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OK, I'll go digital, advice needed to start

Discussion in 'Recording' started by underbyte, Dec 23, 2001.

  1. underbyte

    underbyte Guest

    I am finally breaking down and going as digital as possible, which is funny because I have always hated digital (compared to hi-end analog). I have a mac g3 and am looking at a delta 1010, layla 24, or MOTU 828, 2408 etc. 8 channel i/o rack units. My question is: what do most people use for a decent mic pre or turn around since all of these units have primarily 1/4" trs connectors?
    Does an analog console with XLR inputs go in between? I know the answer is probably simple but I have been out of the studio scene for about 6 years. It's funny, 6 years ago I was testing a 20 bit optical recorder and that was cutting edge. Now I have a day job and as I get back into the engineering side of music again, I'm a newbie. System configuration advice appreciated!
  2. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by underbyte:
    ...I have always hated digital (compared to hi-end analog). I have a mac g3 and am looking at a delta 1010, layla 24, or MOTU 828, 2408 etc.If you hated digital then, you will still hate it if you're comparing middle to low end digital to hi-end analog. At least start with RME/Hammerfall or Apogee quality converters.

    My question is: what do most people use for a decent mic pre or turn around since all of these units have primarily 1/4" trs connectors?
    Does an analog console with XLR inputs go in between?The answer is whatever works best for your particular situation. Personally, I'm a fan of multiple choice pre's as opposed to console. Even if I have a top dollar console in front of me, I will try to match the mic and sound with whatever other pre's happen to be in the room. But that might not be the right answer for your situation. Try to make a list of objectives and things you will likely be doing in your setup, and use that to prioritize everything. After that, gear decisions will be much simpler, and it will be easier for us to answer any questions you have.
  3. underbyte

    underbyte Guest

    thanks for your response. Unfortunately, I have Neve ears and an Alesis budget and the driving issue here is mostly money, not quality. My goal is to build a small digital project studio for my personal demo use for around $1,000 (you can stop laughing now). That means I simply won't have the luxury of choosing mic pre's. I literally want to get the best sound quality out of a few pieces of well intentioned gear. My confusion is how to get the from the mic into the 1/4" converter inputs in the best and least expensive way. As long as I can get a reasonably clean and direct signal into the computer, I'll fix it in the mix :cool:
  4. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by underbyte:
    I'll fix it in the mix :cool:

    Aarrrrgghhh!! An engineers worst nightmare!! lol!!
    How many inputs are you needing? If you only need a few inputs at most than go with the Echo Mona..it has Mic Pre's built into the box itself and they're not too shaby either..well, compared to Apogee or Neve..there is none!!
    Or you could go with the Layla or the MOTU but you would need a small mixer in front of it. I use a Mackie 1402 for my home stuff and bring it into my Layla from there. I love the way it sounds(but of course wouldnt mind one of the new Trak2's from Apogee!!!...I'll have to bring one home for testing one of these days!!)
    As Ang said..there's tons of choices and it really depends on what you are using it for. If all you are doing is two tracks at a time mostly then you dont need high end gear for that.
    Just watch out for the dynamic range and noise floor specs of the units in question..the 828 doesnt have much headroom to it..the 2408 is decent. It's all a matter of what you are using it for.
  5. underbyte

    underbyte Guest

    Here is my set-up and how I see using it: I have a drum kit and a small midi rig set up all the time, I would like to have the ability to track live drums with mics, and a bass and guitar using DI's. Then, overdub pretty things like acoustics and vocals. I am beginning to think that a 8-12 channel mixer before I hit the digital unit is a good idea for flexibility and live tracking set-ups. If anyone can recommend an good, transparent sounding inexpensive mixer with 6-8 XLR inputs, that would be helpful. It's all coming together. As a side note, the best engineers I ever worked with did very little in terms of EQ or compression to the source while tracking on a good console. My instinct tells me it will be best to do even less with this level of gear. That being said, I am looking forward to doing things in an entirely new and challenging way.
  6. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    You can get a few halfway decent mic pre's in a makee 1202 for ~$375, 4 sm57's to mic your drums for ~$300, 4 mic stands ~$75, 4 mic cables ~$75, total = ~$825. Doesn't leave much left for your DAW system, does it? You could get a phillips cd burner for ~$280 and record your band live to cd, no overdubs.


    You can get a DAW with a couple mic pre's built in, such as 001 or 828, or the Mona as Opus suggested... plus one sm57 to pick up the whole drum set.

    Not gonna have many more options with that budget.
  7. Opus2000

    Opus2000 Well-Known Member

    Typically when you start up it does cost a pretty penny to get going. As Ang stated you should consider spending a little more cash or slowly build it up piece by piece when you can. Thats how I started off..Altho I had a couple grand to play with when I did tho..Bought the computer, Mixer, audio interface and a couple of mics and added that to my synths and guitar stuff I had allready. It's like a hobby in a way..like collecting train sets and so forth. You build one component and find yourself wanting/needing more!
    You have to look at it this way tho...it's a hell of a lot cheaper to have your own studio setup in your home than building a pro studio!! Gear is so cheap(compared to a Neve or SSL board and Studer Tape machine) these days that anyone can make a home studio for under 5 grand..hell probably 3 grand!!
    Look into used mixers or anyone selling their studio stuff...Digibid.com or Ebay.com
  8. underbyte

    underbyte Guest

    I just found an interesting item in my search, it is the SM PR8 by SMPro Audio. see it at:


    8 XLR ins, 8 balanced TRS out, cool! I wonder how it sounds though, anyone ever heard of this company?

    Here is how things are shaping up in the new cheap digital studio land:
    60 gig HD 7200 rpm, G3/500 upgrade ZIF, Layla 24, and maybe this SM PR8 deal. I already have some mics and cables, synths, and a small 8 ch Yamaha line mixer. I will probably upgrade from Performer to Digital Performer as well.

    I figure my budget for this update will be between $1,200 to $1,500 and then I will have at least an improvement over my Tascam Porta-One cassette 4 track. :)

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