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#1 2009-07-31 15:04:52

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Total newbie request for assistance

I have two topics that are related by water.

The first topic is easiest.  I have a Tascam Porta-05 cassette recorder in like new condition, still in box with manuals.  My office flooded recently in a plumbing incident.  As I have never used this device, I have no idea how to test whether it still works.  I'd like to know so that I can know whether to claim it on my insurance claim.  And if I claim it on my insurance claim, I'd need some help in understanding what is an appropriate modern replacement for it as I'm sure that model is no longer available. 

The second topic is in the earliest of planning stages right now.  As we remodel our family room space (also flooded), my daughter has requested a stage.  I think that sounds like a fun idea.  I've done a little live sound engineering.  Let me rephrase that, I pushed some sliders and twisted some knobs and pushed some buttons and stuff and did my best to look official and in control until the squeeling stopped.  "Engineering" is far too strong and precise of a term to describe what I did.  So, what I'd like to do is put together some kind of a live music set up with at least two voice mics and probably two acoustic instrument mics and line ins for a bass and at least one electric guitar.  So, probably like eight inputs, speakers, and an output to be able to record.  It seems like mixers are either recording or live.  I've seen that the recording mixers have all manner of outputs described with words and phrases that have no meaning to me.  However, of these certainly wonderful and exciting output opportunities, I haven't the foggiest what I want.  I saw nothing that said USB or Firewire for connecting a computer to mix down a recording. 

The question for the second topic is this: If you had a budget of $1,000, what would you buy for what I described.  Starting completely from scratch.  The $1,000 does not have to include the computer, lights, or barstools for acoustic guitar players to sit upon and look all coffeehousey and musical, but it does have to include mic stands, mics, mixer, monitors, speakers, speaker stands, etc.   I don't mind getting a basic outfit and adding over time, or upgrading over time.  For instance, speakers can rest on the floor at first and get stands later or I can build some stands. 

- Zurf


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#2 2009-07-31 15:48:08

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Hey Zurf!

Firstly: the quickest and easiest solution is to get your portastudio to someone who can say "It's buggered/OK" - it would take too long backing and forthing!

Mixers can be and are both live and studio. I have a Soundcraft Studio mixer that I have done numerous gigs with.

As you want both I would look into some of these analogue mixers that offer USB or Firewire connection to record to a computer. I know Behringer do some great stuff at a competitive price point.

The Xnyx 2442 FX will do this job (it's younger bro', Xenyx 2222FX, has 8 mic ins, but it's always better to have at least 2 spare; if you can afford one with more inputs, better to get it as you will see 3 months - 1 year down the linw) It USBs to your computer making it a recording interface.

http://www.behringer.com/EN/images/products/2442FX_P0559_TopFront_web.jpg

As to speakers - will they be installation only or will they go on the road with you? If they are of the PA ilk, it would be better to get some with a good top end rather than a low bass end as being enclosed in a (relatively) small space will mean you have to EQ all the bass out - why get it?

Also whether they are installation or PA, I would recommend Powered speakers (Amp built in) as these match amp to speaker and give much better quality - also less bulk to transport.

YES you can absolutely do all this on £1000. I wouldn't think of buying mixer or speakers that would need upgrading tho'.

Last edited by KajiMa (2009-07-31 15:50:30)


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#3 2009-07-31 15:51:19

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
Registered: 2007-10-29
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Hi Zurf first the tascam porta-05 sells used for around 100 dollars I have google up several if you can get a electric guitar or a mic and hook the unit up and plug into it if you dont have an amp use headphones if its a cassette model pop an empty cassette into it rewind it to the beginning and let it run a few seconds stop and push play record at the same time and sing or play something into it for a minute rewind push play and see if its ok,there are some micro recorders available with 4 track capabilities for around $100 or so Musicians friend has all kinds of used and new equipment also Amazon do some shopping perhaps some other members can offer some more information, a good deal I got is the Phonic PA a 100 watt amp with speakers chords,and a good microphone for $199.00 including shipping the model is a Phonic powerpod 410 I got this from Musicians friend I would check there for all of the things you need at least you can get a good idea what its going to cost and keep it in your budget you may find a better deal someplace else but this will give you a reference to go by other ideas welcome smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#4 2009-07-31 16:08:32

Zurf
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From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Thanks both. 

Kajima, I think $1000 is about 667 pounds at the current exchange rate. 

- Zurf


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#5 2009-07-31 16:15:23

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Just checked out some US sites for ya.

Check this out:

http://www.music123.com/Behringer-Xenyx … 7.Music123

$700 WITH garuntee!!!

http://images.miretail.com/products/full/Behringer/633834327641611073.jpg


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#6 2009-07-31 16:21:55

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Musicians friend also lists this item for the same price but the shipping is $69.95 added they offer a monthly finance payment plan for $70.00 a month but you need a musicians friend credit card approval (they said no to me because im retired lol )


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#7 2009-07-31 16:39:52

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Sorry Zurf, I put £ instead of $, but I've found that with most things musical/Hi Tech, you can put the appropriate sign in front and the number stays the same both sides of the pond.

No slight intended Russ, but the Powerpod only has 4 inputs and Zurf wants 8. I find these powerpod type mixer amps are great if you already have stomp boxes and other kit, but for uses other than live where everyone has their own kit to get the sound they want, I've found their limitations quickly become apparent and necessitate upgrading or buying other stuff to overcome these problems. Also this solution would need the purchase of a recording device or a sound card/break out box to get the audio into the computer.

I will sit back and continue to let you advise Zurf on his Potastudio (it's been so many years since I used one!)  as I can see that you're well on the ball! cool

PS: LOVE Old Dogs Need Some Lovin', Russ (sorry I didn't leave a comment). The sound/feel you've got going on there is COOL AS MUSTARD! cool


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#8 2009-07-31 16:51:20

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

I saw that kit on Musician's Friend, but I didn't see where it has a USB or Firewire output.  How did you know that mixer would interface with a computer?  Or would it require an go-between thingydoody for a few hundred more? 

Now let's talk microphones.  That kit comes with two microphones that look well suited for voice.  Given that this is mostly just for kicks, I figure that's fine.  To add two more mics, so that I could have a couple on voice and a couple on guitars or a guitar and upright bass or some such, is there anything in particular that I'd need?  Of course, if I ever decide to pull my harmonicas out of their Crown Royal bag and use them again, I'd want a green bullet.  But other than a green bullet, what would be appropriate? 

- Zurf


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#9 2009-07-31 16:58:53

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Thanks KajiMa and if you get a chance check out "loop de blues" the sound is comming from my powerpod (with a little help from the Boss ME-50 effects) I think Zurf will welcome any good suggestions and you have presented some good ones did you notice if the price included shipping? thats usually another $70 dollars for that much gear if you can locate a better deal for him by all means help thanks again for your comments smile

KajiMa wrote:

No slight intended Russ, but the Powerpod only has 4 inputs and Zurf wants 8. I find these powerpod type mixer amps are great if you already have stomp boxes and other kit, but for uses other than live where everyone has their own kit to get the sound they want, I've found their limitations quickly become apparent and necessitate upgrading or buying other stuff to overcome these problems. Also this solution would need the purchase of a recording device or a sound card/break out box to get the audio into the computer.

I will sit back and continue to let you advise Zurf on his Potastudio (it's been so many years since I used one!)  as I can see that you're well on the ball! cool

PS: LOVE Old Dogs Need Some Lovin', Russ (sorry I didn't leave a comment). The sound/feel you've got going on there is COOL AS MUSTARD! cool


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#10 2009-07-31 17:04:59

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Zurf the mixer pictured has left and right rca "outs" you can plug a Y cord with 2 rca jacks it cost around $4.00 at radio shack you dont need a usb interface the rca Y chord with stereo 1/8"mini plug and rca jacks will work fine. Green bullet? if thats a harmonica a Honer blues harp will do the trick they cost around 30 bucks smile

Zurf wrote:

I saw that kit on Musician's Friend, but I didn't see where it has a USB or Firewire output.  How did you know that mixer would interface with a computer?  Or would it require an go-between thingydoody for a few hundred more? 

Now let's talk microphones.  That kit comes with two microphones that look well suited for voice.  Given that this is mostly just for kicks, I figure that's fine.  To add two more mics, so that I could have a couple on voice and a couple on guitars or a guitar and upright bass or some such, is there anything in particular that I'd need?  Of course, if I ever decide to pull my harmonicas out of their Crown Royal bag and use them again, I'd want a green bullet.  But other than a green bullet, what would be appropriate? 

- Zurf


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#11 2009-07-31 17:27:11

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Zurf:


USB Ready

While many of our competitors force you to buy a separate card to connect to your computer, we’ve included superb USB connectivity with each and every XENYX 2442FX. No drivers to download, no complicated setup routines, just plug the included UCA200 2-input/2-output USB/Audio Interface into your Windows or Mac computer and start tracking!

Copied from:

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/2442FX.aspx

Don't know about shipping (very hard to find info on music shops close to you, Zurf) but I do know that most deals are reciprocated by other retailers, whether this happens inter-state I don't know.

Also I checked the specs on those powered monitors and, on paper, they look superb! Only 6dB down at 40Hz and 20KHz! = Plenty top end (detail) and bass (warmth)!


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#12 2009-07-31 17:49:32

Zurf
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From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Well that's looking pretty good then.  It's in budget, even including shipping, and will interfaces with a computer whenever I get around to buying a Mac. 

Green bullet: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/pr … p;ZYXSEM=0

It's the thing that you can't see being held in the hands of harmonica players from the days when the Chicago Blues sound was just getting started to present.  It transcends genre and is used in blues, rock, country, and any other popular music style wherein harmonica is featured.

- Zurf


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#13 2009-07-31 18:25:03

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

without looking at the link let me guess its a old fashioned looking small mic and chord smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#14 2009-07-31 18:44:35

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Check this out Zurf:

http://www.geocities.com/bottle_o_blues/Mic001_small.jpg

$55.55 including shipping!

From:

http://www.geocities.com/bottle_o_blues/index.html


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#15 2009-07-31 19:13:54

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Russell_Harding wrote:

without looking at the link let me guess its a old fashioned looking small mic and chord smile

Painted institutional green, like the color of public school desks when I was in grade school.  Otherwise, you described it exactly.


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#16 2009-07-31 20:38:30

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
Registered: 2007-10-29
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

when I went to grade school the school board was so poor we had to sit in the snow and use a slate with chalk lol


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#17 2009-07-31 21:07:38

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3002
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

For a thousand bucks you can build a pretty sweet system.

$350 or so for the digital recorder...  http://www.amazon.com/Fostex-MR-16HD-16 … amp;sr=8-1

Another $300 or so for studio monitors and stands

http://www.amazon.com/Monitors-Whirlwin … amp;sr=1-9

That leaves you about $350 for microphones.

Mic pack including stand and XLR: $150.

http://www.amazon.com/Studio-Condenser- … amp;sr=1-2

Which leaves you about $200 for beer and lava lamps.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#18 2009-07-31 21:36:25

badeye
Honoured Member
From: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Registered: 2006-09-02
Posts: 2872

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Thats s cool looking rig, I've been using a regular old glass for years which makes a great blues sound.


  Hey Zurf, a stage sound like a fun thing to have in your home, mmmmm  got me thinking bout a big room in my basement thats not bieng used.


  Badeye   cool


one caper after another

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#19 2009-07-31 21:44:34

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Russell_Harding wrote:

when I went to grade school the school board was so poor we had to sit in the snow and use a slate with chalk lol

There was snow in Eden?


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#20 2009-07-31 22:05:31

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
Registered: 2007-10-29
Posts: 6411
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

It seems like I been around that long lol where did I put that fig leaf? smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#21 2009-08-01 18:04:57

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Zurf wrote:

Well that's looking pretty good then.  It's in budget, even including shipping, and will interfaces with a computer whenever I get around to buying a Mac.

You don't need a Mac, it will interface with a PC! smile I won't ask if you've got one of these, I've read your posts! big_smile


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#22 2009-08-02 03:15:04

Zurf
Blunt but well meaning moderator
From: Virginia, USA
Registered: 2007-06-27
Posts: 5666

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

My PC is old and heavily taxed just to run current basic software.  I can wait to record until I get a Mac.  It'll be a lot faster and I won't get frustrated and forget the whole thing. 

After asking around a bit, what I'm hearing is that the best thing would be to take a slow approach and build up over time with parts that will work together.  The initial suggestion is to get a powered mixer, a couple main speakers, speaker stands, mics, and mic stands, and make a go with that.  Later maybe add some monitors and/or a digital interface for output to a computer.  Get good quality components right along rather than settle for lesser quality just to get more features within an immediate budget.  That sounds sensible at least from one point of view.  What do y'all think of that? 

- Zurf


"Forced means you're painting a train blue."  - Jets60
"If it comes from the heart and you add a few beers... it'll be awesome!" - Mekidsmom
"Don't ever apologize for what you have worked hard for." - Pete Benson
Official recipient of B chord amnesty.

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#23 2009-08-02 05:03:45

Russell_Harding
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From: A black hole in deep space
Registered: 2007-10-29
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Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Yea it makes sense get the best bang for your buck,there are several choices just settle on one after asking around for opinions and buy it smile


"Growing old is not for sissies"

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#24 2009-08-02 05:36:23

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance

Very sensible if that's what you want.

I take it you will effectively want a PA to use on your stage and external gigs that will be added to to become a recording studio/rig.

That being the case, I would strongly urge you to NOT get a powered mixer for a number of reasons.

1: Powered mixers are designed exclusively for live use. Facilities for recording are limited to say the least and for live use you will quickly desire more. Recording facilities are usually limited to a Phono (hi fi connector) out if that.

2: If you are recording why have a buillt-in amp that you aren't using? You will be monitoring Mic signals via headphones and playing back over your studio monitors - the amp is redundant unless playing live/rehursing.

3: Half the money spent will be on the amplifier - you are getting one thing that does two jobs imperfectly (unless you spend more than you've mentioned) and what if one breaks? You will have a mixer that won't amplifie the signal or an amplifier that has nothing to amplify.

If you are going to build up quality seperstes as you go try this:

http://images.miretail.com/products/full/Behringer/633834327666298257.jpg

Same people, same place, $799 for some quality (give pro results, will last - durability and feature usage) kit. If not this rig, then I would go similar because:

1: Powered monitors give better performance price ratio. Amps matched to speakers matched to enclosure = quality sound.

2: When you're recording they will be switched off - less 'leccy bills!

3: If the Powered PA speakers or the mixer breaks you will still have half your rig working to beg, borrow or hire for the gig, etc!

4: Stand Alone Analogue mixers have features that may seem useless at first but if you want something that will last you 10 + years in feature useablity it's worth it. (The above mixer may look complicated but it breaks down into simple stages such that you WILL be able to use it out of the box.

5: I have a very good mixer amp and it serves me ONLY because I can use my big mixer for big jobs and send the outputs from that into the mixer amp. If I had the same money I would buy the rig in this post, pocket a helluva lot of change (£300 - £500) and know that I had (almost x10) the same sound quality as studio - you'd have both the same!

There are other Mixers (Mackie are possibly superior to Behringer because of their chassis strength, are virtually identical in features/performance and cost twice as much as Behringer!!!) just as there are other makers of powered PA speakers with varying quality and price points. I cannot urge you strongly enough to go this route.

The Mixer featured in this post has things like Direct Outs, Insert Points, Dual Swept Mid EQs, 6 Auxilliary Sends, 4 Group Buses, Talkback Mic Input, 80Hz High Pass Filters, 10Hz - 50KHz Frequency Response.

The mixer from the other rig I recommended is similarly spec'ed (not quite as comprehensive) but loads there and will mean you don't have to buy a soundcard, this one you'll have to - no USB out!
But If we're talking similar money for now, I'd go with the second.

I know that Zurf + 5 or 10 years will be so grateful for this advice!

Check your E-mail; I'll send you some recordings to see if I know what I'm on about!


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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#25 2009-08-02 06:00:09

KajiMa
Senior Member
From: Glastonbury
Registered: 2009-03-24
Posts: 607

Re: Total newbie request for assistance


<-----<< On an even field, only talent prevails! >>----->
   Gans Gwarak da yn dorn yu lel, gwyr lowen an golon!
        >>-----> Rudhes hag Owres, Kajima <-----<<

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