Multi-track recording with the Soundcraft Ui24R
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Multi-track recording with the Soundcraft Ui24R

As online music publication gets easier, releasing live material is becoming an increasingly more effective way of getting your name out-there as a musician, band or audio engineer. Technological advances have enabled consoles to offer this facility with more ease than ever before, but still, not all consoles are made equal in this regard.

Streaming audio via USB is commonplace; It’s quite easy to find a console that offers 32 channels of USB streaming directly to a laptop; but we often have our livelihoods stored on our laptops and after overcoming hard drive space implications and the possibility of damage/theft at the gig, a better solution would be to record whilst leaving the valuables at home.

This article focuses on how you can use the Ui24R to capture a great performance using it's direct-to-stick multitrack USB stick recorder.

In this video we take a brief look at the recording facilities onboard Soundcraft Ui24R as well as the quick and easy process to engage all 3 methods at your show. To find out more, please read the article below.

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Direct To USB-Stick Recording

The Soundcraft Ui24R takes recording to the next level of simplicity. The Ui24R offers direct to USB-stick multitrack recording of up to 24 channels. This means that the console can record all 22 input channels directly to a USB stick as individual, unprocessed WAV or FLAC files to be mixed/processed at a later date.

The console is also very un-fussy when it comes to the USB stick type; as long as you have a high speed USB stick with some free space you’re good to go with its native out-of-the-box formatting (Fat32) unlike laptops that require a DAW, Ram and a USB cable (or a bunch of adapters if you’re using the latest MacBooks).

The files are stored on the USB stick within a numbered folder in a parent ‘Multitrack’ folder so that you can clearly see a version history of your recordings If you want to separate the songs or gigs from one another; you can also easily select one of those folders to be played back-through the console for virtual soundcheck or audition purposes.

File-wise, the console allows you to select which channels you want to record using the USB multitrack system so that you can condense the files down for smaller channel counts or when USB space is an issue.

This USB record system also utilises Ui24R’s virtual soundcheck feature [see our separate blog - “What is a Virtual Soundcheck?”]  that enables you to record a soundcheck number, and then play those tracks back-through the individual mixer channels whilst the band are away from their instruments - all at the press of a button.

32x32 Channel USB Audio Interface

As well as the direct-to-USB-stick recording feature, there’s also a 32-channel audio interface built into the console that allows you to stream 32 channels of audio to and from a DAW such as Logic, Pro Tools or Reaper. You can choose to record the LR Bus, either/all of the 8 aux bus mixes, as well as all 22 input channels simply by assigning the desired USB Inputs in your DAW.

To round things off, you can also record a stereo WAV file featuring the master LR mix for a quick and dirty live recording that the musicians can take away with them after the show. It’s worth noting that you can simultaneously record onto one USB stick and stream off of another so that you can play MP3’s and WAV files through the system directly from a USB stick whilst recording.

Dual-Path Redundant Multitrack Recording

The really clever bit is that you can do all 3 of these record methods simultaneously. This allows you to capture the valuable multitrack information to two discrete locations as a failsafe should anything go wrong with the USB stick or laptop. By using the LR mix record feature, you can also store the LR mix as a separate WAV file that can be used for a quick reference to find the ‘magic’ songs or takes that can then be mixed properly at a later stage.

This level of recording redundancy is a precedent set by live broadcast industries where the categorising and documenting of historic broadcasts is essential and in some cases, a legal requirement. This tech is something the Ui24R has inherited from its broadcasting cousin, the Studer OnAir Micro.

Recording Format Options

Recording quality-wise, there are a few options. The direct-to-stick recording has 2 format options; WAV or FLAC. Each of those options has a bit depth selection of 16 or 24-bit so that you can choose to reduce file sizes if needed by reducing the bit depth. The sample rate is 48kHz - the consoles native operating sample rate which captures the nuances of your performance perfectly.

Most consoles offer a recording feature that will get the job done, but few offer dual redundant recording in the same way as the Ui24R. The simple, clean and intuitive user interface combined with the ease of using a single USB stick for multitrack recording means that the Ui24R offers a package that empowers us to get our live material to our fanbase in the most hassle-free way possible.

You can hear the results of the Ui24R's direct-to-stick recording technology by taking a listen to a Sound Technology sessions performance by Gabriel Piers-Mantel. This was Recorded at our facility with the Ui24R.

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This new blog is presented by the team at Sound Technology Ltd, a leading distributor of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the UK and ROI.