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Need some help! ~$300 audio interface

Discussion in 'Recording' started by dewyuck, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. dewyuck

    dewyuck Guest

    Hey everyone. I have sonar home studio 6 and have been running sound through my crappy sound card with a borrowed dirt old mixer so I need some help. I was wondering what to get between firewire and USB that is both mac and pc compatible considering I’ll be getting a mac soon. Also I was wondering which would be more suitable for my cause, an interface or a mixer. Any feedback on Phonic equipment? Oh yea and I forget to mention I’m a student, which means I’m poor… so around $200-300 is my budget. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated because as you can tell i am fairly new to recording.

    Thanks a lot,
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    You're going to spend $2000 on a Macintosh and you have only 200-$300 to spend for your audio interface? That's sort of like spending $2000 on new tires to put on to your $300 VW. I think you need to think about this a little more? It's called budgeting. The first thing you learn when building a studio. So I have this 1974 vintage 36 input Neve console and I need to find some microphones at radio shack under $10 each to plug into it. Right. This is starting to sound stupid.

    So, you're probably looking at 500 to $1000 for a worthy 8 or more input FireWire interface. If you want something that will provide you with a multifunction purpose, you'll want a FireWire mixer. If it's strictly for recording purposes and no PA will ever be required? You'll only need a FireWire audio interface. Either way, you'll want FireWire device to go with your Macintosh. Most USB audio devices don't offer as many simultaneous inputs as their FireWire counterparts since most USB audio devices are USB 1.1 not 2.0. So to track a rock band, you'll want at least eight inputs simultaneously at a minimum.

    Which manufacturers? At this price point, one is pretty much the same as the other. Nothing esoteric here. Good general purpose stuff. All completely adequate and capable of making good recordings provided your engineering experience is up to the task.

    1+ 1= 3
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. dewyuck

    dewyuck Guest

    Thanks for the help. As for me getting the mac, well I hate to say it but I’m getting as a graduation gift from my grandfather. Sounds a little spoiled i know but His graduation gift to his grandchildren is a laptop for college. So that’s why there is such a budget difference.
  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    What make / model is the old mixer you currently use?
  5. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    I think to get the best answers here, you need to provide a bit more about your expectations/plans for recording. For example, it is now clear that the Mac you are getting is not really a step toward "building a studio" but rather a multipurpose tool as you go to college. (Unless you are going to college specifically for recording/production?) It just so happens that one of its uses will be a foundation for your recording setup.

    If you are just getting started (and given the fact that you posted this in Budget Gear), I don't think you really need to go beyond your stated budget of $300 to get something that you can work with. As Remy said, part of the decision depends on if you want it to do double duty (mixer and interface). If so, I might suggest this as a possibility:

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    I got one as a step up from my "crappy soundcard" and have been quite satisfied with it. I am really only doing this as a hobbyist, so I'm most interested in bang-for-the-buck all in one type device, rather than the most pristine preamps and high-end features. My impression is that you are in a similar situation.

    As for an interface-only, here's an example for a few more $$ that has more mic pres and I think a pretty good reputation. (No personal experience with this one):

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    Back to overall budget, and my original point - aside from the dirt old mixer you have, what other gear (mics) do you have, and what do you plan to do with it? If you are already more or less set with everything else, then it might be best to save a bit more and invest in a really good interface. But if you still need to buy everything else just to get started, then perhaps you would be more willing to compromise on everything so you have something to learn on.

    Hope this helps, and best of luck! :cool:
  6. dewyuck

    dewyuck Guest

    Hey thanks a bunch guys and yes the mac would be for college but I plan on going for either music industry or audio production depending on the school I get in. I am hoping to get the mac book pro so im kind of saving up for whatever my grandfather doesnt pay for.

    I am just getting started so I figure id get something cheaper now mainly for some experience and yes I want the most for my buck. I figure, eventually when I know what im doing and have a better idea of what im looking for I’ll buy nicer equipment.

    Currently im using a new EV dynamic cardioid mic that I just recently bought and am running it through a traynor 6401 mixer which is probably around 20-30 years old. Not quite sure on age but it looks like an antique. But I did just buy some new bose over ear headphones. Along with the Alesis im thinking about going with the Phonic Helix12FW MkII ( http://www.zzounds.com/item--PHOH12FWMKII )mostly because it seems like that along with their cheap crap they carry the high end equipment as well but I could be wrong here. They might make all crap. So if you have any feedback on Phonic that would be cool but thanks again for all the help

  7. MadTiger3000

    MadTiger3000 Active Member

    Getting gifts that can further your knowledge isn't something to be ashamed of. Thanks, Granddad.

    Since you are about to be focused on school, and music, you can get rid of your other hobby equipment. Replace it later when you're finished with school. Use the money to bridge that budget gap.
  8. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member


    Here's a second vote for the FP10.

    Don't concern yourself with a mixer, especially one like that Phonic - the FP10 will do what you want, and give you better quality for your money.
  9. dewyuck

    dewyuck Guest

    I took a look at the FP10 and I think im just about sold. It seems like its worth spending the extra $100. Thanks

  10. EricUndead

    EricUndead Guest

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  11. dewyuck

    dewyuck Guest

    so did i...it was calling my name :D
  12. mwacoustic

    mwacoustic Guest

    Once it starts calling, you can't ignore it, can you? :cool:
  13. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    True, but you can pull your brim low and avoid eye contact.

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