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Looking to add to current setup - Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by A_Grant, Oct 13, 2008.

  1. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    I have done some basic recordings in the past. Basic as in acoustic guitar, then record vocals separately as another track. I generally use Audacity (funny right?) but I recently got a legal copy of Adobe Audition 3 from a friend that just upgraded to a Mac.

    Here is my current set up:

    Mixer: Behringer Eurorack MX802A
    Mic: MXL 990

    I use two "Mini-jack to Stereo RCA" cables as the bridge between my mixer and computer. I run out of the "2 Track" outputs and inputs into the line in and speaker outputs on my computer. So far it has proven itself pretty powerful considering I got both of these items for free ( :D ).

    Either way, I have about 200 dollars. I recently bought a HP DV2940SE. It is a very powerful laptop. Dual Core, 64 Bit Vista, 4 Gigs of Ram. Being an HP laptop, it has no Line in. So I did a little research. I have been looking for either a USB or Firewire Recording interface, with at least 24 bit quality. I found this:


    It has good and bad reviews, most of which are good. It is a decent price, runs USB, Records Stereo at up to 24-bit/48kHz.


    Basically I am looking into upgrading my already tiny setup. I know I have a decent mic, and my mixer has proven itself strong.

    What I have read is worth getting (for any setup, especially HDD recording setups) is a good Tube Preamp.

    What I have concluded is:


    Lexicon Alpha USB Desktop Recording Device
    ART Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp
    CAD EPF-15A 6-Inch Flexible Pop Filter
    Assortment of cables and adapters to get my "new gear" set

    That total (150 ish) sounds great to me. I have spent two days reading reviews and finding products.

    Oh, did I mention I have used an ART Tube Studio Mic PreAmp?

    I personally loved it, just like the other 40 people that reviewed it on Musicians Friend.

    I also was considering a simple Two Channel EQ and Possibly an Behringer DSP2024P 24-Bit Effects Processor. (Discountinued product, I can find it on ebay for under 100)

    Either way, I am looking for a warmer sound and more control over what I record. I hate that it takes so much "doctoring" in post. I already know basics as in: Don't clip, keep input levels low on computer, and keep the EQ flat for guitars and vocals.

    So, I am aware I am pretty noob at this, I just want some more opinions before I take the leap of forking 200 dollars into more gear.

    Keep in mind, I have no intention of being portable.

    I am not trying to advertise, but here is something I recorded about a week ago (Oct. 6, 2008). The "Acoustic Two" turned out better than the first, not to mention I exported it at 256 kbps.

    Here is the MySpace:


    Is there any kind of multi track USB recording device for under 200 dollars?

    I can't seem to find anything below 500...

    Thanks just for reading this!

  2. GeckoMusic

    GeckoMusic Guest

    I stopped reading there. DO NOT PIRATE SOFTWARE. It is stealing from musicians like yourself who have concentrated their efforts on software development. Use Audacity or Krystal, or Reaper. They are all basically free, and work great.
  3. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    No, I am serious. I got an original copy from a friend who upgraded to a Mac..

    I changed it, I am an honest person who got a legal copy.
    I should have made that more clear in the original post.
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Is the Audition license transferable? No idea myself.

    Either way, your mixer is probably not all that hot ;).

    What is it about post-editing that makes you want to buy (likely rotten) outboard? Plugins don't break down, require plugs, cause ground loops, need a rack, they will sound better, and plenty are available free.

    Also if you get the Lexicon, you should not use the mixer. The recordings will benefit.
  5. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    When I installed Audition with the same license my friend used (the legal license that came with the copy) it worked fine. I am guessing is just shut down the use of the license on his old Pc.

    Either way I have a legal version of Adobe Audition 3 and I have no clue how to work it. It seems simple, but I don't know the first thing about "mastering" with this program.

    As for this:

    I am quite confused on this whole paragraph?

    Also, with the Lexicon, you say not to use my mixer?

    Why? I wouldn't really have any control of the "live" feed...
  6. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest


    I really feel like a noob after re-reading this.

    I think I am shut off to plug ins because I have never been taught how to use them. I always end up playing with some plugin and it never seems to work out ok. I learned how to run sound boards, so I am more comfortable with them.

    With Adobe Audition, I would be glad to learn and find free plugins, but I still like the idea of having more hardware.

    It is probably just a thing I have in my head that I need to get rid of, but from what I have generally read, it is still good to have a good pre-amp..
  7. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    A Preamp is important.
    The lexicon, I believe, has one on it which won't be fantastic, but will do the job. You can easily get another and plug it into the lexicon.

    You could choose to keep mixers and get hardware EQ etc., if you find it works best for you.
    Personally I would prefer getting things into the PC then mixing with plugins etc, in the digital realm. I only use a mixer as I have a whole band to get in, via 2 inputs.

    If you choose to go this way, the mixer is only needed if you have to record more instruments at one time, than the lexicon will allow (2 I believe).

    The grammar in that mentioned paragraph was bad, yes.
    Plugins have plenty of advantages over hardware. However, hardware ("outboard") has some advantages too.

    "Basic as in acoustic guitar, then record vocals separately as another track."
    If you intend continuing this, the Lexicon is all you need. It has a headphone output to hear the mix. It has a preamp for your mic, or an input for your other preamp. It also has a plug for a guitar.

    Audition should be fine enough to mess around with the tracks after you record them. IMO you should at least try with software, then if you really don't like it, go for hardware.

    Software has Ctrl+Z ;) Hardware is more permenant in its changes.
  8. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    I see what you\'re saying.

    The Lexicon does not have phantom power, but It wouldn\'t matter because this ART Tube Preamp I am going to buy, has a +48 phantom power, the amount to power my MXL 990.

    The thing is, there have been situations I need a mixer for more than two inputs. Plus I like have the control I have with the mixer.

    Please tell me if this plan won\'t work..

    MXL 990 through Tube Preamp into 2 track mixer inputs. Mixer into Lexicon Alpha through the stereo line inputs. Headphones through mixer. Computer output into the 2 track line input.

    So in this case the Lexicon would only be used for capturing.

    I can setup Audition to output through the onboard sound card, and capture through the Lexicon.

    This way I have more than two inputs, and the same mixer I am used to tied into my \"new\" setup.
  9. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    You\\\'re spending a lot of money unnecessarily imho. First you\\\'re buying an interface then a mixer then a preamp. First of all, make sure you\\\'re not going through two preamps. IE: the Art \\\"tube\\\" pre and the mixer pre.

    Remember that the more gear you throw in between your mic and your interface, the more noise you\\\'re adding. I personally don\\\'t think it is possible to get any sort of tube preamp for under $400.00. The ones that run off of a wall wart don\\\'t take advantage of the tube anyway.

    If it was my money, I would buy an interface that has phantom power built in and forget about the mixer, you don\\\'t need one. You\\\'ll be mixing in the box anyway so just learn to make do with out it.





    Pick one. They\\\'are all very similar at this price range. For the price of the mixer, preamp and interface, just pool your money and buy one decent unit instead of spreading it around on several mediocre bits.
  10. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    The only one of those I would be able to afford would be the Audio Box USB.

    I am hearing what you are saying, and as much as I would hate to lose the mixer setup I am comfortable with, I will if it means better audio.

    Here is the issue.

    Just because I mainly record Acoustic and Vocals, doesn't mean I need a max input of 2 every time.

    I have had quite a few times I need acoustic, vocals, and two keyboards plugged in.

    So I need more than 2 inputs.

    As for the the ART "tube" pre amp. I obviously do not know what a true tube sounds like. I have used this pre amp before with my MXL 990 and the results seemed "cleaner" with the ART. For 30 bucks I don't see much of a loss because: One, it has great reviews on quite a few web sites. Two, I have personally used it, and liked the results.

    Plus if I really don't see a difference with it, I can turn around and sell it on Craigslist or eBay.

    The Phantom power on my mixer is simply built in, so wouldn't having a different pre amp with "good results" seem smart to use instead of the built in one on the mixer?

    I personally just don't see how this 30 dollar ART "tube" pre amp could be any worse than the one built into my mixer. It may not be a true Tube preamp, but the results have to be better than the ones from my mixer..

    Would this setup really reap bad results?

    Presonus AudioBox USB > Behringer Eurorack MX802A > ART "Tube" pre amp > MXL 990

    I am not belittling the your knowledge, I just need to have more than two inputs. Scratch that, I have to have..

    Thank you again for your response. I am very much so glad that I did not just go out and buy what I found suitable.
  11. Greener

    Greener Guest

    "Presonus AudioBox USB > Behringer Eurorack MX802A > ART "Tube" pre amp > MXL 990"

    Depends what you put in front of it and behind it.

    What are you recording again? I can't concentrate long enough to read through this thread.
  12. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    Ya. I tend to talk a bit much.

    Generally I record Acoustic and Vocals. But there has been times I record Acoustic, Vocals, and Two Keyboards.

    So four inputs at most is what I record. My mixer has four mono inputs and two stereo.

    I also might add an equalizer in the mix.
  13. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Do yourself a favor and sell that Behr...... I guarantee you, all it's doing is adding noise. If you are sending two keys into the mixer, you're mixing them down to one track anyway. You can always track the keys or guitar or vox afterward. You don't have to record them all at once do you? Keep the ART if you must but I doubt it's any better than the ones in the Audiobox. The traits of a starved plate tube are generally distortion.
  14. A_Grant

    A_Grant Guest

    There have been occasions I need all four at once.

    I will do away with the behr.
    When I do need a mixer (say up to 16 channel) have any reasonably priced suggestions?
  15. hueseph

    hueseph Distinguished Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    You're better off buying a decent 8+ channel interface. The Presonus Firestudio(not project studio) has 8 reasonable mic preamps and 16 channels via ADAT lightpipe should you need to expand. In which case all you will need to do is buy another 8 channel preamp like a Focusrite Octopre. Neither of these are top grade equipment but they are far better than the bottom line stuff from Alesis and Behr.....

    Firestudio about $500 and a bit more for the Octopre but with the Octopre you are paying strictly for the preamps. Which are much better quality than you will find in any $500 16 channel mixer.

    Do yourself a favor and save the money. You'll just end up spending it anyway with continual upgrades. I speak from past experience.

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