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Thread: Which interface for me? and please explain outboard effects

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    Schecterplayer is offline Senior Member
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    Which interface for me? and please explain outboard effects

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    hello, i am looking into expanding my recording setup. i only have a 2x2 tascam us 200 at the moment but heres my goal:

    i want to have a rack mounted interface with a decent amount of inputs under $400

    i want to be able to use a couple outboard gear such as preamps and compressors.

    i want high quality sound.

    ok so thats my criteria, can someone please shed some light on what i might need? i should also add i am mainly a single musician one track at a time. but i do alot of mixing for a freind and thats why i want a few outboard effects.

    also can some one please explain to me how to set that all up? i dont quite understand how the signal goes from the interface to the effects unit then back in. do i have to manually plug it in to the ins and outs each time? is there a patchbay setup i can use?

    thanks

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    Justsomeguy's Avatar
    Justsomeguy is offline Quiet is the new Loud
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    Hey man, first off a couple of questions; How many inputs do you need? do you need xlr or line inputs or both? USB or Firewire? What DAW are you using?

    Something like the MOTU 828 would offer a lot of scope for what you want to do; 8 and although i have no idea of the $ price, i'd imagine that you could find one on the second hand market for around $400 (that's based on UK price converted to US $'s).

    Using outboard whilst mixing does depend to some extent on what DAW you're using, but in principle the idea is you send the signal you want to process out through the audio interface on a different output from your main out (i.e if you're main outputs 1-2, send the signal out on 3-4), plug that into the outboard, and then plug the output of the outboard into an input on the audio interface, set up and new track in your DAW and record the processed sound back in on that new track. if you're processing mono signals, panning the signal to process in your DAW hard left or hard right will only send the signal to one of the outputs on your AI (usually hard left = odd numbered outputs, hard right = even numbered outputs)

    if you're using external preamps then, ideally, you'd want an AI with dedicated line inputs. in the past i've found that the combo XLR/jack inputs that offer mic and line inputs on some AI's still send the line input through the inbuilt preamp. if you're running an external preamp into this, you essentially double amp the signal and can quickly lead to distortion. This also goes for the use of outboard compressors, EQ's etc which kick out a line level output.

    A patchbay can save a lot of time/hassle for plugging in outboard gear where you have the line inputs and outputs from the AI on the patchbay as well as the inputs and outputs for the outboard on the patchbay, but bare in mind that the cabling can cost more than you expect to set it up (unless you can make/already have the cables), but IMO the initial cost and setup is well worth it in the long run.
    In the world of music there's no right or wrong, however there is "tried and tested" and "experimental"

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    gecko zzed is offline audio illusion
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schecterplayer View Post
    hello, i am looking into expanding my recording setup. i only have a 2x2 tascam us 200 at the moment but heres my goal:

    i want to have a rack mounted interface with a decent amount of inputs under $400

    i want to be able to use a couple outboard gear such as preamps and compressors.

    i want high quality sound.

    ok so thats my criteria, can someone please shed some light on what i might need? i should also add i am mainly a single musician one track at a time. but i do alot of mixing for a freind and thats why i want a few outboard effects.

    also can some one please explain to me how to set that all up? i dont quite understand how the signal goes from the interface to the effects unit then back in. do i have to manually plug it in to the ins and outs each time? is there a patchbay setup i can use?

    thanks
    Those were pretty much my questions when I first started out with digital recording. One of the reasons why I asked them because I was used to the (then) typical recording set-up, i.e. a recording device (such as a tape recorder) and a whole array of rack-mounted units.

    It wasn't too long before I realised that quality results were achievable more easily by rethinking the workflow. Instead of a whole bunch of external devices, I now make use exclusively of plug-ins, and all I have as hardware is my interface and a headphone amp.

    Higher-end studios will still make use of external devices because (a) they've got them so they use them, and (b) they are high-end devices that are worth keeping in the process. For most purposes though, they are not necessary nor all that beneficial in home recording set ups.
    http://homerecording.com/bbs/image.php?type=sigpic&userid=45599&dateline=1256715193
    I have a theory about that

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    Schecterplayer is offline Senior Member
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    Thanks for all the info guys. Greatly appreciated. I use studio one by the way. I only have the artist version and plan on getting pro. But I only want to use outboard gear because I hate the compressor s1 has.

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    jimmys69's Avatar
    jimmys69 is offline Moderator with long hair
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    I have the same feeling about the built in Cubase compressor too.

    Try a different VST compressor before spending tons of cash. This one is quite good, and free: Density MKIII

    My go-to compressor is the Waves API 2500. And thousands cheaper than the real thing.
    PC Win7-64-16G i7-2600/Cubase 5-6-7 32 bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/KRK G2-8/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne Editor/Lava Lamp/Big mean dog, cute little baby, CARBONITE!!!!

    http://www.stricklerstudio.com

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    Schecterplayer is offline Senior Member
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    I do like the look of having a nice rack of outboard gear though lol. But that's just my taste. So I was looking at either the tascam us 1800 or the presonus firestudio project. Any thoughts on these? I have seen the firestudio in person used on a couple projects but the price is a little high for my budget. I want to get the package deal they both come in.

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    jimmys69's Avatar
    jimmys69 is offline Moderator with long hair
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    Many around here (including me) love the 1800. It only has 4 outs for external gear connection though. Two of those will be used by your monitors. Can't beat the price for the amount of inputs. Price dropped to $200 now. Guessing Tascam is coming out with a new model soon. Price of US 1641 dropped like this just before it's replacement (1800) was released.

    You can still have a rack that looks nice. Here is mine:
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    PC Win7-64-16G i7-2600/Cubase 5-6-7 32 bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/KRK G2-8/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne Editor/Lava Lamp/Big mean dog, cute little baby, CARBONITE!!!!

    http://www.stricklerstudio.com

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    Schecterplayer is offline Senior Member
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    That's a nice rack lol ( pun intended) so please give an honest opinion on that interface. Is it clean? Quiet is my main concern. Every interface I've had be it the audiobox or us 200 has just been hissy and full of noise. Or low gain.

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    jimmys69's Avatar
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    It's quite clean actually. 60 db gain on the 10 preamps.

    I have heard the US 200 at a friends, and yes, it is a noisy little bastard.

    All but two of the samples on my website were recorded with the US 1641, which is the same as the 1800, with internal power supply and different color.
    PC Win7-64-16G i7-2600/Cubase 5-6-7 32 bit/2-Steinberg UR824's/KRK G2-8/Event TR8/SS Trigger Plat Deluxe/Melodyne Editor/Lava Lamp/Big mean dog, cute little baby, CARBONITE!!!!

    http://www.stricklerstudio.com

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    Schecterplayer is offline Senior Member
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    Well I'm glad I'm not the only one with that problem. So it does well. That's good. Im looking at the package deal it comes in. Any thoughts on that?

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