New Soundcard/DAW

TelePaul

J to the R O C
Hey guys,

Getting back to computer-based recording after a pretty long hiatus! Downsized quite a bit but would like to pick up a few basic bits and pieces for a home setup/project studio/whatever. Was hoping for recommendations/thoughts in the are of both a Soundcard and a DAW:

Soundcard

I was using an old Alesis io 26 - I bought it because it had 8 pres and I was recording drums at the time, but it has crapped out a couple of times. My needs now are an interface with min. 2 analogue ins, but ideally 4 (want the option of X/Y micing a source and recording a couple of guitars 'live' together. To be honest, I'm not sure what the major differentiators are in this space right now; it seems like everyone is offering comparable quality ADA converters and that USB is holding its own vs. firewire as far as recording multiple channels goes. Any standout brands making better Pres, or any additional features I should think about here besides the obvious stuff? Is the Apogee justa fancy paperweight or are their pre-amps really that much better? Budget here is about $400 - $500.

DAW

Okay, this is where things get really confusing - it seems that everyone is offering incredibly well-specc'd software for significantly less money. I cut my teeth on Cubase SE and am nearly inclined to stay with that suite for the sake of convenience. However, what Logic X delivers for $200 seems incredibly cool, and while I'm mostly going to be recording folk and blues on Audio tracks, the VST and plug-ins that come standard with Cubase Artist seem a bit 'meh' when compared with some of the other more Digital Music oriented offerings. Pretty confused here and wondering if I should just bite the bullet and look at a Pro Tools rig with an MBox. Budget here is, again, $300 - $400 bucks.

Just curious to gather people's thoughts - its been ages since I looked at anything remotely related to music production. Once I can make a call on this stuff, I'll see if I need to shore up my collection of mics and other hardware. Would massively appreciate any help here!
 

mjbphotos

What?!?
I agree with Teddy - look at Reaper, it's free to try out, if you don't like it, move on.

Plenty of AI choices in the <$300 range to fit your need. Scarlett 6i6, Steinberg UR44, Presonus AUdiobox 44VSL, Akai EIE, Tascam US4x4. If you want to go up to the region of your budget, the Motu Audio Express is $400 and the Motu 4pre is $450
 

BroKen_H

Re-member
Reaper is the only complete and flexible DAW that I've seen that your startup cost ($60) is the only cost. Free upgrades? Who else does that?
I use Reason as my main DAW, but every couple years I've got to spend a couple hundred to keep up. I guess I don't have to but there's always something nice on the upgrade that makes you say, "wow, I really NEED that..." lol
 

BroKen_H

Re-member
afa Apogee goes, I'm not sure how much better the pres are, but the specs on the AD/DA converters are a LOT better than most...also see RME for similar comment. :)
Better converters makes for better noise. Just saying, if you record it in, then run back out through a rack mount compressor and back in, you've got four passes through the converters by the time the sound hits your ears...and that's a pretty simple, if not normal, setup. Multiply any problems your $13 converters have over their $130 converters (just random numbers) and, well, you get the picture.
 

fpr3

New member
Hi there. Going back 15 years I have used Cool Edit Pro, Audacity, Pro Tools 6 - 10, and most lately Reaper. Have to echo the sentiments above and urge you to try Reaper. With the $$ saved you can even invest in a couple high-end plugins like nice reverb or compressor. Check out Kenny Gioia's tutorials while you're at it!

I am running a Focusrite 18i8 interface seamlessly. Mostly recording guits/vox at home but wanted the extra inputs for drums if needed.

-Paul
 

Tadpui

Well-known member
If you have Thunderbolt connectivity, it might be worth waiting until the Focusrite Clarett series is released. No idea on the timeline, but dang they have some nice looking specs. Sub-millisecond latency, nice preamps, comes in 2, 4 and 8 preamp models. Looks like it'll be a Scarlett on steroids.

FireWire is definitely in its golden years, being phased out by better USB bandwidth and Thunderbolt. Its main advantage over USB is being able to supply more power via the FW cable, sometimes doing away with the need for a separate power supply. Handy for mobile setups. I think that Thunderbolt can do the same, I'm not sure.

I can vouch for RME's preamps and converters, and super low latency. I've been looping in a hardware compressor lately and I'm amazed at the fidelity it retains even after going out and back into the box. But the RME models with more than 2 mic preamps get expensive really quickly. The BabyFace and an external 2-channel preamp might do the job if you don't mind juggling an extra box around.

I don't think that you'd be disappointed at all with the Apogee, as long as you're a Mac guy. I don't think that they even make drivers for Windows. Their preamps and converters get rave reviews.

MOTU has some nice sounding interfaces that might suit your needs as well. I didn't have any luck with the MOTU that I tried with my Windows machine, but their Mac support is pretty good from what I can tell.
 
I've been very pleased with my PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL Interface, and it includes Studio One Artist DAW software.

I just read the 44VSL reviews at zzounds.com, they are interesting.
 
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