Basic Home Studio

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Member Since: Oct 04, 2010

I am interested in doing some home music recording, but I'm getting more confused than ever by researching the different items I will need. Just basic music recording and practice.

I have a Mac G4 MDD dual 1.8 with GarageBand. Also a Fostex XR3. The Fostex I had for some time and just the other day I hooked it to the Mac and transferred some old guitar work I had done.

I am interested in a M-Audio Delta 44 box and card, but after reading reviews it seems I need Preamps for the intruments, mic and headphones, etc.

What would be a good recommendation as far as gear for such a project???

I've seen a Behringer Eurorack UB1202 for sale, but it is described as an "unpowered" mixer.

Just asking for help in setting up a "budget-wise" basic home studio.

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Since: Oct 04, 2010

Oct 04, 2010 01:50 pm

This is an UPDATE on my question:

There is the M-Audio Delta 66 which only differs from the Delta 44 because it has S/PDIF digital I/ question about this is what is the S/PDIF digital I/O for??? I have tried googling this and can't find an answer!!! I am not technically savvy and only want to be able to record electric Guitar, acoustic, vocal and possibly collaborate with a long distant friend.

The Behringer Eurorack UB1202 shows that it has pre amp for the mics. I want to hear what I am doing as I do it. Will I need pre amps for everything??? Please excuse me for being such a dummy, but it gets more confusing as I try to research this stuff!
All I find is an array of tech talk and "I got this with that, that with this etc, etc". Are there better budget products out there? I just want to be able to set up something on a light budget to have fun with and still be of decent quality.

Since: Sep 14, 2010

Oct 04, 2010 05:06 pm

First of all :DON"T BUY A MIXER.

A mixer is not fro use with computers, What may look like a mixer an dis used with computers is a control surface.

Don't worry about this slight terminology difference but don't buy a "mixer"

You need an "audio interface".

And thing with a volume knob, is a preamp, you don't need to buy a focusrite and all that for a while. An interface has everything you need.

-digital to anolog conversion
-pre amp

at teh bottom of that link is links to audio interfaces. They range from 50$ to 5000. But anything called "audio interface" will work and you can upgrade from there on out if you feel like spending 1000 bucks on some european tube compressor to add that "color" to your tone, then okay. But right now, just concentrate on getting your inputs routed to your programs.

hope that clears up some things

I am not a crook's head
Since: Mar 14, 2003

Oct 04, 2010 05:24 pm

Actually a mixer would be almost a must with either the Delta 44 or Delta 66. A small mixer is a great way to get preamps for each of your available inputs. It's either a mixer or find a multi-channel preamp, or buy 4 individual preamps. The mixer is the most cost-effective way to do it.

The main features you want for a mixer (if you do go with the Delta unit) are good preamps, enough preamps for all of your inputs (4 in this case), and either channel inserts or direct outputs for each channel.

The preamps are critical for overall sound quality. The ones used on most budget mixers are a little iffy but usually not terrible by any means. I use a Yamaha MG series mixer with a Delta44 and while it doesn't sound terrible, I can tell that the preamps are a limiting factor in my overall mixes. But for a hobbyist they do me fine.

The insert or direct outputs allow you to go straight from the preamp of each mixer channel to an input on your interface. This allows you to keep each signal seperate all the way into your computer and not having to worry about summing your channels into a single stereo signal before running them to the Delta.

If you find all of that in an affordable mixer, then great. Other options to look for might be additional mixer buses (where each mixer channel can be routed to a particular overall output, great for drums or multi-mic guitar setups), phantom power for any condensor mics you have/plan on having, and at least 1 extra stereo channel that you can use to route your sound card's output to your headphones (the Deltas don't have amplified outputs so you can't plug headphones directly into it).

Since: Dec 04, 2007

Oct 04, 2010 05:52 pm

Welcome to the forum.

Also, agreeing with cool guy. If you can get away from using a mixer, then do so. Mixers tend to be noisy, and can add unwanted "dirt" to the signal. For what you are doing, guitars/vocal/potential collab, you won't need a mixer. If you were recording a full band, and needed inputs for drum mics, guitars, bass, vocal(s), keys, etc. Then you might consider a mixer, or alternatively getting several audio-interfaces and daisy-chaining them.

Also, most audio interfaces will have a built-in preamp, so I wouldn't worry about getting something outboard yet. Though if you go with the M-Audio Delta, then what tad is saying makes sense.

And though I probably need to make some revisions at some point, I have a bit of an overview on home-studio equipment written up: I basically try to follow the path of the signal chain, though some sections are a little out of order. It's not a definitive list, but more of an overview of things to consider. Hopefully that will add to the info available, and be worth looking through.

I wouldn't worry about S/PDIF too much yet. But if you want to know a bit, here's a simplified explanation. It's about half-way down the page.

One thing you want in an audio interface is reliability. Good stable drivers, and good reliable hardware. Also another thing to consider is whether or not you need midi in/out ports. Not all interfaces have them, though most do.

I'd check out the better-known brands like Echo, M-Audio, Line-6, Presonus, Tascam, Focusrite, MOTU, and RME, depending on your budget. Echo, Line-6, and Tascam have some pretty good budget-level interfaces.

I use an Echo Audiofire4 firewire interface myself, and have had zero problems in the past 3 years I've had it. Deon has used a Tascam unit for a pretty long while and I don't think he's mentioned any snafu's with it.

Keep us posted, and we'll help you out.

Since: Oct 04, 2010

Oct 06, 2010 11:44 am

Thank you Cool Guy, Tadpui, and J-Bot! I'm taking all the advice you have offered into consideration. It has helped me.

Since: Oct 04, 2010

Oct 10, 2010 04:19 am

How does an M-Audio Fastrack Pro and M-Audio Delta 1010L compare to the Delta 44 and 66?? I have not read much good things about the 1010L, but I am wondering about the Fastracks.

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