Posted on Jul 13, 2006 04:12 pm
Member Since: Jul 13, 2006
I'm looking into finally purchasing some home recording equipment. I've just gotten a new computer (a Dell) with a 2.8 Ghz processor and a gig of RAM and a 160 gig harddrive. I'm a singer/songwriter who's been playing guitar for five years. My interests are pretty wide ranging, but my music veers from some folk fingerstyle in alternate tunings and folk/jazz in the style of Jolie Holland or Tom Waits to indie rock in the vein of the Velvet Underground, the Walkmen, Yo La Tengo to lo-fi home-recorded stuff like Neutral Milk Hotel and Cody Chesnutt. Right now, I have a no-name acoustic guitar (but with a pretty decent sound), a ukelele, an Ibanez semi-hollow body electric, a Line 6 Spider 2 amp, and a $150ish dollar Yamaha keyboard. I've done some research, but I have some questions before I start buying stuff. I'm a student and definitely have to do this as cheaply as possible, but obviously I don't want to buy crap that's not going to do what I want it to do.
I'm thinking something with two XLR inputs so that I can record guitar and vocals at the same time, which kind of knocks me out of the TonePort UX1 and the M-Audio Fasttrack, which are the base models I looked at. I'll need also need midi-in for my keyboard. So, after perusing the Musician's Friend site, I've come to decide that I need either a USB or a PCI interface. I love the sound of analog 4 tracks and tape noise (and hope to eventually get a tube pre-amp for my set-up) but want to be able to take advantage of recording software, MIDI softsynths, and being able to easily and quickly put out music on the internet.
I've read about some problems with latency concerning USB interfaces. Is this a function of people using the interfaces with computers that can't handle them or with the interfaces themselves? Is this something I'm going to have to worry about with the computer set-up I've described?
As far as USB devices go, I think my top option right now the M-Audio MobilePre USB (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ace?sku=701368)
I'm also considering the TASCAM US-122 (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ce?sku=240868), although I'm concerned about the technical problems that are discussed. Both of these are around ($150)
At the top end of what I want to spend are (all around $200):
The Line 6 Tone Port UX-II (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ace?sku=249701)
The PreSonus INSPIRE 1394 (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ace?sku=241483)
The Lexicon Lambda (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ace?sku=245506)
$50 may not seem like a ton of money, but it makes this decision pretty difficult to me (that money would cover a mic or cables and stands). I don't know so much about recording - is the hardware in these boxes, the pre-amps and the A/D converters, significantly better than in the MobilPre USB or the TASCAM. Is the fact that the PreSonus is firewire a big deal? How good are the modelling options on the Tone Port -- I have a Line 6 amp and I like the models that it has, but I don't know if I really need all the models in the Tone Port.
I would also consider a PCI card. I realize that I'm sacrificing portability to do so, but lower prices or a higher sound quality/price ration would make that sacrifice worth it for me.
However, I'm a little intimidated by the comments I've seen in Musician's Friend regarding difficulty of set-up/glitches. What are your experiences with these interfaces? I've installed PCI cards before, but that's been years ago when 3D accellerators were first getting big. I'm competent with computers and troubleshooting them, but I wouldn't call myself an expert by any stretch of the imagination. To install/maintain one of these systems, do I need to be one? Is there a card you'd suggest in the $100-200 range that has the options I'd like?
Just for starting out, I need two mics - something to record vocals and something for for my guitar and amp
I've read really amazing reviews of the Behringer XM8500 (www.musiciansfriend.com/p...ne?sku=270490), which for $20 sounds like the ticket for vocals. For instruments, what would you recommend for under $100 (remember, the cheaper the better)?
Thanks a lot,
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