Dialogue Recording Audio Hardware

A place to discuss non-Moho software for use in animation. Video editors, audio editors, 3D modelers, etc.

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Bones3D
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Dialogue Recording Audio Hardware

Post by Bones3D » Fri Sep 01, 2006 5:55 am

Are there any professional audio experts here who might know of a device that can take input from multiple XLR condenser microphones and convert the audio from each channel out to seperate devices for independent track recordings? I have a few options in mind, but I'd like to avoid the expense of purchasing multiple pre-amp/mixers to do it.

My first option is to convert each mic's audio out to seperate synchronized DV cameras that can accept input from a stereo miniplug. (The benefit in doing this is that it would allow me to record each voice actor's mannerisms and physical speech patterns with their respective vocal performances simultaneously.)

My other option is to find a device that will accept audio from multiple mics, while isolating each channel, then sending all of these channels via USB / IEEE-1394 to a computer running a multi-track recording software. Of course, my primary concern is whether or not my computer would have enough bandwidth and processing power to handle recording up to 3 or 4 simultaneous input tracks at once.

As I mentioned above, my primary concern is the cost. (Preferably below $1,000 for the mics and the audio mixer/splicer.) I basically need just the bare minimum to make it work without any additional and unnecessary audio processing.
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Bones3D
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Post by Bones3D » Fri Sep 01, 2006 6:12 am

Ok, I think I may have answered my own question... at least partially.

A company called Lexicon has a device called the Omega that sells for about $350 that will accept up to two XLR mics and send the isolated tracks out to a computer via USB.

However, I'm not sure if it's possible to use two of these units together on the same machine to achieve the 3 - 4 tracks I need.

Anyone ever tried it?
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J. Baker
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Post by J. Baker » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:07 am

1.) Buy a stereo condenser mic and a mic preamp. Ones that use XLR inputs and outputs. Lots of stereo condenser mics to choose from. No need to go above $150USD either. The M-Audio AudioBuddy preamp does me just fine. You can find them new for around $50USD.

2.) Record whatever source you want. Audacity is free.

3.) With your new recorded wav file, pan the audio to the left and save as "left.wav".

4.) Pan the audio to the right and save as "right.wav".

5.) Pan to the middle so you have left and right. Remove some of the highs and lows, so you just mainly hear dialog. Raise the volume level just a little bit. So the volume stands out from the left and right. Save as "center.wav".

You now a good front sound stage. Creating surround channels is the same as the left and right but you drop the sound/volume until there are sound effects. Also use an EQ to drop and raise frequencies to really capture the sound effect for the surrounds.

Obviously you can go beyond this but you can create a pretty surround effect this way without killing your wallet. A good soundcard is needed to capture good quality sound (through the line-input, not the mic-input if you're using a preamp). M-Audio Revolution 5.1 is a great card. Look on ebay.

Hope this helped some. :wink:
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J. Baker
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Post by J. Baker » Fri Sep 01, 2006 7:38 am

Oh and make sure you save each of the five channels as a mono channel.
Also, here's a 5.1 DTS encoder. http://www.videohelp.com/tools?tool=Surcode

Here's a tutorial for doing it in Vegas 5. http://forum.videohelp.com/viewtopic.php?t=265312&
phlux0r
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Post by phlux0r » Sat Sep 02, 2006 4:21 am

To do what you ask, you would ideally need an audio interface with multiple inputs. I have such a device, it's basically a high quality sound card with a break-out box that has the A/D converters and will record 24bit sound at 96kHz. I have 8 inputs which equates to 4 stereo channels or 8 mono. I also have 2 Mic connectors with phantom power.

These days, there's a bunch of audio interfaces around and I'd sugest if you want to go that way, to look at a firewire solution as USB is sometimes not so reliable and very driver dependant. Also other USB devices may interfere. Firewire works on Win and Mac machines very well. The multiple tracks can then be recorded in multitrack software, simultaneously.

Just do a search with "firewire audio interface multi channel" or similar.

In the end, it depends what your budget is but 4 channel audio interfaces should be reasonably priced. Means you can record 4 mono inputs simultaneously.

HTH
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cribble
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Post by cribble » Sat Sep 02, 2006 5:03 pm

There's a few all in one solutions going around at the moment.

Alesis are doing a mixer/recording interface, which look really good. There's two options, a 2 channel of recording USB option or a 16 channels of recording Firewire option. I can run the firewire interface fine on a 700mhz laptop (recording 10 tracks at once, haven't tested above) so i'm guessing it will be fine on your system. I think this interface can only record 48kHz, 24bit - which is pretty much all you're going to need really.

Another good firewire/mixer format option is the Phonic Helic board. It yields 96kHz for 16 independant channels.

And behringer have their USB mixers as well, these typically do 2 channels again.

Good luck and spend well.
--Scott
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Bones3D
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Post by Bones3D » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:24 pm

Cribble, that firewire option looks exactly like what I needed! And like you, I am also planning on using a laptop as the track recorder.

Any particular software you're using for your recording work?
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jorgy
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Post by jorgy » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:16 pm

I don't know too much about this particular application, but I do know about firewire vs. USB. If given the choice, I would go with firewire instead of USB. With firewire, more of the smarts is in the controller, instead of USB where more is offloaded into the computer's CPU. This means that since you are adding more and more channels, you may run into lag and performance problems with USB.

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cribble
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Post by cribble » Sun Sep 03, 2006 2:17 pm

Yes, Jorgy's right, USB has some latency issues apparently. Though as i have no audio USB equipment, i can't give you any stats or back this up. I have a USB midi keyboard, and i have no problems with that... but midi, audio... two very different things i guess!

Software - I like to use Cubase SXbecause it's good on the CPU load, and works seemlessly with any audio interface. problem might be the price i guess considering it's around the £300-400 mark. Never fear, they do make a cut down version, there's a SL3 (which i think will be more suited for the project you're working on) and SE3 for the tight budgeters. You can compare the different products HERE.

There are some other great audio sequencer packages out there like Logic(especially on Mac), Sonar, Pro Tools... there's a huge list. I guess it's all down the user and how he likes the interface.

I started off using a program called Traktion, was only £50 (not sure how much it costs now though) and the interface was easy to use, supports all audio interfaces and did i mention it was easy? Might take up a bit more CPU than cubase, but it works a treat.

Having written this post, i think it's time i get one of those mixer/firewire interfaces.
--Scott
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