It was obvious that the recording had to be done by getting the output from the sound mixer. We were using a Xenyx 1202 (12-input 2-bus) mixer from Behringer. It had four xlr mic inputs which we thought was ideal for concerts like the ones we have. There were outputs for main speakers and monitors. The performance was great. We felt like a college student on a corolla. But we did not have any gear for taking the monitor output and providing a feed to a recorder. Our choices for recording were either a voice recorder or a laptop. But for using a laptop we needed a proper interface.
Thats when we turned our attention to Alesis iO Dock Pro. The advantage is that we could plug an iPad 2 into it and it takes the feed directly from the sound mixer. We tested to our heart's content and the sound quality was great. On concert day, the setup was done ahead of time, giving us some time for testing the recording using GarageBand. We were all set, or so we thought. The GarageBand app (or any other track recording app on iPad) would not record for more than 5 - 12 minutes. They are ideal for recording a song, not our concerts. Recording hours of concerts in high quality required a lot of RAM which only a desktop or a laptop can give. Sadly, we returned the dock.
The inability to record live concerts is one of the factors that pushed me to buy the Behringer XENYX X2442USB Premium 24-Input sound mixer with USB output to record to a computer. Compared to the old corolla this is like an SUV with eight-cylinder turbo-charged engine. It took a special lecture demonstration from our sound guru Ramamurthi-sir to initiate me and to start using it. On concert day, I connected the USB output to my laptop and started recording it using Audacity. Sadly, my laptop was too weak for this turbo prop jet engine, and the recording stopped in half an hour. Again for recording Carnatic concerts, you need a powerful laptop with ample RAM. Now it’s time to upgrade my laptop...NOT!
Luckily we were shown how recording is done, with a Sony recorder that took quarter inch output from the sound mixer, by Venkatraman-sir (Vignesh and Gugan's dad). My sound guru, Ramamurthi-sir, had been advising about it for several days, but seeing that in action was a turning point. We settled with the TASCAM recorder that looks like a regular voice recorder on steroids. It takes a 1/4 inch input from a sound mixer and records on SD card in mp3 or wav format. That solves all our problems that we have so far. We have been recording with this setup since Sunderrajan-sir's second concert. The processes to produce finished tracks is a little time-consuming but its achievable with my nonjaan laptop. The output levels can be checked while recording, but there are few things to take care from the sound mixer too. We have not mastered all the options, but just enough to produce a good quality recording to listen to. From the time you lay on the bed until you lose yourself in the concert and fall asleep.