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Old 05-03-2015, 03:18 PM   #1
uto998
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Another "Which Audio Interface" thread

I'm on the quest of finding a decent, well-constructed and mid-priced audio interface. I cam across a few after doing a lot of research on interfaces. Basically, my needs are as follows:

1. No snazzy bit-depth, I could honestly probably do with 16, would prefer 24-bit, though.
2. Sample rate around 44.1kHz
3. At least 2 i/o
4. Something useful for bedroom recording.
5. Budget around $250, including second-hand products.

What I don't need:

1. It doesn't have to look good.
2. Please, no firewire. (I use Windows)

So the options I came across were:

1. Roland Duo Capture EX (or Quad Capture, thoughts on which one may be better?)
2. NI Komplete Audio 6
3. Focusrite 2i4
4. M-Audio M-Track Plus

I know, that's basically listing the most popular mid-range audio interfaces, but I listed them because those were the four (technically five) that I was *considering*. What I'd *like* to get, however, is the NI Komplete Audio 6.

I record guitar in my bedroom as I said before, so it really doesn't have to be anything grandiose or luxurious or expensive. I'm completely new to recording, I've only done a few demos with a computer mic, so it'll be a world of a difference recording with an AI. I plan on recording with a Shure SM57 with ASIO4ALL v2 drivers in FL Studio 12. I'll be running everything out into my Shure SE215's, which, I know, are not reference monitors or even close to studio-grade monitors at all, but they'll do the job for a newbie like me.

I plan on recording for some covers, maybe a few demo songs, instrumentals, etc., getting a feel for recording and producing myself, uploading them online, sharing them with friends, etc. I don't really plan to sell my recordings for money, so again, the AI doesn't have to be the best. Just something to start myself off with.

So let the debate begin.
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Old 05-03-2015, 03:22 PM   #2
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Scarlett 2i2.
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Old 05-03-2015, 04:47 PM   #3
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The features you requested kinda give away the fact that you don't have a clue what you're talking about, you may wanna read the introduction to recording sticky to get a better idea of what's around there and what features one might want in one's situation.

I'd get a mackie onyx blackjack, or a roland duo capture ex if you also need midi i/o.

M audio interfaces in this price range and below top down suck, don't get any of these.
The quad capture has more i/o which in your situation you don't need and it has a gimmick "auto input gain" thing that I wouldn't use unless it was the only thing available.

If you wanna work with audio I'd reconsider using FL studio, it's only decent if you're working with midi and very limited for that kinda audio production you're thinking about.

PC's also can work with FW hardware, you simply need a FW card.
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Old 05-03-2015, 05:16 PM   #4
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Yeah the times I've used FL Studio it hasn't been too great, but I've just gotten very familiar with it. I may start using Ableton instead since I had a somewhat better experience with just recording on it. I dunno.

I wouldn't say I'm *clueless* about what I'm getting. I have read the sticky, and it was really less help than anything I've ever read in my life, so I didn't exactly care for it. And I already know how adamant you are about your Mackie Onyx Blackjack, since I've come across you in the forums before. I have already decided against it (and the 2i2), and since I didn't even list them in the possible interface list, I have absolutely no idea why you or pkgitar would bring either one up.

And yeah, I'd rather set the sens myself, not have it go automatic. That's just stupid.

NOTE: I had a reason for putting the lists I did. That's because those are the criterion I have and the possible interfaces I was looking at. If I didn't list one that you want to put up, please, STAY AWAY.
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Old 05-03-2015, 06:59 PM   #5
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i got the 2i4. its ok. its a bit noisy... hissy and shit.
FL....hmmmmzz i have friends who really like it but i don't get on with it
ableton is ok but i found it a bit annoying to edit with.

recording covers? why?
anyway ... enjoy.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:12 PM   #6
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By recording covers I mean being able to record my guitar with something that will get the tone captured better than a camera mic. I do my darndest to try to replicate the tones of songs I cover, and I wouldn't want to waste any effort with a camera mic. IOW, it's just supposed to be able to somewhat reproduce the tone without too much distortion.

Yeah I wasn't sure that the 2i4 was any good. I hadn't ever really heard too much of good about the 2i2 (except that for beginners, it's okay).
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pkgitar
Scarlett 2i2.

+1
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Old 05-03-2015, 11:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I'm on the quest of finding a decent, well-constructed and mid-priced audio interface. I cam across a few after doing a lot of research on interfaces. Basically, my needs are as follows:

1. No snazzy bit-depth, I could honestly probably do with 16, would prefer 24-bit, though.
2. Sample rate around 44.1kHz
3. At least 2 i/o
4. Something useful for bedroom recording.
5. Budget around $250, including second-hand products.

What I don't need:

1. It doesn't have to look good.
2. Please, no firewire. (I use Windows)

So the options I came across were:

1. Roland Duo Capture EX (or Quad Capture, thoughts on which one may be better?)
2. NI Komplete Audio 6
3. Focusrite 2i4
4. M-Audio M-Track Plus

I know, that's basically listing the most popular mid-range audio interfaces, but I listed them because those were the four (technically five) that I was *considering*. What I'd *like* to get, however, is the NI Komplete Audio 6.

I record guitar in my bedroom as I said before, so it really doesn't have to be anything grandiose or luxurious or expensive. I'm completely new to recording, I've only done a few demos with a computer mic, so it'll be a world of a difference recording with an AI. I plan on recording with a Shure SM57 with ASIO4ALL v2 drivers in FL Studio 12. I'll be running everything out into my Shure SE215's, which, I know, are not reference monitors or even close to studio-grade monitors at all, but they'll do the job for a newbie like me.

I plan on recording for some covers, maybe a few demo songs, instrumentals, etc., getting a feel for recording and producing myself, uploading them online, sharing them with friends, etc. I don't really plan to sell my recordings for money, so again, the AI doesn't have to be the best. Just something to start myself off with.

So let the debate begin.


The Scarlett 2i4 is the best interface in your budget for recording guitars. It has the input pads so you're direct impulse signal from your guitar won't clip.

You won't be using Asio4All. You'll be using your audio interface's asio driver.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spambot_2

If you wanna work with audio I'd reconsider using FL studio, it's only decent if you're working with midi and very limited for that kinda audio production you're thinking about.



More unsubstantiated rhetoric from Spambot_2.

I use FL Studio for tracking and working with audio myself. It doesn't do any worse than any other DAW for the application. If you can listen to a series of songs, some that were tracked into FL Studio and the others were tracked into Pro Tools, and you can honestly accurately and repeatedly tell which was tracked into which DAW, I would have to ask that you donate your body to science so that we can do some intense research on your sense of intuition.

The only differences between DAWs, in terms of how they process audio, is their summing algorithm and workflow in how they actually go about tracking. FL Studio is fine. I've been tracking with it for years.
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Old 05-04-2015, 12:16 AM   #9
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+1
I have used FL for about 15 years and is my Go To Daw for tracking drums, keys etc but that's because I know it backwards and like the midi layout. For tracking guitar I use a myriad of things but usually studio 1 with any one of 5 different interfaces. Depends what I have plugged in at the time. If I've been laying key tracks with KB37 I'll stick my guitar in that, if My R24 is plugged in I'll use that, if I've been messing with patches on my ME80 and it's still plugged in to PC I'll use that, it makes no real difference if you're using sims. Get the one you think looks coolest and will impress the girls, no one will know which one you used on a bedroom mix anyway.
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:19 AM   #10
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I put it there because that's what I recommend based on your description (not the alternatives, sorry haha). But the 2i4 is its slightly bigger brother, so it will be just as good only with a few added features.
So if I have to take a pick from your list, the 2i4 would be mine

A friend of mine has the Roland card and it's not a bad card.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vocoderboy
i got the 2i4. its ok. its a bit noisy... hissy and shit.


Then you must be doing something wrong. I've NEVER had a problem with my 3 year old 2i2. And I've used this almost every day since I got it. I also have the 18i20 and they are both amazing. The only time something didn't work was when I updated my Macs iOS to Mavericks. Just had to update the driver and it was back to perfect.
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Old 05-04-2015, 06:50 AM   #11
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I use an AKAI EIE PRO. I love it. it's good, quite a bit of I/O for it's size and does 96 Khz
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Old 05-04-2015, 11:46 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I wouldn't say I'm *clueless* about what I'm getting.
Alright I'll be more specific.

1. you say you don't need "snazzy bit depth", and I didn't know what "snazzy" meant so I went with google's definition: "adjective, informal; stylish and attractive."

Going by that makes it seem like you think a resolution higher than 16bit is stylish and not really useful, which is deeeeply false 'cause higher resolution = a higher dynamic range to work with.
That is quite useful even if you're working with an audio interface with a pretty low s/n ratio because a bad quality interface will have a s/n ration of about 97dB, when a good one will have an s/n ration of more than 120dB.

The maximum theoretical dynamic range achievable with 16bit is 96dB, which in reality is more like 90dB, which means that even if you have a noisy audio interface you're cutting around 7dB of usable dynamic range, when in general you're cutting around 15dB because common audio interfaces don't suck that much.

With 24bit you have 144dB of dynamic range, which in reality are around 136dB, and you'll need to spend a hell of a lot of money to find a signal chain with so low self noise.

So 24dB are something you do want, considering most interfaces nowadays have that capability, especially when tracking 'cause unless the stuff you're recording is pretty lacking in dynamics you're gonna find yourself needing more headroom.

2. this equals going to an automobile dealership and asking for a car that has at least one seatbelt.
Not like there's anything wrong, but if you've had a look at any audio interface designed and produced in the last 30 or so years you'll not find one that doesn't allow for a 44.1kHz sampling rate.

3. I suppose by "at lease 2 i/o" you mean you want at least a pair of line + hi-z inputs.

What you asked tho is at least 2 input output, which might well mean you need a pair of RCA inputs and a pair of outputs, so reading that one might advise you to buy a behringer UCA202 'cause that does, in fact, have all the features you requested there.

4. now this is like going back to that automobile dealership and asking for a car that is good for traveling in France - there's nothing special about bedroom recording nor the roads in France, so you may wanna specify how many tracks you'll be recording at a time, if you'll be going off road, what inputs you need exactly, what time of the year you'll be going to France...

Something that actually tells us what you'll be doing with it, so we can advise you with something that's capable of doing it good enough, instead of telling us where you'll be recording.

Then about what you don't need,

1. well you should have at least provided us with a list of what looks good to you

2. again, this PC I'm writing on has two FW HDD's connected as I'm typing, and you can add a FW port just like you would add any other PCIe card.

If you have a desktop computer, that is.

Then about what you've looked at,
if you don't have a clue what you need between the duo capture ex and a quad capture then you quite literally don't know what you're looking for.

Also if you would like to get a komplete 6, get one and be done with it since it seems that you don't like half of the advice that's been given to you.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I have read the sticky, and it was really less help than anything I've ever read in my life, so I didn't exactly care for it.
You might also find a textbook about electronics to be among the most unhelpful things you've read, though I'd advocate it's just because you don't wanna put enough effort in it to understand what's written in it exactly and how it is helpful.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I have already decided against it (and the 2i2)
Go listening to every possibility before ruling it out.

That's how I see it at least.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
NOTE: I had a reason for putting the lists I did. That's because those are the criterion I have and the possible interfaces I was looking at.
Also a shit ton of other interfaces are in your budget and satisfy the criteria you listed.

Why aren't you interested in those is beyond me, but it seems that you know enough already to decide for yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
If I didn't list one that you want to put up, please, STAY AWAY.
If you don't want advice, please, stay away.

What you're saying here is that you want something, you're asking if something else among something you listed might be better, and you don't want to consider that somebody else may be more experienced about what is best for you to get when you're, in fact, asking what'd be best for you to get.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
The Scarlett 2i4 is the best interface in your budget for recording guitars. It has the input pads so you're direct impulse signal from your guitar won't clip.
The 2i4 isn't the best in that price range for anything.
It's not even a matter of features, it's a matter of how it sounds.

Actually if you wanna take a look at the quantity of i/o it wins because it has RCA i/o and midi over the blackjack, which may indeed be useful for somebody.
If you take a look at the specs tho it's a massacre - the blackjack has 12dB more in both input and output full path, less self noise, less THD, more input gain (the 2i4 can't, for example, drive an SM7 for shit), and a hell of a lot more powerful headphones amp, 'cause a quarter of the can's I've worked with have an input impedance too high and a sensitivity too low to be driven by a bus powered scarlett.

But for the discussion's sake, have a listen to both before coming back on the topic.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
I use FL Studio for tracking and working with audio myself. It doesn't do any worse than any other DAW for the application.
If you're tracking only everything's good enough.
If you're working, it depends how you're working really.

I'm talking automation modes, VCA faders, track groups and sub-groups, in depth midi routing and scripting...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
If you can listen to a series of songs, some that were tracked into FL Studio and the others were tracked into Pro Tools, and you can honestly accurately and repeatedly tell which was tracked into which DAW, I would have to ask that you donate your body to science so that we can do some intense research on your sense of intuition.
I'm with you on this, but if you dare thinking you can do the same amount of work (mixing a 24 tracks song for example, all tracks dry) and produce the same result using FL studio and, say, reaper/studio one/logic/pro tools/bitwig, then you're lying to yourself.

Plus the stability, oh the stability...
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
The only differences between DAWs, in terms of how they process audio, is their summing algorithm and workflow in how they actually go about tracking. FL Studio is fine.
There's no magic about summing, it's just mathematics, so DAW's don't even differ there (even if they try to make you think their "audio engine" is better, which may be true but doesn't have to do with how stuff sounds), but the workflow is not limited to tracking, and there are things that you can't do, end of the story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pkgitar
Then you must be doing something wrong. I've NEVER had a problem with my 3 year old 2i2.
You don't really have to be doing something particular with it, that's how it sounds.
If for you it's good enough then good for you, different gear works for different joe's.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
More unsubstantiated rhetoric from Spambot_2.
Here's the substance we discussed about last week - http://kiwi6.com/file/8osozo9ton
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Old 05-04-2015, 01:35 PM   #13
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Old 05-04-2015, 02:55 PM   #14
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Look into Presonus range, it cones with Studio one software which is probably a step up for most of these in terms of package.
There are some recording bundles that might let you maximize the gear you need.

Out of the bunch you posted, definite no on M Audio, the rest is OK.


BTW, I run FireWire on 2 Windows machines :-)



I'm kinda late in the game, but someone threw in bunch of technical info that can do only one thing: confuse OP.

All the audio cards mentioned can do 24bit at 44.1 kHz and even up which rarely needed. I track at 24/44 and so far no one has complained. When I worked in a studio we tracked 24/48 mostly but sometimes 24/96 which was a mess and the final recording wasn't infinitesimally better, most times actually the same but put a bigger load on the system. So for simplicity sake -24/44 is definitely good enough.

Last edited by diabolical : 05-04-2015 at 03:02 PM.
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Old 05-04-2015, 05:03 PM   #15
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Spambot_2, I didn't ask you (nor want you) to expound on my apparent indifference to everyone's (your) input. Sorry I stepped on your toes, maybe you could show me the grace you haven't yet and forgive my faux-pas. In case you didn't realize, that last sentence was SARCASTIC. Go look up that word on Google since you don't have such a big vocabulary as others.

chatterbox272, please, don't put words into my mouth that aren't there. I'm terribly sorry that I have a choice that I think is good, would like to discuss, and can't seem to get any input about. I'm open to other options, and if pleases everyone else, I am open to discussion about other interfaces. Terribly sorry for not knowing that I won't be using ASIO4ALL, I got that confused with the asio drivers in a few of interfaces. Like I said, I'm a newb, maybe not a god of knowledge on the subject, but not clueless.

diabolical, advice is always welcome, no matter how late it is.

SquierLolz, awesome, I'll look into it!

I don't understand why people think I have my mind made up against all other interfaces. Sorry I put in a solitary lone sentence about liking to get the NI Komplete. I guess I can't have an opinion of my own. I guess I have to swallow Luca's or chatterbox's opinions or just be a total idiot.

To everyone, I actually would like to recant about not wanting to discuss other interfaces. That was rather repulsive, I suppose.
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Old 05-04-2015, 10:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chatterbox272
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You're correct; direct injection is the term I was thinking of. My apologies.

And, in my opinion, the 2i4 is the best choice. Sorry that I didn't say "in my opinion" but I don't really think that that is necessary. If its coming out of my mouth, its obviously my opinion.

I've had other discussions with him where he just spews non-sense. In another thread he discredited youtubers (like Keith Merrow and Ryan Brace) reviews of amp sims like Bias and EZMix, claiming that they used post-processing to make the amp sims sound better, even with the youtubers themselves said that they didn't. He of course just accused them of lying with absolutely no objective evidence to make that claim. Then, I posted a shitty guitar tone and asked him to make it sound better with post processing (he posted the link to his results in this thread actually), and IMO, it still sounds like ass, proving my point that no amount of post-processing can make bad tone sound good. If it could, John Petrucci would use a Line 6 Spider III in the studio and just have the engineer make it sound good.
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Old Yesterday, 01:38 AM   #17
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I wouldn't discredit the fact that it is quite likely a lot of these youtube sounds are touched up to make them sound better. Hell, just running the whole thing through a high end mastering rig will make a lot of these sound a lot better, I've personally have been present on a mixing session where a dead sounding sh*tty Digitech box was put through a high end chain which made the thing actually sound good.
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Old Yesterday, 01:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by diabolical
I wouldn't discredit the fact that it is quite likely a lot of these youtube sounds are touched up to make them sound better. Hell, just running the whole thing through a high end mastering rig will make a lot of these sound a lot better, I've personally have been present on a mixing session where a dead sounding sh*tty Digitech box was put through a high end chain which made the thing actually sound good.



Well of course the tracks are mixed and mastered, but ALL music that we listen to is mixed and mastered, whether the original guitar track tone was a real amp or an amp sim.


Could I argue that John Petrucci's tone is unrealistic of a Mark V because his music is mixed and mastered?

EDIT:

mixing and mastering isn't what I meant by post-processing. Post-processing, to me, would be things like pitch correction, time alignment, FL Studio's "Soundgoodizer" plugin (lol), et cetera.
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Old Yesterday, 02:34 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95


Could I argue that John Petrucci's tone is unrealistic of a Mark V because his music is mixed and mastered?


I guess you could say that. This is something a lot of people don't understand and they expect to buy John's guitar and Mark V and instantly sound like him on record, unaware of this whole other chain of say AKG C414 and Royer ribbon, put through a Neve desk, compressed with such and such and then run through $20k per channel converters, then mastered on a $2mil. mastering facility
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Old Yesterday, 08:37 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
Spambot_2, I didn't ask you (nor want you) to expound on my apparent indifference to everyone's (your) input.
You asked for advice and I'm giving advice.

If you don't want advice, don't ask for advice, end of the story.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
In case you didn't realize, that last sentence was SARCASTIC. Go look up that word on Google since you don't have such a big vocabulary as others.
I still know the commonly used words in english, but thanks.

Also if we wanna have a look into that, the plural of "criterion" is "criteria"
You may wanna look up that word on Google since you don't have such a big vocabulary as others.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I'm terribly sorry that I have a choice that I think is good, would like to discuss, and can't seem to get any input about.
We elaborated on why other choices would be better.

If you don't want to take any advice that implies that your opinion wasn't spot on then stop posting here.
Or exchanging opinions with other people
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I'm open to other options, and if pleases everyone else, I am open to discussion about other interfaces.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I had a reason for putting the lists I did. That's because those are the criterion I have and the possible interfaces I was looking at. If I didn't list one that you want to put up, please, STAY AWAY.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I don't understand why people think I have my mind made up against all other interfaces
Please tell me what I'm missing 'cause I'm obviously missing something.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
Sorry I put in a solitary lone sentence about liking to get the NI Komplete.
If you want it you must have reasons for wanting it, even if you only like how it looks and/or the reviews it's getting and/or you like native instruments and you don't wanna admit it.

Or possibly you have listened to it and you like it for the sound, I really don't know.

Fact is, you can't expect other people to agree with your opinion if you don't give them reasons to, and you can't expect others not to back their own opinions with reasons.
Quote:
Originally Posted by uto998
I guess I have to swallow Luca's or chatterbox's opinions or just be a total idiot.
We showed you a lot of reasons for which our suggestions would be better than what you had in mind.

If you don't like our reasons then get an NI komplete and be happy with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
He of course just accused them of lying with absolutely no objective evidence to make that claim.
Again, you as well have no objective evidence to claim they aren't lying, and we can all agree there's more than one reason why they might actually lie.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
Then, I posted a shitty guitar tone and asked him to make it sound better with post processing (he posted the link to his results in this thread actually), and IMO, it still sounds like ass, proving my point that no amount of post-processing can make bad tone sound good.
Doesn't sound that good of course, but it sounds usable at least, and claiming the opposite would really only show that you'd contradict me no matter what.

if I can make that change in an hour with an old macbook, a single track with a shit sound and a shit playing with post-processing applied already, you think anyone with a clue can't turn an already usable, if not much good, tone (also being able to do double tracking, first hand processing...) in something that sound pretty good in a mix?
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
If it could, John Petrucci would use a Line 6 Spider III in the studio and just have the engineer make it sound good.
Why would he, when he could just start from a better source?

Why did, taking one of your beloved youtube guitarists as an example once again, Ola record his albums spending so much money on amps when he managed to make an MG15 sound fairly good?

It's a hell of a lot less time consuming, a hell of a lot easier, and it sounds potentially better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
Could I argue that John Petrucci's tone is unrealistic of a Mark V because his music is mixed and mastered?
Of course.

Not only because of mixing and mastering tho - as diabolical explained, there are other factors involved, and there's a hell of a lot of people around that get this particular amp that their favorite guitarist have and then wonder why they can't sound as good as that part/song/album.
Quote:
Originally Posted by BV-95
mixing and mastering isn't what I meant by post-processing. Post-processing, to me, would be things like pitch correction, time alignment, FL Studio's "Soundgoodizer" plugin (lol), et cetera.
Good thing we cleared that.

So yeah, now you as well agree these guitarists might be using post processing, in the sense that they are in any way processing what they have recorded already?
Quote:
Originally Posted by diabolical
unaware of this whole other chain of say AKG C414 and Royer ribbon, put through a Neve desk, compressed with such and such and then run through $20k per channel converters, then mastered on a $2mil. mastering facility
Doesn't even need to be that drastic - people get an amp and a 57, then record their tone and wonder why it doesn't sound like what they're hearing in the room.
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