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#1 2010-02-25 11:55:56

snowden300
Member
Registered: 2007-05-11
Posts: 46

recording interface for computer

Hi,

I am wondering if anyone can recomend recording interfaces for my particular setup. I've read a lot of things already written here in this forum and so it seems like a great place to inquire. A few of you have already offered up your comments and for that I thank you.

I've got a laptop with USB ports and am running Cubase SE. I play guitars mostly (acoustic, electric and bass) but also have a drum kit (Ludwig) and several miscellaneous instruments (mandolin, violin, harmonica, Spinette, other 'noisemakers'). my mics are a shure SM57 & SM58.

As I understand, there are interfaces I can get that allow me to plug in more than one mic or line in source at the one time? Thereby enabling me to record vocal and instruments at the same time rather than overdubbing. If this is the case I would be interested in something that could handle just me or myself and someone else jamming?

thanks!

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#2 2010-02-25 12:22:50

lUKEy
Member
From: Essex, UK
Registered: 2009-06-07
Posts: 25

Re: recording interface for computer

I've been looking into turning my pc into a make-shift studio and from what I'm reading around you're going to need some decent hardware if you're looking to get a decent result from your sessions.

Take a look at this guide - http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk/article/2 … ting-.html - might be of some use. Kit can get expensive quickly so I'd research thoughorly. If possible see if any music shops in town do electronics or if they guys at the shops have studios at home or know of studios. You can only ask.

Hope this helps


big_smile Its in the name!

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#3 2010-02-25 13:34:09

snowden300
Member
Registered: 2007-05-11
Posts: 46

Re: recording interface for computer

Thanks LUKEy! Looks like I've got about six months of reading to do!

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#4 2010-02-25 15:07:35

geoaguiar
Honoured Member
Registered: 2007-03-24
Posts: 1108

Re: recording interface for computer

Tascam US-144.


I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.
Elvis Costello

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#5 2010-02-25 16:34:36

lUKEy
Member
From: Essex, UK
Registered: 2009-06-07
Posts: 25

Re: recording interface for computer

The Tascam US-144 has been replaced with the US-144mkII - but I'm sure you'd still be able to get the Mk1 from eBay etc.

Oooh, shiny!
http://www.tascam.com/i-3818-17-64-0-C6C8FBA3.jpg

Think about any music hardware is that I'd like to try it out first and see if it meets my requirements. Esp if you're honking out a fair wad of cash on it.


big_smile Its in the name!

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#6 2010-02-25 17:18:25

geoaguiar
Honoured Member
Registered: 2007-03-24
Posts: 1108

Re: recording interface for computer

They made it black....looks like the same animal to me. I use this; there are dozens that do the same thing I'm sure. I would recommend getting one with phantom power and the potential for 2 inputs....and black I guess?


I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.
Elvis Costello

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#7 2010-02-25 20:30:53

seriousfun
Member
From: Rotorua, New Zealand
Registered: 2007-08-26
Posts: 62
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

If you want to record drums and also jam sessions, you may find two inputs restricting. To mic up drums successfully you may nbeed to use a couple of mics. Also you can get some nice effects by using a DI for an accoustic guitar and also mic at the same time. This way you can blend the sounds to get some different tones and add some depth. If you are jamming with a friend then you would deffinately want more than two inputs. Probably 2 mics, and a couple of DI's for the instruments. Also you may want to plan for more expansive requirements in the near future. No need to buy equipment twice, thats a costly exersize.

For all of the above reasons I recommend more than two iputs with your device.


Another thing to consider is latency. The best way to combat this si to ensure that you have fast communication between your hardware and your pc. Especially when recording multiple streams and using plugins or VST i's.  The fastest is USB2 very closely followed by firewire, USB1 is outdated technology and should be avoided ( apologies to those who still use USB1 hardware smile  )

My personal set up is with an Alesis Multimix8 USB2.0 it provides me with 8 inputs ( 4 stereo and 4 mono), mic phantom power on 4 of the inpouts,  built in effects, eq on every channel, send and receive on all channels, main out, control room out, line out, headphones out.  It is flawless and acts as a good mixer as well as soundcard. I can take it and gig with it.

I am sure there are many such beasts out there that would be as good as this one, but I hope this gives you some idea of what to look for.


As always I hope you enjoy my musical journey as much as I do.

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#8 2010-02-26 13:34:06

snowden300
Member
Registered: 2007-05-11
Posts: 46

Re: recording interface for computer

thanks Geo, Lukey and serious! I'm getting excited now. I've got a few bucks saved over the last year or so and have been toying with buying a new instrument, or a mac or something...I think I may invest in a new PC (the mac is just too cost prohibitive to me) and an AI. these suggestions and comments are exactly what I'm looking for...testimonial from people who already have these items.

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#9 2010-02-26 13:54:56

snowden300
Member
Registered: 2007-05-11
Posts: 46

Re: recording interface for computer

Seriousfun,

Further to this post, what would be the computer requirements for the Alesis Multimix?

thanks,
s

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#10 2010-02-26 14:01:00

geoaguiar
Honoured Member
Registered: 2007-03-24
Posts: 1108

Re: recording interface for computer

seriousfun wrote:

If you want to record drums and also jam sessions, you may find two inputs restricting. To mic up drums successfully you may nbeed to use a couple of mics. Also you can get some nice effects by using a DI for an accoustic guitar and also mic at the same time. This way you can blend the sounds to get some different tones and add some depth. If you are jamming with a friend then you would deffinately want more than two inputs. Probably 2 mics, and a couple of DI's for the instruments. Also you may want to plan for more expansive requirements in the near future. No need to buy equipment twice, thats a costly exersize.

For all of the above reasons I recommend more than two iputs with your device.


Another thing to consider is latency. The best way to combat this si to ensure that you have fast communication between your hardware and your pc. Especially when recording multiple streams and using plugins or VST i's.  The fastest is USB2 very closely followed by firewire, USB1 is outdated technology and should be avoided ( apologies to those who still use USB1 hardware smile  )

My personal set up is with an Alesis Multimix8 USB2.0 it provides me with 8 inputs ( 4 stereo and 4 mono), mic phantom power on 4 of the inpouts,  built in effects, eq on every channel, send and receive on all channels, main out, control room out, line out, headphones out.  It is flawless and acts as a good mixer as well as soundcard. I can take it and gig with it.

I am sure there are many such beasts out there that would be as good as this one, but I hope this gives you some idea of what to look for.

This is all good advice as well. I was thinking this was a first foray into recording thing so I was trying to keep it budget friendly. By all means if you have the money, get as much as you can. But if you have 2 guitars and 1 microphone for equipment, some of this would be overkill. It can be fun with no interface. When I started I used my sound card only and that worked for a spell as well. Again, these are all valid points but don't buy the sports car for your 14th birthday and walk before you run.....

Last edited by geoaguiar (2010-02-26 14:02:07)


I used to be disgusted; now I try to be amused.
Elvis Costello

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#11 2010-02-26 14:49:56

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

I have been looking for an interface for awhile and have tried several entry level ones and haven't been happy with any of them and I am not gonna bash any of them. I have found the one I will be getting and it is a step up but it can do so much more than the ones I have looked at.

This machine is also portable for your outdoor gigs or take it wherever and you don't need to bring your laptop along , it is a step up in price but I don't think it's one you will be replacing anytime soon either. This unit is in the $ 600 ball park , it is worth taking a look at.

Roland Cakewalk V-Studio 100


http://www.roland.com/products/en/SONAR_V-STUDIO_100/


Later, Wayne P

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#12 2010-02-26 22:54:18

Doug_Smith
Moderator
From: Western Oregon,US
Registered: 2008-07-22
Posts: 1266

Re: recording interface for computer

I'm kinda leaning towards Geo's thinking about the budget.  Really most sound cards in PCs will handle recording what ever you want to put to them in full CD quality... the trick is getting all that hardware connected to the Computer in an organized manner.  Really just a little mixer that provides phantom power for the mics that require it, and a few cables, along with the Cubase software you already own should get you well started.  You already have all the stuff to make the sounds, so it should just be a matter of doing some track on track recording, a little editing (software) and seeing what comes out.

I use a small powered mixer myself (although I'm not doing much recording presently) but it does double duty as a stage mixer as well, without having to trip over yet another piece of equipment.

Take Care and Have Fun with it!
Doug


"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

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#13 2010-02-27 00:18:10

seriousfun
Member
From: Rotorua, New Zealand
Registered: 2007-08-26
Posts: 62
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

I take your points regarding budgets. The multimix I purchased was NZ$550.00 and I guess that would equate to about US$300 but I am guessing.

Any buying decision must be made with budget in mind, but I would be reticient to pay close to this sort of figure for a product that you may well grow out of with 6 months.

As for computer requirements, I think any computer less than a few years old and with 2gb or more of RAM would be sufficient to run most recording software. Vista is a resource hungry beast, XP is better but I am hearing good things about Windows 7 though have no personal experience with it my self.

I have my studio wired for use on a semi permanent basis as it serves not only as my recording base but also as a practice room for my band. I have a couple of mics wired to the mixer full time, an accoustic, electric and bass plus drum machine so I never have to worry about pluging equipment in, just pick up and play. Convenience is a great factor to consider. And of course multiple use with the mixer serving its purpose at small to medium gigs as well. For me, It was money well spent but of course cost is all relative to what we have to spend.

Good luck with what ever you run with. Its all great fun and I am sure you will good good resukts and have loads of fun with whatever you get.


As always I hope you enjoy my musical journey as much as I do.

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#14 2010-03-01 11:17:15

snowden300
Member
Registered: 2007-05-11
Posts: 46

Re: recording interface for computer

Thank you all for your advice and comments! Now all that's left is the final decision and purchase. I'll do a little more soul searching and shopping around then soon I'll be posting some new material I hope!
all the best guys.

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#15 2010-03-31 14:02:02

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3035
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

So, I've been doing a little research because I wanted to get "something" that would record a little better than my junky camera on video mode... or my computer microphone.  So here's what I found from my reading... it seems useless to bother getting a good mic and an audio interface if you have a cruddy sound card (which I do have a cruddy soundcard) as the soundcard will resample the audio at a slow rate.  Or is this information not entirely correct?  Is that slow rate that it resamples "sufficient" for someone just recording for their own personal use and youtube?  I glanced around a little, and you can actually buy soundcards that have xlr inputs and phantom power...

obviously you're going to get a better sound going in AND coming out than if you stick with the original soundcard and add a recording interface... but is it worth the $$ because I will then also HAVE to get better speakers -- I'm starting to think it is... but then, I'm also starting to wonder if I should take it that far since all I really want is something a "little" better than what I currently have!  LOL!

So all you guys with your recording setups... did you go with your basic factory supplied sound card or did you upgrade that before adding the recording interface?  If you didn't upgrade that and you have something from Creative or Soundblaster (common audio codecs that resample at slow bitrates)... did you notice a marked improvement with a good mic even tho the soundcard wasn't upgraded?  Is it actually still better than standard webcam type recording sound?  How much better?

In the end... I think this is possibly going to get a bit expensive... but could be quite fun... the hubby seems to be excited about me doing this... but I'm scared that I'm going to get too involved in yet ANOTHER computer upgrade and techie "fun" that I might not really NEED.


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#16 2010-03-31 14:27:45

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

Amy,

Maybe if you don't want in too deep right away you could go with a Zoom H2 recorder. It has good built in condensor mics and you can record it to a SD card or use the USB. Then you could import your recordings to Audacity , which is a free software you can download.

The H2 is a little over $ 100. and could get you going and you would have pretty good mics and recorder. I have been on some other forums and there are some good players that have recorded some really nice stuff with them.

I have used the mic input on my soundcard and it is tough to get rid of the noise. The interfaces I have used USB and Firewire have had very little noise. The Audacity noise tool can only remove so much hiss and other noises before it gets into your vocals or instruments.


Later, Wayne P

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#17 2010-03-31 14:36:44

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3035
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

Yes, I'm thinking either upgrade the soundcard or go with the the Zoom H2, I looked at that as well.  I'm weighing in on the $$ part of it, but also considering the output sound that I'm going to hear on the computer.  I do already have audacity installed and have attempted recording with just the basic computer mic... too much hissing and background noise where I can take my camera into the bathroom (LOL)... so we shall see!  Just thought I'd get some opinions on computer hardware and ideas about recording interfaces vs. the H2 cuz I think down the road I'm going to wish I'd have upgraded the card to begin with.  Decisions, decisions!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#18 2010-03-31 14:49:37

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

From what I have heard and read most folks have given up on recording with the pc  mike input. Noise seems to be the issue and seems the better the mic you have the more noise your gonna get. I have a shure KSM-27 condensor mic and it is just about impossible to use with my PC mic input. I don't have the best soundcards but I hear the results aren't much different with better cards. When using the Focusrite interface the noise was no problem.

I think having some sort of interface to use either USB or firewire is the way to go.

Here's a link to some recordings with a H2
http://www.guitarbench.com/2008/09/03/y … rview-mp3/

Last edited by wlbaye (2010-03-31 15:02:43)


Later, Wayne P

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#19 2010-03-31 18:25:33

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3035
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

That sounds good Wayne... I did some more digging into this and while getting an interface and a decent mic sounds good... being able to take the H2 into a different room (away from the fish tank and kids) sounds better.  I'll check them out next time I head into the music store!  Thanks!


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#20 2010-03-31 19:19:42

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

I think it would get expensive  going with a new soundcard and mics and you would also need some type of pre-amp.
One of the reasons so many musicians are going for the handheld recorders.


Later, Wayne P

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#21 2010-04-01 06:12:34

Doug_Smith
Moderator
From: Western Oregon,US
Registered: 2008-07-22
Posts: 1266

Re: recording interface for computer

Wayne is on the right track with his comment about background noise.  The better the mic, the ambient noise gets caught as well.
I really can't record anything in the same room as my PC.... it's a big Antec tower with no less than 7 fans screaming away.  I managed some nice little clips with my laptop with just one tiny cooler running.... not as good as in the studio, but passable.  Another thing not to be overlooked is the quality of your cables, good shielding is essential for a clean signal to whatever you use to capture it, and as few connectors as is manageable.

You can go overbudget really quick, so it is a good thing to have a good idea of where you want to get to, and research everything first. 

Good luck and good hunting;
Doug


"what is this quintessence of dust?"  - Shakespeare

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#22 2010-04-01 12:54:00

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3035
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

Well... I tried using my Droid as a recorder... tons of "hiss" background noise with it when played back through the phone's speaker ... I haven't seen yet what I can remove with audacity... I might try that today for the heck of it.  This expensive phone has a guitar tuner, video recorder, barcode scanner and everything else you could imagine... one would think it'd be capable of being a "decent" voice/audio recorder too.

Ok... so I'm getting the impression that what I looked up about the soundcard resampling audio might be off... if you're going to use a usb or firewire interface, although I haven't gotten a solid answer there yet.  Sounds like it doesn't matter too much... especially since I've heard Wayne's recordings and they sound very good! 

So... next dilemma of mine... while I really like the idea of the H2, my big problem is that my voice usually drowns out my guitar - or rather, I wish my guitar sounded louder once I start singing.  For that reason, I'd either have to have 2 mics (I think) or I'd have to record guitar and vocals at separate times (with the H2).  Soooo... I'm kinda leaning a bit toward going with the interface.  Doing all my research and will check them out.  I have no clue how soon it will be till I buy something, could be a while down the road yet!  LOL!  I wonder if the guitar stores have any H2's available that I could try out and see how it records both at the same time in the store.  hmmm...

Last edited by mekidsmom (2010-04-01 13:04:57)


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#23 2010-04-01 13:07:19

wlbaye
Honoured Member
From: Black Hills So Dak
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 1269
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

Amy,

You can do it with one microphone and it would have to be a large condensor mic. If you do a search on acoustic guitar recording you will get a thousand different opinions. When I have used just one mic and finally get a mic placement right I make notes of how I did it. You have to have the mike a little higher and towards the neck of the guitar and keep cheating toward the headstock of the guitar until the vocals come through. Then when the vocals come through you start loosing the sweet acoustic sound you've been after.

Doug's said what I have been tiptoeing around about , it is very easy to go overbudget in a hurry.

One reason the little hand helds do such a great job they have two mikes and they are  X  Y  ed


Later, Wayne P

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#24 2010-04-01 15:22:52

mekidsmom
The Chick Moderator
From: NY
Registered: 2009-08-26
Posts: 3035
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

Ahh... Yes, the more back and forth I go (just like a woman huh?  LOL) with this the more I think I will end up with something like the H2... in the end it's going to be cheaper for me and also easier to record considering my computer is set up in the middle of the house where all the noise is all the time.  I see now that you CAN buy nicer mics and adapters and hook them into these units if I decide to spend more down the road.  That is very good to know!

In case anyone IS looking for an interface, I see that the Alesis MultiMix 4 USB Compact Mixer currently has a $10 rebate, bringing the after rebate price down to around $70 for a NEW, not used, entry level mixer/interface.  Also, a neat place to shop online for used gear is daddys.com ... they have lots of new stuff in the stores too if you happen to be in the North East.  Apparently used gear isn't very heavily discounted (even on ebay, I'm surprised how well this stuff seems to retain it's price), but you can save a few bucks by buying used.


Art and beauty are in the eyes of the beholder.
What constitutes excellent music is in the ears of the listener.

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#25 2010-04-02 00:10:08

tubatooter1940
Retired Beach Bar Entertainer
From: Alabama Gulf Coast
Registered: 2008-06-24
Posts: 1818
Website

Re: recording interface for computer

My buddy Chip hooked up his 8 channel Peavey RQ2310 mixer to Casey's new laptop. It has 48 volt phantom power and sounds great. It also can serve as a band gig performance mixer.
We're having a ball hooking up keyboard (contains all rhythm instruments), bass, mikes and guitars all at once.
toots


We pronounce it "Guf Coast".
Ya'll wanna go down to the Guf?

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