What do you think is the best Audio interface (DAW?)?

Discussion in 'Computing' started by jmmoors, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. jmmoors

    jmmoors Guest

    Hi guys,

    Ive been looking through the posts to find some opinions on this and found a bit, but would like some more.
    i'm new to this, and I'm actually doing research for my brother in law.( but I've got interest too, just not the bucks to back it up at the moment :wink: )

    (i'm putting together his computer and that for him to record his music)
    he's in two bands and he would like to do some more pro like recording at home, so... (he's a drummer, and has a nice electronic kit for about 2 grand, so very nice, but also wants to record voice guitar bass etc.)

    He would like a minimum of two inputs but likes preferably 8. now some good pre amps build in would be very nice. don't know what is better the USB or firewire, but definitly outbound so no noise etc...

    I think his cap would be somewhere around the $1000 but cheaper is always welcome off course.
    Thought to give some pretext anywayz...

    thanx guys, apreciate it :cool:

    and sorrie if it has been handled already and am boring you's to tears :wink:
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Sorry to post a link to a different forum site, but check out this article.

    It is right on the spot. Make your brother-in-law read it and then come back and let us know the responses.


  3. limule

    limule Guest

    If he could easily get away w/ just 2 inputs, an MBox would probably not be a bad way to go. Comes w/ protools le and it's only 500 bucks. preamps aren't great so w/ the extra 500 bucks could go out and buy a decent preamp. Could probably also find a used digi 002 for around a 1000 and then he would have 8 inputs, but preamps again aren't great. But it's also semi-expandable. You can't add another 002 but you can hook up an external pre w/ lightpipe and gives you an additional 8 inputs. Hope that helps a little bit
  4. jmmoors

    jmmoors Guest

    thanks guys,

    well first cucco, do you mean the site in your sig? if so, I had a look at the site, thanks...I couldn't find any forum on that though, so...

    The card has to be from analog to digital though (just making sure)...

    ok, just curious what you guys are using, forget the $1000 limit.
    I know there is more to it than just the equipment, etc etc. but I do think it a waste of money to buy somthing and than upgrade a yearr later again, because you got it to it's limits.... so better get somthing you know is going to last you... money well spent, y'know what I mean. And we know about mics and monitors, starting by the start, we need to get the sound in the computer first, and it's mostly electric drum kit, guitar, bass, keyboard maybe, all doesn't need mics. And for monitors he has a range to listen to the difference. And has a good headphone set.

    So first off the in build pre amps of these things arn't good, so get seperate ones, cool. Maybe somthing that can be bought later, which one has the best inbuild pre amps maybe?!? I supose the amps for guitar and bass are already there so the can be rigged up, and the drum kit has a amp build in as well in the thingy for the headphone, and he has a little mono amp with speaker.

    also he bought himself a mixer desk for about 500 bucks, very nice.. so he's got imputs on that, but if he wants to record for example his drum kit, he wants to be able to record on different tracks so he can influence them individually, the different drums...

    my brother inlaw is a good muso, and his bands are recording on cd, he just wants to have stuff at home so he can muck around with his own stuff. He has asked two other guys who have stuff themselves, giving advice etc. He just hasn't got a computer jet, that is where I come in, then as well the input aparatus, as he has little clue about comps...

    anywayz, any help is welcome...

    I have been sorting through what is available with the MOTU brand being in the higher range of the cost scale I believe ( still in the process of sorting them out) thought to get some advice here so I can pick some off so I don't have to do reasearch on them all... finding reviews etc.

    ohh btw Limule thanks... yeah I hope to get it down to a selction that we can look out at some second hand stuff and know what to look for, if it be seperate pre-amp etc. As he needs a computer, I would like to get the audio stuff sorted out first, so he knows what he's up for money wise (I can adjust a bit with the comp, as he does also some vid editing stuff, which I'm decking the rig up for as well if the money is there, otherwise that will be somthing for later)

  5. jmmoors

    jmmoors Guest

    after posting the post i realized that you only need the pre amps for the pre amp mics. thought to post that I forgot, otherwise you might ban me or somthin :wink: ...
  6. jmmoors

    jmmoors Guest

    CRAP I should be banned, shot, or whatever

    i didn't realise this forum was here (DAW) as i posted originally in the pro audio forum. Then looking for my threat saw it was here, tsk

    forget this threat, and if the moderator find this, please can you just remove this whole threat.
    As i saw the sticky
    (I'll start reading that now)

  7. TheArchitect

    TheArchitect Active Member

    Mar 26, 2005
    Thread, not threat.
  8. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Nope - I'm just an idiot and actually forgot to put the link in.

    Here it is...



  9. _NW_CHAOS_

    _NW_CHAOS_ Guest

    You know, I read that article, and its thread...

    "Home Studios are Killing Music"

    Anyone who believes that articles wouldn't, or shouldn't be here. Why post something that goes against what (I think) this forum is? Confusing. Very confusing.

    I have been recording since the win95 days, and with different "ghetto" mediums, ranging from multi-track keyboards to all in one machines (such as the Roland BR-1180, most recent one), and exploring the boundries of (gasp) cakewalk, back in the days when Sonar was a pipedream of a young software idealist. I don't call myself an expert, far from it. But, when it comes down to it, recording is a matter of PATIENCE and ACCEPTANCE. Patience for learning what you can do, with tools at hand, and acceptance of what you can get OUT of it. For instance - two tape recorders. Good enough to get (heh) almost 6 tracks down, just to help teach parts to others, or show $*^t off, or provide a quick reference for later use.

    Now, I don't mean this to sound like a rant (which I guess it does...) but that article is bass-ackwards, starting at its foundation (written by a self-proclaimed hypocrite...), and was curious why you posted that?

    I believe DAWs are the next generation, and anyone who's been behind a workstation worth more than the spit holding it together has seen results they have benefited from. Since computers aren't just going to "go away," and mainstream music producers aren't going to change their mind on "what the PUBLIC likes...." anytime soon, DAWs provide a half-decent chance for the "aspiring" musician to accomplish something. I dunno... I just thought that article was baa-aa-aaaddddd....

    Dave (owner, NWCHAOS)
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    it should read
    "Home studios are killing million dollar studios"
  11. maintiger

    maintiger Well-Known Member

    Dec 3, 2003
    Whittier, California, USA
    wow cucco- that article is something else. lots of truth in it. I myself have gone from singer-songwriter to engineer/producer by developing my recording chops and atrophing my performance time. its true that he countless hours I've spent at the studio could have been used rehearsing with the band and touring- I too have spent entire days (and nights) mixing drums down to perfection- and then nobody but me heard it anyway. lately though, I've gotten my butt out to studio to play... but those amps are too heavy now- where are them roadies!

    All and all and kidding aside, I thought the article was a wake up call for performing musicians- get out there and play! You never gonna 'make it' if you don't. don't spend the next 10 years making that 'perfect' demo and putting performing off while you get it done- when you finish it your time might just have passed-
  12. alimoniack

    alimoniack Guest

    An interesting article. Here's a different perspective:

    As it says in the article:
    One year getting a recording setup together and recording an album) for your band isn't a long time (especially if you live nowhere near anywhere else you'd wanna record). Besides, that time spent with mr hot-shot producer in most cases ends up on the band's account with their label. That money's spent and you better like the sound you ended up with! I've seen projects set up with producers in the way mentioned in the article take a year anyway. Anyway, every situation is different.

    I got sick of paying other people to do a job I could do for myself, now I charge friends & aquaintances for doing the same for them. Our setup has grown over the years, our band isn't internationally famous but not many alternative/progressive rock bands are (heh). We all play in more than one band and are part of the alt rock scene in our area. I've recorded and produced several records in recent years which have all sold well, in fact one of my band's singles got 5 K's in Kerrang & single of the week (as reviewed by Jack Osbourne, almost unbelievably). I've learned that it is an incredibly satisfying feeling to make a piece of music into a record and then when it's well recieved, know you got it right, saved a fortune, and had fun.

    Sure, we're upgrading a bit and putting some effort into that right now, but that's down to us having some money for a change...I know more about computers than I ever wanted to but it's useful these days and besides, doing a bit of sound work is a great way for a muso to make casual money in between touring, I know lots of musicians with much worse day-jobs. Why not do a bit of live sound too, you can still do a bit of networking with promoters, labels and other bands when not playing...

    I'd agree with the notion that in every musicians life the key is balance, and that for most of us that is the hardest thing to achieve. However, what the article refers to as "the rule" is actually not a huge percentage of cases in my experience. Also, most of the successful bands out there are kids/morons who couldn't successfully position a 57 in front of a stack - let alone hold down a regular job. If their label should ever tire of them they'll want to use their understanding of music to make money somehow, or else they'll have to drive a taxi or something. Getting involved with recording music isn't nearly as major a threat to touring as getting married &/or having children, there's a far more brutal wake-up call! It doesn't have to be the end of the music though.

    If you do actually stop playing because you get too obsessed with your expanding studio empire, you were never hungry enough in the first place and engineering /production is a good bet as a creatively satisfying career. I for one have taken that chance and it's been ok for me, hopefully I won't forget I'm in a couple of bands or else I might be late for rehearsals! Basically there are no rules. Except that the music comes first (people a close second).

    Touring turns you into an animal, the studio turns you into a nerd...

    But enough of my ramblings!
  13. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    I don't think so at all.

    If someone is here, it's because they're interested in recording.

    Notice the title of the webpage - RECORDING.org, not wannaberecordiststhatareactuallymusicians.org

    If a band wants to be a good or great band, they should practice. They should spend their money on advertising, instruments, lessons, etc. They should NOT spend their money on a piece of $*^t MBox because they think they're gonna make a pro album!

    The reason the gear is there is so that guys who are budding recording engineers can get out there and buy some of this enty level $*^t and get started. Then, they figure out how to use it and start the endless upgrade process. Occassionally, it's for the singer/songwriter/composer, etc. who wants to get some concepts on tape/cd. It's not intended for bands to think they can go blow $2K on shitty gear and then think they're magically gonna get a "PRO" sound.

    If you think this way, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news - it ain't gonna happen. (A band that doesn't get to practice and spends more time recording and buying gear) + (Shitty gear) = Really Shitty music.

    At the end of the day, is it really worth it? For the price of a SINGLE SM58, you could spend 2 hours in my studio. That's enough to get 2 or 3 tracks recorded (if the band is well-rehearsed mind you...) Imagine what the cost of 1 MBox, 3 SM58s, 1 SM57, 4 20 foot cables, 4 mic stands and 2 additional preamps (Behringer mixer...) could buy you in my studio -

    I'll give you a hint - you could get an entire album recorded and get it mastered at my partner mastering company - Airshow Mastering!

    Why on earth is it worth it? Do you honestly think you will get that good of a sound with your MBox or your Tascam digital portastudio or Cubase?

    Now, if you aren't trying to be in a legitimate band and you're just having fun - fine, blow your money however you want. But don't kid yourself and think that you can do both - you can't.


    J. :D
  14. alimoniack

    alimoniack Guest

    Cucco - 'Scuse me but well, it is possible, I've been there, it's tricky but I've done quite a few tours and made a good handful of records so far, when our upgrade is finished our studio won't be that far behind yours so why spend time and money there when we could get ourselves another 58 for stage use? That's just how it works for us.

    Ever heard of the German Prog Rock band Can? It worked for them too - at their own innerspace studio they themselves recorded and produced the music that made them one of the most successful German bands of the 70's. Check out the classic album "Tago Mago" if you don't believe me. The vinyl double LP on Spoon records sounds the best, musically and sonically a masterpiece.

    Of course if you're a teen sensation on the fast-track to instant stardom, only being recognised as a potential star by an established producer or label will do, and compression ratio is often the last thing they should be worrying about (nice hair and healthy vocal cords are the priority). Are we talking about hitting the charts here or keeping your hand in at doing the thing you love and hitting the stage? The article seemed broadly to be about remembering to keep your musical projects rolling even if you get into recording - fine; but the health-warning-rule-of-thumb tone of the piece was, I felt, a bit out of touch with what's happening - the edges have become blurred, there are more exceptions to the rule these days.

    I admit recording yourself professionally isn't for the faint-hearted (neither is early Can) but for many serious, alternative or experimental musicians recording can become an intrinsic part of an on-going musical working process and the recording "chops" just develop naturally. For some people I know this is almost necessary in order to actually write anything. Experimental musicians, people who write on virtual instruments or who work primarily with samples are often writing and producing at the same time.

    Surely what this means is that it's different for everyone - some musicians aren't interested, for some it's part of their process, for some it's a sideline, some like to record themselves because they have the ability and it's fun, and some (like ourselves, Can, Kraftwerk, Trans Am, Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson, Dr Dre, Chrome etc) are just way too fussy to let anyone else mess with our sound.

    Please understand I am not neccessarily contradicting the basic fact that a majority of musicians are looking for a professional such as yourself to take care of the recording process so that they can focus on what matters to them - music. I agree with you there and I take financial advantage of this myself whenever I can.

    If a musician enjoys recording (or like myself has taken it a bit further) and they come to this site for advice and information, what is the point of warning them off? They will only look elsewhere for the info they have already decided they want. They may just want to know what soundcard to buy for their brother-in law's P.C. (like jmmoors at the start of the thread), and most musicians never really take it much further than that anyway.

    Then again, they might just be fooling around with a laptop while waiting for their next 20-date tour to begin, bored silly...

    Nerds will be nerds.
  15. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey Alimoniack!

    Don't take what I said and what I'm going to say personally - the truth is though, the vast majority of musicians simply cannot do the recording thing seriously AND do a band. It's just a matter of time and money.

    Personally, I started out as a musician and still am a musician, but of the classical variety. It has taken me over 15 years to build my equipment list and my chops and I have spent as much time practicing recording as I have my horn. It's only through sheer luck that I can afford the stuff that I can because I work for the government on extremely high-profile projects and therefore bring in a SERIOUS chunk of change with my "day job." Then, I come home from work and go to the studio 3 weeknights and 2 weekend days. The other 2 weeknights, I attend class (1 night) and teach class (the other night). Somehow, I also still find time to practice my horn a reasonable amount daily - (lunch breaks in the parking garage at work and after hours). I doubt many people have this kind of hectic schedule and can tolerate the 4 hours nightly sleep required to keep this up.

    My point is - yes, it can be done, but what is the point of spending tons of money?

    The motivation for most is simple - "I can't afford to go to a studio, so I'll record myself." And then, they do exactly as the article suggests - they yearn for better converters or mic pres and are told that they HAVE to have this new compressor so they go out and buy it - without even knowing how to properly use it.

    I think this is ludacris!!!!! Do people say "Gosh, I can't afford to go to the dentist, so I'll go to Home Depot and buy this pair of needle nose pliars - they're not the ones the dentist uses, but they say "Pro tools" on the label..."

    No. It's simply absurd.

    Do folks look at MS Office and say - "Gosh, I just can't afford that, so I'll create my own Word Processor..."

    Well, sure. They're called programmers - but notice, they're few and far between and have received some training.

    The concept of taking an ART FORM (and you're kidding yourself if you think quality mixing and recording aren't an art form) and suggesting - "Well, I can just buy this crap at Guitar Center for $100 and make my own Picasso" is equally as absurd as the above examples.

    Now, if a band wants to record themselves for the following reasons:
    1. To help them understand the recording process better
    2. To be able to listen to themselves for issues with timing, tuning, flow, etc.
    3. To take as an example to a recording studio
    4. Historical record

    Well, then I have no problem with it. But I have been around long enough to see some VERY crappy projects come across my desk. I can't say in the God knows how long I've been doing this, have I ever had someone bring me in a mix that they did on their own that wasn't utter Shite!

    And then, they go out and drop $1K on a Neumann TLM103 cuz it's a Neumann, then they get a Focusrong Platinum Channel strip or the Waves bundle and they don't even know how a compressor works. They start dicking around with it and simply make bad sounds.

    I wouldn't dare go to Costco and buy a flute and then expect to sit in the National Symphony and say "I can do this because I have a flute and I've dicked around with it for a couple of years..."

    I mean, come on.

    Look, if you want advice on how to use a compressor or what mic to buy, or what soundcard - fine. Ask and you shall receive. But if you come here telling me that your band is going to rival my studio's capabilities, I simply laugh at you.

    The difference is, I've been a musician since I was 6 (first professional solo engagement at 8), I've had musical training at fine universities (a couple okay ones in Arkansas and Peabody Conservatory of Music), and I own a recording studio - not a band who wants to record themselves. (And with all fairness, I don't know your background, so it's not my intent to insult (y) )

    So, scoff at me if you want for providing my *FREE* advice and opinions, but don't complain that I'm getting insulted or aggravated by the "Do it yourself dentist."

  16. alimoniack

    alimoniack Guest

    Cheers Cucco!

    You speak many words of wisdom sir and I applaud your professional attitude and in no way mean to scoff at your knowledge and expertise. This is a very interesting debate and I agree by and large with all that you say (and by the way I'm sure youre studio is higher spec'd than ours will be, I'll post details when its up and you can do the scoffing, ok?).

    I guess it's all down to what you're trying to achieve. I'm no newcomer to recording and I fell into it naturally when asked by bands to produce them in large studios or in more tight-budget situations. They tell me I have ears they trust, a good working process and I've made commercially released recordings for a lot of colleagues and local bands. I've been well paid for it and it's really satisfying work. I have a queue of local bands in our scene waiting for us to set up a place to record them. They must be hearing something they like or they wouldn't call me, right? I'm not exactly a young whippersnapper either, I know the score with bands, the sounds, the politics, the pitfalls. Incidentally touring can often split a band up!

    I've done Punk, Indie, Metal, Progressive Rock, synthesiser music, avant-garde stuff, singer-songwriters, retro rock, all types of left-field or "underground" music. It's a niche market but there's a decent living for me to make out of a good-sized scene and I need to get a mortgage, dammit!

    At the same time, my band's single (produced by me) was on MTV recently and the album (produced by me) is out very soon on a very established independent label with worldwide distro, a tour will follow...

    I sing and play guitar in another prog rock outfit which has started tracking an album, and I've got a side project playing drums for my friends sixties-style psych band just to fill every second of my days with more music. I'm not interested in TV, films, hobbies, birdwatching, only music, all day every day until I drop, whether I'm onstage or behind a desk (ok I like spending time with the wife now and then too). There isn't a single part of the musical creation, performance and sound-reproduction process (of rock'n'roll) that I don't understand and I pick up new tricks all the time (be it triplets, vocal techniques or a new mic position). Thats me, thats how I live, so now you know! I take some pride in getting professional results out of everything I do.

    I guess I'm working in a very different musical field from you and most of the recording requirements are different - your work may involve a more refined process, but it is all art of one sort or another. I'm sure you excell at what you do and that's why I'm grateful to you for trying to talk sense into an obsessive maniac like myself (it's probably too late), and offering your advice on this forum. I appreciate any and all information, I'm sure I have plenty of questions you can answer...

    From one end of the spectrum to the other - Respect!
  17. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey alimoniack!

    Thanks for the reply.

    Believe it or not, you (based on your post above) are not the one (or kind of person) who I am targetting my rant at. If you are consumed by music - it is every part of your life and you are recording simply as an outlet for that, then you will be successful. Of course, that is if, your definition of success is ultimately happiness in life. And for that, many people here should be envious of you and your situation.

    The rant (and the article) is focused on those musicians who think they can do the job themselves because they have a PC and an MBox. Of course, I belabored that point already, so I won't bore you with it again...

    I agree - this business is nothing without musicians respecting musicians and I'm afraid too few people out there respect their colleagues.

    You are clearly on the "right path" and I hope that everything remains positive and excellent for you.

    BTW - I won't scoff at your studio (or anybody else's for that matter). I was poor once and did this for the love of recording. In other words, I did my fair share of recordings on MD recorders, tape decks, mackie mixers, SM58s, etc. If it's done for the love of the art - there is no reason for me to ever scoff at anyone for their gear. If they do it to cut corners or save money, I take it personally.

    Cheers! (y)

  18. alimoniack

    alimoniack Guest

    Hey Cucco!

    Thanks for your kind words of encouragement. It would probably do me good to be told not to try to do too much all at once anyway - it is bad for one's health (& love life).

    It is true that a lot of musicians do waste their priecious time & money on fooling around with things which they have no intention of learning to properly use and that is rather pointless. Then again, there are those like poor ol' Ronan, who feels he let his own music slip somewhere along the way because he got bitten by the recording bug. Strangely enough, I find it hard to feel sorry for the guy, especially since he ended up recording King Crimson, one of my favourite bands of all time! ("Red" from 1974 is about as good as a record gets) He's worked with Robert Fripp, uber-daddy of prog! He did okay, I reckon, besides we all have regrets...

    So yes, the only goal worth achieving is happiness. That & Total World Domination, right? Hey, is that a conflict of interests? Well, it wasn't for Hitler!

    I'll give you the heads up on our little cottage studio setup when it's running and honestly, I welcome derision because I fully recognise that it is madness. I find the whole thing rather funny myself. That's £10,000 potentially down the drain if the place doesn't get used...can't think what else we'd invest it in, mind you. It's me & our bass player's (also a soundman) little scheme.

    I have to say it is a bit of an adventure and we're having loads of fun with it. We know it's madness though.

    Thanks by the way for an interesting lil' chat!
  19. _NW_CHAOS_

    _NW_CHAOS_ Guest

    "The Original Article"

    The original article was mainly what I was commenting on, I didn't agree with it, nor with the opinion that one cannot do "both" recording and playing live. It does depend greatly on background, however (and focus, and determination, and PRIDE). For me, its possible, but I breathe music like air, its in my blood, so the extremes I go to may not be what others go to. I just hate to see anything that says "It cannot be done" when referring to such a broad subject. Seems.... inconclusive.

    In my experience, (professional?!) recording studios are a waste of time and money (more money, because to them, TIME IS MONEY.) Additionally, in my area, the closest decent studios are over 50 miles away, and charge at least a hundred an hour. Locally, we seem to have an abundance for home studio owners who record people for cheap, or complete drug addicted fools who somehow managed to invest enough money to accumulate various "toys" which improve sound quality (and they are boasting the entire way). I am all for doing a professional album, and personally, I have great time management when it comes to studio time, but the simple truth is, home recording studios shouldn't be scoffed at, and blunt statements like saying doing "both is impossible"?? Not true, depending on the individual. To take an aspiring musician and take away the midset that a home studio is a possibility, is just something that can't go undefended (IMHO), because you can do both. Most of the decent (local) projects I know of do. Course what do I know, I'm just an Oregonian. </rant>

    No furthur comments on that thread. :) Thank you though, for defending your viewpoint, thats cool, and yes, I hope we are all friends, geesh, the point of forums is to educate and enlighten those who come in search of something (like me - in search of more information, constantly...) and for discussions like this. Heh, three dimensions are better than two. Constructive debates with educated people is fun, and others could benefit from it. Its when the <angry people> come in and start bitching...

    blech. :)

    Dave (drummer, Timeline)
  20. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Not to butt-in here to the philosophical discussion, butt, if the original poster is still around(?), I would look at a Lynx sound card. I/O variety, as needed and - when you've made your first million(Or at least your 3rd. thousand.), you could add even more I/O with a Lynx Aurora. Pro as it gets(Good sound does NOT have to come from "outside the box".).


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