Decent USB audio interface for 1-2 inputs

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jodles, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. Jodles macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008

    I've been lurking the forums for a while, and just bought the alu macbook.

    I know it lacks FW; but what decent usb-interfaces are there? I will be mainly recording one instrument at a time (piano and guitar), so USB 2 shouldn't be a problem (regarding bandwidth, etc.)? Any recommendations for a well sounding system? I have a good mic, but is curious in any good system for recording a grand piano as well...

    I also have a mic preamp with jack and xlr outputs. Any usb interface that would accept signals from this?

    I was initially interested in the Apogee, but it's firewire only right?....

    All the best!
  2. harinezumi macrumors member

    May 4, 2007
    have you looked into m-audio products? or are you talking about something else?
    there are plenty of decent usb audio interface. but its a little hard to suggest you just one. and its kind of vague when you say decent since different people have different standards.
    if you have a budget then you can start narrowing down your options from there.
    if you can list out the must have features then maybe i can help.
  3. Jodles thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    Sorry, I realize I was way too little specific:)

    I have the Studio Projects VTB-1 preamp and a SP B1 mic. I would like to use these with my mac, and also get either another B1 or a pair of mics to record a grand piano, then I'd also need more preamps.

    I was thinking, how would the M-Audio Fast track pro or ultra do? Could I route the VTB-1 through the fast track? (using the jack inputs?) Would the fast track ultra with the octane preamps be better than the preamp in sp vtb-1, so I should just disregard my old preamp?

    Last two questions: Will the sound quality of for example B1->VTB1->fast track->usb into mac be affected a lot (ie. bad?) because of it running through the fast track and then through usb ..?

    Any recommendations for good mic's for a grand piano? Sub $1000. I've heard before that a good mic preamp often is more important than a good mic...?

    All the best! :)
  4. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    I don't think I've ever heard any group of 2 or more people (completely) agree on the best technique for recording a grand piano. The piano is one of the more challenging acoustic instruments to record if you're seeking near-perfection, which is probably why most "advice" on the subject usually mentions $3000 mics (and a recording studio environment) as a possible solution.

    Different pianists can make the same instrument sound quite different, generate different types of volumes or even pedal noises can become a factor, etc. The choice of music is also a consideration. The so-called "classical music" genre covers hundreds of years, and actually the piano of Mozart's day piano sounded quite different than Copland's. And then there's tuning which ranges from "stretch tuning" to someone using a Conn Strobotuner to someone else tuning completely "by ear", but room temperature will affect the pitch as well. The room (or hall) that the piano is in is also going to be a huge factor -- a recording made in an apartment are going to sound very different from a recording made in a concert hall. A Yamaha sounds different from a Steinway. The list goes on...

    Lid up. Lid down. Multiple mics. One mic. There's many ways to record a piano. I'd suggest you experiment with your present mic just to see how different placement can provide different results. Let your ears be your guide...

    Frankly, I think most people would probably get better sounding results by using even the Yamaha grand sample in Logic (via MIDI) compared to recording a piano using cheap mics in a typical room at home. There are some really nice (although the best are expensive) piano sound sample libraries available these days...
  5. Jodles thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 5, 2008
    localoid: I'm not seeking a near-perfection recording solution to record a grand piano. Then I wouldn't be doing this with a macbook over usb :D.

    But what good sounding options (surely there must be something alright sounding?) would there be sub $1000 (mics) or sub $2000-3000 for mic + preamps (usb)? What is *your* opinion on what would be the best solution sub, say $3000? I've seen single mic systems for placing inside the grand (apparently what Chick Corea is using), and dual mic setups, etc. Pros/cons?

    Thanks for the tip about experimenting with my current mic. Will do that. Though I still need to connect it to my mb in some way (see 1st post).

    Using samples in f.ex. Logic is out of the question. Playing on a midikeyboard is too different from playing on a grand. And background noise/sounds like the pedal going down one place just adds to the music (IMHO, for what I'll be using it for).

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