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Need HELP On Equipment Advice

Hello People... I am an acoustic guitarist who mostly does solo albums, but sometimes I do add orchestra type sounds to the mix. Usually I record in 2 to 3 tracks only. Coming from an 8 track digital recorder and found it a little limiting as far as the tracks are concerned. I'd like to move into the DAW computer realm. I do like the idea of some type of contol surface, but a mouse based system is not out of the question. I'd like to spend around $2000 or so. Here is what I own and would like to keep becuase it works for me.

PreSonus MP20 2 channel preamp,
Matched pair of Rhode NT 5 mics
Event Project Studio 6 Powered Monitors
AKG K240 headphones
Yamaha synth
Pentium 4 1.8 processor with 1 Gig of Ram

Some of the units I am considering are:

Tascam 1884 control surface
PreSonus Firepod
Mackie Universal Control

Facts I think I know:
I've heard that the MOTU system works better with a Mac.
The FW 1884 works ok with a PC
With my present computer, I really don't have a lot of computing power, but was told I could get away with it with my present setup for my intended use.
I will get another external drive to run the audio side of things -
looking at the glyph.

I am looking to get the most pro sound I can and the most problem free set up without latency problems, booting problems, etc. I am a musician first - not a producer. Based on the facts above, I really need to know a complete and user friendly set up to get me on my way with recommended software. I am not opposed to going the Apple route versus PC either. Probably could pick up a reconditioned G4 pretty cheap. Any and all help and comments would be greatly appreciated.


DaveRunyan Sat, 01/29/2005 - 13:03

I am using a motu 24 I/O on a PC and it rocks. No problems at all. I use the Cue Mix monitoring software that came with it and as long as I shut off the plug in effects when I overdub the latency is no problem.

I would imagine your computer would work just fine for the amount of tracks you are talking about.

I do know there are far better converters out there than the motu stuff but I personally like the sound I am getting and for the money I really like it.

As far as the hard drive is concerned I would add another internal one instead of an external for your sound. I don't know if an external one would keep up with it. I use an external for backing up my projects and storage though.

I have gotten used to not using a control surface just fine. In fact I don't miss actual faders at all. I find myself thinking things through a little more when I don't have my hands on faders. If I blow an automation then I can just grab the points with the mouse and put them where they belong. Kind of cool.

Good luck with the project.

inLoco Sat, 01/29/2005 - 15:08

i have a motu 828 mkII (by the way its 896 hd and not 1896 hd) and it works fine with my pc!
is your pc a laptop centrino or a deskcomputer? if it's a desk i'd recommend a new one (mac's are great but are way of budget for you and there are a lot of cons too...)
if you only record 2/3 tracks at a time why all those pres?
go for something like the motu 828 mkII which has 2 pres! cause you already have other 2 makes you 4!
don't know if the motu traveler has a price already but it seems great too! and it would give you 6 pres (4+2)
regarding a control surface trust me that it's useless if you work with some little tracks! i've been doing recordings for years and mixing 20 to 40 tracks with a mouse and only now i bought a behringer ddx3216 digital mixer! i use it as a midi desk when mixing! i bought it cause i need to record live gigs and so on...
for those 2000 i'd go with 1000 for a pc, 750 for the motu and look at a cool mic! if you can stretch out a bit take a look at the rode ntk and the akg c 414 tlII (old one still on sale for example on
if you don't have need for a computer spend the money on a very good pre-amp like the sebatron and a bit of acoustic treatment!

anonymous Sat, 01/29/2005 - 15:40

To clarify: My computer is a dell desktop with a fixed audio/video card on the motherboard which can't be changed. I know the Tascam 1884 has a lot of preamps that I would bypass anyway but it looks like a lot for the money. Down side about the tascam is if I wanted to upgrade later I would have to sell everything in one unit. If I went with separate units I could update them one at a time. But really ease of use and best sound I could get for my money is my main interest.

anonymous Thu, 02/03/2005 - 08:40

inLoco wrote: so my suggestion is the following:
- new pc (around 3.2 with 1g ram)
- motu 828 mkII or motu traveler
- rode ntk or akg c414 tlII

if you still had money the sebatron pre-amp

hi, i looked at the motu 828 mkII. if i got one of these, would it replace my audiophile 24/96 card in my computer? just wondering and looking for a better solution to my 1 and 2 track at a time recording. [sorry bout the nobb-ness] thanks--jw