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Observations using AEM on Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 for multitrack recording - Printable Version

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Observations using AEM on Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 for multitrack recording - CKParm - 04-21-2024

The tablet is Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, which is about a 10.5" screen, running Android 14. It has 4GB memory. This is a decent tablet with a solid 10-hour runtime and a pretty good screen.  It is not particularly fast, although it does have an 8-core CPU.  I didn't really expect this to work.

My main objective is to do multitrack recording of live performances from a Behringer Flow-8 mixer.  A secondary goal is to do the same from an Allen & Heath CG10T.  The Behringer has no on-board recording.  The A&H can do on-board recording to SD card, and also has a USB interface for interfacing to a DAW.  You can use both simultaneously, so that gives 2 independent recordings, for a margin of redundancy.

Other than live-tracking, I don't plan to use any other DAW functions, such as virtual instruments or multi-pass recording, punch-in/out or whatever, so I don't care about latency.  I just want clean recordings I can take to a desktop DAW later.

For both mixers, I used the eXtream driver.  Without that, I could not access the individual channels on the mixer.  The eXtream driver worked without complications on both mixers.

I am happy to report that both AEM on this tablet was able to record multiple tracks reliably from either mixer.  I did extensive tests of 6-channel recording for hours on the Flow-8.  The only real difficulty was that, at the end of a long recording (more than an hour), when I pressed the stop button on the AEM transport, the app locked up.  Android kept displaying messages that the app was not responsive.  I learned that there is some clean-up processing whenever the recording is stopped.  On small samples, the clean-up may not be noticeable.  But with very long recordings of multiple tracks, the app may be unresponsive for several minutes.  If I left it alone, all cleared in a few minutes.

Recording with the Flow-8, I could hear steady pops throughout the recording when playing sound back through the Flow-8 to external speakers.  I assumed this skipping was stored in the recorded files.  When I activated the "Optimize CPU" option, the playback was clean.  I did not check the recorded files.  They may have been clean, and this "Optimize CPU" options might not be necessary for recording cleanly.  The clipping may be only on playback, which is not very important to me.

Recording to the A&H mixer, so far, I tested only 4 simultaneous tracks.  This mixer has 10 preamps, so I will do a larger test.  I encountered the same clipping sound with this mixer, and I never found any combination of settings in AEM that made the clipping go away.  I thought the test was a failure.  However, when I played the samples directly from the tablet's microSD card into a Windows PC, all the recordings were clean, regardless of my AEM settings, so clearly the clipping was happening on the playback.  And again, the playback is not that important to me.  It would be nice if it were clean, but it is useful enough as it is.

More about this setup: I bought the Flow-8 to become my emergency back-up mixer.  It has 4 preamps and 4 line-in channels.  It is powered through a 5V microUSB port, so I can run the mixer for 10+ hours with a 30 Ah power bank.  With 4 wired mics, plus a pair of wireless mics, I can set up a small stage in several minutes, and as an emergency mixer for a larger program, 6 channels are better than nothing.  By adding the recording capability, I can use this setup as the primary kit for more than half of my jobs, especially combined with a pair of Samson 312 speakers that are 300W and run 12+ hours on internal batteries.  Very quick setup.

The Allen & Heath mixer is my mid-sized setup.  It does require wall power, and I would typically use this on bigger jobs that might require 2000W of FOH and multiple monitor mixes.  T=It can record on-board, which I will continue to use, but adding the tablet recording will be very useful in gain staging because the levels are so obvious in the project view under AES, and it will be nice to have redundant recordings.

If I get really adventurous, maybe I will try AES with my largest mixer, a Soundcraft UI24r, which has 20 preamps, and can be bonded with a second UI24R to effectively provide 40 channels with a more-or-less unified view.  (The secondary mixer can send subgroups into the main unit via a single CAT-5.  I'm not sure that the Soundcraft mixer is class compliant, so it may not work with Android.  And I seriously doubt that my Sansung tablet can handle 20 channels of material.