I've got about $300-$400 to spend on some recording stuff. I would like to just record some of these songs I've written and maybe have them to show to venues so I can play some shows.

I will be recording Acoustic guitar, Male and Female Vocals, maybe a little piano, and djembe/congas. I'm not looking for anything crazy, just something that will sound decent. I have access to a Blueberry mic and several MXL condensers as well as two tube preamps.

I'll more than likely be using my laptop to record this on. It has an AMD Dualcore running at 2 or 2.5ghz, 3 gigs of ram, and a 300gig hard drive. I do not have a firewire port.

So what I was thinking about was buying the Presonus Audiobox and maybe an SM57. I have no idea about software though. Could anyone help me with picking out some stuff? Thanks in advance.
I'd suggest one of these for an interface: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/M-Audio-Fast-Track-MKII-USB-Audio-Interface?sku=703669

I've always been an M-Audio fan over Presonus mainly because I'm an avid Pro Tools user and the Fast Track MKII comes with Pro Tools M-Powered. Also, the newer M-Audio stuff has gotten a lot better in quality.

I'd suggest getting a condenser mic over a SM57 for acoustics, vocals & piano. Dynamics like the SM57 don't quite get the full dynamic range of vocals and acoustics. I'd suggest either the Audio-Technica AT2020 or, if you wanted to spend a little more money, the Rode NT1-A. I personally use a Rode NT1-A on everything and it sounds amazing. Its built very well and sounds amazing. The AT2020 is a great budget condenser that gets the job done. I'd suggest staying away from the cheaper MXL mics. They're pretty hit or miss on the quality.

As for software, if you get the Fast Track MKII, you get Pro Tools right out of the box. I like it since it comes with some pretty quality plugins and, if you get serious about recording, is a long lasting solution. Another program I'd suggest is Reaper. Its very affordable and packs a punch. Also, Reaper is very commonly used around here so you'd have no problems if you have any questions.
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
Thank you so much for the information.

I just have one question though... I really liked the 2 inputs on the Audiobox. What if I went for the M-Audio Fast Track pro?

Is Ableton Live much worse than Pro Tools? I hear Pro Tools is supposed to be some of the best recording software available.

That Rode Mic looks nice. I'm going to Guitar Center tomorrow to look at stuff so I'll check it out.

Thanks again!
I'd take Pro Tools anyday over Ableton - I tried Live a couple different times - it was bizarre looking to me - I like a more standard looking DAW (cause I learned years ago using Logic on a Mac). I have 2 killer interfaces but I'm thinking of getting a Digidesign Mini or the FastTrack as they both come with Pro Tools and I'd love to play with it.
Now running an Eleven Rack with Pro Tools 10.3.3 - it's amazing and I'm having ball with it - worth every penny. PT 10 is tops IMO and the Eleven Rack is a work of art!
Logic is great, I've also had great results in Reaper, which is a freeware program.
Audio Ecstasy Productions!

Guitar/Backline Tech in the Los Angeles area and on tour!
Custom guitar pedals and cabling for stage and studio!

I set up DAWs and tweak computers to record audio. Hit me up @ audioecstasyproductions[at}gmail.com
I use Reaper EVERYDAY...
Now running an Eleven Rack with Pro Tools 10.3.3 - it's amazing and I'm having ball with it - worth every penny. PT 10 is tops IMO and the Eleven Rack is a work of art!
the Fast Track and Fast Track pro are very similar...If you feel you won't need more inputs and want to put some extra cash aside for a good mic, go with the Fast Track MKII.

I on the other hand always go a step up from what I need so I always have something in the studio that can handle my work...and then some.....ya know, just in case something big comes up randomly that I need the gear for.
So some people are fine with a small interface to start on, I on the other hand think going a step up is a good thing to do from the start.
The choice is yours.

I agree with Lock on the Rode NT1A mic...outstanding LD condenser mic to capture a wide variety of instruments. I highly suggest getting this mic.

If the interface comes with software, by all means, use that but also look into Reaper as many people enjoy it and it's only $60.
Last edited by moody07747 at May 23, 2010,
From some research I've done the Fast Track Pro apparently comes with a copy of trial version of Pro Tools as well.

I think I may go for the Fast Track Pro and that Microphone you guys suggested. I'll head to Guitar Center tomorrow and come back with any questions before I buy.

Thanks a million guys.