Pre Amp Question

Discussion in 'Preamps / Channel Strips' started by Ymir, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. Ymir

    Ymir Member

    Aug 2, 2011

    I've been doing the bedroom recording thing for a while using very basic stuff (USB mic, Sonar 7). I'm looking to kick it up a notch in the near future.

    I'd like to be able to record several tracks at once and have them all record to their own track. I'm thinking USB short term and Firewire long term (Phase III maybe?).

    I'm also thinking of getting some good mic preamps instead of using the stock ones that come with an interface. My questions is, how do you run such a system?

    I'm thinking mic-->preamp-->interface-->computer

    But how do you get around the mic pre feeding into the interface pre? Is there a way around that?

  2. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    Use an interface with line level inputs, either instead of or in addition to any mic pres.
  3. BobRogers

    BobRogers Well-Known Member

    Apr 4, 2006
    Blacksburg, VA
    You have the basic idea of the setup correct and bouldersound has indicated that the basic way to connect the preamps to the interface is through line level inputs. What's your budget for this? If you are really tight here, there is a real danger that you will end up with a bad interface and bad preamps. The are several good interfaces that have preamps as good as bargain external preamps.
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Most 8 input FireWire interfaces all have decent microphone preamps. If you're just getting started, keep it simple stupid. One of these integrated interfaces are really quite stellar. They all come with a really wonderful bundled software that will give you the capability of making full-blown, fully professional recordings. This is the smart way to get started. To do it the way you want to do it, you really need good microphone preamps which are going to cost you approximately $500 per preamp. So for around $4000 worth of preamps, then you can purchase a line level input device. It is a quality device, it will certainly cost you as much as one of those 8 input interfaces that have onboard microphone preamps and cost around $500 US. So you've got to get practical unless you have more money than you know what to do with. We all used to have a lot more money until we bought copious amounts of specialized equipment. I've spent well over $150,000. You're not ready for that yet unless you're ridiculously rich? And my investment has been over the past 20 years. With well over $50,000 being dropped on my initial original startup.

    Conversely, you could purchase one of these FireWire enabled analog consoles such as the Mackie Onyx 1640. This basically gives you a fully functional manual analog console with full audio connectivity to your computer. This kind of system gives you numerous other options for both recording & mixing in the analog and/or digital domain.

    Check out some home recording magazines
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    Currently, the best route into a computer for this type of interface is FireWire, as this gives you the highest reliability and freedom from drop-outs, but things are changing with both USB3 and Thunderbolt technologies emerging as contenders.

    There are a few multi-channel interface units available that do not route their line inputs though the pre-amps, but it's not that easy to determine which they are just by examining the specifications.

    You haven't given a budget, but an example interface at the higher end of the spectrum would be the RME FireFace UFX, which has both FireWire and USB interface connections, along with 4 good-quality microphone pre-amps and a further 8 direct line-level inputs. You could use the 4 built-in mic pre-amps and over time acquire external pre-amp units of differing flavours that you would plug into the UFX line inputs.
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