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Jeff
post Oct 20 2007, 01:04 AM
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Hey everyone -

I'm thinking about getting an interface to my PC that will allow me to record multiple instruments/mic's all at the same time and have each instrument on it's own track. For example, I have 7 mics on my drums, one mic for lead guitar, one mic for rhythm, one mic and direct line for bass and another for keyboards. So when I record my band and we don't want to lay down one track at a time, I need a way to do that. The biggest problem is that that drums take up a lot of tracks/inputs.

I am able to do that with my Roland VS1880 until I hit the maximum inputs on the mixing board. The problem with that too is that I have no way to hook up the Roland to the PC. There are no digital outs that I can use for this. I think the answer is that I need a digital mixing board and I would like to have one that has USB or Firewire connection so I can use Reaper or Sonar but I haven't shopped around as I'm just beginning to do this. I have a Mackie VLZPro 16 channels, but then again, no digital out. Does anyone have any suggestions on what I should look at?

thanks!
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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 20 2007, 01:22 AM
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You probably want to kick off with a firewire/usb interface - 8 ins/outs are common, and they usually allow you to add additional channels via ADAT light pipe. Focusrite have a nice one called the Saphire Pro

You can feed this from your existing mixer or use it without a mixer. Then to add 2 sets of 8 channels you need something that talks ADAT light pipe language and gives you the additiona; preamps, such as the Behringer ADA8000

Add that all up and you have got 24 ins and outs, which is a pretty nice position to be in - I myself am currently coveting this setup!

As an alternative you could get yourself a new digital mixer with the ins and outs you need, I expect TOny will be along shortly to help you with that option smile.gif

This post has been edited by Andrew Cockburn: Oct 20 2007, 01:22 AM


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 20 2007, 01:23 AM
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What sort of a budget Jeff?

Also how many connections and type (ie line, xlr etc) do you want rather then can get away with? And anything else that you might need/want/like (ie phantom power, effects, word clock, multiple monitors etc)?

Cheers,
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Jeff
post Oct 20 2007, 01:53 AM
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Thanks guys. I'm looking to have at minimum at least 16 connections with the ability to add more later on. I prefer to have as many XLR's inputs as I can and the ability to have a seperate line outputs for each of those channels so I can send their signal out to other things/devices if I want. I realize that my wants are probably going to exceed my budget but I am looking at keeping it under $2K USD, roughly. (if possible)

I need phantom power switchable too.

I think for me it comes down to this - I want an interface that doesn't have any effects built in because I prefer to do the effects at the PC. Perhaps a built-in preamp might be ok but I would consider a seperate preamp. I want all of my signals going into the PC to be dry. I like Andrew's suggestions above that might allow me to use my existing mixer or go in through firewire/ADAT.
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 20 2007, 02:31 AM
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For the number of ins Jeff I'd go with a desk - other interfaces and I think you'll end up daisy chaining just to get the number of ins that you want. (I also like faders but I'm old fashioned smile.gif .)

Mackie have what is pretty much a new version of your desk Jeff and you can get an optional digital board for firewire. Think its called the Onyx 1640. Should be within your budget including the board and has two big bonuses - Mackie desks have great mic preamps AND its a desk that you know.

If you look around you might be able to get a used Yamaha 01v96R desk (12 XLRs 16 TRS, adat in/out BNC clock and space to add other cards). 01V is a good digital desk imo - I'm now using one (or would be if my wife hadn't borrowed it rolleyes.gif sad.gif ) in place of a Behringer DDX3216. (DDX3216 is ok but not as good as the 01v).

The other big names (Allen and Heath, Tascam, Soundcraft Ghost etc) all also do desks that offer digital out for daws now and will be in budget albeit you might have to go used (a Ghost with 32 channel digital would probably just be within 2000USD but might be a bit battered). Anyway have a look around but for me I'd go with the Mackie.

Cheers,
Tony


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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 20 2007, 03:32 AM
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I believe that Onyx firewire interface has a lot of ins but only a stereo out ...


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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 20 2007, 04:27 AM
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Wouldn't it be the other way round Andrew - 16 out and the main stereo returned?

Cheers,
Tony


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 20 2007, 04:33 AM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 19 2007, 11:27 PM) *
Wouldn't it be the other way round Andrew - 16 out and the main stereo returned?

Cheers,
Tony


Yes, depends on your perspective of course, but we are talking about the same thing - 16 into the PC (out of the desk), and a stereo pair out of the PC (into the desk monitoring section) smile.gif


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Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
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Jeff
post Oct 21 2007, 09:33 PM
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What do you guys think about this?

http://www.mackie.com/products/1200f/splash.html
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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 21 2007, 09:42 PM
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QUOTE (jeff @ Oct 21 2007, 04:33 PM) *
What do you guys think about this?

http://www.mackie.com/products/1200f/splash.html


I would say that it s a cool piece of kit!

12 Inputs initially, you would need a couple of expansion units as I listed above to get up to 28 inputs, and 24 real outputs, they are counting 2 x SPDIF as additional inputs making 30 in, and I am guessing the 4 headphone outs as stereo, to give 8, plus 2 x SPDIF for a total of 34 out.

So out of the box it would be 12 in, 8 out for recording, plus an exteremely useful 4 x headphone which you could use for monitor mixes. Add a couple of Behringers and you get up to 28/24.

This looks like something I could use, so thanks for the link!


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Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
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Muris Varajic
post Oct 21 2007, 09:58 PM
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Hi Jeff smile.gif

Check out PreSonus FP 10,nice Firewire audio card with bunch of ins-outs.


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Jeff
post Oct 21 2007, 09:58 PM
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I imagine that through firewire I could assign each individual XLR input to it's own channel in Reaper/Sonar, etc? Does this allow me to do that? That would work for me, plus the ability to expand for future needs is nice. Although it gets to be an expensive proposition when adding two of these units together. But for recording, this might do the trick.
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Jeff
post Oct 21 2007, 10:12 PM
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QUOTE (muris @ Oct 21 2007, 03:58 PM) *
Hi Jeff smile.gif

Check out PreSonus FP 10,nice Firewire audio card with bunch of ins-outs.


Thanks Muris. I just looked at that. It's pretty nice. Maybe two of those would be a little less costly. Do you use that unit?
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Muris Varajic
post Oct 21 2007, 10:25 PM
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Yeah,2 of these will be fine solution for you I guess. smile.gif
No,I don't use it but couple friends of mine have it and we did few recording sessions/jams.
Works really nice. smile.gif


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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 21 2007, 10:28 PM
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You don't need to be so formal in the PC recording world - sure, you can assign inputs to channels when you record them simultaneously, after that you really don't care if you are mixing in the box.

If you want to mix out of the box, then you have the option of routing your 8 or 24 to individual channels of a mixer and mixing in the usual hardware kind of way, but I find mixing in the box a lot more flexible. These days you can even use hardware effects in mixdown as sends or inserts by routing them in and out of your hardware device.


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Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 21 2007, 11:02 PM
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Looks like an interesting bit of kit and Andrew is right about what it should be able to do. What price Mackie put on it though could be interesting.

As Muris says Presonus is worth a look here if you go for this sort of interface. As is the Motu and RME equivalents (though you wouldn't get to 16 line in/xlr with your 2000USD budget with RME sad.gif ) and the Sapphire Pro 26 that Andrew mentioned earlier. To get 16ins, or more, particularly if they are xlrs I'm pretty sure you will have to get two units, regardless of manufacturer, and daisy chain. Motu firewire stuff is now pretty cheap in the UK and probably also in the US - I expect that they are about to launch a new product v soon and so the stuff currently in the shops will be superceded, hence the prices.

If you buy two interfaces then the shop should cut you a good deal whatever you buy.

One thing though Jeff - don't know if you use a Mac but I've seen quite a few reports that firewire audio devices can have issues in OS X so if you do makesure you use the kit with the latest released drivers (always a good idea for any kit) and not just those that come in the box.

Cheers,
Tony


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Andrew Cockburn
post Oct 21 2007, 11:49 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 21 2007, 06:02 PM) *
Looks like an interesting bit of kit and Andrew is right about what it should be able to do. What price Mackie put on it though could be interesting.


The big win for the Onyx I think would be the quality of the mic amps - the Onyx amps are generally reckoned to be pretty good quality, and this is an area that can sometimes suffer in cheaper units.

If Mackie combined this unit with an Onyx desk and made it a control surface too I think it would be a winner - I would go for an Onyx with the firewire option if it had more than a stereo feed back in from the PC - I'd rather have at least 8 outs form the PC.


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Live long and prosper ...

My Stuff:

Electric Guitars : Ibanez Jem7v, Line6 Variax 700, Fender Plus Strat with 57/62 Pickups, Line6 Variax 705 Bass
Acoustic Guitars : Taylor 816ce, Martin D-15, Line6 Variax Acoustic 300 Nylon
Effects : Line6 Helix, Keeley Modded Boss DS1, Keeley Modded Boss BD2, Keeley 4 knob compressor, Keeley OxBlood
Amps : Epiphone Valve Jnr & Head, Cockburn A.C.1, Cockburn A.C.2, Blackstar Club 50 Head & 4x12 Cab
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Jeff
post Oct 22 2007, 10:57 PM
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QUOTE (tonymiro @ Oct 21 2007, 05:02 PM) *
Looks like an interesting bit of kit and Andrew is right about what it should be able to do. What price Mackie put on it though could be interesting.

As Muris says Presonus is worth a look here if you go for this sort of interface. As is the Motu and RME equivalents (though you wouldn't get to 16 line in/xlr with your 2000USD budget with RME sad.gif ) and the Sapphire Pro 26 that Andrew mentioned earlier. To get 16ins, or more, particularly if they are xlrs I'm pretty sure you will have to get two units, regardless of manufacturer, and daisy chain. Motu firewire stuff is now pretty cheap in the UK and probably also in the US - I expect that they are about to launch a new product v soon and so the stuff currently in the shops will be superceded, hence the prices.

If you buy two interfaces then the shop should cut you a good deal whatever you buy.

One thing though Jeff - don't know if you use a Mac but I've seen quite a few reports that firewire audio devices can have issues in OS X so if you do makesure you use the kit with the latest released drivers (always a good idea for any kit) and not just those that come in the box.

Cheers,
Tony


Tony, this is the Laptop that I am currently using. http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2776 I have been happy with it so far. I'll most likely be getting another PC soon to dedicate strictly to recording, but for now I like the idea of being able to take my music along with me for trips/travel (in-law visits wink.gif ) etc. to be able to mix while I'm away from the home studio. So this laptop has the firewire slot built into the side as you will see.

For guitar I am using the PODxt via USB which is excellent! But, I would like to be able to record acoustic, vocals, etc. so obviously the need for the XLR input and preamp is there. My laptop came with Windows Vista which I'm not that crazy about right now but I've been realtively lucky with it so far. I can install XP if I wish. There have been a few hang-ups but nothing that has stopped me from doing what I need. So, in a nutshell this is what I'm working with.

-Jeff
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Saoirse O'Shea
post Oct 22 2007, 11:12 PM
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The Dell looks sweet Jeff. My laptop is looking long in the tooth next to it unsure.gif .

If Vista is stable on it you may as well stick with it BUT before you buy any audio interface have a look at the relevant forum board to see if anyone is reporting issues with Vista just to be on the safe side. Most firewire audio issues I can recall have been about Mac OS10.0.1.4 (or 10.1.4 - forget which as I don't use a mac.)

For external USB etc interfaces I'd tend to plug them into the mains if you can rather then reply on the USB or whatever to power them. (To some extent that really depends largely on where the USB is in the laptop though - bus powering may be ok.)

Cheers,
Tony


--------------------
Get your music professionally mastered by anl AES registered Mastering Engineer. Contact me for Audio Mastering Services and Advice and visit our website www.miromastering.com

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We use professional, mastering grade hardware in our mastering studo. Our hardware includes:
Cranesong Avocet II Monitor Controller, Dangerous Music Liasion Insert Hardware Router, ATC SCM Pro Monitors, Lavry Black DA11, Prism Orpheus ADC/DAC, Gyratec Gyraf XIV Parallel Passive Mastering EQ, Great River MAQ 2NV Mastering EQ, Kush Clariphonic Parallel EQ Shelf, Maselec MLA-2 Mastering Compressor, API 2500 Mastering Compressor, Eventide Eclipse Reverb/Echo.
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Jeff
post Nov 7 2007, 03:10 AM
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OK Tony, here's what I just did. Please don't ask what came over me wacko.gif , but I just sort of came to the realization that mixing the DAW with the same PC that has Internet, etc. just doesn't work for a guy like me. dry.gif Also, Windows Vista + Plug-ins problems, ext. equipment incompatibility, etc. was driving me completely insane. It takes away too much recording time.

So, I completely blew through my budget. I've stepped up in a couple of areas -

I bit the bullet and went ProTools LE with the Digidesign 003R and Sweetwater Creation Station Rack +

http://www.sweetwater.com/creation_station/. I'm having them build and configure it all for me as I'm sick of doing it all myself only to find that there is some new driver that I don't have, etc.

Problems solved! Now I have a dedicated DAW with no Internet connection or other distractions so I can concentrate on recording. - except for the fact that I will need to spend hours/months/years learning ProTools! laugh.gif

On the other hand, to cover the additional costs, I need to sell some existing equipment/guitars so my wife doesn't make me sleep in the garage for too long. biggrin.gif Well, she does get a nice new laptop in the deal!

-Jeff
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