I'm looking to start recording for my band (we will have vocals, drums, 2 guitars, and bass). I have and know how to use audacity and plan to use that. We plan to record our tracks individually on 4 microphones. We will have 1 Shure Sm57 for the vocals, guitars, and bass. And a set of 4 drum mics. That setup seems like it should work, if anyone sees any trouble with anything please say so, thanks.

My real question is about the mixer, audio interface and cableing (USB vs. Firewire). I'm aware that firewire is faster then USB. But I'm having trouble finding cheap firewire interfaces. So question 1 is: Is firewire worth the extra money and hassle or can I get by with USB?

If what I'm thinking is correct, I will need either A. An audio interface with 4 microphone inputs, which I'm having trouble finding for under $300. Or B. A mixer with 4 microphone ports to plug into a small interface or a good soundcard.

So question two is: Option A, B, or am I completely off and neither will work?

I'm hoping to spend less then $300 on the interface or mixer/soundcard. Any suggestions or help would be greatly appriciated, I've been trying to figure this out for quite a while, I've seen a few of the guides on the internet, they've helped some but I'm still somewhat unclear. Thanks.
Last edited by Slimjim5792 at Nov 23, 2008,
In these situations, it's usually advisable to have a firewire interface with as many inputs as you will need. The reason for this is that USB interfaces will not be able to record more than two inputs onto separate tracks. You will ideally want all of your instruments on a separate track in your sequencer to allow precise editing and mixing.

On a budget such as yours, this is really not possible though.

First of all, I wouldn't use Audacity. Audacity is decent, and excellent for the price (nothing!) but doesn't allow simultaneous multi tracking. This will mean even if you decide you want to record more than one track at a time, you won't be able to.

One your budget, the best bet would probably be to get a decent PCI soundcard made for recording, then run the Left and Right outputs of a small 4 input mixer to the Left and Right inputs of the soundcard. When recording your drums, this will give you a left and right track which you can then pan as necessary.

This isn't the ideal way to do it of course, and it will mean you'll have to take extra care to mix your drums well before recording, as you won't be able to correct it later on, as you would with a large firewire interface.
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