8 XLR Input Interface/Mixer?
I've been kind of messing around with recordings with a drum machine and lately have been wanting to be able to record actual drums. Problem is my current interface only has two XLR inputs and I have access to a 7-piece mic kit for the drums. So basically I just need something with 7 or 8 (8 preferable so my drummer and I could record our jams and listen back later, use the ideas we liked etc) XLR inputs. Doesn't have to be dirt-cheap but preferably not astronomically expensive. Any recommendations? Thanks!
Get a small mixer
Then sub mix the drums.
I used to do this live, when 16 channel mixers cost a lot more than 10 or 12.
I usually kept the kick out of the sub mix.
For a lot of inputs with decent quality and cheap, pick up a Tascam US -1800 for $200. Also, if you don't have much experience with eq and mixing close miced drums, do a search for 3 mic drum techniques. I use a variant of Fletcher's with much better results than I ever got with close miced drums.
Presonus Firestudio (Firewire)
Tascam US 1800 USB
M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R
All of those are have at least 8 Microphone inputs
The Mackie 1620i is very nice.
Note: read the fine print on the products you consider.
- mixer-interfaces: many companies intentionally mis-label "channels", counting 1/4" stereo channels as two separate channels. Count the XLR inputs..
- interfaces: some multi-input interfaces can record only 2 separate tracks at the same time. (channels does not equal tracks)
Look around, and read the details.
I have had good results with the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R
Question, how can you tell if it will record through all 8 inputs at once? Also, will any interface work with any DAW (for example, if I had the Tascam or the Mackie you mentioned, would they both work with ProTools or Audacity)?
I recently upgraded to the Focusrite Saphire 18i20. The transition went well with no hiccups whatsoever. It has 8 I/O's and an adat connector for 8 additional - should you need even more.
Some more info might be helpful. I take it that you don't have any mic preamps as you didn't mention any. What type of interface do you have now (USB, firewire, PCI)? What is your price range?
If you can swing the price I would recommend this one. MOTU makes very good stuff.
Current interface is an old MBox with a USB connection. Price range is probably 5-600 at most.
Do you actually need to record all 8 mic independently or is it sufficient to mix them down one and record stereo?
Complex audio interface can provide future trouble as drivers might or might not be properly updated. It is a lot easier to get a reliable mixer with decent mic preamps and then continue using whatever stereo interface works for you and hopefully doesn't need drivers.
I've been using the Presonus AudioBox 1818VSL and I'm quite happy with it.
It sports 8 XLR mic pres, and can be linked to additional units for more inputs. It comes with a full license copy of Studio One Artist recording software, various plugins including EZ Drummer and Guitar Rig, and the VSL portion is for it's built in DSP effects like reverb, EQ, and compression. This means that you do not have to drain your computers CPU as much.
Like I said, I've been using the 1818VSL for about 6 months now and I'm quite happy with it.
As for digital mixers with a USB output... some can send out multitrack information, while others only send out stereo L&R. So do your homework if you decide to go that route, if you want to be able to record each mic to it's own track.
I hope this helps in some way. = )
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