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Digital sound into laptop


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#1 plumm

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:36 PM

Hi, I am in charge of our audio/video system for our church. What I am aiming to do is, pipe in the audio from our sound board to our laptop. I know this can be done, by USB, I hooked in an older kind of slower laptop into it, and the playback into the board was fine. But things went south when I grabbed a mic and tried to make a test recording into the SONAR software on the laptop. When I played back the recording either on the laptop or thru the house system, I could hear voice but it was all staticky and distorted, almost like there was an input turned up to high. I played with it some but never could lose the static. Here is the mixer board we are currently working with .. Allen&Heath ZED24 .. I wont bother to list the specs of the laptop I tested with, other than besides the fact of the system itself being just over a year old, the processor was only an older single core celeron with 1g of ram. But that part dont so much matter because I am cleared to buy a brand new laptop for this application, which is what I need a little guidance on.

My plan is to continue to use the USB out feature of the board to record things like sermons and speakers and live singing performances. Is this a good idea to do thru USB? Even with getting a brand new i7 machine? The playback from PC into the board isnt so much a problem, it works either thru the USB or line out to audio cable into the board. If the USB is a bad idea, can someone kindly give me a hardware list of what I will need to get this up and running?

I need to make a decision in the next few days so i need some help pretty quick. Thanks in advance! :)

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#2 Platypus

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Posted 28 August 2011 - 09:56 PM

I suspect your problem will likely resolve with a decent spec computer. SONAR (even LE) needs a reasonable system, the spec for 8.5 LE says:

"Minimum System Requirements
Processor Speed Intel Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1500+"

"Recommended System Requirements
Processor Speed Intel Pentium 4 2.8 GHz [EM64T] or AMD Athlon XP 2800+ or better"

And things like the hard drive speed and fragmentation state contributes also, as do other running processes.

One way to check would be to see if a less demanding application like Audacity sees the USB input and records correctly.
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#3 plumm

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 12:39 AM

Also, is using USB for recording live sound a bad thing as far as being too taxing on the processor to be reliable? I would think it should be ok if the computer is only running the sound application when it needs to, as you said, very few other processes.

#4 Platypus

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Posted 29 August 2011 - 03:50 AM

USB is fine. Firewire is slightly more efficient, but professional audio interfaces successfully use one or the other. My e-Mu 0404 is USB.
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