My first sixteen-track recording went off successfully last night. The Mac Mini handled it gracefully with Logic Pro recording to a firewire hard drive. The closest thing to a problem was that, when stopping the takes between songs and then starting again, there was sometimes a five to ten second lag before the tracking resumed. I was doing a “pretend I’m not here” recording of a band rehearsal, and if they started up a new tune too suddenly, I’d lose the first few bars. In a real session I’d cue them or just keep rolling the whole time, so it’s not a major concern, but definitely a lesson learned.
I was amazed at how wildly the channel volumes veered and how fundamentally different the rough mixes needed to be to make each song sound okay during playback. It gave me a newfound respect for people who do live sound and manage to make a cohesive good sound for any band with a dynamic range.
My housemate is the after-hours jam session type of musician. That’s normally just fun, but it’s also a stroke of good luck for me because it’s resulted in her band’s rapid growth, which helps me to test the limits of my recording setup. I just upgraded from 8 to 24 mic inputs over the last couple weeks. Laziness drove me to go with 24 instead of 16; I wanted to have all the inputs from the 16-channel studio snake permanently attached and routed into Logic while leaving the other 8 set up and routed for my own solo recording. Less plugging and unplugging and resetting levels and rerouting through the mixer and so forth. But it looks like 24 was the right call anyway. Tonight I’m doing a test session on her band’s rehearsal and even with a bandmate missing, it’ll take 16 channels: 8 drum mics, 4 instruments, 3 singers, and a room mic. Since I’m new to Logic, I’ll be a little on edge about the Mac Mini handling that many simultaneous tracks and it all sounding okay for playback to the band afterward, but that’s why I’m practicing on their practices for a while. Go Mini go!