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Fazor
2010-Nov-30, 07:44 PM
I know there's plenty of musicians here in BAUTland (BAUTainia?), so I thought I'd throw a question out there.

Now that I have my new laptop, I have a good platform to move my audio recording software over to. Now I have a multi-effects pedal for my guitar that has USB output, and it works great for digitally recording guitar parts.

But the only way I can currently record vocals is through a cheap USB mic I have for voice-chat when gaming (horrible for audio recording!), or by running my actual microphone through the input on the effects pedal. The later works, but the signal is very weak because the pedal can't amplify it adequately. It's not meant for that.

So I've looked into dedicated preamps, and the ones that seem to turn up most often are the M-Audio brand ones. At least, the ones that won't cost me a fortune (though they're not really cheap either; $250-$350 for the one I want, IIRC.)

I was looking at one that said it could do four inputs simultaneously and record each to it's own track. That'd be great, as I could have a vocal input, and my brother and I would each have an input for guitar, and perhaps another for drums (though I'd prefer to use multiple mics for that.)

Any[one] used one of the preamps, or have any other suggestions? I'm curious if it could really handle four audio tracks through a standard (2.0?) USB interface and keep everything timed correctly.

JustAFriend
2010-Nov-30, 10:58 PM
Yes it will.

You can get usb interfaces with up to 16 independent channels, which is about the limit for usb2's bandwidth.
More than that and you need to go Firewire (FW400 does well over 100, FW800 twice that).

(I use a Motu828mkII myself)

Fazor
2010-Nov-30, 11:36 PM
Well that's good to know. I was afriad you'd need firewire with just 4 :-P I'd like a 6 or 8 channel one, but I don't think I can justify sinking that kind of money into something I do just for fun. ... I mean, you're looking at a guy who has been playing for about 4 or 5 years and still plays out of a little $80 practice amp.

JustAFriend
2010-Dec-01, 04:26 PM
Here's one of the better guides:
http://www.tweakheadz.com/soundcards_and_audio_interfaces.htm

(You'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide)

If you can buy during the holiday season, the catalog sites are running some rediculous sales right now.

Fazor
2010-Dec-01, 05:04 PM
Here's one of the better guides:
http://www.tweakheadz.com/soundcards_and_audio_interfaces.htm

(You'll want to bookmark and read through all of Tweak's Guide)

If you can buy during the holiday season, the catalog sites are running some rediculous sales right now.

Awesome. Bookmarked here and once again when I get home -- that's a lot of reading material!

tlbs101
2010-Dec-01, 05:05 PM
For a starter microphone, I highly recommend the Marshall MXL SP1. They run about US$50 but you need a preamp with phantom power because the microphone is a large diaphram condenser type. I have two of them. They sound every bit as good as a US$300+ condenser microphone from Shure, AudioTechnica, Rode, etc.

I use a Behringer DSP-110 module as a pre-amp and for simple effects (echo, chorus), but this still doesn't solve your analog_audio-to-digital interface problem.

I have a SoundBlaster 24-bit audio card in my desktop PC (with the correspondingly low-noise amplifiers included, to achieve noise levels lower than 16-bit audio). I haven't investigated any new sound recording devices for my laptop, yet.