Audio Interface Advice Please

-Maverick-

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2012
5
0
Ireland
Hi guys and gals,
I need advice on what Audio Interface to buy.

I am looking for a professional interface for recording Guitar, Bass, Piano and Drums. I'm not sure if an interface will have enough preamps installed for the mic-ed up drum kit or has anybody got any other suggestions using a separate pre-amp.

I'm running logic pro on a Macbook Pro OS X

Any advice or experience anyone has had would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Maverick
 

BigRed1

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2011
288
57
Let's see:
Guitar: 1-2 inputs
Bass: 1 inputs
Piano: 2-3 (not sure, never mic'd a live piano before)
Drums: This depends a lot on you. Do you want to premix the drums down to a stereo pair for recording? It really depends on taste in how to mic a set. Everybody seems to do this differently. At minimum you need 2 if you are premixing in front of the audio interface

So that's 8 taken up with very little extra wiggle room.

I'm a fan of MOTU stuff, but the Apogee equipment is better. I like MOTU because it fits my price/performance/options calculus better.

In your situation I'd consider the MOTU 8Pre, adding some kind of ADAT preamp to the mix (Focusrite has some 8 channel mic preamp ADAT units). That would get you 16 channels of decent simultaneous input. You could swap out the 8Pre for the 896Mkiii for further flexibility, or go with the Apogee ensemble for less flexibility and a lot more money, but better sounding results.

How are you sitting for mics?

Hi guys and gals,
I need advice on what Audio Interface to buy.

I am looking for a professional interface for recording Guitar, Bass, Piano and Drums. I'm not sure if an interface will have enough preamps installed for the mic-ed up drum kit or has anybody got any other suggestions using a separate pre-amp.

I'm running logic pro on a Macbook Pro OS X

Any advice or experience anyone has had would be greatly appreciated.

Regards,
Maverick
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
It's tough to advise you without knowing how much you plan on spending. If I'm recording / playing at home I use a digital mixing board with phantom power for top quality microphone sound.

I use Rode mics. but mixing desk's start low and go way up in price, so the link below just gives you an idea of what's available.


http://www.gear4music.com/Audio_Mixers/Digital.html

I use a pair of Genelec studio monitors with separate EQ on both. At a rough guess, you can buy a lower end board, but don't scrimp on the mics. or the monitors. If you post back with a rough budget, I will try to be more specific.
 

BigRed1

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2011
288
57
Good idea on those boards. I've never looked into them because they are too big for my space.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Actually, the smaller ones have a very small space requirement....I think I still have a picture in my profile. The old Roland in the picture also has an onboard burner.

If I had to criticise the smaller boards, it's a bit of a learning curve navigating the menus at first, but you do get used to it.

----------

Sorry, pictures not there...but the whole thing sits nicely next to my iMac on a small folding table!
 

-Maverick-

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2012
5
0
Ireland
Hey Guys,

Thanks for all your help and info. My budget is $1900 so any other suggestions would be very helpful. The MOTU 896 Mk3 seems to have everything I need. I want to mic the kit through the interface rather than taking a stereo out from a preamp then into the interface. The idea of a powered desk also is pretty useful. I am also looking for idea's on vocal mic's that any of you have had above average results with.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Best mics. IMO...and I've been using them for years are the Rodes...Seperate EQ balance pro quality. Not cheap, but if you want to mic. up drums, or get top pro vocals they can't be bettered.:

http://www.rodemic.com/mics/nt2000

The 2000's are very versatile, and can be used in just about any environment. For boards, well Roland do some nice stuff....An idea to keep cost's down would be to find a music store that deals in refurb, or secondhand gear. It's a good way of keeping cost's down. Hope this helps a bit.
 

BigRed1

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2011
288
57
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

I like the Rode. I have an NT1 that I like quite a bit. I love my Blue Baby Bottle for vocals, though. It definitely has its own character, but it's a character that I personally like.
 

-Maverick-

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2012
5
0
Ireland
Thanks so much for all your input guys. I find I am leaning toward the MOTU 896 Mk3 interface that has 8 preamps to mic an acoustic kit. The Apogee only has 4 as far as I am aware. If there is a better option or more correct way of recording drums, I'm all ears. Has anybody got any experience with RME gear? I do really appreciate the Mic info too Macman. I've been looking at Rode mic's for some time.
 

Macman45

macrumors G5
Jul 29, 2011
13,199
133
Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
Your on the right track (no pun intended) A couple of things....If you go for the Rode 2000's or higher, you MUST have phantom power on your board. As for the kit....It really depends on what type of environment your recording in...You might need to flatten the Bass drum with padding etc.

Experimenting is the key....A board with onboard storage is good for this....As with all things, it's all about trying out different settings in order to get the sound your after.

Keep us posted!:)
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
not a fan of Rode here, i'll confess. i have a pair of NT1's. one, i had modded, and now it's usable. note that NT1's are no longer manufactured, but the not-nearly-as-good-as-that-even NT1A is. what a piece of crap. avoid.

i haven't used that $600 Rode mentioned above, but for that kind of cash, i'd get either a Shure ksm32 or a Beyer M160. i have both. the ksm32 is a solid performer. the m160 is magic, especially on guitar cab.

to record that drum kit, you'll need a few mics obviously. a d112 is a standard kick mic, and that can work on a bass cabinet, as well. shure sm57 is a standard snare mic, and that can work on a guitar cabinet. that leaves you a matched pair for overheads on the drums. small diaphragm condensers are typical here. i have no budget mic suggestions for OHs, sorry.

for a budget condenser, i like the AT2020. if you want to spend a bit more, any flavor of AKG c414 will give you a solid, versatile mic.
 

BigRed1

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2011
288
57
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

The AT2020 is a steal at $99. Not a bad tool to have in your mic toolbag.

I'm curious what the 896 has that you want that the 8Pre doesn't? You could get a good mic for the difference in price.
 

bwhli

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2012
557
210
Boston, MA
If you want a mixer too, I have a Yamaha N8 for sale right now! Quality on it is really good, but I'm downsizing because I don't need all the inputs. It's mint condition, and I've only used it twice in the studio. Anyway, send me a PM if you're interested.

To go along with thread, the MOTU that has been recommended is a nice piece of gear.
 

jaynone

macrumors member
Jan 2, 2012
63
0
I don't do much recording, but I do a lot of playback.

I've been using a Presonus Firebox for playback for 2 years now on a mac mini. Its connected via firewire and has been rock solid. I've recorded with it with no issues as well.

That being said I'd suggest taking a look at a mixer with a built in USB interface . That way you get more mic inputs and you can use the stand alone mixer when gigging.
 

bwhli

macrumors 6502a
Jan 9, 2012
557
210
Boston, MA
I don't do much recording, but I do a lot of playback.

I've been using a Presonus Firebox for playback for 2 years now on a mac mini. Its connected via firewire and has been rock solid. I've recorded with it with no issues as well.

That being said I'd suggest taking a look at a mixer with a built in USB interface . That way you get more mic inputs and you can use the stand alone mixer when gigging.
I completely agree. I got the N8 for both studio and live use, but soon found myself not wanting to carry it around along with heavy keyboard. Mixers are really useful though.
 

PAPO

macrumors 6502
Aug 24, 2009
327
1
Australia
I love my Rodes I've got an NT1-A and an M1 I think they are both great but I got my NT1-A back when they came with crap shock mounts but now Rode supply a much better one with a built in Pop filter which is really nice, and living in Australia they are really good value here along with the 10 year warranty
 

-Maverick-

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jan 17, 2012
5
0
Ireland
Any experience with Mackie Onyx Blackbird

Hi Guys,

Thanks again to all of you for your advice. I've researched the Apogee Ensemble and to be honest it does seem to be the best and unfortunately the most expensive. The major drawback, aside from the price, is the lack of preamps. 4 is simply too few and to expand is way beyond budget.

@ Bigred: the only few differences I see between the 8pre and the 896 Mk3 are the built-in effects, sample rate is variable up to 196kHz, the main outs appear to be balanced and the 8pre does not have Spdif or Aes. The other thing I noticed is that the 896 uses Firewire 800, which suits me, rather than 400. Anybody care to comment on these pro's and cons. The obvious con, being the additional cost of the 896.

Has anybody ever used a Mackie Onyx Blackbird either? It seems cheaper but cost doesn't always reflect the quality.
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,388
7
toronto
are you planning on using any of these extra things? i.e. built in dsp, spdif, aes, or recording @ 192? (last record i recorded was at 44)

if not, why pay for them? maybe email MOTU and ask them if/how the preamps and conversion differ. an upgrade there may be worth paying for.

in the prosumer market, i'd look at presonus before MOTU or mackie. and if you want to move up a level, consider the Metric Halo i mentioned earlier.
 

BigRed1

macrumors 6502
Dec 13, 2011
288
57
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0_1 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A405 Safari/7534.48.3)

I have no experience with Presonus, but I'm curious. How are they at updating drivers? How is the build quality? Is Mac support a secondary thought, or a primary concern? MOTU is definitely geared toward macs, and I've found that they are fast to update drivers, which have always been rock solid for me (I had an 896hd in the past and I currently use a hd192). I'm curious to hear other's experiences.
 

Fishrrman

macrumors P6
Feb 20, 2009
18,039
5,983
To the original poster:

Have you checked out the Steinberg MR-816 series?
Very nice interfaces, and if you use Cubase, they "integrate" seamlessly with the DAW app. 8 XLR inputs on these.

I also like Echo products. Check out the "AudiofirePre8" -- 8 XLR inputs and you can "daisy chain" 2 of these units for 16 XLR inputs if needed.