audio recording (again I am sure)

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by dmiller91, Aug 30, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2012
    Madison, WI
    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!


  2. macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2012
    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.
  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2012
    Madison, WI
    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!!!
  4. macrumors 6502

    Aug 17, 2012
    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.
  5. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2012
    Boston, MA
    If you haven't purchased anything yet, I suggest looking at the Focusrite Saffire line of audio interfaces. The PRO 24 DSP 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.
  6. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    TC Electronics is making some nice firewire products:

    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.
  7. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 27, 2012
    Madison, WI
    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:
  8. macrumors 603

    Feb 20, 2009
    "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!

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