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I am singing two songs this Saturday at a cafe that has a Mackie 1604 soundboard. I'd like to bring my older Windows XP laptop, and hook it up to the soundboard to record my performances. Song one will be me singing in one mike and a friend playing guitar in another mike. Song two will be just me singing in one mike, accompanied by a karaoke on my iPod, which will be fed through the soundboard.

I'm experienced recording myself singing at home, with a microphone on my Windows 8.1 desktop, using Audacity. I've never recorded anywhere else, and not on my wife's laptop...although I would hope that with Audacity installed, it should be no different than on my desktop.

How do I hook the laptop up to the board? I presume I will need to order some wires.

Can I record only the vocal track on the karaoke song (knowing the karaoke will significantly bleed through the mike)?

Can I record BOTH the vocal and guitar tracks, individually, at once? Something else I've never done: record two tracks at once in Audacity.

I'm fine with recording the overall ("mixed") output if that's necessary, but capturing the individual tracks would be ideal.

Here's the response from the cafe's audio person:

As far as recording goes, we have a Mackie 1604 - it has a tape out that you can get board signal from, or direct outs on the first 8 channels. It's up to you how you want to bus it to your interface.

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You do not provide enough information here to answer directly. What are you planning to use as your interface?

If all you have is a 1/8" consumer mic input, you are going to need to use a pretty heavy pad and run the tape out in to the mic jack, but it will be non-ideal.

If you have a consumer line input, then the tape may work directly, I forget if it is consumer line level or pro line level on the tape out from the Mackie boards, but it's probably close enough to be usable, but will be the overall mix.

If you wanted to capture distinct channels, you would need to have a multi-channel audio interface that could use the direct outs from the Mackie sound board, but I'm guessing you don't have one of those.

  • The laptop has 4 USB (pretty sure version 1) ports, and a single 1/8 mic input. On the desktop I use a usb (pretty sure v2) mike wire, with an audio-technica 75D microphone. – aliteralmind Mar 16 '15 at 23:18
  • I'll just capture the master feed. Based on this picture it seems I will need a 1/4" inch jack out of the board, input into the 1/8" microphone jack on the laptop. Is inputting through the usb plugs an alternative? I would think that it would be of better quality, even with USB 1.0. One more question: What do you mean by a "pretty heavy pad"? That the gain will need to be turned up? Thanks for your time. – aliteralmind Mar 17 '15 at 0:59
  • A pad is something that drops the signal level. A mic level signal is MUCH lower power than a line level signal (like ~40 to 60dB depending). If you plug a headphone level Solo jack or or a line level tape out directly in to a consumer mic jack, it is going to be stupidly high power. You need to put a large pad in place to reduce the line level down to mic level to get any kind of decent sound. As for USB 1.1, it's a bit slow for audio, so it may or may not work at all. Also, if your interface expects XLR, then it won't take a 1/4" cable. – AJ Henderson Mar 17 '15 at 5:43
  • Got this: Sescom LN2MIC-TASDR100 3.5 Line to Mic 35dB Attenuation 9" DSLR Cable for Tascam DR-100. Thanks again for the help. – aliteralmind Mar 17 '15 at 11:32

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