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Thread: Monitoring on laptop

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    Monitoring on laptop

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    I'm finally moving over to doing recording on my laptop with software (cakewalk ) rather than a standalone recorder. I've always used a decent quality stereo with speakers for monitoring which I know is not advised but I usually got decent results. What kind of monitoring do people use direct out from a laptop? I'm looking for inexpensive options in the region of 100.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I'm finally moving over to doing recording on my laptop with software (cakewalk ) rather than a standalone recorder. I've always used a decent quality stereo with speakers for monitoring which I know is not advised but I usually got decent results. What kind of monitoring do people use direct out from a laptop? I'm looking for inexpensive options in the region of 100.

    Thanks
    What interface are you going to use with the laptop? (and PLEASE don't say "2i2" or worse, "Solo"! )
    If you were happy with the sound system before there is no reason the AI cannot drive that instead.

    But, if you want a self-contained system you need headphones and that's bit of a can of wrigglers.
    If you want to record with a mic you will need closed backed can to stop spill into the mic but for the very best fidelity for post tracking mixiing, open backs are generally held to be better. 100 really only buys you ONE set of either of any decent quality. One option would be to buy a really cheap pair of closed backs, 20 say and put the bulk of the money into the better headphones.

    Dave.

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    You've thrown me a bit with asking what interface I'd use!! At the moment I'm using bandlab and was hoping I could record direct into their software. I've always used closed ear headphones whilst recording mics. The monitoring speakers would mostly be for mixdown. Sorry my knowledge on this is so basic!

    Mark

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    You've thrown me a bit with asking what interface I'd use!! At the moment I'm using bandlab and was hoping I could record direct into their software. I've always used closed ear headphones whilst recording mics. The monitoring speakers would mostly be for mixdown. Sorry my knowledge on this is so basic!

    Mark
    Hi mcmac,
    +1 to Ecc's reply. It is technically possible to record and playback directly but you really should pick up an audio interface.
    The sound chipsets in computers are very cheap and cheerful, and lack a huge number of features.

    A modest audio interface can give you balanced line outputs (to feed your hifi!), a headphone output,
    line/instrument/mic inputs, phantom power, a main+headphone volume control, stable+quality drivers for lower latency, and more.

    Basically anything that the standalone recorder had in terms of I/O, you'd be seeking to replace in an audio interface.

    Shop based on your max capacity : If you're a one-man-band recording a single instrument at a time, a two-input interface will probably suffice.
    If you might record small groups or live drum kits then you probably want to look at 4 or 8 simultaneous inputs.

    Tell us more.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    Ahhh...sorry misunderstood. I bought a focusrite scarlett solo mk3 3 days ago and just waiting for it to arrive

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    Ah, ok. Good.
    The Scarlett is very basic but it can do the job.
    It has main l+r outputs over phono connectors so you should be able to hook up to your amp and stereo and carry on as before.

    There's nothing wrong with using a decent quality stereo system. As long as your setup is giving you a level of truth that lets you make decisions, no one should knock it.

    Your outputs are unbalanced so keep the output cable run short and try to avoid running them near mains equipment/transformers/lighting.
    ---------- Steenaudio Website ----------

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    Ok I'm feeling better about sticking with the stereo!..however I assumed the scarlett was essentially a pre amp for use in recording. Wouldnt have thought about using it for playback / mixing and just assumed I'd be able to plug out from the lap top to the stereo. I'd monitor during recording using headphones plugged into the laptop. Does that make sense or is my transition from dinosaur of digital recording going to be a long one?!

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    The Scarlett becomes your universe central - audio goes in and out of it. The computer is happy and your ears will be too. Computer audio can be quite good, but most of the time it is very much a compromise in quality terms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Ok I'm feeling better about sticking with the stereo!..however I assumed the scarlett was essentially a pre amp for use in recording. Wouldnt have thought about using it for playback / mixing and just assumed I'd be able to plug out from the lap top to the stereo. I'd monitor during recording using headphones plugged into the laptop. Does that make sense or is my transition from dinosaur of digital recording going to be a long one?!
    Like most technology mcmac, it depends on how much effort you put in. You are far from alone however in not thinking of an interface being an "output" as well as a pre amp and converter. Many beginners (and no so raw!) fail to understand that an audio system should be considered from OUTPUT back. To a very large degree the quality of your results depends upon you being able to hear an accurate rendition of the recorded sounds.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Ok I'm feeling better about sticking with the stereo!..however I assumed the scarlett was essentially a pre amp for use in recording.
    Well yes, it does indeed provide a preamp, but it does more than that


    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    Wouldnt have thought about using it for playback / mixing and just assumed I'd be able to plug out from the lap top to the stereo.
    An audio interface is designed specifically to allow full duplex recording, i.e. you can efficiently play output as you record input. The internal sound that most laptops have doesn't do this all that well. Instead of plugging from the laptop to the stereo, just plug from interface to stereo.

    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I'd monitor during recording using headphones plugged into the laptop. Does that make sense or is my transition from dinosaur of digital recording going to be a long one?!
    Monitor using headphones plugged into the interface. Your transition will start slow, but soon speed up.

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