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dmiller91
Aug 31, 2012, 12:42 AM
Hello, okay, new here. I did some searches, read the stickies.... trying to follow the rules.

I have a MacBook pro, I was pleased to see it has a firewire input.

I have a bunch of recording gear, I tried to get my windows PC up and running 12 years ago... never figured out how to get my Terratac.. not sure I got the spelling right Phase 88 working right. It interfered with my sound card, and then when I took out the soundcard, I couldn't get anything else to play on the thing. Anyway I gave up.

I still have 2 vocal mics, one instrument mic, a mixer... not sure I can use it, it's a Yamaha MG10/2. I have cables, preamp, etc.

I play a little guitar sing. I want to be able to multi track: either record guitar, maybe piano, 2 vocals for harmony. I also want to be able to slap in a pre recorded MP3 or cd track... I have guitarist friends.

I'm familiar with multi tracking software, used Cakewalk back then..

what else?

The new addition is the Mac Book with the fire wire. I'd like to buy a firewire audio interface for less than $400 that will allow me to play with this stuff to get up and running again.

At the time I remember wishing I could buy firewire interface... didn't have the port. Seems to work fine for a newbie type with minimal outlay in order to use my equipment?

So what do I need to watch out for? Anything stand out in that price range? I don't really want to learn complicated software, but I was able to figure out Cakewalk, so I have the general concept.

Does the Mac have enough power to process this stuff? If it all works out well, I may upgrade to an imac... but right now I'd like to use the laptop.

ps. I'm mostly a musician not a technician... so again, not up for standing on my head to try to install the dang card again!

Help?

Thanks!



spoonie1972
Aug 31, 2012, 07:58 AM
any current-ish MBP should have more than enough jam to get you going, and even do some pretty complex arrangements/tracking/layering.

i'm not too familiar with the yamaha 10/2 - but if it's a standard 10in, 2-bus mixer with "tape return", you can use that with any common usb/FW 2-in-2-out soundcard with ease.

What you may find, is that it will probably be more useful to route a multitude of input signals as a all-input-mixer so you dont have to keep unplugging sources in and out of the soundcard "box".

The only negative of using a mixer nowadays in the hobby to prosumer level, is that they actually add noise. Not a lot, but know it's there.

As far as products to recommend.. it really depends on how you want to use your mixer.

you could dedicate two channels to your input, and 8 as "tape" returns so you have tactile interface of a 8-output soundcard (if you choose that route). if you want a simple 2+2, and FW, you'll likely need a FW800->400 cable or adapter as many of the 2+2 cards use the older shape.

presonus makes some decent 2-channel FW products that aren't crazy expensive, though i have no experience with their drivers. maybe someone else can chime in. The FW products i've had in the past from m-audio suffered from hum issues and I can't recommend them (they have balanced input, but unbalanced output, or, at least they did in the past).

I would check craigslist for a used audio interface - they rarely "go bad".. typically people upgrade to more i/o or just lose interest.

Logic Audio can do everything cakewalk did and a whole lot more. The learning curve is pretty steep and, imho, it's not intuitive. However, youtube has a wealth of free tutorials to get you going. The biggest thing to wrap your head around is using your soundcards' built-in "direct monitoring" so you dont have latency/delay on your input signal whilst recording.

Best luck and have fun.

dmiller91
Aug 31, 2012, 11:34 AM
Thanks so much!! I'm a bit behind you.
Do I have to use the mixer ? I'm not married to that. Couldn't I just buy the audio interface with adequate inputs?

Is FireWire decent so I can use my MacBook? Its only a year and a half old.

GarageBand won't work for this kind of multi tracking? Do I need more complicated software or is there something cheap with less learning curve?

Thanks again!!!

spoonie1972
Aug 31, 2012, 12:23 PM
you can certainly work with only a 2+2 interface - a mixer, again - just my opinion - is not necessary. almost all interfaces have a volume knob, a direct monitoring section and in most cases, Midi.

as far as garage band goes, someone else will have to add something, i've never used it.

bwhli
Sep 2, 2012, 11:56 PM
Thanks so much!! I'm a bit behind you.
Do I have to use the mixer ? I'm not married to that. Couldn't I just buy the audio interface with adequate inputs?

Is FireWire decent so I can use my MacBook? Its only a year and a half old.

GarageBand won't work for this kind of multi tracking? Do I need more complicated software or is there something cheap with less learning curve?

Thanks again!!!

If you haven't purchased anything yet, I suggest looking at the Focusrite Saffire line of audio interfaces. The PRO 24 DSP (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002GY7N5I/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B002GY7N5I&linkCode=as2&tag=bristum-20) is a good unit. I used to own one before upgrading to the PRO 40 because I needed more inputs. The good thing about the PRO 24 DSP is it has a built in effects chip for no latency monitoring w/reverb and compression!

Yes, FireWire is much better than USB 2.0 for audio. USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt offer even more bandwidth, but they are expensive at the moment. There's a reason why many high end devices use FireWire.

For multitracking in a real DAW, I would suggest you get a copy of Logic Pro on the Mac App Store.

Fishrrman
Sep 3, 2012, 10:02 AM
TC Electronics is making some nice firewire products:
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_trksid=p5197.m570.l1313&_nkw=tc+audio+interface&_sacat=0

Of these, the "Impact" looks to be very interesting.

I use an Echo Audiofire8 -- nice equipment, setup takes about 5 minutes.

You might be interested in the AudioFire4.

If you don't mind using USB, the Presonus "AudioBox" looks to be nice. I used a Presonus "FireBox" a few years ago before I got the AudioFire8, it was a nice box.

dmiller91
Sep 3, 2012, 11:53 PM
I bought this.... it is Firewire. Wish I'd have seen the post for the unit for $379 before I purchased... that looks like more unit?

This may be all I need for right now though, and it comes with Audio software:


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

Fishrrman
Sep 4, 2012, 08:56 AM
"I bought this.... it is Firewire."

That looks to be the successor to the Presonus "FireBox" that I had for a while.

The FireBox was a good, solid unit, and I paid $400 back then. I'm sure the one you got has been improved (most noticeably in the preamp section), and cost quite a bit less, too!