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Old 10-05-2012, 03:27 AM   #1
MehrozeGillani
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How much does Studio Equipment matter ?

Hey guys,
What I'm Using to record right now at home is all really cheap, And I'm willing to spend money to get something more.

Audio Interface: Behringer UCA222
Software: Cubase 5, Addictive Drums, Guitar Rig 4
MicroPhone: Shure SM57
Monitors: AKG K77

I'm more interested in upgrading my audio interface, As the one I have now is cheap as hell, What I really want to know is how much of a difference can changing an audio interface have ? And HOW MUCH better will it be and in what aspects ?
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:35 AM   #2
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A lot. You've got probably the most basic setup you could get. The UCA is essentially the same quality as running your guitar into your soundcard except its USB and can handle a little more loudness. The difference between that and a true interface like a Focusrite Saffire 6 is like the difference between a bike and a Honda Civic.

Also, I'd look into getting a better way of monitoring, like some actual speakers.
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:43 AM   #3
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There's a ceiling for most equipment.

Though getting substandard equipment can also mean you end up mixing a certain way for poor equipment that doesn't translate well to better equipment... which leaves you pretty fuqed.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:24 AM   #4
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I got a Line 6 UX2, and I immediately noticed the difference between that and a USB link, even in the same programs.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
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Can you guys elaborate ? As in, In WHAT WAY did changing the audio interface effect ? HOW was the sound quality better I mean ? I hope you guys understand what I'm trying to ask. What Audio Interface do you guys recommend for under 100$

LockWolf: Aren't headphones better for monitoring than speakers ?
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:47 AM   #6
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Headphones are good for monitoring Reverb and Low End, but no, monitors are better than headphones.

And for less than $100... I dunno if there IS anything we can recomend. Maybe the Line6 UX series?
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChemicalFire
Headphones are good for monitoring Reverb and Low End, but no, monitors are better than headphones.

And for less than $100... I dunno if there IS anything we can recomend. Maybe the Line6 UX series?


The Line6 GX can sometimes go for just under $100, but you need to find a good deal first.
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Old 10-05-2012, 08:58 AM   #8
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ok. You guys aren't telling me HOW can changing an audio interface help, How does it effect the sound quality ? What way will it sound better ?
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:05 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MehrozeGillani
Can you guys elaborate ? As in, In WHAT WAY did changing the audio interface effect ? HOW was the sound quality better I mean ? I hope you guys understand what I'm trying to ask. What Audio Interface do you guys recommend for under 100$

LockWolf: Aren't headphones better for monitoring than speakers ?


Its in the design of the Interface itself. Pretty much any interface that isn't a USB cable is designed to record mics, guitars & everything with little coloring of the sound, accurately & at a quality similar to a low end studio. The UCA222 is designed to work with a mixer to achieve something similar but is lacking in the Analog to Digital conversion that you'd find with an interface.

Theres nothing under $100 I'd recommend. If you're looking for something good that will last a while, the Focusrite Saffire 6 is the way to go. You can pick them up used for around $125-$150 on eBay. Hell, if you got $110 right now, heres a pretty solid deal. Going used is the best way to go when dealing with recording equipment since most people will try it and give it up quick so they unload it for cheap.

As for the monitors thing, look at what Chem posted.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:11 AM   #10
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The audio interface makes a HUGE difference.

Stereo imaging, more accurate reproduction of sound (mic placement still needs to be done right tho), improved dynamics, high end clarity and detail...honestly, basically everything is improved significantly.

Not to mention things let buffer rates are improved on better interfaces which helps with software monitoring with less delay. Super important or else it sucks to play through.

Go with an Apogee Duet or Apogee One - it's worth the extra money up from the suggestions in this forum. If you want to save a bit of cash, buy a used Apogee Duet, not the Duet 2.

To answer the question about monitoring through headphones, monitors will sound better - if they are half decent monitors. Guitar players prefer the sound as actual air movement, whether they realize it or not. That said, monitoring is just for monitoring and does not affect the sound quality of what's going in so it's not as vital of an upgrade as a better interface.

Best of luck!
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:13 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudebud
Go with an Apogee Duet or Apogee One - it's worth the extra money up from the suggestions in this forum. If you want to save a bit of cash, buy a used Apogee Duet, not the Duet 2.


Problem is, Mac Only bro. Considering he's got a budget of less than $100, I'm assuming he doesn't have a Mac.
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Old 10-05-2012, 09:44 AM   #12
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For one hundred your options are very small. I would up grade to firewire get this
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B001E...49443409&sr=8-4

And a decent akg such as
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0055...49444088&sr=8-5
Or if wanna budget yourself more get the 220 or the next one down. with cubase 5 which is what use for recording all sorts of stuff. Anythimg for my cello, classical guitar or a direct in with a bass or guitar you will get a decent sound I.e. check the stuff on profile those were old recordings with the gear listed above.
The thimg with recording is if your not willing to spend the money for a good sound all of your recordings will sound cheap.
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:00 AM   #13
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The two most important features in an interface are:

Mic Preamps - They affect the sound of whatever you record. invest in something decent (Focusrites are probably best for the price)

AD/DA Converters - There has to be a way of turning audio signal from analogue (what comes out of the mic) to digital (what the computer uses). This isn't quite as important as preamps, but can still play a role.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dudebud

Not to mention things let buffer rates are improved on better interfaces which helps with software monitoring with less delay. Super important or else it sucks to play through.



Not strictly true, the interface (i.e USB or Firewire) affects the buffer rates, but USB has got to the point now where it shouldn't be a problem.

My suggestion, look at a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Decent preamps which will make a great deal of difference. And its relatively cheap. I'm looking at getting one myself in the near future!

It is worth getting a decent pair of monitors/headphones, as mixing on poor quality stuff never sounds how you want it on anything else (I know from experience!) They are expensive though, and to get a decent entry level pair of active monitors will cost in the region on $200 at least
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Old 10-05-2012, 10:28 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_mop
My suggestion, look at a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Decent preamps which will make a great deal of difference. And its relatively cheap. I'm looking at getting one myself in the near future!


I'd save an get the Saffire instead. There have been a lot of quality issues and driver issues with the 2i2s that makes the jump to the Saffire worth it. Also, the Saffire has MIDI in and out which is important to me
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:20 AM   #15
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Thank you all for the replies! Appreciate it, Read each one. All of the interfaces you have listed are all expensive, and I understand that you guys are saying that anything under 100$ isn't that good. I might be able to bump up my budget a little bit but not a lot. On a side note, What do you people think about these ?

Line6 POD Studio GX
Line6 POD Studio UX1

M-Audio Fast Track USB Audio Interface
(http://www.ion.com.pk/audio-profess...ing-studio.html)
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:31 AM   #16
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Nothing for $100 is going to be good. Before Apogee came out with the Duet and ONE, there was nothing worth buying for under $1000.

I did forget about the fact Apogee is MAC only. A definite bummer for Windows/PC users.

Save up and buy a Firepod. You could probably get the FP10 on ebay relatively cheap. You WILL be unhappy with shit gear.

In my experience, it's best to get stuff you are excited about and that works really well or else it becomes very uninspiring to use.

At your price point, I wouldn't even be able to find a mic I would be happy using other than the SM57 and even that isn't suitable for every use.

Hope this helps!
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:33 AM   #17
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One more thing...I don't know of the exact Focusrite gear these other guys are mentioning but they are a company with a long reputation in recording equipment. Much better than any Line 6, Behringer, Alesis crap by a mile.
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Old 10-05-2012, 03:42 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dudebud
To answer the question about monitoring through headphones, monitors will sound better - if they are half decent monitors. Guitar players prefer the sound as actual air movement, whether they realize it or not. That said, monitoring is just for monitoring and does not affect the sound quality of what's going in so it's not as vital of an upgrade as a better interface.

While I agree in general with your post... If you've already got a decent interface, and monitors of equal quality, upgrading your monitoring chain is going to improve the overall sound of your mixes exponentially more than upgrading the interface ever could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tim_mop
My suggestion, look at a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Decent preamps which will make a great deal of difference. And its relatively cheap. I'm looking at getting one myself in the near future!

I'd honestly stay as far away from the Scarlett 2i2 as possible, unless you're planning on only recording with mics (no DI'd instruments). The inserts are insanely high gain, which makes using them for this purpose almost worthless.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dudebud
Save up and buy a Firepod. You could probably get the FP10 on ebay relatively cheap. You WILL be unhappy with shit gear.

If he's using any version of Windows newer than XP, he's going to have tons of driver issues.
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Old 10-05-2012, 05:24 PM   #19
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Consider the difference in quality between two images - a lower quality and a higher quality photograph.



See how the one has sharper colours, clearer lines, and shows more detail?

Your audio is the same way. And it's not just about numbers.

Continuing with my camera analogy... will two 5 megapixel cameras take the same quality of picture? Of course not. The quality of the lenses, and how those lenses handle light exposure, etc. will have a huge impact on how well your picture turns out.

Same with audio interfaces.

A good interface will mean your audio is much clearer, and more detailed. It will begin to take on a more 'transparent' or 'lifelike' quality - almost 3D, whereas with a cheaper interface, the audio will be a little less life-like and "flat" or "dull" sounding.

Of course, your efforts are maximized when you use decent mics on decent sound sources.

Your recording is only as good as the weakest part of your chain.

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Old 10-05-2012, 08:53 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by axemanchris
Consider the difference in quality between two images - a lower quality and a higher quality photograph.



See how the one has sharper colours, clearer lines, and shows more detail?

Your audio is the same way. And it's not just about numbers.

Continuing with my camera analogy... will two 5 megapixel cameras take the same quality of picture? Of course not. The quality of the lenses, and how those lenses handle light exposure, etc. will have a huge impact on how well your picture turns out.

Same with audio interfaces.

A good interface will mean your audio is much clearer, and more detailed. It will begin to take on a more 'transparent' or 'lifelike' quality - almost 3D, whereas with a cheaper interface, the audio will be a little less life-like and "flat" or "dull" sounding.

Of course, your efforts are maximized when you use decent mics on decent sound sources.

Your recording is only as good as the weakest part of your chain.

CT


We should keep this as a generic response to all questions like this. Very well put Axemanchris.
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