Sound card and Software stuff. Help me!

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by G-Rett, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. G-Rett

    G-Rett Guest

    I'm trying to create a small recording setup in my basement, and I'm on a very limited budget. While comparing different hardware and software, I'm having trouble finding out what is actually compatible here.

    I have an HP Pavilion laptop, running Windows XP. I have 2.8 Ghz, 512 MB ram, and don't worry I'll be adding more memory soon. The only audio related information I have been able to find on this machine is that I have 16-bit Sound Blaster Pro-compatible audio. I'm not as computer savvy as I would like to be, sorry, I'm working on it.

    Basically if anyone out there wants to help me out, at the moment I'm looking at a Lexicon Omega and Cubase LE. It fits my budget and I fully realize that I will probably be upgrading once I have more money. I am also considering Pro Tools, however it was extremely difficult for me to figure out if it would be compatible with what I have or not. I'm also looking for sound card recommendations for either of these setups.

    Any general info on what I should be looking for in terms of cards would also be helpful. I'm sorry I couldn't be more specific, but I'm a beginner still. I figure you have to start somewhere, so hopefully someone here will help me out a bit. Thank you in advance for any comments, advice, and information you may have for me.
  2. G-Rett

    G-Rett Guest

    PS If there is any information that I could post to help you help me, let me know. Thank you
  3. poprocks

    poprocks Guest

    Since you're running the laptop, we're not going to be talking about sound "cards". You need to find the right interface for you, whether that be USB or firewire. You've apparently looked into the Lexicon offering. I would shy away from that brand just because they haven't established themselves in the hardware realm. Also, it's widely accepted that firewire offers better A/V performace, and there many comparably equipped and priced choices. If you are going to go the protools route, you've got two choices: the MBox or the Digi002. Depends on how many ins/outs you want. Check to be sure that you're machine is compatible, but my guess is that it will be.

    M-Audio has a range of interfaces to choose from, and you could still go pro tools with the "M-Powered" software. I have the MOTU 828mkii and really like it. A few more bucks but tons of features. By the way, I have 512 ram on my laptop for now and I can record 8 simultaneous tracks and play back more.

    I guess you gotta decide if you want to use protools first. If so, you're choices for interfaces are narrowed down.
  4. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I believe the Lexicon with its' bundled software would be a nice starter package. Should let you try most everything and do a good job. When you're ready to grow, you won't have put much money into it - wonderful when you're trying to get a hand on things... The hardware unit is even made in the USA(Rare these days.).

    BTW: Not only does the Omega not use Firewire, it actually uses USB 1(1.1?), not 2, even if your machine has USB 2. According to all reviews I've read, it works just fine, should be educational, fun and cost-effective...

  5. G-Rett

    G-Rett Guest

    Thank you

    Thank you both for the advice. Leaning towards the Lexicon actually, price being a huge factor. I've heard good things about Omega preamps as well, and I haven't seen anything about the USB 1.1 holding people up, which is nice. If anyone else wants to chime in go ahead.
  6. poprocks

    poprocks Guest

    I would caution you again against purchasing that Lexicon. First of all, read these reviews. Looks like their driver support is really bad:

    USB 1? Are you serious? Check out something like the Presonus Firebox. Similar package from a company that is more respected in this particular market. Even if down the road you upgrade your main interface to something bigger, I think the Firebox would still be useful as a portable unit when you're on the road. M-Audio has a range of interfaces too.
  7. G-Rett

    G-Rett Guest

    USB, Firewire

    Guess I have to make up my mind on the USB/firewire deal as well. You make some good points, but the presonus firebox doesn't have MIDI connections. Not a huge deal I could buy a separate unit there if I needed it, which I probably will not initially. 96khz on the firebox is also nice. My comp doesn't have a firewire port although I should probably get my hands on a firewire card anyways. This isn't the only thing I would need it for.

    All in all that makes for roughly 160 bucks more than the Lexicon Omega, however the Firebox reviews seemed to be more positive. It all comes back to the financial matters. I suppose I'll just have to be a bit more patient. Wanting to record as soon as possible is no reason for me to buy a cheap product.
  8. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Some basic pointers for gear buying:

    Do the best you can researching your purchase. Avoid even looking at things you can't possibly afford - saves time and tears.

    Don't wait forever, agonizing, particularly over the little stuff(Until you're talking multi-thousand dollar mic preamps, it's ALL little stuff.)((And by the time you're buying multi-thousand dollar mic preamps you'll be buying "two of each, just to hear 'em", anyway...)).

    It's ALL "wrong" - to someone.

    Learn to use what you get.

    Upgrade only as you feel you truly must and actually can.

    Have fun.

    That's life. This is Wahlgreen's.

  9. poprocks

    poprocks Guest

    I totally agree with Teddy G's spirit. After all, what's truly important is enjoying and practicing and progressing at the art of recording. Gear is only a tool. However, with something as central to your system as your interface, a little patience could save you heartache down the road.

    Little midi interfaces are pretty cheap ($50?) so you could add one later. USB is not the protocol of choice in the audio/video world. Firewire and the emerging firewire 800 standard are where things are headed.

    Good luck with whatever you choose and keep reading this board ... there's tons more to learn once you've got your rig up and running!


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