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Audio interface

Discussion in 'Studio Techniques' started by bazza, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. bazza

    bazza New Member

    hi I am running logic 8-Can you guys give me some suggestions for an audio interface. I want to record my band and step up a gear to have about 14 microphones recording drums bass vocals sax and trumpet. My home studio only allows me to record one track at a time as i am running everything out of my budget mackie desk. I want to do it all in one go take to capture the live sound but to have he ability to have them all on seperate tracks for mixing rerecrding etc. Can you suggest what hardware audio interfaces would do the job? one last thing do some of these interfaces come with software mixers to save me buying a mixing desk.
    Also could you comment on digital mixers with firewire ports .Do they record out to seperate tracks or is it just a stero out. Would this be a soloution?

    Comments appreciated
  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Hi there, welcome to the LUG.

    Your question gets asked very frequently, and some of the most commonly posted answers look like this:

    How much can you spend?
    What sort of Mac do you have?

    There are excellent solutions available from a wide variety of companies, but prices vary a great deal, from under 1000 Euros/Dollars to way over 10,000.

    kind regards

  4. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    I try a suggestion: The Focusrite Saffire Pro 40 is a good interface with nice preamps and not too expensive:
    If you combine it with an 8-mic preamp that has an ADAT output, you have the channels you need. This preamp could be a Presonus Digimax D8 for example. Both companies are known for good preamps.
    If you want to spare some money, you can get a Behringer ADA8000 for the additional mics, this is an in/out ADAT interface for mic- and line signals. The preamps are not that great though.
    With a Saffire Pro 40 and a Digimax D8 you settle at 1,000 USD or slightly below. Plus the additional cables or multicore/stagebox you may not have yet.

    I am sure there are other options but to give people a chance to make detailed suggestions you should explain your line count. From your listing of 'drums bass vocals sax and trumpet' I don't see where the 14 channels come from.

    Yes, and as Mark said, tell us your budget. You are not asking for a single fancy box but rather for a recording system that fits to your needs and the prices vary widely depending on your requirements and budget. Mark said 1,000 to 10,000, but I think people here would be able to suggest a recording setup for your channels between 500 and 50,000 Dollars ;)

    They deliver separate channels, differ in number of inputs, number of returns and overall quality, quality of A/D conversion and driver. There are indeed relatively cheap Firewire mixers on the market, for example the Phonic series. If it is available in your country 16 mic channels should cost between 550 and 1,000 USD depending on the model. It has only small non-motorized faders, in case you think about mixing with it and everything on them is small and cheap of course. Basically they are lowrange live mixers with the option to record the dry signals via Firewire. Therefore they are not 'the' digital mixers you may think:
    The bigger and better guys in digital mixer-world and for your channel count are much more expensive. For a Tascam DM-4800 you scratch on the 7,000 USD mark, without a meter bridge:
    I don't know if there is something between the simple mixers with Firewire interface and the real digital mixers.

    Again, without a clue of the budget we can only guess. And I guess that you do not want to pay 10,000 :) According to this guess I see only one reason why you would buy a mixer and this is the statement, "I want a mixer!". Otherwise you better take a standard interface and an additional preamp for your other channels. A cheap Firewire mixer freezes your system to the quality and features that are built-in.
  5. bazza

    bazza New Member

    recording 15 inputs

    This is great stuff :thmbup: I looked up all the gear you mentioned. First to answer your questions My "going in" budget is £1000 and I run an imac with 4 gig of ram 3 mhz processor and logic 8. I have been recording one track at a time up until now and now I want to record my band.

    The mic inputs I identified are as follows:- drums 2 overheads, snare 2 one on top and and one on the bottom, 1 on the high hat, 1 on the kick drum, toms x2 floor tom x1 Making a total 9 for the drums

    Bass amp x1
    guitar amp x 1
    vocals x2 may 1 depends if she joins
    sax 1
    trumpet 1

    Total 15 not 14 as i said earlier

    Given the answers to the question you asked, I would be grateful for any further thoughts you guys have on the set up with regard to the interface. Who are the main competiters to the above.

    Also I was a little unsure how you would connect the 8 channel pre amp up in the last suggestion.The concept of the adat output is new to me. Do you connect this to the mac or the focus right saffire and will this setup give 15 different channels of recording?

    Also it seems from above that to record my band I dont actually need a mixer(That will take some time to sink in).

    Finally regarding the berhinger gear, I dont want to go to cheap if this is not enough budget for a good recording let me know if i should be selling my sister to pay for better gear

  6. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    There aren't many in this price category who deliver 8 mic inputs and ADAT:
    SMPro Audio
    Maybe I forgot someone, I listed the products of a German dealer. Metric Halo, RME and others belong to the next price range.

    "ADAT is used as an abbreviation for the ADAT Lightpipe protocol, which transfers 8 tracks in a single fiber optic cable."
    Therefore you need only one cable instead of 8 individual audio cables. It's not about sparing cables but an audio interface with 8 inputs doesn't give you 8xMic plus 8xLine simultaneously. At least I do not know such an interface apart from the Firewire mixers we discussed before. With an ADAT equipped preamp, the preamp converts 8 mics and sends the digital signal to the interface. The Audio interface does the A/D convertion for its own mics. You get all channels at oncee in Logic.

    You connect the preamp to the interface, with the digital ADAT cable, also known as "Toslink" or "Lightpipe":
    It can be thin or thick, depending on the model. It is 0.5 m up to 20 m long. All 8 channels are in this cable.
    Then you get 8 channels via each ADAT connection plus the number of channels in your audio interface.

    Correct. Only the cables to the interface. You can take a multicore with a stagebox and only short cables from the mics to the stagebox. This is normally used on stage, a "real" studio has the jackets in the wall or on the floor. But from my experience, if don't buy a cheap set, it can be used for recording.

    I have this one, with 16 lines in and 4 lines out for monitoring:
    This depends on your sister. If she looks like a magazine frontpage you may get a couple of Apogee converters for her. If she is intelligent and has a warm character too, I would rather think about selling her to a studio owner for a lifelong recording contract. His life of course, otherwise your sister is in danger.

    But seriously, there are a lot of possible technical setups. For your 1,000 GBP budget you can get a preamp, an audio interface and good cables and record in good quality.

    If there is another option to get a converter with mic inputs for a reasonable price, don't go for the Behringer ADA8000. It works but today you should be able to get better preamps for not too much money. I found another one which is quite cheap: SMProAudio AB-8. Don't know about its quality but it is newer than the ADA8000 and SMPro Audio isn't bad.

    The Behringer is good if you need audio outputs from ADAT also, because it works in both directions. I use it live to route to the mixer. The SMPro Audio and the Presonus Digimax convert only from audio to ADAT. This is what you need. But unless someone tells wonderful (and true) stories about the SMPro converter, I would rather think about the Presonus.
  7. mrhappy

    mrhappy New Member

    Hey kids... was just cruising the LUG (as I'll be a logic 9 user in a few days...yeehaa!) Anyway I dredged up this thread mainly to comment on how impressed I was with Peter's response...WOW! One of the best replies I've seen for this type of question on ANY forum!!

    It's nice to know that there are so many people out there that spend much of their time to share their knowledge and help others with such a variety of questions/problems.

    Thanks LUG-ers!! That's all for now... Hope to see you soon with all of MY dumb questions/problems! Hahaha!
  8. Titus Raindrops

    Titus Raindrops New Member


    I was just thinking the same thing. The usual response is: been done before, hit the search button. But this response was complete, included photos and links and covered things not normally seen in an interface post. Great stuff.
  9. mzelonski

    mzelonski New Member

    I'm lovin the Apogee "One." Very simple to use.

  10. ladybus

    ladybus New Member

    very informative replies, thanks ideed. I am just about to set up a system for recording, wondering if there any updates, and also if anyone could add any advice for the specifics of my system. I have a similar budget, and similar channel requirements to bazza, but........
    I'm going to be running a mobile kids recording set-up to work with a volunteer group. This means durability is more important than usual.
    Also, I plan to be running it from solar-power, via battery bank and invertor. This means I have to keep power usage to a minimum. I also am unsure what effect the less stable power supply may have (i will be using a true sine wave invertor, but there is always a chance of fluctuation, and also more likely to have power outtages than a mains system). Can anyone help with this?
  11. Rain

    Rain Member

    Thanks for the wealth of information, Peter. :)

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