#1
I've been looking for an interface lately to record myself and my band. I have a few questions and also need help choosing the best interface in my price range.

-Is it better to record straight into the computer or mic an amp? Why?

Micing an Amp:
-How many mics should I need?
-Will amp quality effect the sound quality too much if I mic my amp?

Record to Computer:
-Can I hook up an effects pedal if I line in to my computer?
-How do I get effects if I line in to my computer?

Also I need an interface, cheap, that works well enough for CD quality music. I'm not afraid to buy used.

Thanks!
#2
I recently bought amplitude 3, great program. Sounds better than my amp, lol. Got the stealthpedal interface bundle, works as both an interface and an expression pedal such as a wah, volume, or as a stompbox; whatever you tell it to be. Look amplitude 3 up, it's about $300, and I've found it to be worth every penny.
#3
My band uses a cheap behringer Interface:
http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/UCA202.aspx

Our setup is mics>Mixing deck>(reverb if recording vocals)>interface>laptop

Pretty basic, all done on a budget of no more than £200 and we manage to pull off decent quality recordings for the setup used and the quailty of gear.

Micing the amp will give a more natural sound to it, also you can then place your mic differently/add ambient mics to get the sound you want. The quality of the guitar tone will depend on the quality of equipment used, using an amazing mic will only make your amp sound as good as it does, it won't improve the tone without further EQing after recording.

I record the vocals with the Zoom rack effects processor we use in the loop of the mixing deck, however you could also run it in series straight before the interface. If you are talking about guitar effects, play with the effects rather than try putting them between the mic and computer, otherwise shit can sound messy.

Hope i was of service
Fender Custom Shop Designed 50's Classic Player Strat
Orange Micro Terror
#4
Oh an the software I use is great, came free with my Boss ME-25, its Sonar 8.5 LE by Cakewalk
Fender Custom Shop Designed 50's Classic Player Strat
Orange Micro Terror
#5
direct vs mic? depends on the situation. sometimes you'll want to mic your guitar if you have a certain sound you want to capture (and your setup is good) while other times you may benefit from recording direct (if your amp is a spider for example).
some people swear by recording bass direct, and while i find this works great in most situations, you should still experiment with micing it.

micing an amp:
one mic will do. learn to use it. learn all micing techniques, and editing. you can get quite far with just one mic. that being said, you cant effectively record a cab with a condenser mic, nor can you capture an acoustic or drum cymbals well with a dynamic mic.

yes, amp quality will affect the sound a lot. thats obvious. your sound is determined by the weakest link in your chain. like i said, if your amp is bad, consider recording direct.

record to computer:
dont. dont use the line in on your computer. thats not what its made for. i made the mistake of trying this on my computer and i blew it (the line in no longer works).

see above for next question

as for the interface, will you be recording drums? thats the biggest question you need answered. if so, you will need at least 8 inputs and 8 mics. if not, you only really need 2 (yes i do say two just so you can do stereo. despite what i said above, it does make a little bit of a difference)

tell me a little more about what you're planning to do and your budget and i'll be more than happy to help you. btw, if you want to see the difference between line in and interface recording, check out the difference in sound between my first two covers (Blow Me Away and Not Enough) and compare it to my latest few (everything from 30 seconds to mars up to my latest). the link to my channel is below
#6
Regarding the line in and although I no longer use this method. Its safe as long as you plug the headphone out into it. If you plug the speaker out into it you'll blow it. The speaker out is meant to drive external speakers, more power. Plugging a headphone out into a line in will work fine, not get the best results but it works.

The interface I use goes through the USB, works wonderfully.
#7
Quote by gateway01
-Is it better to record straight into the computer or mic an amp? Why?


there is no strictly better in recording.

straight in recording isolates you signal better so that you won't get bleed from other instruments. it also requires less equipment (no stand or mic for example). also is the tone is independent of placement of microphones. if you know some tricks you can also do stuff like reamping your signal in post production. drawbacks: sometimes you'll need something like a cab emulator (hardware or software) or direct box (hardware), many people (including me) think the tone is not as good as a mic.

microphones: captures the sound of your amp in the room, the tone you dial in is pretty close to the recorded tone. this will sound a but more 'natural' (biased term). drawbacks include instrument bleed and mic placement can make or break tone.

Quote by gateway01
Micing an Amp:
-How many mics should I need?
-Will amp quality effect the sound quality too much if I mic my amp?

i use 1 mic per amp most the time, it is not uncommon at all for people to use multiple mics. it is your call. i'd keep it simple to reduce cost and the amount of equipment you have to lug around

if you aren't getting a tone you like out your amp, you won't like the tone the mic captures. in fact, you will find this is the first step in you being super critical of your tone as you will now be hearing it out of context of your immediately playing your instrument. also, speaker choice and mic placement is a big factor on how you'll sound. i usually place my mic on-axis in the middle toward the outside of the dustcap about 1 or 2 inches from the cab's grill.

Quote by gateway01
Record to Computer:
-Can I hook up an effects pedal if I line in to my computer?
-How do I get effects if I line in to my computer?


there are many ways to do line-in recording. if you are running a line-put from your amp, then whatever sound is going to speakers will be sent to your recording unit. this means whatever distortion from you amp and effects in front of the amp or in you loop will be included.

once your amp is recorded you can actually add post effects (usually reverb or delay is a popular post effect).

you can also do more complicated 're-amp' setups that run a guitar directly to you recording unit via a specialized direct-in box. this allows you to completely process your amp in post production.

Quote by gateway01
Also I need an interface, cheap, that works well enough for CD quality music. I'm not afraid to buy used.


cheap preamps and A/D converters are going to be your main enemy, but most contemporary digital recorders are capable of 'CD quality' music. the other factors you need to consider is how many inputs you need to record, figure how many mics you can afford, consider what techniques are available to you for recording.

-are you planning on close micing instruments or just placing 2 mics in a room?
-how many instruments are in the band?
-is everyone gonna provide their own mic?
-are you gonna run a seperate mixer into a recording unit, or record direct to computer?

these are the questions that will lead you to what recorder you need as far as number of inputs and throughput, this will then lead to what quality you can afford.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#8
Quote by gumbilicious

-are you planning on close micing instruments or just placing 2 mics in a room?
-how many instruments are in the band?
-is everyone gonna provide their own mic?
-are you gonna run a seperate mixer into a recording unit, or record direct to computer?


My band only owns 2 mics total. (1 Shure SM58, 1 Samson R21S). I was hoping for track recording on either Audacity or Adobe Audition, so we could use the mics for multiple instruments. There will be a total of 5 instruments. (Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Drums, Vocals, 5 String Bass). As for that last part, probably record direct into a computer, mainly because I can't afford a mixer.

Is there any way around using 8 mics to record drums!? I can't afford that!
#9
Quote by gateway01
My band only owns 2 mics total. (1 Shure SM58, 1 Samson R21S). I was hoping for track recording on either Audacity or Adobe Audition, so we could use the mics for multiple instruments.


alright, i was thinking you were trying for live room recording. your approach will def cut costs.

Quote by gateway01
There will be a total of 5 instruments. (Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Drums, Vocals, 5 String Bass). As for that last part, probably record direct into a computer, mainly because I can't afford a mixer.


so you'll need a interface with 2 XLR inputs, this will be a midrange option:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/presonus-audiobox-usb-2x2-usb-recording-system

you can find systems for as cheap as ~50 bucks though.

i'd use the SM58 to do most the recording, you'll only need 1 mic for guitar, bass and vocals.

Quote by gateway01
Is there any way around using 8 mics to record drums!? I can't afford that!


i usually just run 3 mics on drums, 2 overheads and a kick. when i get a little more fancy i throw another mic on the snare.

you can just get by with 2 overhead mics.

this track is used a 4 mic setup on the drums (with some fancy doubling tracks from software)

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/gumbilicious/music/play990705

this one used a 3 mic setup

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/gumbilicious/music/play920678

i have also used a single overhead mic for drums

http://profile.ultimate-guitar.com/gumbilicious/music/play899780
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#10
Quote by gumbilicious

so you'll need a interface with 2 XLR inputs, this will be a midrange option:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/presonus-audiobox-usb-2x2-usb-recording-system

you can find systems for as cheap as ~50 bucks though.

i'd use the SM58 to do most the recording, you'll only need 1 mic for guitar, bass and vocals.


Question: Wouldn't I only need 1 XLR input? I'm doing multi-track recording. or 3 for the drums?
#11
Quote by gateway01
Question: Wouldn't I only need 1 XLR input? I'm doing multi-track recording. or 3 for the drums?


if you wanna use 2 mics then you technically want at least 2 inputs with a preamp a piece. usually these are 2 XLR inputs, usually (not always) 1/4" balanced inputs don't have a preamp on small usb recorder interfaces, they are designed to take a 'line out' from a mixer.

so i was saying 2 XLR inputs on a device so you could facilitate the 2 mics you have. if you wanna do 3 mics on the drums then you will need 3 XLR inputs. most devices don't have 3 XLR inputs though, you usually find 2 on the cheaper units, so economically you should be looking at cheaper 2 input devices.

i use a 4 input presonus (2 XLR w/ preamps and 2 1/4" with no preamps) and i use an 8 input presonus (8 XLR/1/4" inputs), both are firewire devices.
punk isn't dead, it's always smelled that way.

"A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem."
-ae
#12
"CD Quality" on a cheap interface will take years of practice to learn mixing and production techniques.

For guitars if you want to mic. Read everything you can and experiment. Its the only way to get better.

For guitar if you want to direct input record. Plug into a interface and record the clean signal (send the clean signal to another channel to monitor with distortion. Put an Amp Sim (like Poulin or TSE amp sims) and an impulse loader, load impulse boom.

For starting out recording direct input will sound better. Once you get the micing down though they are very comparable. Personally I take amp sims over micing any day, but that has a lot to do with the type of music I do. In reality neither is better and its subjective, do yourself a favor and learn to do both efficiently.

For bass, do direct input. I have done both and DI is just easier to work with and have never heard a "better" sounding miced bass, and have never heard any benefits.

Drums is a big can of worms you can read up on. The best way is get an interface with at least 8 input and allow you to send each input to an individuality track. There are a bunch of other less than satisfactory/harder ways to do it.

Vocals you just need a good mic and phantom power. Pretty simple idea.
#13
The one question I still have is can I still hook up my Boss Distortion pedal to my guitar if I Line in directly? Or will I have to include that on the computer?

Also, which is better, Audacity or Adobe Audition?
#14
I use a presonus audio box, which comes with a semi-decent recording program, Studio One. I upgraded to the full version of the recording program and bought myself a decent condenser mic and a drum machine vsti. All in all, it cost me less than a grand, and it's a great set up.
Last edited by JetPackBlues at Jun 20, 2011,
#15
Quote by gateway01
The one question I still have is can I still hook up my Boss Distortion pedal to my guitar if I Line in directly? Or will I have to include that on the computer?

Also, which is better, Audacity or Adobe Audition?


You can get better distortion on a computer. And you would be better off with Reaper.