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The usual "New to Recording/is this good" thread...

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Rumzini, Mar 27, 2005.


  1. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Like it says...

    I have a 2 ear old HP....3000+ speed, 512 memory, (upgrading to 1 gig), Realtek AC97 soundcard, firwire, USB 2.0.... My band also has some very nice Ashly mixer, EQ, and limiter type equipment.

    Wanna do recording at our practie rom that is being finished off...douuble insulation, drywall, more soundproofing. Want to be able to record ideas at/and practices...also to be able to record something that we could atempt to sell/give away, distribute....

    I was thinking of this...

    http://www.americanmusical.com/item--i-LEX-OMEGA.html

    It was linked in another thread...I like the package deal...anything better, cheaper at this price point??? Any other thoughts, comments, questions, concerns???
    Would I need to upgrade soundcard BTW?
     
  2. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    You would do better getting an internal or Firewire based interface and a different peice of software. USB1.1 doesn't have the bandwidth to do audio reliably and I shun most bundled "light" software packages as they tend to have very limited feature sets and often lack a smooth upgrade path to the full versions.

    Definately upgrade the RAM too, 1gig is the sweet spot for an out of the box XP install and most audio apps will be quite happy here. You don't really need to upgrade your sound card as it will be replaced by whatever interface you are using. You do need to get some kind of headphone or monitor system though (can't do recording if you can't hear what you just put down).
     
  3. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Why did I know that it was gonna be to good to be true? So I probably shouldn't get this then. Is there any other package out there like this at this price point? I'm pretty confused as to what to get if I buy it in "seperates". Believe me I've been looking...I just seem to get more and more confused the longer I look.
     
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Well, I've never used USB for recording, I use a PCI card interface. I hear second hand though that it works fine. I do think that the Omega would work for you. Cubase LE is limited, but it will easily accomodate the Omega. (Also, via Steinberg's website you can upgrade if you ever felt like it).

    I would say go for it! If you do do it, please meake a thread about how USB2 recording is working out for you.

    the only other product I would reccomend is the E-MU 1212M (VERY good converters!!!) It comes with Cubase too. Becasue you already have a nice mixer, (I'm assuming you like the pre-amps?) You could buy the E-MU for $199 http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=rec/search/detail/base_pid/242512/

    more info from manufacturer-->

    http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?maincategory=754&category=754&product=2209 (more info)


    and still have some change left over for other things... You would be doing two tracks at a time though instead of four unless you got a firewire preamp or something similar in the future. Might be a way to go. In the interest of full disclosure, I have a bias - I use the E-MU 1820M and love it.


    -Josh




    edit: if the Omega is USB 1 I would not use it. I sort of assumed it was USB2 until I re-read.
     
  5. USB1.1 can handle up to two tracks in without any problem. There is definitely enough bandwidth for it.
     
  6. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Sooo....would I be able to plug in 2 guitars, my bass, and the drummer who is running his mics to the mixer first, then to the Omega? Would the USB be able to support all that so we could record all at once? We would then have the vocals added later.
     
  7. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    I'm just getting more and more cofused. Just got off the phone with the Lexicaon Man. He says that the slider module thingy there in the picture is a control for the Pantheon reverb sorftware. I thought it was a mixer of sorts to control volume and such. I'm losin it now...and band members breathing down my neck wanting to record!

    I hate not knowing anything about it at all!

    He also says that 512 memory would be just fine and that goingup to 1 gig wont make any real difference! HUH?! And I was going in after work to get the upgrade today. Do I need to now?
     
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    The tower thing is the "mixer". I can clearly see knobs labeled Mic1 and 2, as well as line 1-4 and monitor mix and output level. On the back I see 4 line ins. 2 mic preamps, spdif, midi, an insert etc.

    512 probably would be enough, but he has no idea wht your machine is using for overhead. Try 512, if you need more you can always buy it later.

    While I would agree that USB1 can handle two tracks, I would still hesitate to use it for four tracks, which is waht you can do with this setup.
     
  9. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    If you can handle not having more than a stereo mix to begin with then you could run the stereo line from your mixer directly to the soundcard and forget the interface until you had a better idea of your budget and needs. Just mix at the board like you were doing live sound and see how it sounds.

    I'd skip right over the entry level stuff and go directly to something like a MOTU 828 MK2, or one of the newer firewire interfaces with 8 preamps on board. In fact, you could get a 828 MK1 (older 828) and do fine for a basic setup and spend about the same dough.

    Also, look at PCI interfaces since you have a tower machine. Usually they are cheaper, and have better throughput (more tracks, less latency...)

    I've been using the Audiodesk software for Apple OS X and it is fine for tracking and mixing live sources. It doesn't do MIDI. And I don't know what Windows software they bundle with their interfaces.

    But with something like an 828 MK2 you have 2 channels with mic preamps, and you have 6 with line inputs. You can use the preamps on your board for the 6 line ins. I don't know what you have for busses, but you can submix the drums to 2 channels, and that leaves 4 line inputs for things like guitars and maybe other stereo submixes.

    So you might have:

    Vocals on 1 & 2 using the onboard preamps
    drums submixed to 3 & 4
    Bass on 5
    Guitars on 6 and 7
    room mic on 8

    If you want to scavenge the mic preamps from the board just use the effect insert's "send" side to feed the line input on the interface. If you can submix to a stereo bus then you can take a set of channels of the board, say 3 to 6 drum mics, and mix them to a stereo bus, sending that to two channels on the interface.

    I know it is a little redundant the way i am writing it, but the point is pretty straightforward.
     
  10. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    In you current situation I would probably go ahead and get the Omega. You are pressed for time, you don't have much money, and your band isn't being real supportive either. However in the budget you are talking about there isn't a whole lot else available without scouring E-Bay. Will it be perfect? No, not by any stretch, but if you view it more as a $300 investment in learnign what does and doesn't work for your situation its probably not bad. I've spent upwards on $300 on a single book for a software package before.

    Just be ready to adjust your recording plans and do some expirimenting to get around limitations that might be in your gear. This can be a lot of fun anyway.

    Another option you might want to consider would be a cheap, standalone Hard disk recorder such as this:

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--ZOMMRS802

    I used a 16 track Fostex VF16 (which you could probably get for around $300 used) for a long time as my basic recorder, then exported everything to Cakewalk for processing and editing. If you really need to record 4 inputs it might be better.

    Some other question brought up in this thread:

    I've maxed out the bandwidth on 1.1 interface recording a single guitar, there are other variables that come into play. Best to just not screw with it and get an interface with more than enough bandwidth. Everyone I know whose tried to record on a USB1.x based interface has complained aobut latency and dropout issues.

    Lets tackle everything seperatly:

    Interface - How many inputs do you need? Sounds like 4 is going to be your target, which is hard to do on that budget. You might want to try (either now or in the future) to get your bandmates to pitch in collectively for one of these:

    http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOFW410

    I got my brother one for christmas and he adores it. If you move up higher in price you can do better, but that will get the job done.

    Software -
    I would give that last part a triple check if you are making it part of your decision. The reason is that Cubase LE (the version sold by Steinberg as an entry level product) could very well be viewed as a different product by Steinberg from the version bundled with the Omega. I ran into this with a different package that came with a version of Cubase LE. Functionally it was the same, but all the upgrade options were locked. Not only did Steinberg want me to pay the full price for the upgrade (as I did not own a "qualifying product") but ALL my saved data would have to be exported as WAVs and reimported as the bundled did not save things identically to the retail version. I opted for buying cakewalk instead.

    Let me stress though that this problem arose because the company who put together the package chose to use a NON-RETAIL version of Cuebase LE and did not specify this in their advertising. Assuming Lexicon is talking about the normal version of the sfotware what Blisshead says is true.

    I'm pretty floored by this, but hey as Blisshead said, adding another 512 stick doesn't have a time limit. I still say a gig is mandatory for anything running under Windows XP (and I have a shiny little card in my wallet that say's I know what I'm talking about). :)
     
  11. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    OK...over the course of the day I'm feeling a bit better over this. Running with Blissheads idea of the E-MU...I went to their site and found this

    http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?maincategory=754&category=754&product=2211

    Then I called the Tech line with questions. VERY helpful...Ned was awesome! I can record up to 4 whatevers with 0 latency...and he says get the gig memory as well...especially if we plan on haveing say...over 6,7, or 8 tracks going at once. I know for sure we'll have at least that on final recordings. This is also midi compatible so I could toss the mouse eventually with some sort of controller...(How much are those gonna cost?) Is using the mouse a bummer with this kind of stuff??? By the way...the 1820M comes with the full version of Cubase VST and has the same converters, (i Believe), that are on the full blown Protools rig that costs several thousands. And if you order direct from E-MU you can get a recertified bundle for $450.


    Anywho, then I see Tash's idea of the what looks like the Firewire version of the 1820M...is either better, same???

    Did I find something good here or not???

    Unbelievable...I just walked away from the computer while writing this for a few minutes and noticed an envelope in my mailbox it's a bonus check of sorts...HEHEHEHE good news! The budget just went up. So anyways I don't mind paying for it all seeing I know I'm in this for the long haul..and I will get to keep everything in the long run...and that I have my own ideas that don't really mesh with the band...making nice lil solo side projects.
     
  12. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    BTW...this is the mixer that we have. I figured we could run the drummer full mic kit through it and still have a coulpe left over for whatever....opinions?

    Then run this into one of the inputs of the E-MU.
     
  13. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Get the extra memory for the 1820M, which will have better converters than the M-Audio.

    the converts in question are "the same A/D converters used in Digidesign®'s ProTools® HD 192 I/O interface" -from the E-MU site.
     
  14. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Well I went and got my new memory. Two 512 sticks. Put'em in and went to my Roxio DVD Creator and Man O MAn!!!! Things are much faster. I'm glad I got them even if I don't get anything audio.

    Anyone have opinions on my previous two posts??? Would I be in over my head with full version of Cubase? Whats the learning curve?
     
  15. Rumzini

    Rumzini

    Feb 14, 2004
    Jackson, MI
    Blisshead you snuck one in while I was typing so forget about the last posts question. However...with the 1820 and the VST Cubase...I believe I would be able to do what I want eh? Record 4 tracks at once???
     
  16. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Yes, you can.
     
  17. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    I didn't know they made a version like that, my mistake!
     
  18. Tash

    Tash

    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    That E-Mu interface looks very sweet. 2 preamp equipped ins, 6 standard 1/4" ins, onboard effects with direct monitoring (very nice, takes load off your computer), and Firewire for enough bandwidth to make it all work. Looks like the answer to all your needs.

    Software wise Cubase is fine. I think its harder to learn than Cakewalk, but certainly manageable. I think the Full version (Cubase SX) is probably more than you want to invest in given that it is almost $600 new. The "light" version of Cubase is called SE and is around $100. It looks like it would be more than adequate for your needs.

    Cubase VST is the older version that I belive has been discontinued (most recent update looks like it was in 2001). I doubt its still sold, though it might be included in some bundles.
     
  19. I have one of these:
    http://www.americanmusical.com/item--i-EVO-UC33E--brand-92.html
    which is really handy for mixing audio in computer sequencers. You can control up to 8 tracks with volume, pan, sends or alternatively 3 band EQ. It stores settings so that you can have one setting to do basic mixing, and another to tweak EQ, filters, etc all on the same tracks. Most sequencers will "learn" MIDI control messages so you can save a template with these and come back to it later.

    There was an article in this month's Sound on Sound magazine which compared features between the "full" version of sequencers (Cubase SX, Cakewalk Sonar) and their cut-down, cheaper versions. The general conclusion was that most of the functionality that gets lost wouldn't really impact the majority of "hobbyist" users. However it does say that the LE version may be too limiting for some musicians and favours the SE version. Alternatively Cakewalk Home Studio 2004 is based around Sonar v2, and gives unlimited numbers of audio and MIDI tracks, as well as having DXi plugins. If you get the VST adapter you can also have access to VST freeware plugins (of which there are thousands).

    Best of luck!
    Mike


    Comparisons between Cubase SL and the rest:
    http://www.steinberg.net/WebVideo/cubasesl3/English(UK)/doc/Cubase%20Feature%20Comparison.pdf
     
  20. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It's very hard to beat for the price.