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Hey guys, I want to start and say I am soon off to college, and while I need a lot of gear, I have 2000 dollars, and because I write everything in my musical project I have always wished for a cool recording setup.

I basically want something of extreme quality to plug into a mac that will be a forever investment. That being said I believe Berklee College of Music supplies you with a Digidesign Mbox.

I was checking out the ensemble by apogee and Logic, but was confused as to whether this would be a good idea if I am learning on Pro Tools?

In all reality I a more concerned about quality of preamps/converters, as my main goal would to be able to record everything but drums from home, and take my dry unprocessed mixed tracks, to a pro studio for use with all their expensive outboard gear.

Also I hardly have any experience with mixing etc and would just like to be able to TRACK with pro quality at home.

Really 2 inputs is fine, but more is no problem, I just want a forever investment.

Or should I be looking at brands like avalon or something for a lifetime investment?


iamfrobs Sat, 06/20/2009 - 12:16

The best quality/price interface IMO and I think alot of people would agree, is RME FF800. It is a totally professional piece of gear.

You can get one right now Factory Resealed on ZZounds for $1400.

That will leave you with $600 for mics, which will be a decent start.

However, this is an addiction.
And it's one of the worst.
You won't be able to stop.

hithere Sun, 06/21/2009 - 18:19

thanks, I appreciate the response,Really helpful, but I really wanted to spend this on my interface/preamps/converter and pick up the rest as time goes on, though I know this will obviously will not give me the best quickest results.

I was really excited about the digi design and apogee equipment, and thought for 2000 bucks I was getting so pro gear, but the more I read the more people said there is hardly a lifetime investment in recording for hardware.

I have been a nut about chasing guitar tone, and it seems that there are some people who feel the same with recording gear, when you could get the job done with a fender. To be honest I don't have huge/want huge preferences on what gear is the best sounding. I just want tried and true bread and butter stuff/companies that will stand the test of time, and have a legacy.

as far as converters/preamps/ad/da

are apogee/avalon big classic used companies?

I looked on musiciansfriend and it seemed that the apogee and digis were some of the most expensive money could buy.

But then for almost the same price I see one lonely avalon preamp, that needs more to connect to the computer before it would match the interface from digi or apogee.

With the right (even cheaper interface) you can upgrade converters/preamps any time? Thus making most interfaces a good long investment?

The only thing that cannot be changed are the ins and outs, and the clock speed (which is a term I am unfamiliar with)

If I go with any of these higher end interfaces by apogee/digi/metric I can expect a good base to start with, and something that can be added on to throughout my career?

So one day if I had money to drop on converters/preamps it would be no problem?

Plus these interfaces are marketed as fairly professional it seems, that being said If I got the right cheaper interface (since the interface is just to get the signal into the computer?) I could upgrade to extreme quality preamps/converters?

I would rather treat myself and get something high end though from the beginning.

and once again guys thanks so much for dealing with my questions, so much help.

iamfrobs Sun, 06/21/2009 - 20:18

The problem is $2000 isn't that much money when you are talking high-end gear. You can drop that much on one channel, and twice that on one mic no problem.
You will get a lot of flexibility with the FF800, and it is about as future-proof as you can get as interfaces go since it runs firewire 800.

It's your money man, and thats my opinion.
Anyone else chiming in?

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soapfloats Sun, 06/21/2009 - 21:25

Typically your interface IS your A/D converter. Right?
If so, then when you upgrade enough preamps, you buy a new interface that has no preamps, and is basically a really nice A/D/A. Right?

Unless you're talking about actually opening up the interface and changing out converters?

Sorry, not a lot to add, but hopefully narrowed your line of questions a little. I'm a little confused myself after reading the whole thread.

I've never been in the market for a $2k interface. I've got a couple of Presonus units letting me record 16 channels at 44.1/16 (for around $1300 total), and would likely be spending a LOT more than 2k if I were to upgrade.
Like iamfrobs said, it's a big upward curve once you start really getting into this stuff. Luckily I've reached the ceiling that my income will allow. The stuff I want now is WAY out of my reach!

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hueseph Sun, 06/21/2009 - 22:59

If you plan on using ProTools, you need a Digidesign interface. Nothing else will work with ProTools with exception of course of M-Audio and ProTools M-Powered. This is just my opinion but, if that's what you are going to be using at school, that's what you should use at home. It will make working on your project a lot easier.

Sure there are probably better interfaces out there and software that is equally as effective as ProTools but none are going to be of any help when you want to take your school project home and work on it. I'd look into a [=""]Digi 003[/]="…"]Digi 003[/] After tax, that should take up 2 Gs no problem.

Things you will have to consider are:

1: cables
2: mics
3: stands
4: a secondary hard drive for audio only.
5: a control surface
6: a midi keyboard

Just to name a very few items and in no particular order. These are things that I think you will need to acquire very quickly if you want to do any serious writing/recording any time soon.

Another thing you might need to consider is writing an email to Digidesign to ask for a downgrade to ProTools 7.4. Reason being that so many people are having issues with 8 right now and for many it renders their DAW useless.

If you don't absolutely need to get a 8 plus input interface consider the [[url=http://="…"]Mbox 2 Pro[/]="…"]Mbox 2 Pro[/] which will leave you a bit of room for some of the other essential items you will need: mic, stand, cable, external hard drive.