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Old Aug 26, 2006, 01:10 PM   #1
inkphinger
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Audio Buddy?

This is my first thread with mac forums and this will also be my first attempt at setting up a simple recording environment on my G5 iMac for live vocals and guitar (acoustic and electric). I will be using Garage Band software for now as I already have it on my mac and from what I've read it's a good place to start but as soon as I get this recording thing down I would like to try the more advanced options mentioned on these forums such as Abelton Live, ProTools, or Logic Express.
After reading many of the threads I had decided to get the MXL 990/991 mic package and one of the following interfaces:

. Presonus FireBox
. Presonas Inspire
. M-Audio F/W 410
. Focusrite Saffire

Then... I saw that Guitar Center was advertising the same MXL 990/991 mic package with an M-Audio Audio Buddy dual mic preamp for $99.99!
Does anyone know about this Audio Buddy? I havent come across it in any of the threads. Musicians Friend advertises the Audio buddy for $79.95 alone, http://www.musiciansfriend.com/produ...ddy?sku=701104so with the mic package it seems like a great deal. Could I save money and get away with using something like this or do you reccomend going with one of the above mentioned interfaces?

Thanks for any help.
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Old Aug 26, 2006, 08:25 PM   #2
scottlinux
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I would avoid the 'audio buddy' and avoid anything under $100 for an I/O box.

Check these things, when looking for an interface:

- Firewire or USB? FW is preferred b/c of the way it handles data (continuous flow, vs. bursts of data: usb). USB is okay for two channel, 16bit/44.1.

- bit and sample rates? What can it do? 24 bit/96kHz is nice, and most I/O boxes can do this. The higher the better.

- How many and what kinds of ins/outs? The FW410 is a misnomer on their website. It is not a 4-in box. It only has 2 inputs. They count the other spdif inputs as additional inputs, though you cannot use them at the same time as the other analog ins. So it's a 2-input max.

- For $300, you can get an Alesis Multimix FW 8 which has lots of inputs, and esp balanced XLR. Vs. the $300 for a FW410 which only has two inputs.





So anyways, lots of choices out there. So I'd say get firewire, and get something with lots of inputs, if possible.

Last edited by scottlinux; Aug 26, 2006 at 08:31 PM.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 01:04 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottlinux
I would avoid the 'audio buddy' and avoid anything under $100 for an I/O box.

Check these things, when looking for an interface:

- Firewire or USB? FW is preferred b/c of the way it handles data (continuous flow, vs. bursts of data: usb). USB is okay for two channel, 16bit/44.1.

- bit and sample rates? What can it do? 24 bit/96kHz is nice, and most I/O boxes can do this. The higher the better.

- How many and what kinds of ins/outs? The FW410 is a misnomer on their website. It is not a 4-in box. It only has 2 inputs. They count the other spdif inputs as additional inputs, though you cannot use them at the same time as the other analog ins. So it's a 2-input max.

- For $300, you can get an Alesis Multimix FW 8 which has lots of inputs, and esp balanced XLR. Vs. the $300 for a FW410 which only has two inputs.





So anyways, lots of choices out there. So I'd say get firewire, and get something with lots of inputs, if possible.
i made the mistake of getting a mixer with usb functionality. fw might be a bit better, but a dedicated I/O box paired with a dedicated control surface is truly unbeatable, IMHO.
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Old Aug 27, 2006, 11:18 AM   #4
inkphinger
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Thanks, that alesis multitrack looks nice. Having all those inputs is a nice feature and I will certainly consider it because of it's price, but do I really need so many inputs? It looks like this would be great for recording a whole band but I will be doing most of my recording myself ..recording one or two instruments/tracks at a time. so i guess all I really need is a couple inputs for guitar and vocals and now i'm thinking that a midi input would be nice too... and I definitely want firewire - something with low latency of course.

I also came across this M-Audio Black Box Performance/Recording Sysytem. Apparently it is a guitar fx box with drum machine and preamp/audio interface. It's USB but because all of the effects processing happens outside of the computer, there is almost no latency. It comes bundled with Abelton Live Lite.http://digitalmedia.oreilly.com/2006...ck-box-v2.html


any comments?
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Old Sep 1, 2006, 07:27 PM   #5
jonutarr
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save an extra 100 and get the Presonas Inspire
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 11:06 AM   #6
inkphinger
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Afetr reading some more reviews my list of options is changing. The presonas Inspire is in the list now actually. It might be all I need. I just watched the quicktime videos on their website and seems very user friendly and straight forward but with the quality features I'm looking for like firewire and 24-bit/96k rate. The Presonus Firebox is also looking good as well as the Alesis MultiMixer 8 that wmmk mentioned. I like the idea of having the mixer there as well. How does the quality of the sound card compare?

There are some new products that seem very worthwhile and in the right price range but I cant find much info or reviews on them... can anyone tell me anything about the following?:
. Focusrite Saffire LE (a more affordable version of the original Saffire)
. Alesis iO/14
. M-Audio Ozonic F/W keyboard/interface(a little out of my price range but if I can get a keyboard/interface/mixer all in one, I would certainly consider it).

Last edited by inkphinger; Sep 2, 2006 at 11:15 AM.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 11:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkphinger
How does the quality of the sound card compare?
of all those you mention, the firebox would be the first on my list to check out. i rather doubt the rest would even make it on there.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 11:41 AM   #8
inkphinger
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thanks zim .. the firebox seems to be pretty popular.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 01:17 PM   #9
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you may want to check out this osxaudio thread about the firebox.

fwiw, i read that thread not so much as "avoid the firebox and get a different cheap box," but more as, "the cheaper stuff always has compromises."
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 03:29 PM   #10
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cool ... thanks for the link. the firebox is looking like a good place to get my feet wet in recording. being that i am just getting started and trying to familiarize myself with everything .. what is the importance of having the mixer along with the interface? is it something to consider? should i have a mixer anyway, combined or not, so that levels can be adjusted before recording? ... or can you do all that in the software?
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 04:23 PM   #11
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a lot of people, including myself, have gone mixerless. i don't think you need a mixer.

you definitely want to adjust the levels in analog, before you hit the converters. those faders in your software have no effect on the recorded volume, they only affect what you hear.

so on the firebox, like a lot of interfaces and pre's, you've got the one "level" or "gain" knob. this is where you need to get the levels right to avoid hitting the converters with too little or too much level.

some pre's, like the phoenix drs-1 that i love, have both input and output gain controls. the former is for tailoring the pre response to the input signal and mic, the latter is for making sure the converters see the right level. i like that kind of control, but it's not necessary for getting it right. in fact, that's the only pre i have with both knobs.

another trick is to stick a compressor with output gain control between the pre and the converter. that right there is an advantage to having separate pieces, but again, it's not necessary for getting it right.

....

with the firebox (or any interface like that), you should be relying mostly on your ears to confirm that your mic selection, placement and gain are capturing the instrument well. you also want to use your eyes to ensure that the signal isn't clipping, by looking at both the converter itself and the levels in your software.

in digital, don't assume that higher levels equals better signal. record at 24 bits, then you're sure to have enough word length to represent the dynamic range. i shoot for signals that average in the "middle third" of the software level meter. occasional peaks up to, say, 80% are fine, but if you're pushing the top of the meter too much or too frequently, back off with that gain knob. so long as your room is quiet, you'll have plenty of signal to noise.

lemme know if any of that is unclear.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 05:10 PM   #12
inkphinger
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thanks for all that info zim! I'm going to have a lot to learn and it looks like the firebox is going to be just the birthday present this month to do it on .
so in regards to the mixer, are you saying that garageband or any other software will have a level meter i can look at when recording rather than relying on an external mixer?
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 05:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkphinger
in regards to the mixer, are you saying that garageband or any other software will have a level meter i can look at when recording rather than relying on an external mixer?
yes.

i want to reiterate that you (probably) don't need a hardware mixer. i don't think you need it for your workflow, and honestly any mixer in the pricerange is going to do more harm to the audio than good. best to give it a miss.

it's not GB, but if you want to see what a s/w mixer looks like (in PTLE, anyway), look here.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 05:54 PM   #14
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good to know, thanks. since i am just starting, i should probably be tackling one component at a time anyway.
if you dont mind me picking you brain a bit more, the other things i'm looking into now are a pair of decent but reasonbly priced monitors as well as a good all around recording mic in the lower price range. the SM57's keep coming up in the threads but the MXL 990/991 package looks good too. any comments?
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 06:09 PM   #15
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i haven't used the MXLs. the only $100 condenser mic i've used that i'd use again is the AT 2020.

the 57 is a mic you'll keep forever, though it shouldn't be your only mic. especially with cheap pre's -- that's a mic that gets much better with better pre's, imo.

monitors are tough. i think you have to spend a decent amount to get good ones, and if you get cheap ones, you'll just end up replacing them. if you've got $1000 to spend on a pair, start your search with the adam a7's. personally, i've not used them, but their bigger stuff is great.

if you must get cheaper monitors, at least pick up a couple bass traps. i have minitraps, but the stuff from GIK acoustics, like the 244, has very similar performance numbers for a lot less money. i'll be picking up a few of their panels in the next month or two.

straddle those across the corners behind your head and it should improve the performance of whatever monitors you get. best money you'll spend, i reckon.

edit: i didn't mean to imply that bass traps are needed for only cheap monitors. get them regardless and you'll keep using them forever.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 07:02 PM   #16
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well thanks for all the help zim ... i'm looking forward to getting it set up. i'm sure i'll be here again with more questions once i get going.
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Old Sep 2, 2006, 08:07 PM   #17
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you are most welcome.
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Old Aug 21, 2008, 11:27 AM   #18
TimOlBoy
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I'm wondering if the M-Audio Audio Buddy is good enough for someone who wants to use only one condensor mic for vocals? Is there something even cheaper for that?
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