1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Recording Equipment

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Sptz, Feb 25, 2008.


  1. Sptz

    Sptz

    Apr 18, 2004
    Hey, I have a M-audio Fast Track Pro and a pair of M-audio BX5a monitors, and a macbook pro, I would like to know what more equipment should I get to get the best of home recording... (I have one passive bass and one active) Should I get a pre-amp , or a DI or something? Cause I really don't like the tone I get plugging straight into the m-audio, it sounds like it's preamps are a bit weak for bass, good for vocals though..
     
  2. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    A preamp is probably what you need, but a good one is expensive. There are a bunch of small preamps for like $100 but they're not very good, just like the preamps on the m-audio. You might want to look at something like an Avalon U5 or a GT brick, but you're going to be paying $400-$600 for a single preamp.

    An alternative is getting a different interface with better pres, because for $500-$700 you can get an interface with 8 pres that will all sound better than the m-audio ones (plus it will have better converters and overall quality/features). If all you want to do is record bass this all may seem like overkill, but if you want to record other instruments or a whole band, you'll want more than 2 inputs eventually anyway.
     
  3. +1

    also, if you have a line out on any of the amplifiers you are using it could be worth a try. Could well be better than using the pres in that unit.
     
  4. Sptz

    Sptz

    Apr 18, 2004
    Hm... I already knew the Avalon U5 and it looks very interesting, but what do you guys think it's worth more in my case? preamp or new external soundcard? I will record more than just bass, probablly not a whole band, but definetly guitars, bass and vocals
     
  5. lambro

    lambro

    Jun 1, 2004
    unless you have great A/D converters the extra outboard gear is not going to give you all it can

    if you ever use mics, then a mic preamp with a DI may be a better investment

    U5.. I'm not a fan

    the Brick is ok, REDDI much better, (both tube based) but REDDI is not a mic preamp.
     
  6. I was using a Fast Track Pro as well to record my bass. I wasn't thrilled with the sound. Recently I replaced my 15 year old boss mixing board with an Alesis 8 channel USB2.0 board and sold the Fast Track Pro on Ebay. I then ran the direct out from my Backline 600 into the Alesis which has an XLR input and recorded into Cubase on my macbook. This Alesis mixer passes all audio via a USB 2.0 connection.

    This sounds much better then the fast track pro to me. I just sold my backline but I'm going to do the same thing now with a Sansamp RBI I just picked up.

    This setup works well for me. It really comes down to what your expectations are. With the above setup I get acceptable quality to record myself practicing. I also get the added benefit of haveing multiple things going through the board. It's a great way to practice along with BIAB.

    Adam
     
  7. Sptz

    Sptz

    Apr 18, 2004
    Well, I won't be using mics, only for vox obviously, but everything is going to be recorded direct, it's basically for myself and for my college audio/musical projects
     
  8. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    I believe (though not completely certain) that the 1/4" inputs on the Fast Track Pro are lo-z... not intended to plug your bass straight into. Instrument inputs typically require a hi-z input. This is why you are likely getting a thin/weak signal. A decent DI would be your best/cheapest option.

    lambro's advice is the best so far... I wouldn't worry too much about stuff like the A/D conversion of the m-audio ... it's probably fine for your needs. And m-audio pre's aren't all that bad... at least compared to about anything else less than $600 with 2 or more pres. As a matter of fact, their DMP-3 is widely considered to be a pretty decent pre and an excellent value for the $$$. Knowing the proper setup and connections for your equipment goes a long way.
    ---
    c
     
  9. I took a quick look at the Fast Track product page.
    http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackUSB-main.html
    Are you setting the line input to "guitar"? That gives you 500k input impedance instead of 10k in the line input setting (using an unbalanced cable).

    Also, I wouldn't worry about the signal being overly loud during recording. It is going to sound pretty vanilla if you aren't using any plugins. I notice that a lot of gear with guitar inputs will keep the available gain on the lower side to prevent digital clipping (i'm assuming). Having a clean and accurate waveform with no clipping is a great starting point for post production.

    If you were looking to switch to something more bass-friendly in the same price range, look at the Line6 TonePort UX1. Comes with some decent pre/amp/cab sims and effects. I wouldn't expect any big upgrade in overall audio quality until you get into something like a Presonus Firebox or even better, a Motu Ultralight.

    As much as the less expensive USB interfaces aren't equal to the top-shelf gear, they are actually pretty good. Way better bang/buck than they used to be. I use a NI Audio Kontrol 1 that I bought on a lark to have something portable and it hold its own against way more expensive stuff.

    Just a few ideas. Hope they help.
     
  10. I use the Fast Track Pro at home with Cool Edit Pro, and plug my Fender Rumble 100 direct out into the input, and I think it sounds pretty good - not "holy **** this is the greatest" good, but for the money involved, I'm happy. I'm sure using a direct out on a decent amp would do you in good stead.
     
  11. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Wrong interface... the OP said he has the "Fast Track Pro"
    ---
    c
     
  12. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY
    Well, so much for that theory... looking at the m-audio site, it appears the inputs are labeled as "mic/inst" which would lead you to believe they are proper. But then again, who knows.. Oh well. Do you have a recorded sample you can post? ... I'm curious what it sounds like. Maybe you're just used to hearing yourself playing through an amp? A direct signal will sound quite different than an amp. You could always get a decent mic and mic your amp to get closer to the sound you know.
    ---
    c
     
  13. I had a fast track pro and was able to plug my bass right in. Just make sure the padding is set properly.

    Adam
     
  14. chrisp2u

    chrisp2u

    Aug 15, 2005
    Buffalo, NY

    Besides the "pad" being a potential issue, the only other complication I see could be this (from the manual):

    If you have it set to line with your bass plugged in, you would likely have the issues that I eluded to in my original.
    ---
    c
     
  15. Sptz

    Sptz

    Apr 18, 2004
    I always have it set to "Inst" when plugging my bass, and about the "Pad" button, what does it do exactly?
     
  16. It is like a single-position volume control ahead of the converter. It lets you run higher gain sources into it without as much danger of clipping. You should hear a dramatic drop in volume with it engaged. It is also known as an audio attenuator, fixed attenuator, fixed pad...
     
  17. hunta

    hunta

    Dec 2, 2004
    Washington, DC
    I had a DMP-3 and thought it sounded like junk but YMMV.
     
  18. Sptz

    Sptz

    Apr 18, 2004
    So you think a pre-amp would actually improve, would it be bypassed through the m-audio pre's? I think an avalon u5 or other kind of pre would be nice for studio recording as well as live. (I'm gonna start recording an album pretty soon, not at my house obviously, at a studio).
     
  19. These things are all relative. Compared to an API, yes that thing is junk. Probably better than what is in that Fast Track Pro. I would advise against buying it though, you will outgrow the thing pretty fast.

    If you want to get in to recording and only need a few tracks at a time I would advise staying as modular as possible. Get a modest soundcard with a couple of line-level inputs, not with built in preamps, if it also has an S/PDIF in even better. Get a decent stereo mic pre, the ART MPA Gold(NOT the tube MP) is not a bad place to start for real cheap. This way you can upgrade things one at a time, very few all in one pre+converter+interface units are any good, none that I know of for cheap.

    best of luck
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.