Classical Cellist Needs Advice

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by loopcat, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. loopcat

    loopcat Active Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Hello All,
    My name is John Stuart. I play and teach classical cello in San Antonio Tx.
    I have some limited experience with recording. Most of that experience is posting cello works on youtube.
    I have also done some on-site live recordings.
    Here is a list of my current equipment.
    2x Oktava MK-012 mics
    AT4050 mic
    Nady RMS-4 ribbon mic
    Studio Project VBT-1 micpre
    Mackie 1202 VLZ pro mixer with pres
    I was useing a CD recorder until it broke. Now I'm interested in PC recording.

    I need some advice as to a decent audio interface. I'm not happy with the sound quality going through the PC mic jack. I've been looking at the FireBox, Alesis IO26, Focusrite Saffire, M-Audio Fast Track Pro. My PC does have a firewire connection. Which one should I buy?
    All the Best, John in San Antonio Tx..
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    loopcat, it really depends on how much money you want to spend? While you have some nice equipment it's not exactly high-end. But it's the right kind of stuff.

    You're talking about cello recordings with a handle like loopcat? So are you into cello recordings or into producing loops? This could be determining factor. If you want to be like everybody else? You might want to go the ProTools Route? But then you'll need to have very specifically specified computer brands & types. If your computer is not on their list of recommended computers? Don't even think about ProTools. And with that, I wouldn't bother with their interface if you can't use the software. It certainly not exceptional gear. Other equipment such as Presonus seemed to be known for their quality. I had to service a Digi-Max and was very impressed with the internal construction. It sure didn't look entry-level inside. And with very equipment, it comes bundled with a decent limited-edition software. Now that software might be adequate for recording cellos? But you might find it in adequate if you are doing high-tech loopy stuff? Then you may want a full-blown piece of software?

    With your current equipment, you are going to find your self somewhat befuddled. Your current preamps are quite good. So why buy something else that has preamps already in it? You don't necessarily want to plug a preamp into a preamp if you don't absolutely have to. But most of those units also feature line input capability. And so, it's a good bang for the buck with internal preamps you may find more than adequate in comparison to what you are currently using? In that respect, you may only end up using your analog mixer for PA purposes? Monitoring? You're not going to find a big difference in preamps until you really start to shell out some bucks. Not really necessary.

    A line level only device is hard to come by. A unit I like, own, find 100% adequate & use is the Edirol UA1-EX by Roland. 24-bit 96kHz converters with pass-through input monitoring. A headphone output. Goldplated RCA line inputs & outputs. USB 1.1. There are under $80. Buy a pair, heck, buy 4.

    You realize you're going to need a laptop that also has a built-in CD DVD burner? Purchase a HP or Compaq and get one with a Lite scribe label making capabilities. Just know that complex labels will take up to one half hour to create. Thankfully, it takes less than 10 minutes to cut a disc. So keep your labeling simple and you'll deliver in 10 minutes. Nothing rights to CDs in real time, straight through the computer. Haven't figured out why that hasn't happened yet? I thought these guys were smart???-?--?

    Don't tell me I'm the only one that has thought about this?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    A lot depends on where you plan to go with this in the future. You have listed a series of interfaces at different price points. They are of different quality in terms of the preamps and converters, and they have different capabilities in terms of the number and types of inputs. In my opinion, the order of importance of the features is (1) number and types of inputs and outputs (2) quality of preamps (3) quality of converters.

    Of the units you have mentioned, the Fireface has the most flexibility (enough for recording a full orchestra) and the best reputation for the quality of its preamps and converters. However, if all you want to do is supply audio for instructional videos and create listenable practice recordings, the limited number of inputs for the cheaper units would be fine.

    If you want to get into the more serious end of classical recording I suggest you check out the Acoustic Music Forum. In the archives you can read discussions of the Fireface (which several people who post over there use) and some of its more direct competitors.
  4. loopcat

    loopcat Active Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Thanks RemyRAD for the advice! I went ahead and bought a Edirol UA1EX. For under 80 buck, looks like a good deal.

    You mentioned software. It would be nice to have a multi-track recording function. Also a natural sounding reverb would be good. What program would you suggest?

    Thanks again
    Happy Holidays, John in San Antonio..

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