Recording Live from Mixer to DR-40

Discussion in 'Handheld and Field Recorders' started by cravemusic, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. cravemusic

    cravemusic New Member

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    I have an upcoming music performance that I want to capture onto a DR40 in 4 channel mode, with the 2 external inputs coming from the house Behringer XR18 mixer.

    The house is suggesting I capture the output from the mixer's TRS headphone output. However, I'm not sure how to do that, because wouldn't splitting the L and R channels reduce the TRS signal to TS, which the DR-40 can't handle? What's my best option here?

    If the headphone output isn't the right way, would getting the signal from 2 AUX outputs ( for stage monitors / headphone mixers according to the manual) be better, or would that signal be too high for the DR-40 to handle?

    I pretty much have one shot at getting this right, as I don't have access to test this setup out in advance, so I'd appreciate help in getting it nailed down right here.
  2. GTBecker

    GTBecker New Member

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    Since you're planning on recording four channels you'll be using the two built-in mics which suggests that you'll want to locate the recorder optimally, not necessarily at the mix position. If the cable distance from mixer to recorder is significant you should use balanced (actually, differential as Art Anderson points out in the "DR-40 Recording Volume" thread) line-level signals from mixer to recorder; that probably disqualifies using a TRS headphone output - particularly if you plan to externally power the recorder which can produce a ground loop.

    Where will the recorder be positioned? What is the cable distance between recorder and mixer? Can the engineer assign a pair of Aux outs and program them as are the Mains for your feed?
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  3. cravemusic

    cravemusic New Member

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    The distance from the mixer to the recorder will only be about 10 feet, maybe less. The mixer is on stage and controlled remotely by an iPad, a Behringer XR 18 is the model.

    The idea here is that the mix reinforces some instruments (guitar, bass), but other instruments don't need much help (brass), so the Tascam will be in the middle of the stage to pick up the live sound. The center of stage part works well in past performances, so the new element here is grabbing something right off the mixer board itself with the 4-track mode.

    I don't know what a post-fade monitor or FOH mix bus is -- I've never used the external inputs on the Tascam, I'm new to this. As stated, the mixer is a Behringer XR18.
  4. GTBecker

    GTBecker New Member

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    OK, I better understand what you want to do. FOH means Front-of-House, the current jargon for the house mix. Post-fader is a term the mixer programmer/operator should know. I removed those references from my first post when I realized that you had already identified the mixer.

    I expect that the feed you want can be done by a competent operator via the iPad. I think you want identical mixes on both the Main outs and a pair of Aux outs, which feed your DR-40 Line inputs.

    Lacking that, do as the house suggests; you'll need to make an adapter to split the XR18 phones output (a TRS male) to two 1/4" TS males, one left, one right. If you don't want to solder, you can build such an adapter with an 1/4" TRS-male-to-1/8"TRS-female adapter, an 1/8"TRS-male-stereo-cable-to-RCA-males and two mono RCA-female-to-TS-male adapters or the equivalent. The RCA-to-TS adapters will plug into the DR-40 Line inputs. If not using batteries, power the recorder from the same strip as the XR-18.
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2019
  5. Art Anderson

    Art Anderson New Member

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    I had a look at the user manual for the XR18. I'm not yet hands on familiar with mixers controlled by separate display panels, but I have to imagine that thing has at least the same functions as a conventional mixer.

    First to review the offer from the venue to take your recording feed from the headphone output. That's a distant plan B in my book for a few reasons. One is that headphone outputs are usually an afterthought and don't usually get the same amount of attention as the regular signal chain to the house PA and monitors. to things like distortion, and conforming to an industry standard of output level, impedance, etc.

    If it's the only way the house is going to let you get a feed, you want a splitter cable like the one in the attached image. That splits the left and right channels from the headphone jack on the XR18 to separate L & R 1/4" male plugs you put into your DR-40. Of course I imagine you'll need a 10 foot extension of 1/4" TRS male to the XR18 and the female end runs out to where your DR-40 is positioned, and this splitter adapter goes into that. A DR-40 will definitely accept a TS input if that TS is carrying a mono audio signal. It will just be a lower volume to work with and possibly have picked up electrical noise along the way. Odds of that over ten feet - don't worry.

    Then put your DR-40 in standby where the red light is flashing so you can monitor the input levels. I would start with the DR-40's CH3-4 EXT IN LVL on screen at about 10.

    You'll have to wait until the operator of the XR18 has audio from the band so you can start with the headphone level knob on the XR18 at zero and slowly raise it until you're getting response on your display. I wouldn't position the XR18's headphone knob to more than halfway. I'd rely on my judgement on the DR-40 to get the recording volume the rest of the way to where I want it. Headphones off the DR-40 would help at this point, but in real life I find it next to useless for judging quality/distortion/noise, when I'm only ten feet from the band and all their PA speakers anyway.

    That's all why it would be sweet if the operator would spare you 2 of the AUX outputs if he's not using them for the house or stage.

    You bring two full length XLR cables like those for microphones. Female ends to the XR18, male ends into the DR-40. You've now got a kosher line out. The ideal Line Level, balanced signal the DR-40 is designed for. The operator just has to assign 2 AUX outs the same L & R he's sending to his Main L & R outs. On a conventional mixer this is easy to envision.

    I know what it's like when the other sound people just want to do their job and the band wants to get tuned up and playing, when I feel like I'm intruding. But when I'm offering a good reason to be recording, they usually work with me. Hope it goes well.
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  6. Arjan P

    Arjan P Well-Known Member

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    If at all possible, I'd suggest to NOT get a copy of the FOH mix on your AUX mix to the recorder, but get a balanced mix of what you're missing from the DR's own mics. Usually, FOH does not include (or include less) the instruments that are already loud on stage, because they're looking for a balanced audience mix - and that usually is different from what we want to be recorded. I have several FOH recordings of my band with mostly vocals and keyboards because everything else didn't need FOH at all ;-)

    Whether it's realistic to get people to accomodate you with a separate mix is ofcourse a whole different matter...
  7. Art Anderson

    Art Anderson New Member

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    That's a good point Arjan. I was sticking to the technical connections but you are right, get a full live sound recording when ever you can so nothing is left out. I just find that in the majority of situations for me, the internal mics catch way too much random noises from people in the room. I record small pubs, caf├ęs. I do use the internal tracks though, so the final mix doesn't sound sterile and has some sense of being in a live setting with an audience because I'm also mixing this under a video.

    I hope we hear back from cravemusic after the session.
  8. cravemusic

    cravemusic New Member

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    Thank you for all the tips here, I will see if they have 2 AUX outs to spare for me.

    I didn't want them to do a separate mix for me, because that's a pain for them, and I'm in the middle of performing, so dialing in the details would be hard for me too. But, I've learned with some experience that the mics on the DR-40 are pretty good for their size, and placing them in the middle of the band balances our loud and soft instruments pretty well for quickie promo videos and audio. I've never played this room before, so we'll see if this setup works out similarly. I'm just trying to grab all the content I can get quick and easy, because you never know when it comes in handy.