Need your help with basic setup

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by purebloom, Feb 20, 2006.

  1. purebloom

    purebloom Guest

    Firstly, let me apologize at the incoherency of this post.... I've got a lot of questions and not many of them are very clear.... with that being said maybe you can help me.

    Okay, I have slowly been building up some real basic gear and am wondering the best way to utilize what I have to have it working to it's fullest potential. I have a Yamaha MG 10/2 Mixer, A Fostex MR-8, some mics and my Compaq Presario with AMD Athlon XP 2 GHz, 512 MB DDR SDRAM, XP, 400 Mhz Bus, 80 GB.... definitely not the greatest to work with but it's all I have.

    I've just been using the Yamaha mixer and using an rca adapter to run it into the line input on the computer and recording with Audacity.

    I have some money to spend and some money to make I think. I've kind of outgrown the limited ability the Fostex MR-8 offers and I'm thinking I'm going to sell that.

    I'm looking for advice on software with greater ability after the tracks are recorded... (editing, effects, etc). Also, if I upgrade ram on this computer would it help with latency? I hate recording a track and then recording on top of that and having a delay.... right now I'm just taking that track and then moving it.

    I want this to be as portable as possible too and am wondering if I should just invest in a better computer (laptop). I want to upgrade to a bigger mixer as well.

    Also, what about forgetting the computer and just going with something that's all built in? Any experience with these and are they a pain to work with. I love the ease of editing tracks on a computer instead of what seems like a nightmare (small little LCD screen).

    I'm still a real big noob here so any advice on budget gear or the best way to set everything up so I can record multiple tracks and then edit them is appreciated. (Mostly just vocals, guitar, bass guitar, some strings, drums, synths).

    Thank you and at this point any advice is good advice for me!
  2. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    I don't know what you're doing and I don't know the equipment or computer you speak of, though the computer "specs" are fine.


    Pick the software you want to use - that seems like it will do what you need.

    Make sure the computer is "up to" the software. That your machine meets or exceeds the "recommendations" all software makers show somewhere(On their web site description, for sure.).

    Get a soundcard/interface that "follows" the above and, again, does what you want to do(If you only input one "thing" at a time, you only need one channel, or "one" stereo channel, etc. and your entire input-system need only do "this". More channels input at once? You'll need more. If you only "output" stereo, you only need a stereo output on your interface, etc.

    "Try" to stick with "pro" style input/output, right down to the connectors, on ALL devices. For instance, you mention an RCA jack somewhere in your system? Not good. Sorry. XLR is best, followed by 1/4". "Balanced" is best for the entire system, if at all possible. I don't know what the Yamaha mixer cost, but a Mackie 1202-vlz, meeting/exceeding ALL the above "requirements" is, like $400 - cheap like dirt, far as recording stuff goes. And, a mixer, perse, is not, always, needed - though I use one for "monitoring", I could buy a "little black box" for that and I almost always go "direct" into my soundcard through a seperate preamp for recording(A Mixer pre and monitoring with same is fine! For now.), the RCA's? No. Not "fine". Of course they'll "work", but, you asked...

    Things like latency, are determined by several things - settings mostly - along with computer "speed". Your software maker should offer suggestions for improvement, in the manual or on their web site. More ram? Always the first thing mentioned - generally not "the" answer, or not the ONLY answer.

    Almost any computer can do what you seem to want to do, modern computer specs generally more than meet, basic, audio needs.

    The soundcard/interface, with the I/O you want, is "critical". Mixers and "MR-8's"(Whatever they are?) are "sides", not as likely to be relevent to basic record/play/mix.

    Strive for a few "base" pieces(Computer/software/soundcard-interface/preamps) that are as good as you can afford, "no frills" - "budget" means "'scuse the quality". Build on your basics, a piece at a time, with other good stuff, as you can.

    An "all-in-one". Some like them. I like the ability to modify/upgrade each thing, as I want - the computer-based system works for me.

    Go look over the "good stuff", without regard to price. Idea is to find what you need for what you can afford, while staying as close to the "benchmarks" of the quality items, as possible. Look at names like Lynx, RME, Motu, Mackie, Allen & Heath, Steinberg, Protools(Too many to list - you have cataglogs and a web browser.), investigate locally-built "custom" computers, Purpose-built audio computers, or really "fine" laptops, the big names, for "guidance", as to what you want to find in "budget" gear, and, if at all possible, then forget the "cheapies" and purchase from the "high-side" of the menu - even if purchases come slow... It will take you much more time than you ever envisioned to learn how to use each, individual piece anyway, let alone as a unit, with just the right amount of latency.

  3. Thedave

    Thedave Guest


    Straight up TG!
    XLR- Definately the best for inputs, and with your computer there are some programs or something that can be run for "zero latency" I havent really looked at them to much, but increasing your ram could help, especialy if you are running heavy with trax and Vst plugs, but with your comps specs you should benifit with throwing a gig chip into the open slot. Also if you are looking for great results with mixing, I personaly like Cubase. I have also heard from some of my PC friends that Cakewalk works with little latency. But just as mentioned before, it will be a combination of things. Good luck.
    -Try an interface that has outs for monitors & phones so you dont have to run the sound all the way to your cpu and all the way back thus giving some delay (Tascam US-122, its 2x2, good suggestion for portability, phantom and bus power too!).
    Good luck
  4. purebloom

    purebloom Guest

    TG and Thedave I appreciate your input very much. Thanks for taking a little time to share your thoughts and advice!

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