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Old November 18, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Default What soundcard for recording?

A co workers son has started a band and presently they're using a cheapo mic. and the onboard sound on a PC to record themselves. Anyway, this obviously sucks, so they're looking to take a bit of step up, not too serious but a little better that won't break the bank. Any suggestions? I suspect going over $200 would be a no-no.
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Old November 29, 2008, 11:34 AM
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There are various grades of gear and if you want quality recording gear your oign to have to pony up. If these guys want to record properly and produce tracks that are of a decent quality your going to need a quality card, mics..etc. They need to come up woth a starting budget and a list of what they need such as:
1. Micprohone preamps built into the card so you don't need external preamps for micrphones.
2. How many inputs? -the drum kit needs quite a few if they want to record the drums properly.
3. how many outputs? -this is for monitors for plyback but can also be looped back into headphones for playback for tracking insturmantes individually.
4..there is alot more but this is just to give you a idea..

The cheapest and possibly most versatile way is to get a multi-channel recording mixer, they usually have effects and preamps for microphones. You connect the output of this mixer to a quality 24/96 recording card.
This is a very vast subject and I could fill pages just going over set-ups and connection diagrams. They need to figure out how serious they are because a onboard soundchip etc will not give you anything of workable quality.
under $200, they may get a card that is of decent quality but they are still in need of mics...preamps...cords...etc..etc. Get each memeber of the band to pony up a couple hundred each then you may end up with a workable budget that will provide atleast a solid foundation to work from.
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Old November 29, 2008, 11:53 AM
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This is a start anyway. M-AUDIO - Fast Track USB - Record Guitar and Vocals on Your Computer?Complete with Effects
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Old November 29, 2008, 12:27 PM
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Yeah just grab an maudio fast track and a couple APEX mic's as they are cheap and for a home recording you don't need to go spend on any super expensive condensers.
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Old November 29, 2008, 01:19 PM
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I'd actually steer clear of the maudio fast tracks. I ended up getting my hands on one and none of the 4 computers (2 mac and 2 xp) I tried it on would even recognize it. I called the M-audio tech support and they couldn't help either. From the research I've done it's proving to be a fairly common problem with them. I went with an Eridol passthrough box and a Presonus Firestudio and couldn't have been happier with the outcome. Actually, for the price Presonus has some great equipment for the budget minded.
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Old November 29, 2008, 01:30 PM
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Was it USB or Firewire the Fast Track you were trying? If firewire, be sure to have a computer with a Texas Instruments based firewire controller, otherwise it wont work. The Presonus is great too, I'm not as familiar with them, but I know a certain DJ friend of mine who uses one for his live set machine.
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Old November 29, 2008, 01:51 PM
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A small interface like that is great for a lone guitarst/singer but of little use to a full band. It is too light in the inputs and has no room for expandablility. The least expensive set up to go with is a mixer soudncard combo as they can use the mixer for inputs and preamps the card doesn't have and save money.
As long as the mixer has enough channels to connect up enough mics to track a full drum set they are good. The optimal way to go would be a seperate soundcard channel for each microphone however those type of setups are costly and take a bit of experience to use properly.

The real trouble with this request is quite simply the lack of funds. Audio recording using a PC has become very affordable but to buy a system that can effectively record a entire 4-5 peice band and end up with audio tracks that are usable for a demo CD would take quite a bit more then $200.
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Old November 29, 2008, 03:40 PM
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Aren't there some decent stand-alone "studio in a box" rigs out there these days? Would they be better served to get one of those to do the work, and then just worry about one input to the sound card for recording digitally? (Or would they lose too much converting from the proprietary format of the "studio-in-a-box"?).
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Old November 29, 2008, 05:09 PM
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Cptn, it was the usb one so that wasn't the issue. Just a piece of crap imo, your results may vary :)

The only real option at that price range is to rent the equipment they need for a week or two. Tell them to pool their money and save up for something half decent. It's well worth the investment if they plan on doing any more recording in the future. I know you are out East but I rented that Presonus for something like $20 for the week here in T.O.
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Old November 30, 2008, 08:36 AM
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Rental or having a studio do the work may be a more viable option. You don't really have the gear needed nor the money to buy the gear. You also need the experience to be able to use a recording interface and multitrack recording system and end up with workable tracks. That is much harder and takes alot of time and know how. However, you have to start somewhere and if the band can pony up a bit more cash you may be able to purchase a possible system that wil be able to do what you need or want. hope this helps.

BTW, you can also put a ad in the local paper or at local music shops looking for a person to do the recording for you. This way you get cheaper rates and the person will likley come to you with a laptop and multi-input USB/firwire card...etc.
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