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I’m trying to figure out the best way to route everything to capture rehearsals.

Band consists of:

Bass, guitar, mandolin, drummer, 3 vocalists (bassist and mandolin sing leads and backup for other singer who sometimes plays washboard)

Here’s what we have:

Presonus Fireproject 8 channel interface
Connected to pc through FireWire card
Mackie 12FX mixer
Two powered monitors
Hartke amp with XLR out (bassist)
Fender amp with XLR out (mandolin)
Orange amp without XLR out (guitarist)
MXL 63M condenser microphone
Bass drum mic
SM57 mic
Nady microphone

The mics we use for vocals are an SM57, SM58, and an SM48. During rehearsals those are going into the Mackie mixer which is connected to the powered monitors. The monitors have two channels each and also XLR outs. My goals are to have it set up for rehearsals where we can get a decent level for everybody’s instruments and vocals and from time to time, do more focused multitrack recordings.

Thanks for any input you may have!

  • How is the drummer mic'ed? Certainly the Presonus can record to a DAW such as Reaper. If all you need are 8 inputs, then perhaps that would be the way to go. Myself, I have a Soundcraft Ui24r that allows direct recording of 24 prefader inputs to DAW or to USB and that's how I'd do this, but that won't help you – Hovercraft Full Of Eels Aug 6 at 3:28
  • Seems like the drums will only be captured tangentially through the vocal mics (except kick). That needs some thought. – Tim Aug 6 at 6:23
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For capturing rehearsals, I've found that a single recorder with a built-in mic works the best. Zoom H4n or similar, or even a cell-phone. It is simple, quick and honest. It will capture everything that actually happens in the rehearsal, in a way a listener would hear it. No need to have microphones for all drums and amps etc, and particularly, nobody has to mix the rehearsals later on. It will produce a WAV or MP3 file that sounds like what you sound like.

If everyone wants to hear their individual instruments separately, and if you try to multi-track and everything, recording becomes an order of magnitude more difficult, particularly if you try to mix acoustic and amplified instruments without having separate mics for everything like in a studio. Are you trying to capture a rehearsal for future reference, or are you trying to make a record? Maybe if you're using in-ear monitoring with "virtual" acoustics, where nobody hears anything except through their headphones, then you might be able to record it more readily. But even then, what will the output of the recording be, dozens of tracks you'll have to mix?

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    I still take my faithful Minidisc for recording the few rehearsals I play at. 320 mins on a disc. Can't fault it - and it also records who said what about something! But it seems like OP wants to re-mix songs later. Need separate tracks for that. But that's not rehearsal - it's recording time. Very different approach. +1. – Tim Aug 6 at 11:12
  • @Tim If you use a smartphone that has any storage to speak of, it is a good replacement for minidisc. One advantage is you can send recordings right after practice via text or email. – Todd Wilcox Aug 6 at 17:27
  • @ToddWilcox - thanks, a good idea. I don't often share the recordings, but if I did, that's the way to go. Would that be mono or stereo? I'm still a bit of a Luddite! – Tim Aug 6 at 17:48
  • @Tim depends on how you do it and what phone you have. Most phones you could hook up an external mic to, or an entire interface, or use the built in mic. – Todd Wilcox Aug 6 at 18:44
  • I can recommend the Zoom H4n, it doubles and triples as many different things, including a USB audio interface. It's used for e.g. video production together with DSLR cameras (from what I read on the internet). Connecting proper mics and other stuff to a phone or tablet feels clunky IMO. – piiperi Aug 6 at 20:12

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