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Hi :) PT or Cubase?

Discussion in 'Cubase' started by callmeKeith, Jan 12, 2009.

  1. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    Hi there, just arrived here after looking through the forums last night. (I'm tired, it was a long night!)

    Basically I've had little experience with recording/engineering except at my local church where I work on the sound desk. It's nothing much, just recording basic stuff into Audition. I'd like to be able to record basic acoustic (and possibly later on, electric) guitar initially and share my music with a mate from work who has ProTools. I understand that I'd pay for the name if I were to go with PT but there are more learning resources available than there are with other DAWs?

    I was looking at PT M-Powered first with an M-Audio Profire 610 interface as I wanted to record my drumkit at some point but decided it was too expensive to go for that equipment. MBox2 looked interesting but there are only 2ins which may restrict me later on.

    I've just noticed some Alesis Multimix 8 USB Mixers with Cubase LE for around £100 from various places online. How does the hardware compare to MBox equipment? I'm presuming Cubase is similar to PT and that I wouldn't hit the 'ceiling' for a long time. I can't really afford to splash out at the moment so Cubase looks quite appealing. Can I share files with my PT-obsessed mate? Also the USB connection - would it be able to handle 4 inputs simultaneously? I hear Firewire's quicker?

    edit: I see the same Alesis mixers but with Firewire are £249. Is it worth it to have Firewire over USB?

    I apologise for my rambling, but would really appreciate some advice on these things.

    Thanks
    Keith
     
  2. FlyBass

    FlyBass Active Member

    ProTools LE vs. Cubase LE -- With ProTools you get lots of professional users and resources, but most plug-ins will be expensive because they are geared for professionals. With Cubase there are lots of hobbyists using it and lots of free or inexpensive plug-ins (VSTs). They both will come with all the basic plug-ins like reverb, eq, compression and limiters. Cubase LE will be the cheaper alternative. That being said, your first audio software isn't necessarily going to be the last you buy/use. Remember, there will be things to learn on how to use any software, so be prepared to do a lot of reading or find a tutor.

    You can share tracks/songs with your friend as long as you save your tracks as full wav files -- he should know how to direct you to save them. He will be able to import them, but without plug-ins that you used (unless you bounce them down and write them as a wav audio track -- but that might be to much information for you right now).

    Hardware -- I'm not familiar with the Alesis Multimix 8, but if you need to use a mixer, that might work for you. The ProTools or M-Audio hardware (both companies are owned by Avid) is considerate good, well-made equipment. My personal choice is a PreSonus FirePod (FP10) which allows me to "mix in the box" (ie, within the audio software program (Apple Logic), not with a hardware mixer). Also check out Mackie, Tascam, and MOTU interfaces.

    USB 2.0 vs. FireWire -- Many people debate which is faster, but I think either works fine. It's not about speed, it's about bandwidth (ie, a 2 lane road vs. an 8 lane highway) and they are very close in that way. USB 1.1 has less bandwidth and speed, but it seems to work well for recording up to 2 tracks at a time. What will you computer support?

    Think about what you need (number of preamps, hardware mixer, number of tracks to record at one time, quality of gear, etc.), what you can afford, and if it will provide for the future. Remember: when a friend has a similar system, it could mean a handy teacher to guide you through your first steps.

    My first setup was a Digidesign M-Box and ProTools LE -- then to meet my needs better, I switched to the PreSonus and Logic a couple of years later.
     
  3. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    I have Pro Tools, and a friend has Cuebase LE. Cubase has an option to bounce stems. I think it is just known as "bounce" in the Cubase menus. These can be very easily imported into any DAW including Pro Tools.

    If you aren't going to be doing any serious editing or mixing Cubase LE bundled with an audio interface will get the job done.

    If you are just recording, and not running live sound at the same time, I would recommend an interface with pre amps such as the Presounus FP10, Tascam 1641 or the M-Audio Fast Track series.

    If you can use your church mixer, and it has inserts, I would get the M-Audio Delta 1010LT. (or up to 4 of them)

    Pro Tools can use VST plugins if you buy a wrapper for $50.
     
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    The delta costs like £120 and I want one. 8 simultaneous inputs, 2 of which are "mic" inputs. For cheap. And I think you get software although I reckon that if you just want to record, and don't want to edit much, get Kristal. It's free for non-commercial purposes but is easily outdone if you get software with the interface.
     
  5. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    Thanks for your answers guys, very helpful :)

    I've been looking at the Tascam 1641, looks very useful. Except there are no mic preamps included? What are the issues that arise from this? I would need to buy some, right?

    The M-Audio Fast Track Ultra comes bundled with Ableton Live Lite, which seems more geared for live performance or at least sketching ideas?

    M-Audio Fast Track Pro has 2 pres but no software. Argh, this is more expensive than I first anticipated lol! Sorry about the n00by rambles, I'm literally learning as I type.
     
  6. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    If you're recording, you're going to want preamps. Most interfaces and mixers have them built-in

    Re-read what flybass and codemonkey have said - their advice has more experience behind it, and is a little more descriptive than mine.

    My story:
    Started w/ Cubase LE that came w/ a Presonus Firestudio, & a MacBook:
    Upgraded to Cubase SX3, added more stuff (channels, mics, preamps, etc) and moved to a desktop PC;
    Spent lots of $$ on more expensive mics and preamps, and so on.

    I've hardly paid a thing for software or plugins (gracious co-workers & good advice on free stuff).

    Think hard about how far you might want to take this. If you think you might want to record 8 channels at once, I recommend Presonus stuff and MOTU. They have pretty good preamps for being a relatively cheap recording interface (~$500-700 USD). Plus lots of options for adding inputs/outputs down the road.

    Of course, if your friend is going to be doing most of the post-recording work, go with the cheaper, smaller ones like the M-Audio or Tascam stuff.

    Again, it's all about how serious you want to get.
    If you browse the forums you'll find lots of useful information on mic choices/setups, preamps, software, etc.
    Find a budget, decide what you want to do, and then research the HELL out of the gear. Even better, try it first if you can.
     
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "I've hardly paid a thing for software or plugins (gracious co-workers & good advice on free stuff)."

    Free stuff is goooood.

    Also, I don't have masses of experience with everything - I just want a Delta 1010LT, and use Kristal twice weekly.
     
  8. soapfloats

    soapfloats Well-Known Member

    Maybe you don't, but I've gotten advice from you specifically (and a host of others) that has been really helpful. Or at the least widened my perspective.

    That's what this is all about, am I right?

    I started taping my band's practices. Then taped our live sets. Then other bands' live sets. Then got frustrated with crappy bars and lack of control of the sound.
    Then I decided to do "studio" recording. I've been EXTREMELY fortunate and gotten great advice from the guys who did my band's CD, other local engineers (Dave Davis among them), this forum (and others), & was basically handed a church to record in.
    That said, I had no idea what I was doing, really, moving into the place.
    7 studio projects (various stages of completion), 2 nights of live recording @ a festival, and about $20k later, here I am.
    I've learned a lot. The hard way.

    Most of the frequent posters on this site have a great deal more expertise than myself. Particularly in regards to using/comparing gear.

    Thank goodness.

    I just hope I can offer some useful information to those recording dabblers that are considering taking a swim. I dove in headfirst, cracked my head (it still hurts a little), but am treading water now.
     
  9. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    The Tascam 1641 has 8 mic pres, and two instrument/line inputs for 10 simultaneous inputs and comes bundled with Cubase LE. A buddy of mine got one of these. Easy to use and for the money it is great.
     
  10. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    Ah good to hear.

    I'm part of a ceilidh band and we're looking a for a replacement mixer (our old thing gives fuzz in mega quantities.) A mixer will do the same as the interface yes? And I could use it for recording too. Granted I'll have to buy the software separately...

    Damn, my question's changed, mixer v interface. Sorry guys :(
     
  11. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    An Interface is NOT a live mixer.

    You'll need a mixer if you want to do live sound.
     
  12. pr0gr4m

    pr0gr4m Well-Known Member

    Cubase.
     
  13. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    I thought not. But I could use the mixer as the interface, yes? What would be the pros and cons about this setup in comparison to the Tascam 1641 for example?
     
  14. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    See Code Monkeys post.

    Mixer adds sounds together from multiple sources.
    An interface records audio from multiple sources.

    In a pinch you could use an interface as a mixer by using the direct input monitor mix as your master mix, but it would be far less than adequate for most applications.

    Most mixers (analog mixers) sum the inputs to various buses. They do not convert the analog signal to digital.

    A digital mixer will have a digitized output of the master bus, but that is only useful if you are recording a live performance to two track. Mixers are very noisy in comparison to an interface in the same price bracket. Some digital mixers, like the Makie Onyx and Alesis multi mix have several A to D channels so they can function as an interface.
     
  15. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    Not sure exactly what buses are, although I've Googled them. OK, so it's not cost effective for me from what I can gather.

    Just out of interest- Where does the noise you speak of come from, and is it only apparent when you're recording?
     
  16. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    Mixers are generally nosier than interfaces partly because all of the analog components are connected to one another in multiple ways via aux sends, FX sends, and bus sends. In an interface the analog components for each channel are connected to a dedicated A to D, (or in the lower end stuff an A to D with a muxed input) Even with the muxed input you have one connection location for potential cross talk vs the three or more on even the smallest mixer. ... That's just cross talk. Then there is power supply noise (more electronics in a mixer = a bigger supply than an interface), noise from mutes that don't completely disconnect and probably others I am forgetting.
     
  17. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    Not quite true. Two dual purpose options would be the Onyx 1640 w/firewire option and the Allen Heath ZED-R16. Both of these options have 16 simultaneous inputs via firewire 1394a. I have successfully mixed small club live shows with the Onyx though my emphasis be classical.
     
  18. callmeKeith

    callmeKeith Guest

    Thank you kindly Steven (I presume from your www :)) you've helped greatly.
     
  19. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    You are quite welcome. Best of luck in your musical endeavors.
     

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