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Discussion in 'Recording' started by saxoonist, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. saxoonist

    saxoonist Active Member

    I am a student musician (mostly in concert music) and I have compiled some recording equipment, through gifts and hand-me-downs. I am running Cubase LE 4 on an old HP PC. I have an Alpha USB Pre-amp. I also have an old analog mixer, and old speaker and woofer, a keyboard, a guitar and amp, my woodwinds, and two microphones.

    In Cubase, I am trying to set up the buses. for the output, I currently have only one speaker, which is plugged into the left output of the Alpha. With this set-up, I can't really record in stereo, can I? It seems that acquiring a cheap pair of speakers would solve the problem. If i get a pair of USB speakers, and I plug them right into the computer, how do I set up the audio hardware? As far as i can tell, once the Alpha is plugged into the PC's USB port, the computer ignores all other hardware.

    Any suggestions about how to set up Cubase's in/out buses, or general advice about stereo vs. mono recording, would be appreciated.

    As a side note, is there any advantage to using the hardware mixer w/12 tracks if i can only record two tracks at a time on the Alpha?

    Thanks in advance!
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    If you need to record something like a drum kit, you can get away with using just a pair of good overhead mics as long as you are recording in a decent acoustic space. The next step up would be three or four mics (the two overheads plus kick drum and optional snare mic), and using a 2-input interface under these conditions, you would mix down to two tracks in real time and record the result. That's really the only occasion you would use a mixer in the recording chain. If you are just recording one or two microphone channels, then plug them directly into the interface and leave the mixer out of the system so you don't degrade your audio quality any more than you need. What are the microphones that you have?

    Is this the Lexicon Alpha USB interface? If so, it's a very respectable unit that has, along with its two input channels, a pair of outputs (stereo) for driving headphones or monitor loudspeakers. You need to have either a pair of conventional unpowered speakers with a separate power amplifier or else powered monitors that have their own amplifiers built in.

    You should not need to be setting up complex buses in your DAW for simple recording operations. For straight recording, you will be either recording one or two separate (mono) microphones together or using the two microphones as a stereo pair. It is possible, but not ideal, to monitor this setup in mono on a single speaker. The problem will be when you come to mix the recording and need to pan the tracks to suitable places in the left-right sound field, although headphones would help here, unless you have the type that has only one earphone on a headstrap.
  3. saxoonist

    saxoonist Active Member

    Thanks so much!

    I had the feeling that I was in over my head on the buses, and I guess I was. I will look into getting a pair of speakers. I keep inching closer to having a functioning studio, thanks for the reply.

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