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Old Apr 7, 2010, 12:17 AM   #1
JDW3
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Interface up to $200...

I want to use my Garageband and I'm willing to spend up to $200.00. I'm a very experienced player and have recorded a lot in the past. I looking for at least 4 XLR inputs and possibly a couple 1/4 inch.

What brands would give the best bang for the buck? It would also have to have phantom power for a condenser mic.
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Old Apr 7, 2010, 05:46 AM   #2
newuser2310
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AVOID USB

Look at firewire interfaces for recording.

Edirol
Apogee
Maudio

All make good interfaces
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Old Apr 7, 2010, 09:13 AM   #3
Fishrrman
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As the previous poster warned, AVOID USB.

Go Firewire (assuming that you have firewire on your Mac).

But it's going to be very difficult to find an interface with four XLR inputs in your price range. The most you'll see is [probably] two of them.

I'd like to suggest the Echo "AudioFire4". It's over the $200 price (about 299), but is worth spending the extra money on. I have the AudioFire8 (more $$$) which is similar but has a few more ins/outs on the back. Clean converters, nice preamps, good sound, no glitches (one of the easiest peripherals I've ever connected). Highly recommended.

Suggestion:
For 2 additional pres, pick up a "preamp on the side". I use an FMR "RNP".

If you absolutely have-to-have 4 pres, you might check the M-Audio "Fast Track Ultra". It's USB2, though. Check YouTube - there are some videos on it, including a good one demo'ing how to hook it up on the Mac and use it with GarageBand.
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Old Apr 7, 2010, 03:15 PM   #4
JDW3
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Thanks guys. I'll get looking at those.
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 03:35 AM   #5
musio
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I've used a M-Audio fastrack USB which as worked perfectly. In fact, it was even USB powered.

Granted, the quality wasn't as great as it could be but I don't see any issues with USB. In fact, RME have released the Fireface UC which is USB and works well. http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_fireface_uc.php

For $200 it might be a little tough for 6 simultaneous inputs. Evaluate if you need that many and then look around at the interfaces.

Biggest worry I would look into is DRIVER support! I've had a lot of issues with different cards so my advise is read around and check out when drivers were released and see if they are ok..
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 02:47 PM   #6
ChrisA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musio View Post
I've used a M-Audio fastrack USB which as worked perfectly. In fact, it was even USB powered...

The OP needs six channels of input, four mics and two line level. Was your M-Audio fastrack able to send six tracks over USB? While also sending two channels of monitor output?
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Old Apr 8, 2010, 05:51 PM   #7
Gigazaga
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musio View Post
I've used a M-Audio fastrack USB which as worked perfectly. In fact, it was even USB powered.

Granted, the quality wasn't as great as it could be but I don't see any issues with USB. In fact, RME have released the Fireface UC which is USB and works well. http://www.rme-audio.de/en_products_fireface_uc.php

For $200 it might be a little tough for 6 simultaneous inputs. Evaluate if you need that many and then look around at the interfaces.

Biggest worry I would look into is DRIVER support! I've had a lot of issues with different cards so my advise is read around and check out when drivers were released and see if they are ok..
I agree with all of this. I have had excellent results from both Fast Track Pro and Fast Track Ultra units. Lots of USB interfaces are problematic as others have pointed out. I also need Pro Tools compatibility. I run several DAWs and PTM is one of them.

I have had tons of trouble with PreSonus Firestudio units under OS X Snow Leopard. PreSonus has been slow to release new drivers for the entire line. My FW based Fire Studio Mobile is finally working with beta drivers but I would check any potential unit for released SL drivers before purchase.

I have had excellent results with the USB based Apogee ONE as well.

With a MacBook for me it has been challenging to get my external drives and FW interface to work well off the single FW800 port.

If you have a MacPro with multiple FW ports then you will do well to dedicate on FW Port to your audio interfaces and another to your external drives.
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