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need help choosing audio interface!

Discussion in 'Recording' started by Santos, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Santos

    Santos Guest

    Hello everyone! My name is Santiago, I´m from Argentina. I´m an absolute newbie...and my english kinda sucks, so...sorry about that. Anyway, here´s the thing: I friend of mine is going to USA, so I´m giving him some money to get me an audio interface, but the thing is that I have no idea what to get. I´ll give you some ideas of what I´m looking for:

    I record mainly guitars, bass guitars and voices. I use EZDrummer for drums and Reason for effects and weird stuff. Nowadays I record guitar and bass through my motherboard Line In...and use Guitar Rig 3 for effects. (I don´t go through any preamp or amp or anything...just guitar...cable...line in...guitar rig...adobe audition 3).

    Ok, it may be helpful if I gave you the specs of my PC:

    AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+
    ASUS M2N-MX SE PLUS motherboard
    2GB RAM
    180 GB

    So, what I´m thinking is to get something with good sound quality, few inputs (I record one thing at a time, so I don´t care about having looots of inputs ;p), nice preamps...and that´s all I know.

    I have about 500-600 dollars to spend (if there´s somthing reaaaally great for some more money I could get there). I don´t have a firewire port in my PC...but I think you can buy one...guess. Anway...I don´t know what to do...get a firewire thing? usb? PCI? I´m not taking my PC anywhere so PCI would be fine.

    Oh! And one last question: I have a Samson CO3U (the usb one) and I use it to record my vocals with it, but I don´t like how it sounds...cause my room is not soundproof (you know what I mean...I don´t know what´s the right word to say it...but it´s a normal, square room...not sound treated (¿?), sorry, I feel like I´m murdering your language ;p). So, I´m planning to get a mic too...nothing too expensive...will a Shure Sm58 get me better results?

    Ok, this post got too long, so I´m stopping here. I´d really appreciate your feedback cause I´m lost here. Thank you very much for reading!
  2. Greener

    Greener Guest

    Hello and welcome to RO, firstly let me say your English is better than most peoples in my country and English is our only language. :p

    I would have to say The SM58 is an awesome choice for a microphone.

    Maybe you could look at a two port USB interface with DI lines.
    I own an Edirol UA-25 and it does it for me, cheap and cheerful.

    You could look at the Presonus AudioBox USB or if you can get a PCI firewire card maybe one of the Presonus fireboxes.

    There are many choices out there. All the hardware seems pretty much the same, it's just the bundled software that comes with it.

    The Sonar LE that comes with my Edirol is alright but the mp3 license only lasts for 3 months and I think that's tight. Although it will work with Audition...

    Hope you get what you're after.
  3. Robak

    Robak Active Member

    Consider buying a second hand M-Audio Audiophile2496 (PCI) and a small mixer (Tapco, Phonic even Behringer :twisted: will do). You will spend about 250$. Than get a good DI-box for your guitar and bass. Don't change your mic before you treat your room. Square room is not a good place to record music in. Read more in Studio Construction Forum. Welcome and good luck!
  4. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Another thought -
    TC Konnekt 24D or Konnekt 8D (depending upon how much you need/want to grow). These are top notch, no excuses interfaces with EXCELLENT quality preamps, inputs and conversion. Add an inexpensive but quality Firewire card to your computer and you'll be ready to rock for years. Add to that, they're built like tanks! That gray exterior - that's solid 5mm aluminum.

    Cheers -

    PS -
    Your english truly is better than native speakers. There is absolutely no need to apologize. If US high-school students spoke and typed as eloquently, we'd be far better off than we are currently.
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    While having a soundproof room is good if you want to record drums late at night, it's definitely not essential.

    This is different from sound treating, as you mentioned. Proper technique will help more than sound treating, but it will make a difference, especially small or square rooms.
    Is there any other room you could record in that isn't so square?

    Searching/asking in the Studio Construction forum for things like "bass trapping" and "square room" should turn up some helpful advice.

    Also, if you need Firewire in your PC, look for a Firewire PCI card, preferably with a Texas Instruments (TI) chipset.
  6. Santos

    Santos Guest

    Well, first of all I have to thank all of you people for taking the time to answer my questions, I really appreciate it. :D

    Ok...I´ve been searching audio interfaces and I´m between a Saffire, Emu 1820m and a Konnekt 24D. I have a friend who bought an mbox 2 pro...I could get the money to buy it, is it worth it? I´m not familiar with pro tools, but I guess I could manage to use it...unless it´s too different from Cubase, Audition, Sonar, etc.

    Anyway...if you could give me a hint on what to choose from those options I mentioned I´d be really happy...I´m looking for good sound and something reliable...cause I´ve read a lot of articles and users reviews about audio interfaces with lots of problems...and I won´t have the chance to take it to the shop and say "It doesn´t work :D" cause I´ll be testing it for the first time here in Argentina.

    About recording vocals...I´m gonna try doing something to soundtreat my room, because I found out that even though my mic is a cheap one it doesn´t sound too bad...the problem is my room...I´ll find a way to record my vocals decently.

    Codemonkey, nope...I can´t record anywhere else...all my bedrooms are squared...except for my living room...it has an L form...but you get a lot of sound from the outside (cars...and...cars...maybe dogs too ) :?

    Well...thank you all for replying my post...really. Take care!
  7. Santos

    Santos Guest

    After doing some research I´m thinking about getting either a:

    1- Mbox 2 pro, or
    2- Konnekt 24D...what would leave me like 300 dollars to get me a mic to record vocals and acoustic guitars.

    What do you think I should do? In case you´re with option number 2, any ideas on a good mic for that money?

    My bedroom is not sound treated...I don´t get too much noise from the outside...but I do get a weird kinda reverb sound from recording in my square shaped room...so I don´t know if I should go with a dynamic or a condenser, ideas?

    What about a shure sm7b? It´s about 350 dollars...and a konnekt 24D (500 dollars)...would those 2 things get me a nice vocal & acoustic guitar sound?

    Thank you all...share some thoughts...everyone´s welcome :D
  8. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    ".but I do get a weird kinda reverb sound from recording in my square shaped room.." /quote

    Things happen pretty fast in a small square room.

    Making certain that you are not in the center of the room in either direction may help. You also have to stay out of the corners to avoid low end that piles up there. ;)
  9. danny666ball

    danny666ball Guest

    How are the preamps built in to a mixer compare to the external preamps?
  10. sshack

    sshack Active Member

    For that $300-ish dollars you could get a used AT4033 or 4050 and probably be right where you need to be, arguably better off for your acoustic and vox recordings than the SM7b (not knocking it at all btw). Though they may be more inclined to pick up any odd verb stuff going on in your room.
    I'd definitely go for the Konnekt.

    Good luck.
  11. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Let me pen an analogy here about preamps (err..."key" vice "pen")...

    Have you ever had spaghetti-O's?

    They're fine - okay even. You could have them for lunch quite often before becoming sick of them.

    Have you ever had boxed pasta and a jar of Ragu or Prego?

    Again, okay - even passable as a "home made" dinner...

    Have you ever made your own pasta from scratch (you know, eggs, flour, olive oil, water and salt) and then made your own sauce using your own tomatoes, herbs and vegetables?

    Well, mixer preamps are like spaghettios. The get the job done. They're not great but they, for the most part are okay.

    "Cheap" outboard preamps are like Ragu. You can pass them off as usable preamps but the reality is, it's glorified spaghettios.

    Quality, external preamps are hand-built or hand-QC'ed with care and intent. The ingredients that go into a good outboard pre are just as carefully considered as those that would go into a fine sauce.

    Between the Spaghetti-Os and the Ragu, there's a small but noticable difference. From Ragu to homemade, there's a HUGE difference that can't be quantified in any way.

    Once you've had the homemade stuff, Ragu is just a disappointment.

    Does that help?
  12. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member


    Let's just say that I admire your audio advice a lot more than I do your culinary advice. Even Behringer would be ashamed to make Spagettio's.
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Nah...Behringer makes Kibbles and Bits...maybe Gravy Train.

    Besides, your daughter's too old to have a cabinet full of Spaghetti Os and Chef Boy Ardee. My son's right at the age where PB&J and Spaghetti Os are haute cuisine.
  14. Greener

    Greener Guest

    PB&J and Spaghetti Os _ARE_ haute cuisine.

    It's all in the mind.
  15. Santos

    Santos Guest

    Great analogy! :D

    I think I got your point. You say I should get a good preamp, and here´s an absolutely newb question: can I use the same preamp for a guitar to go straight (clean) to a DAW and use amplitube on it and to connect a mic? I mean: can I get one preamp for mic AND guitar and bass? In that case, what would you recommend?

    Also...if I get a good preamp...I´d have to get me a mid-decent PCI card...as a...?

    And a mic too....man...this 900 dollars limit is killing me...

    Thanks for replying!

  16. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    I think maybe you are misunderstanding Jeremy's analogy (or perhaps his taste in food). I guess you could classify the preamps in the Konnekt 24D as "mixer" preamps, but I would not compare them to mushy pasta in sugary sauce. In fact, I think that you would find the difference between them and most inexpensive outboard preamps to be fairly small. I think most people are better off getting a good versatile interface and using those preamps until they can afford high end outboard pres.
  17. ferociousj

    ferociousj Active Member

    Hi I also need help choosing an interface. I want something like the PreSonus Firepod, but I dont need 8 mic inputs. The most I'd need is 4. Could someone recommend me something like this, around $300...
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Bob...you kill me.

    Yes, a good set of average (mixer type) preamps are good enough for the average Joe. In fact, I really like the pres in the Konnekt. Another of my favorites is the Aphex 107 (found used on Ebay quite often for around $100). Neither of these preamps really touches an API or a Millennia, but both are great values that get the "average" recordist MUCH further down the line than Behringer similar preamps.

    My advice would be to consider something like the Konnekt or the RME Fireface 400 and use the tools in those boxes (which are both far more than meets they eye) until you've simply exhausted their capabilities. (Trust me, that won't happen for a very long time. I still use both of these boxes and probably will until Firewire is an obsolete interface.)


  19. ferociousj

    ferociousj Active Member

    with the konnekt 8, there are two inputs for mics in the front, and two line inputs in the back. Does that mean I could plug 2 more mics into the line inputs if I need to?
  20. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    "Does that mean I could plug 2 more mics into the line inputs if I need to?"

    1) You'll need external preamps to do that.
    2) It might not even be possible.

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