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DAC or ADC or Audio interface for podcasting/MIDI?

So I'm trying to set up an all in one home studio/workstation. I am wondering what device I need for my situation, be it a DAC (Digital Audio Converter) or a ADC (Audio Digital Converter) or an Audio Interface.

Currently, I plug my MIDI piano into my MacBook Pro via USB to monitor (via the headphone jack) using ATH-M50 headphones and record in GarageBand (using GarageBand as a MIDI controller).

I am going to be doing MIDI recording with my MIDI piano and then also I am going to be doing some podcast work (voice recording), but also I will be doing some listening to music. I want a device that I can do all of this with (monitor the recording + just listen to tracks). I am wanting to upgrade my listening experience with studio monitoring headphones and a DAC, but I also want to be able to record. I am pretty sure there is one device that can do all of this but after 50+ hours of research, I can't find what I'm looking for.

Also if someone knows anything about Thunderbolt docks, I am trying to find one to use with this set up. I've done so much research that I'm at a loss. Please help!

Comments

Profile picture for user pcrecord
Member for
8 years 3 months

pcrecord Fri, 03/27/2015 - 15:27

First, any audio interface capable of recording and playback 24bit 96khz will be a step up from the internal sound card of your computer.
Althought some dedicated high end ADC and DAC will render pristine sound, (1k to 10k each) You don't need to spend that much to get going and do acceptable audio recording and playback.

You can start with a presonus or focusrite USB or thunderbolt audio interface and a good dynamic mic like the SM58 from Shure.
Some interfaces have midi I/O but you if you have enough usb ports, you can continu using your piano with usb.

Now, most recording starter kits come with a condenser mic but I don't recommand them unless you have a room with somewhat controled acoustics.
Because condenser mics will pickup more of the room compared to dynamic mics.

As for monitors, if you are in an untreated room, they might trick you more than help.
Unless you have a room big enough and use them as near field and the frequency balance of the room is not too screwed up..

Profile picture for user audiokid
Member for
20 years 9 months

audiokid Fri, 03/27/2015 - 17:24

sushomeru, post: 426884, member: 48983 wrote: I want a device that I can do all of this with (monitor the recording + just listen to tracks). I am wanting to upgrade my listening experience with studio monitoring headphones and a DAC, but I also want to be able to record. I am pretty sure there is one device that can do all of this but after 50+ hours of research, I can't find what I'm looking for.

There is indeed! How much money do you want to spend?

Profile picture for user sushomeru
Member for
6 years 2 months

sushomeru Fri, 03/27/2015 - 17:35

pcrecord, post: 426885, member: 46460 wrote: First, any audio interface capable of recording and playback 24bit 96khz will be a step up from the internal sound card of your computer.

Let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly: any audio interface that's decent will also be able to essentially function as an external DAC? As in I will be able to route computer playback through it?

Profile picture for user sushomeru
Member for
6 years 2 months

sushomeru Fri, 03/27/2015 - 17:36

audiokid, post: 426891, member: 1 wrote: There is indeed! How much money do you want to spend?

Around the $200 mark, but I'll go upwards of $300 if there's a need to (such as significant quality increase, or something like that).

Profile picture for user pcrecord
Member for
8 years 3 months

pcrecord Sat, 03/28/2015 - 12:32

Yes, the audiobox is a nice unit that have fair preamps and converters for the price.

sushomeru, post: 426892, member: 48983 wrote: Let me make sure I'm understanding you correctly: any audio interface that's decent will also be able to essentially function as an external DAC? As in I will be able to route computer playback through it?

Yes that's it ! Of course, like everything, there is a lot better units out there but for home recordings the presonus is a good way to start.

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