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Yet another relative noob with some Q's.

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by llamalor2112, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. llamalor2112

    llamalor2112 Inactive

    Sep 18, 2007
    So, I want to start recording with buddies. We're on a limited budget as we are in high school but we do have an available laptop and software (Cakewalk).

    Anyway, I need to know if it matters if my computer has a relatively crappy soundcard? I was just wondering if I could use an audio interface as a soundcard itself?

    If this is the case could you recommend a good/inexpensive interface with 2 instrument inputs and 1-2 mic inputs. Additionally, it is imperative that it can playback the recording in realtime as we play as we will be doing allot of "live recording" (aka not allot of overdubbing) Are there any like this that are USB and not firewire or PCI? (I was looking at the Line6 Toneport UX2, any good?)


    (PS we do have a nice studio to record in, it's just that... most of the money went into building it rather than filling it with gear thus far :p)
  2. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    You could do worse than looking at the M-audio stuff.
    The USB MobilePre has two mic and two instrument ins. Not sure if you can use them all at once though. I have the FastrackUSB and it works very well with both Sonar and also Guitar rig on my Netbook.

    You could also maybe look at something with less inputs and buy a small mixer. This might give you more input options.
  3. Handreas


    Nov 16, 2007
    If you plan on mixing it after you've recorded, you'll need a sound card/audio interface with one input per instrument. I don't know of any usb cards with more than two inputs, as I switched to firewire years ago. And I don't know if using 4+ inputs with USB will give you a bad latency or not. Maybe someone else can enlighten us on that.

    In sonar you have a input echo button that let's you play back whatever is going in, so that's no problem.
    And if you buy a Echo/M-Audio/similar audio interface, that's your sound card. You won't need the PC's. :)

    And like Dave says. Maybe you could look into a small 2-in soundcard (they're incredibly cheap nowadays), and a small mixer with as many ins you need. Hook everyhing up, adjust the balance of the instruments, and send it from the mixers stereo out to the sound card. If you do it that way you also have the option to plug your headphones to the mixer and get your playback sounds from there, instead of going in to the pc and back out to you.
    I do it this way with a small pocket size Echo Audiofire when I'm helping local bands with recording demos.
  4. llamalor2112

    llamalor2112 Inactive

    Sep 18, 2007
    Thank you sooo much for your help, both of you.

    Now, just to clarify, I wonder who can tell me if recording with this method can be done with live playback as we record (zero/very little latency)?

    Does anyone know?


    I was wondering if the MAudio Mobile Pre can record with all of its input simultaneously?

    If it cannot, I think I will use a small mixer and plug it into the interface to record but use the headphone monitor on the mixer for live playback. (on second thought, the latter might be easier, hmn?)
  5. Handreas


    Nov 16, 2007

    Every track in Cakewalk Sonar has a button called Input Echo which sends whatever is going in to the track out the designated output. So yes you can for example plug your bass into input 1 on the sound card, arm the track for recording, press input echo, and on the master channel select the output to the one you're using (line out/headphone out), and you should hear your bass without any bad latency or problems. :)

    About the M-Audio card. It looks to me like is only has 2 inputs (you can choose between using the xlr or jack input. Either two mono channels, or one stereo), but I might be wrong. Never used one of those. :p
  6. ColdSteelRain


    Jul 27, 2008
    Dallas, TX
    You're probably going to have some latency with a USB interface, especially if you echo the tracks with Sonar. If the audio interface comes with a software mixer, you should be able to route the inputs on the inferface directly to the outputs, and minimize latency. I do this with my M-Audio 2496 PCI card and it works well.

    You'll probably be better off getting an interface that advertises zero-latency monitoring.
  7. dave_bass5


    May 28, 2004
    London, UK.
    Ive not had any latency issues using my M-audio Fast track USB. Latency is 6ms on my Netbook. I even used it once in stead of an amp, direct in to our PA using Guitar rig.
    Also the Fast track has direct monitoring.
    Ive not done any Sonar recording with it though.
    I also uas a 2496 in my main PC and have direct monitoring dissabled and this works fine with Sonar 8. This way you only hear whats beening/been recorded with the EQ and any plugins. Not ideal on a slower PC but its fine on mine.
  8. MIJ-VI

    MIJ-VI Inactive Supporting Member

    Jan 12, 2009
    Hi llamalor2112.

    You may wish to check out the Edirol (a sub-brand of Roland) UA-25EX.

    It's a 2 channel, full duplex (simultaneous record & playback) USB bus-powered digital audio interface with an adjustable analog limiter which allows one to record at hotter levels with less risk of getting any 'overs' (when the digital recording level exceeds 0 db and the sound goes splat) thus achieving a fuller recorded sound (the recording is captured by more bits).

    As well it offers 2 X XLR-1/4 combo jacks with switchable phantom power and support for both TRS balanced & unbalanced input etc, etc, all of which is housed in a compact metal box that makes it good for use with notebook computers on the go.

    MSLP: $279USD , Street: ~$240USD


    Then there's the $wankier Edirol UA-101 with 10 ins & 10 outs etc, etc.

    MSLP: $599USD, Street: ~$500USD

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