut-ins, nursing homes, etc.

    Problem 1: We don't trust the D&M to work properly.

    Problem 2: Each of these services will be over 80 minutes.

    I'd like to use a MacBook as an audio recorder, but I don't have any recording software. I'll need to edit it into tracks on separate CDs for duplication.

    Any suggestions for software? - I'd like to keep it <$100 and be very reliable. I know there is some freeware and <$30 software - I just have to be sure the software is solid for ~2 hours.

    I've got a small Mackie board for mixing / level control.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  2. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    what are you using for the audio interface ?

    or are you just going to use the 1/8" mic input?
     


  3. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    either way, if you want something in that price range, you should check out Reaper.
    http://www.reaper.fm/

    you'd qualify for the discounted license, only $40, and you get 30 days to try it out for free.

    it's quite robust and offers a vast amount of features along with the ability to use plugins.

    it will record as much audio as you have disk space for, so that won't be an issue.


    and you get the material mixed and arranged as you desire in the software, just break it into 80 minute segments (so it will fit on cd(s)) and export it as .wav files. then, burn in audio cd format using whatever your favorite burning software is.
     
  4. KentuckyPatriot

    KentuckyPatriot Photojournalist

    395
    16
    Aug 30, 2010
    Kentucky
    I would record into a mixer and go from the mixer into your Mac. You will need to use a USB converter called Icicle as an interface from the mixer to the computer. This is what I use and have not had any problems in my studio. You can spend a lot, or you can download Audacity. You could also purchase iLife or iWork specifically to purchase GarageBand as your software, but the learning curve is somewhat steep, certainly more so than Audacity.

    I would still use a mixer even if you are using a single microphone as it will allow greater control of your input into the software.

    PM me if I can be of further assistance.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  5. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    5,112
    826
    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    I would be using the 1/8" microphone input into the MacBook (I suppose)

    I have an analogue 12 Channel Mackie mixing board that I would use to mix and control input level into the computer.

    Thanks for the replies.
     
  6. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    i would imagine your Mackie board has an aux out that's probably a stereo RCA pair. (if you post the model of mackie you're using, i can look at it and tell for sure)

    you could use an rca->1/8" cable (about 6$ at radioshack) to plug the output of the board to your mac.

    from there's it's just a matter of which software.

    audacity is nice and supports VST's like Reaper, and it's price is hard to compete with. personally, i prefer reaper over audacity because it is a DAW, rather than just a simple recorder (although i use other more expensive software, reaper would be my first "low cost" choice to complete your task).

    try 'em both out before you have to record live and see which one you prefer, and also spend some time familiarizing yourself with whichever you end up choosing. running into software questions while trying to record live is never fun.
     
  7. gamegod86

    gamegod86 Male Lesbian

    102
    0
    Feb 24, 2003
    Middle Tennessee, USA
    I use Audacity and one of these: http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx

    This is in a church environment. So far, Audacity has handled everything thrown at it, and the Behringer box works great on multiple macs and PCs. You can also record with Audacity and playback iTunes simultaneously. There is a toggle on the UCA202 that prevents a loop.

    I keep one of those Behringer devices in my bag all the time. Very useful.
    .
    .
    .
     
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2010
  8. PEC-Memphis

    PEC-Memphis Scottish Member

    5,112
    826
    Oct 19, 2006
    Doh ?
    Thanks for the replies.

    Yes, the Mackie board has RCA tape out/in's - and that's what I ended up using.

    I used audacity. There are some things I don't like about it. If the computer speaker edit:microphone is used - the level meters work when not recording - like you'd expect.

    If the external mic input is used, the recording level (and the play-through) doesn't work unless it is actively recording - not like you'd expect; it took me a little while to figure that one out.

    Apparently if you stop and restart recording, it appears as a separate set of channels - I really don't like that.

    I can't figure out how to make chapter (and file) breaks in audacity - maybe it doens't support this?

    It seemed to work Ok - but I've got "a ways" to go before I have it like I want it to be.

    Is there any advantage to using the RCA -> USB audio interface rather than the native mic input?
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2010
  9. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    i cant' really help much with the audacity part, but as far as the usb/mic portion:


    there are advantages to using an interface over the built-in sound card.

    the built-in sound card isn't really meant to do high quality recording and you may experience noise introduced during the recording and/or playback phase.

    most normal sound cards are also not generally designed to record audio at a very high quality either. you probably won't notice this as a problem with your particular application tho.

    you also lose some flexibility in dictating input gain and some other neat things a real interface would let you do.

    briefly, with an interface, you'd get 'cleaner' sound and have more control over it.

    for example, i alternate between using an M-Audio Fast Track Ultra for portable recording and an E-MU 0404 for when i only need to record two channels.

    with those, i can use either 1/4" inputs (and they'll act as DI's) or i can also use mics directly as they've got pre-amps built in. I can also record off a board, like what you're doing, but i'd use an rca->1/4" adapter into my interface. then, on the interface i'd control the input gain to make sure i wasn't clipping anything on the top end.

    i also alternate between Sony Sound Forge 10, ProTools, and Sonar Producer Edition (much like Reaper) for the actual recording and editing (depending on the scenario).


    i'll see if i can play around with audacity tonight and figure out how to break files.
     
  10. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    ok, in audacity,

    to enable input monitoring (activate the input meters while not recording):
    click on the input meters and select Monitor Input

    to add labels:
    during playback, press control+m

    while stopped, press control+b (you can edit the name of the label later by clicking on it any typing)

    i can't figure out how to make it stop/restart recording in the same 'track', i don't like that either... i also don't like their move/copy/cut functionality, i don't find it very intuitive. I also don't like their zoom function.

    to export a part of a recording, select the portion you'd like to export, then click File, Export Selection as WAV.

    imagine each wav file as a track/chapter, your burner software will treat them this way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2010
  11. kc8ykd

    kc8ykd

    2,090
    0
    Oct 6, 2005
    michigan
    i must say, this is quite a bit easier in reaper.

    once it's installed, select your inputs when you run it the first time.

    then, create two tracks, one will be for the left channel analog input, the other for the right.

    click on the meter and select the appropriate input (you'll basically have two mono channels)

    then, click off the 'repeat' button just below.

    to record, arm your tracks for recording (you should see the meters come alive)
    you can start recording by hitting the record button.

    when finished, just hit stop.

    to record more within the same tracks, move the cursor a bit over to the right and hit record again. (after each one finishes, it will ask you to save them).

    markers can be made by hitting "m" on the keyboard while stopped or recording. you can name the markers by double clicking on them.

    you can split files by placing the cursor at the point you want to split them and hit "s" on the keyboard.

    to save specific parts of a recording, select it by dragging the cursor and hit file->render-> select "render time selection" and name your file

    zooming in and out can be accomplished by using the scroll wheel on the mouse or similar function on your track pad.

    copy/paste is handled like any other program, select your area to copy, hit copy and select the insertion point and hit paste.

    if you're recording in stereo, you'll want to pan one channel all the way to the left, and the other to the right.