What i need is pure recording software, so it does not need to have an UI like a DAW, none of the editing, moving tracks or effects features are needed.

I want it to have the following features:

  • Ability to record a single track to multiple destinies at once.
  • Destinies should encode to their formats LIVE! (so no waiting after the recording to export to a format, but instant access to the finished file).
  • Start and stop a subset of the tracks during the live session, e.g. record all tracks during a song and stop them during speech while selective tracks (speakers and translators) continue to be recorded non-stop during the whole session.
  • Required destination output file formats are:
    • Flac
    • Mp3 (preferably Fraunhofer rather than Lame)
    • AAC
  • Must run in MS Windows

So far I have not found anything except Reaper which qualifies for almost everything except the AAC encoding (and the Lame mp3 encoder). Actually I think of Reaper as quite an overkill, since I don't need a DAW. There are some other DAWs that can record to Flac (like Traction) but most do not support using one input on multiple channels or streaming to lossy formats.

There is a VST plugin available that can be plugged into a channel and will stream to multiple lossy outputs, but it costs almost $500,- which is rediculous!

Searching for a standalone solution brings many products up, like Steinberg Neudo Live (looks like a real overkill, and has quite a steep learning curve so I'm not sure if it can do what I want), and PreSonus Capture which requires special hardware...All not very helpful, so I'm reverting to asking instead of searching since this looks like a never ending search story!


After getting up to date about ReWire, and the posibility to wire up different DAW's sequentially, I guess the question boils down to something simpler. The only missing link is now a DAW or ReWire/VST compatible tool that can stream to an AAC file.

The rest of the question has been established, there are several DAW's that can punch recording of several individual tracks in and out, so that's not an issue. Many can stream to FLAC, at least one can stream to mp3. So only AAC is missing (except for Presonus Capture which is ridiculously priced). Probably I'll have to do with post-conversion using a cheaper tool like QuickTime Pro or so, preferably a script-able one. I've seen QuickTime OCX controls before, so maybe that's a short term way to go untill a reasonably priced AAC streaming writer pops it's head up. I'm almost tempted to write one myself, but just don't have the time to get into all of that.

  • to be very honest this is so extremely specific, that it sounds like you need a human that can control a set of solutions (a stand alone recorder, and multiple daw's) at the same time. in which context do you need this solution? – Arnoud Traa Mar 15 '14 at 21:06
  • @ArnoudTraa, It's a church service, during the song service there might be some specials we want to record in high quality multi-track mode, so someone would (manually) arm the individual group of tracks (in Reaper that would be one click) so they record to Flack, and stop them after the song. The main mix would already be recording to mp3, AAC and FLAC (simultaniously). After the service we don't wait for any conversions, just grab the main-mix mp3 and AAC files, and store them to some USB/iPod devices, and leave the other files for post editing and mixing at a later date (for a specials cd). – Louis Somers Mar 15 '14 at 21:43
  • Why Fraunhofer over LAME? In my experience, LAME produces higher-quality output with smaller files. – fluffy Mar 16 '14 at 7:08
  • @fluffy actually off topic but we often use quite low bit-rates for speech (32Kbps) where FhG tends to perform better for many players (especially those that support Mp3Pro). No extreme difference though. At higher bit-rates differences are inaudible so the higher compression rate of Lame could be preferable in other scenarios. – Louis Somers Mar 17 '14 at 20:36

If you're on a Mac or UNIX box, you might be able to do something useful with a UNIX-domain socket and dtach - basically you'd have your recording "server" save to the socket in .wav format, and then have dtach connect to the socket and multiplex the output into multiple encoders (cat, lame, flac, etc.).

It would look something like this:

dtach -A fifo-socket cat > output.wav &
dtach -A fifo-socket cat | lame - output.mp3 &
dtach -A fifo-socket cat | flac > output.flac &
sndrecord | dtach -A fifo-socket cat

(replace sndrecord with some tool that records to .wav and outputs on stdout. There are many choices out there.)

What this would (hopefully) do is start streaming the output to the destination files in a blocking state, and then start streaming the .wav data from sndrecord to all of the processes.

You might also be able to set up a simple multiplexer in perl or the like.

  • Thanks, I also came across Jac-k and got all excited, until I realized it was almost only supported in Linux. I edited my post to add the additional requirement (Windows). The whole thing did lead me on to ReWire, which is similar, so it was helpful! I would consider running a linux VM if there is an AAC encoder available. Not sure how I would punch the multitracks in and out though with your example, but thanks for the insightful answer! It does look allot easier in Linux than it is in Windows! – Louis Somers Mar 16 '14 at 21:18
  • Linux has an AAC encoder in the form of [ffmpeg](ffmpeg.org). – fluffy Mar 17 '14 at 20:28
  • Oh, also, doing a Perl-based multiplexing thing should work fine under Windows using minGW or Cygwin or whatever. (I don't think named sockets work there though, and that's what dtach needs.) – fluffy Mar 17 '14 at 20:29

Hey one thing that I use for such tasks are automator patches! In apples Automator you can Programm (dont worry its simple) simple movements and tasks like pick a file and move it to this place ... Then you can use the compressor (software You find in the Apple store, best Software to encode) to create a droplett (Icon on the desktop, when you put a file on it it gets automatically encoded to the given formats). So you can Programm a loop -> if file pops up in recording bin, take it and drop it on the droplet.

Good Day!

  • Yes, I am able to automate the conversion after the recording has ended, but I'm a bit tired of waiting after each service. At the end I just want to quickly copy to the devices and shut down. Currently I'm using Audition, works, but we have to wait for all the saving to be done before we can finally shut down, so that's what this streaming stuff will improve. The multitrack stuff is a new feature though, and I want FLAC so we don't run out of USB-stick space too soon. – Louis Somers Mar 16 '14 at 21:25
  • you could buy a bigger usb stick, right? – Arnoud Traa Mar 17 '14 at 10:47
  • @ArnoudTraa Yes, true, Flac would still copy faster, and we don't want to be swapping them after every single session, we save them up a bit before taking them home for processing. – Louis Somers Mar 17 '14 at 20:50

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