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Advice on a A/D Converter Needed

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by CH Design, Feb 25, 2013.


  1. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I'm sure this question has been asked many times before in this forum, but I'm having a hard time identifying a few clear options.

    I'm looking for a simple means of recording some bass tracks so that I can let people listen to my basses. That's it. No playing along with pre-recorded tracks and only one instrument at a time. I would prefer that the recording be of decent to high quality and that the signal remain as uncoloured as possible.
    I only have a net book running Windows 7 at my disposal. Can I get a few suggestions as to what will work?
    I also have a question regarding software. I've noticed that some A/D converters come with software and some don't. If I end up getting one that doesn't, does Windows 7 have a program I can use? If not, what are my choices? Thanks in advance.
     
  2. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    For your needs, I would not buy a dedicated AD converter, but rather an interface, which is a combination of a preamp stage, an AD converter, and a DA converter.

    Your needs seem pretty low intensity, so any of the 2x2, or even 1x2 offerings from companies like Mackie, Presonus, Focusrite, Apogee, etc. would do just fine.

    As for including software: Some do, some don't. It's usually spelled out clearly in the product literature available from all manufacturer's websites. If you're on a Mac you've probably already got GarageBand, and you could upgrade to Logic for under $100. If you're on a PC (or a Mac), you could grab Reaper for $70.
     
  3. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Nope, that's a 2x2 interface.
     
  5. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    So would it be a good choice? From the description I assumed that it didn't have a preamp.
     
  6. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    It has mic and instrument inputs. Can't have those without a preamp. That would work just fine for your purposes.

    I bought a larger Tascam unit for doing field recordings for my girlfriend's business for about $30 on Craigslist. See what you can find used locally and maybe save some cash.
     
  7. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    Ok. Thanks for the help. I guess I was thinking that it needed to have some kind of tone shaping features to be a preamp.
     
  8. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Nope. By definition a preamp is just a gain stage. Tone shaping sections are tacked on to lots of preamps, but aren't a necessity in defining one. Most interfaces have no such controls as that is all handled digitally, or by external/outboard hardware units.
     
  9. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I haven't looked through the local sites for used equipment yet, but it looks like I my options for new (from my local music store) are:

    ART USB Project Series Dual Preamp & Computer Interface
    http://www.long-mcquade.com/departments/50/Pro_Audio_Recording/A_D_D_A_Converters.htm

    Tascam US-100
    http://www.long-mcquade.com/product...US-100_-_2_In_Out_USB_2_0_Audio_Interface.htm

    Presonus Audiobox USB
    http://www.long-mcquade.com/products/16009/Pro_Audio_Recording/Soundcards/Presonus/AudioBox_USB.htm

    ART USB Dual Tube Pre
    http://artproaudio.com/art_products/signal_processing/usb_audio_devices/product/usbdualtubepre/

    Any TB'er have any experience with some of these units?
     
  10. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Out of the ones you posted, I would choose the Presonus with the Tascam being a distant second.
     
  11. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I thought so based on what I've been able to find around here. There is a chance that I might be able to pick up a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 at another local store (just need to see if they have it in stock). I gather from reading the descriptions and specs, that they are pretty similar in terms of features and quality.
     
  12. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    The Focusrite and the Presonus will be pretty similar in terms of quality. The features might vary slightly, and at this level of interface, the features are the deciding factor for me. They'll both sound about the same, which will be quite good. Consumer and prosumer devices like this have come a long way in the last few years. You'll be able to get surprisingly good results for a modest price once you've gain some experience with using them both pre and post.
     
  13. CH Design

    CH Design Supporting Member

    Apr 25, 2007
    Ottawa, ON
    I went with the Presonus. Thanks again Silky!
     
  14. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Great! Hope it works well for you.
     

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