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Help with home recording set-up!

Hi there, I'm just after some advice on a computer based home recording set-up.

99% of the time i do multitrack recording and just do one track at a time. At the moment im using only a Tascam US-122 and just going directly in from my guitar/bass whatever into the us-122 and record using cubase.

I'm thinking of getting an M-Audio DELTA 1010LT internal soundcard, a DI box, small mixer and a preamp (something like the ART MP tube preamp).

What i'd really like to know is how much better quality recordings will i gain from this set up compared to just my Tascam US-122? If any?

Or would it instead just be better to get a mixer, DI box and preamp and use them with my current Tascam US-122?

and any recomendations on good (but cheap, as my budget isnt very big at all) DI boxes and mixers will be a huge help too.

All help is greatly appreciated, thanks alot.


Member Sun, 01/21/2007 - 11:38
I agree. I did a *similar* thing for my first setup, but with a 2496 instead of the 1010. Same idea, fewer inputs. Small mixer, ART TubeMP Studio V3, and a Behringer GDI21 for direct-box.

It worked, but it was a waste. The mixer became a glorified volume knob and sounded bad. The ART MP sounded just a tad better, but ultimately I still found it to be noisy enough that I wanted an upgrade.

I think sticking to the US-122 is a better option. The ART pre-amp won't be any better. Does the US-122 accept hi-z? If not, then a DI will be the only investment you need to make to continue with your budget studio.

My setup above eventually got replaced by a humble TonePort UX2, and after keeping it all hooked up for a while longer (slaving the UX2 to the 2496 via S/PDIF) I eventually ripped'er apart and kept only the TonePort. The rest went to my dad for HIS budget recording studio... and after visiting a few times recently to help him learn what he's doing, I realized very quickly what a waste of money all those things were for a 1-track-at-a-time style setup.

My TonePort has been partially supplanted by an Onyx Satellite (though the TP's amp tones are still valuable to me), but the bottom line is: even though it's not a HUGE investment, the $200 or so you'd spend on a mixer, etc., could be better spend on something else, such as a new soundcard that has nicer pre-amps and accepts hi-z. OR, as suggested, The Brick, which I have no experience with but which I understand by all comers to be an almost life-changing experience for people upgrading their home/hobby setups. :D

On the other hand, the US-122 is capable enough, so the $200 could be spent on other stuff such as a couple Kjaerhus or Voxengo plug-ins or something like that.


Member Sun, 01/21/2007 - 12:18
thank you very much =]

that was a great help, i'll deffinitly get a DI and will ditch the mixer idea, i'll probably stick to my us-122 for now too, and just wait and see before i start upgrading. I also feel i need to get more competant at using and knowing what to do with things first before i go buying them =P

but thanks very much, was great advice!

hueseph Sun, 01/21/2007 - 12:21
I'm pretty sure the US-122 has an instrument input. At any rate, I doubt you will get any better quality from the 1010(I had a 44. Essentilly the same but fewer inputs). For the way you work it's overkill really. If you want to get a Brick that would be fine. Bottom line though, the quality of your recordings is up to you. I don't think that your gear is limiting you all that much. You will have to spend a considerable amount more if you want to really hear a difference in the improvement of your sound.

Member Sun, 01/21/2007 - 12:27
yea i was wondering how much more would have to be spent to get any better quality

ive had the us-122 for a few years now, but i think im just going to properly get to know it and use it to its full capabilities and see how that goes

i may just get a cheap DI for now, who knows

and upgrade when i finally feel completely comfortable with what i'm doing

Member Sun, 01/21/2007 - 17:58
No doubt. For "demo-level" and personal recordings, the kinds of purchases you're talking about won't likely give you much of a tangible improvement.

As a hobbyist myself going through the same periods of growth, easily the most important things I find is the continued learning process. Things sound better not when I throw more gear at them, but when I learn new techniques for recording or post-production. There's no doubt that certain improvements in gear will help, but not at the level we're both at. "Better" gear at our level will only take us so far, with technique and skill taking us a whole lot further.

I just had a look at the US-122 page, and as hueseph indicates, they do indeed have a switch to let your line-level inputs become guitar-level (hi-z). You don't even need the cheap D.I. right now. :D