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Interface help...Beware, I'm a newb.

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Blial666, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. Blial666

    Blial666 Guest

    Hey guys,
    This is officially my first post here, and I just had one simple question. I've been a gigging musician for over a decade now, and I'm wanting to start building my own home studio going the PC/Pro Tools route. My first concern is choosing the proper interface. I'm wanting to be able to record 10-12 drum tracks at a time, but all the interfaces I see have only up to 8 inputs. Is there a way to use 2 interfaces together? Sorry for such a novice question, but I would really appreciate any help. Thanks!!

  2. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    yes there are many interfaces that you can double up on via firewire or adat, even pci.

    depends on how much money you want to spend but if you have $1700 ish..i would get thw A/H zed r16.
    16 pre's and they sound great. plus you have a good live mixer and very nice e.q.'s..supports pc and mac.
    i have one and i couldn't be happier with it.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    This ought to be a headline sticky:

    ProTools LE will only work with Digidesign hardware interfaces. M-Powered PT will only work with M-Audio interfaces or the Mackie Onyx i-series mixers. Both these versions of ProTools are restricted to recording a maximum of 18 concurrent channels.

    There is no way to daisy-chain PT interfaces directly, but most can be expanded using ADAT (8 channels) or S/PDIF (2 channels).

    In order to use 16 or 18 inputs with PTLE, you will have to choose a Digidesign 00x series interface. These have 8 analog inputs (only 4 with mic pre-amps) , 1 digital ADAT input that will handle 8 more channels from an external digitizing pre-amp, and a digital S/PDIF input (2 channels).

    For M-powered PT, you have a slightly wider choice choice of M-Audio multi-channel interfaces, but the one of particular interest is the Profire Lighbridge. This is a multi-ADAT interface, so using this, you could connect two or more external 8-channel ADAT pre-amps and have 16+ channels of mic pre-amps with your choice of acoustic colour.

    Don't forget that you can also use any appropriate audio software for tracking, and then import the captured .wav files into PT for processing.
  4. boxcar

    boxcar Active Member

    yeah, PC/Protools route..sorry i should have read more carfully..thought i saw PC or Mac.
  5. Blial666

    Blial666 Guest

    Thank you for the info, Boswell! By 00x series, do you mean something like the Digi 003 Rack? Is there any way you could give me a quick rundown of exactly what I would need to get this project going? My budget is $10-15,000. So far, I've been looking at getting:

    -A nice new computer with appropriate memory and processing speed
    -Pro Tools LE with the digital workstation mixing board
    -??? (whatever I need to get me more inputs...maybe the 003 rack hooked up to the mixer board?)
    -??? mic preamps....would I even need any?
    -Appropriate mics w/stands and cables
    -Monitors (any suggestions?)

    I really do appreciate your help. I have a great ear for music, but I've always been on the performing side and I'm a bit uneducated when it comes to actual studio equipment. I'm looking to do this as often as I can and try to make some money back. Thank you so much for your time and suggestions!
  6. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    This particular issue is identical on a Mac. It is a designed limitation (18 track count; compatible devices) of ProTools LE and ProTools M-Power. Lots of folks use the last route Boswell mentioned.
    You'll still have to have PT approved device to use PT but then you only need the MBox2 Micro.
  7. Blial666

    Blial666 Guest

    No prob, boxcar. Thank you for responding :)
  8. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    By the "the digital workstation mixing board" do you mean the Digidesign 003 Factory hardware? If so, that has almost everything that the 003R has, but can be used as a PT control surface in addition. Going the 003x route rules out the wider hardware options available with PT M-powered.

    You have a choice of ways to go:

    (A) Digidesign 003 Factory bundle: 4 mic pre-amps (so-so), 4 line inputs, 1 ADAT port, 1 S/PDIF port. To get to your 16 mic channels, you would need to add to this an 8-channel ADAT-output preamp and a 4-channel analog-output pre-amp. Recommendations for these in a later post.

    (B) Digidseign 003 Factory bundle used as control surface only at post-processing stage. Separate 16-channel Firewire analog input system as either 8-channel preamp with 8-channel expander, or something like an A+H Zed-R16 mixer with full FIrewire I/O. In addition to 16-channel recording and monitoring facilities, the latter gives you analog summing capability at mixdown. Additional DAW software such as Sonar, Reaper, Cubase for tracking.

    Other things you will need: a dual Firewire card with the TI chipset for your computer, a separate hard disk drive for your audio (internal or Firewire/USB external), good powered monitors (KRK, Adam, Genelec etc), room treatment.

    Actual types for microphones and pre-amps could be the subject of a separate thread.

    Personally, I shiver at spending $15K on a restricted system like Pro Tools LE, but it's your cash, and if you feel that's what you have to have, then you might as well spend it in the best way possible.
  9. Blial666

    Blial666 Guest

    Thanks again for the quick response :) So, you don't think it's the wisest investment going with those options? Which route would you choose? I'm feeling a bit intimidated by both the technical and financial aspects of this investment, but I'm 100% confident that with a bit of time and experience, I will be where I want to be. I just don't know how exactly to get started, and I really don't want to waste time and money investing in the wrong equipment.
  10. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Not necessarily. It's a strategic marketing decision. If you are setting up a studio, and feel that you can only get clients through the door by offering a Pro Tools rig, then you have to go that way. However, be warned that a lot of customers demanding Pro Tools would expect a full HD system, which would tax your budget somewhat.

    If on the other hand you are engineering and audio quality-led, then I would look at systems not based on tracking with Pro Tools. As I said earlier, this does not stop you having a copy of PT for post processing the captured files if you are required to do that, or you possibly want the capability to take in part-finished Pro Tools projects.

    Pro Tools locks you out of so much choice, not only of hardware, but also the freedom to use the DAW and plug-ins that best suit your material and your way of working.

    Don't rush into this. Take your time, listen to several opinions and, if you can, talk to other studios. Do a lot of reading - the archives on this board is a good place to start.
  11. Blial666

    Blial666 Guest

    Thank you so much for your time and advice. I will do much more research before I make any purchases :) Have a good one, Boswell!
  12. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    I am going to offer an opinion here and that is all it is. Be aware that I use Steinberg DAW system Cubase at home and Nuendo at the studio I use. I have recorded in studios that use Protools and Digital Performer. I don't believe that any particular DAW makes "better" recordings. The biggest difference I have seen is where controls are located, how things are displayed, but by and large most of them will all do the same things, cut, paste, copy, sample, enlarge, record over, punch in/out, etc. If you don't have much experience with a particular system then it will mostly be what you learned on. Move to a different one and you'll likely be frustrated. Drive a car in England and you do it on the other side of the road, simple huh? Not so easy for the first few days but then....
    I do have a personal issue as a consumer with a company whose product line is as proprietary as Protools. I would have the same issue with Fender if they said you can buy a guitar but if you do you have to buy a Fender amp, Fender pedals. Chevy truck gotta buy Chevy gas. That's just me. You might want to download some trial versions of DAWs and some free .wav samples and try mixing with them a little to see if you get a better feel from one as opposed to the other.

    Remember in the end the preamps and converters in the interface unit are going to do much more to "color" your recordings than the DAW IMO. If it were me I would identify the hardware I thought might be best suited to my needs and then all things being equal choose a DAW that works with that and I find acceptable to my workflow. YMMV, it's only my two cents worth and that is on a good day.
  13. jasonwagner

    jasonwagner Active Member

    I switched from PTLE and a 002 to Logic and an Apogee Ensemble, couldn't be happier. Does PTLE8 have auto plug in delay compensation yet?

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