audio input device for four channels.

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by matthews1492, Jun 18, 2006.

  1. matthews1492 macrumors member

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    #1
    A question for audio geniuses.

    I need some clarification / advice on an input system on my mac. I'm looking to be able to record four channels simultaneously in garage band (so I would have four individual tracks to be able to adjust). Is that even possible??? I can never find a straight answer. Those M-audio boxes are really confusing because they look like they have a lot of inputs jacks but when you get down to the technical specs I never know what to look for to see if those signals are being combined into two channels or four channels, or one channel. Ideally I'd like to be able to plug two XLR's in and two 1/4" jacks into the box and adjust the levels, and EQ and reverb in garage band.

    Please if someone could help sort this out for me it would save me from pulling out my hair!

    Thanks
     
  2. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #2
    forgot

    I should add that the cheapest solution would be the best in this case. Thanks!
     
  3. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #3
    should we assume that's two mics and two line level signals simultaneously? i had a quick look at the m-audio 410, and it'll allow that. though those two line level inputs would be unbalanced -- what exactly do you want to plug in?

    and which other boxes were you looking at that confused you?
     
  4. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    I'd like to plug in a Shure SM58 for vocals, a shure 89 on the acoustic guitar, and a 1/4" line from the electronics in the guitar. Additionally I have a sample loop pedal for drum beats and that would be a 1/4" line also. I'd like to have all these on four channels in garageband so i could finesse the levels.

    The m-audio 410 was what I was looking at, but saw discrepencies from what reviews had said was possible versus m-audios information. (allowing 2 channels vs 4)

    When you say the m-audios line levels would be unbalanced, what does that mean?

    Thanks for your help.
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #5
    you'll need a hi-z input for that. not sure if the 410 offers that -- if it does, it'll likely be in the mic/line combo, not the unbalanced in.

    all analog cable runs are susceptible to interference, such as electrical. a balanced connection, like an XLR, rejects the interference better because the cable carries 3 signals (hot, cold, neutral), as opposed to the 2 in unbalanced. circuitry at the end of the balanced run removes the unwanted noise with an inversion trick.

    that doesn't necessarily make unbalanced bad, in fact a lot of synth and effect machine outputs are unbalanced. but it's best to keep those cable runs short and ensure the cables don't run parallel to, say, power cables.
     
  6. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #6
    have a look at the presonus firebox. the line ins are balanced, and the page definitively says it'll do 6 simultaneous inputs (2 mic, 2 line, 2 s/pdif). for your electric guitar, it looks like the mic/line inputs will handle hi-z. but if you want to do that at line level, you'll have to get a direct box.

    i've not used this box, but i'd personally trust presonus for sound quality more than m-audio.
     
  7. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #7
    got it

    Thanks zim that balancing explanation makes sense.

    I was re reading the m-audio site and they said of the 410

    "2 analog audio input channels
    Two independent analog input channels accept a wide variety of input signals. A front-panel switch for each channel selects between 1/4” TS (-10dBV) line-level input on the rear and Neutrik (1/4” TS and balanced XLR) mic/instrument input on the front."

    so this leads me to think that it is only gonna let you use two of them at any one time. do you have any other suggestions for a device to do what I want it to do?

    also, I have a small behringer mixer that I can two signals through for Left/Right output, would that help with unbalanced signals?

    Cheers
     
  8. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #8
    yep. good catch. bad design, imo.

    due to their unfair business practices, i cannot ever recommend the use of bearringer gear.

    that and the quality sucks, too. for the mixer i run FOH sometimes, both sound-wise and reliability-wise. oops! there goes another channel...
     
  9. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #9
    oops

    im sorry i meant no offense about behringer, i had 50 dollars to spend and they had a beginners mixer. it seemed like a good deal at the time.

    but about that audio box , do you know of any other ones that would work?
     
  10. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #10
    i think you missed my post about the firebox, above.
     
  11. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #11
    oh shoot i think i was writing one of my posts while you posted you posts and i never scrolled back up. sorry about that , ill go back and read! my bad!
     
  12. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #12
    I'm not an expert by any means but I like the capabilities of the Focusrite Saffire that I use occasionally. The new, cheaper Saffire LE lacks the DSP of the Saffire but is practically the same in all other respects, has the inputs you need and comes with some nice plugins (which I've admittedly never seriously used since so far all I've effectively used it for is monitoring, but you will probably find them very handy) and it's the same price as the Firepod.

    http://www.focusrite.com/productdetails.asp?id=63&iRange=5

    But of course the Firepod goes up to 11... :D
     
  13. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    good catch seshi,

    i just googled it, this is so new I hadn't seen it. It looks like it has the exact same audio inputs with 2 xlr's , 2 lines, and 2 spdifs. I'll search around for more information now and get back.

    thanks again!
     
  14. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

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    Sep 21, 2005
    #14
    alesis firewire multimix 8 is only $300.

    An 8 channel mixer that connects FW to your computer. They also have 12 and 16 channel versions.
    Check it out.


    [​IMG]
     
  15. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #15
    The multimix is very intriguing but from what I understand, it records one channel + a stereo mix (i.e. effectively a 3-simultaneous-channel recorder). I'd love to be proved wrong because if it's capable of separately routing more than one channel strip to the PC it'll be quite a bargain powerhouse.
     
  16. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    wow that thing looks awesome! can anyone verify for sure how many simultaneous inputs it will send to the computer?
     
  17. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

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    #17
    No that is not true. The USB versions of this mixer send a stereo mix to the computer. The firewire versions send individual channels of audio to the computer. Up to 16 channels, if you get the FW16 version.
     
  18. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #18
    Does it actually send every channel separately, i.e. is the 8-channel model a 10-simultaneous-input audio interface (8 + stereo)? I don't think so.
     
  19. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

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    #19
    Yes. Read the Alesis website, and other audio discussions forums. You kept spreading these false rumors before about this device. The USB mixer only sends a stereo mix. The Firewire mixers send individual channels.

    GIYF:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=alesis+firewire+multimix+8+reviews&btnG=Search

    http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.asp?m=624694&mpage=2

     
  20. Sesshi macrumors G3

    Sesshi

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    #20

    COOL! From the phrasing of the Alesis website "Record each mixer channel, plus the main stereo mix" it wasn't 100% clear. Perhaps this will be more useful than the Fireface. I'm gonna have to get one. But is there a catch? I see it's half the price of say a MOTU 828??
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #21
    yes, when you consider you get what you pay for. i haven't used one, but i personally wouldn't expect a whole lot of sound quality there.
     
  22. matthews1492 thread starter macrumors member

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    #22
    It might not be the best audio out there, but for 300 dollars being able to lay down individual tracks from 8 different inputs. I've spent the last couple years just using the 1/8 inch line in jack on the back of the computer to input audio. It won't be a pro studio but this is going to be a big step up. The audio technology has come a longway in price and we are reaping the spoils!
     
  23. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

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    #23
    good points, and the most important of all is if it's going to get you to the place where you can make some music.
     
  24. scottlinux macrumors 6502a

    scottlinux

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    #24
    It can only do 24bit/48khz max, is the catch. So no insane sample rates, but 24/48 is pretty darn good. Esp considering the number of inputs and price. It's on the top of my wish list.
     

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