Yet another interface question.

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by Eric Smith, Sep 17, 2014.

  1. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    So I'm thinking about getting an interface. Some may remember that I was wanting to do this last year but that my computer would have been an issue. Well now I have a different computer and am thinking about starting to record. YIKES!

    My question is this, I have a new Macbook Pro and for some silly reason the new ones don't have a disc drive on them so I am wondering if I have to buy an external disc drive or are there interfaces that come with downloadable via the net software, and if so what ones are they?
     
  2. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    Well crap, I think I just answered my own question just by opening some of the manuals online. Go ahead and answer with what ones you personally recommend then.
     
  3. lucidspoon

    lucidspoon Senior Member

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    All of them should allow you to download the software. My Mac mini doesn't have a disc drive, and I haven't once needed one.

    The funny thing is that there have been times where I've ordered software from Musician's Friend or Sweetwater. There will be a downloadable version, but they don't always automatically give you the security key, so then I still have to wait till I get the CD just to get the security key!

    I'm partial to Focusrite. Good quality.
     
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  4. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    Looking at the Focusrite 6i6 and the Avid MBox. The MBox doesn't say that it does, but by your post I would think that they do.
     
  5. kevinpaul

    kevinpaul Premium Member

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    I bought a Lexicon Alpha for $59.00, it came with two CDs I never needed. Some plug in on one and Cubase 5 on the other. I never miss not using them, I down load all the stuff.
     
  6. northernguitarguy

    northernguitarguy SWeAT hOg

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    I bought two Presonus 1394 interfaces and have been using them with great results (the playing is another matter). They sell for about $50 used on ebay. I like that they are stackable up to four units, giving the user eight XLR or 1/4" inputs as well as four stereo inputs (RCA jacks).
     
  7. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Recently, I've been seeing the (avid) Digidesign Digi 003r for $250 or so used on CL. That is an incredible value. Avid has free downloads for the drivers. 8 Channels with preamps.

    Or you can't go wrong with Focusrite.

    If you plan to plug your electric guitar or bass right into your Audio Interface, make sure it has High Z inputs for best DI results. (Matches the instruments impedance better than Mic pre inputs only)

    So what do you have on that Macbook? USB 2.0? Firewire? USB 3.0?

    Whenever you record into a computer, the rule of thumb is to write to a HD that is 7200 rpm or faster and is setup for storing your audio. the HD or whatever storage device that houses the OS and DAW app will already have enough to do without creating contention to also write all that audio being recorded.

    Some people use a USB external HD and an Audio Interface via USB (as well as all the other devices that use USB). IMO, that can become a problem. If you use USB for your external HD, use Firewire for your AI or vice versa.

    I truly understand "Budget". Just know that an AI does way more than most acknowledge. Probably not the best place to underfund.

    I hope this helps. Good luck!
     
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  8. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    Well that is a lot to think about, especially for my non-tech mind.

    I fully expect to have to purchase an external HD. It was actually recommended by the rep at Sweetwater when I started looking for a computer. The computer has 2 USB 3 ports, 1 firewire and 2 Thunderbolt ports.

    Wouldn't I just use the 1/4 in. instrument inputs?
     
  9. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    If you mean in the Audio Interface? Yes. If you mean the Line In on your Mac...NO. Not even close in results on so many levels.

    If your AI has 1/4" TS inputs, most likely it has High Z capabilities. Just double check.

    You're most likely going to have to exercise your non-technical mind a bit and understand the flow chart end to end. Your results will be considerably better. The details can work for you or against you and the ratio on which is not in your favor, especially going blind. LOL

    At least you are starting now. There's so much more available to help you. Every year gets better with articles, www.recording.com and so on, YouTube instructional and review videos. Just a few years ago there was quite a bit of a void.

    Enjoy the journey and share it with everybody!
     
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  10. bocage44

    bocage44 Premium Member

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    I've been using the Apollo Twin as my I/O for several months and am very pleased with it. It's relatively expensive compared to some of the other options that have been recommended in this thread, but I'd say it's worth every cent.
     
  11. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    KP11520, oh yes I definitely mean on the A/I. Why is it that everyone tells me that it really isn't that tough? YIKES! I really appreciate the info. I probably will not be purchasing software other than that which comes with whatever one I finally decide on. Does anyone have an opinion on Focusrite Suite vs. Pro Tools as far as ease of use and options?
     
  12. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Usually, the DAW provided with many of the Starter AI's, is a "Lite" version. (but not always) Most of these AI manufacturers are best at the hardware and secondary at the software. Most of the Pro AI companies don't do DAW's at all. (Apollo, Apogee, RME, Motu, UA (Universal Audio) and so on)

    Avid is one of the better known that does both (Pro Tools)

    So with that said, use the one provided with the AI you choose (if it comes with DAW software). It's an easy place to start. Maybe you'll even stay there.

    If it doesn't come with DAW software or you want to start with a more complete DAW, Reaper is certainly a contender and has no cost to try (even indefinitely). It's $60 to buy. (used to be anyway) LOL It works very well on just about any Audio Interface. Most AI's have their own drivers to hook into. There's something called ASIO4all that can help with that as well.

    I started on Pro Tools in 2006 and dabbled for a few years. Now, Ive since upgraded and I'm getting more serious. About to upgrade again to the latest (Pro Tools 11.1) Forklift upgrade again and the PC alone is costing many thousands of dollars for me to build and finding everything on sale.

    I have since tried Reaper over the years and just couldn't get comfortable with it because I had been using Pro Tools for so long. Most of us wind up sticking to what we invest into, so move to something that there's a lot of help with (Videos and forums and so on)

    A decent Audio Interface:

    Has decent ADA converters (or better)
    Decent Preamps (or better)
    Controls Real-time Monitoring on both Monitors and Headphones, each with their own volume and low latency.
    Ins and Outs that can support your needs
    High Z inputs for DI with electric guitars and Basses
    Clip indicators (usually LED)
    Phantom Power (all Condenser Mic's need it to run)
    Digital handoff to/from your computer (USB 2.0, 3.0, Firewire and/or Thunderbolt)
    Own Power Supply

    So these really do quite a bit. Buy something that you won't be upgrading so fast as you dive in deeper. Used isn't a bad thing if you find someone that values their equipment and takes care of it, knowing it will fund the move to the next floor up.

    Remember Nearfield Monitors and Headphones will be needed to complete the package.

    I hope this helps.

    Oh Yeah.... It only seems intimidating until you grasp the flowchart.
     
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  13. Eric Smith

    Eric Smith Senior Member

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    Well crap. I don't know why I thought that I had a firewire hookup, but I don't. Instead I have two thunderbolts and 2 USB3.

    So now I am guessing, and you can correct me if I'm wrong, I have to have one that hooks up thunderbolt or USB3 and not USB2. Am I right that USB2 and 3 are not comparable?
     
  14. KP11520

    KP11520 Senior Member

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    Supposedly, a USB 2.0 device can plug into a USB 3.0 port and run at 2.0 speeds. I don't know anyone that has done it yet, never mind with an Audio Interface.

    Thunderbolt is usually on the higher density AI's in the Pro arena. They're just catching on. A few are available now.
     
  15. LPSGME

    LPSGME Senior Member

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    There are Thunderbolt to Firewire adapters.
     
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