Total Noob question here. I've done lots of reading and I'm still confused as to what I need for my purposes.

I'm a singer songwriter that wants to record an EP for digital release, so I'll be recording guitars, voice, and maybe violin but will need MIDI drums, bass and keys.

For a mic I'm looking at the Blue Bluebird, but for a DAW I have no clue what I want or need. My computer is an older PC but I'm thinking of upgrading to a mac.

And for a USB interface, what should I be looking for?
How many channels do you need to record at once?

DAWs - pretty much personal preference. You can try something more basic to get used to recording, like maybe Mixcraft or Garageband, usually something comes prepackaged with the interface so you can started with one of these.

Drums - tons of options there, drum machines, soft plugins like EZDrummer, BFD, etc.

Same thing with mics. I'd suggest condenser mic so you can get both acoustic guitars and vocals covered. AT2020 is a good neutral mic choice for price/performance ratio.
Last edited by diabolical at Dec 13, 2012,
The bluebird is great, I just got one, but the at2020 is a decent choice for a man on a budget. As for the interface, you won't need more than 2-4 inputs, and phantom power.
This interface looks great for the price. As far as DAW, reaper is one that gets mentioned a lot. It's pretty intuitive, and there are lots of good tutorials online.
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I'd take a look at the interface sticky we have here on the board, its based off of actual user feedback instead of what looks good. For your uses, the Focusrite Saffire 6 or Scarlett 2i4 are the best you'd need. The preamps are quality & they sound better than anything I've used in the $100-$200 range.

As far as DAWs, look into Reaper. Its a very affordable ($60 unless you make more than $25,000 in one year) professional sounding DAW. Lots of people on this board use it and there are thousands of tutorials for it.

For drums, look up Steven Slate Drums. The EX version is all you'd need and its miles better than EZDrummer, Addictive Drums or anything else in its price range. EZDrummer is just very stale sounding & Addictive is meh.

Don't waste your money on a USB condenser. They never live up to the same standards as their non-USB counterparts & are often lacking good A/D conversion, good preamps & are built differently so that they don't sound the same. For $100, you can pick up an Audio Technica AT2020 which is probably the best thing in the $100ish range.

Also, as a tip for finding this stuff cheap, check eBay. The Saffire 6's go for about $100-$150 since the Scarlett 2i4 is replacing it (even though there are new drivers for Windows 8 & an email I recently got said they're still going to support them for a while). Used AT2020's go for $60-$80.
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Lockwolf is right on everything. I have a Sapphire 6 and it's sweet - I have other interfaces but retired them all - the Sapphire sounds and works beautifully on my Win 7 computer and my Mac Tower system too. for both guitar and voice (midi too)!
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!
Thanks so much for the advice

EDIT: The Akai interface looks nice, but only records in 16-bit, and 24-bit is what I should be recording in right? So with that logic the Saffire 6 would seem to be the best.
Last edited by ccannon1 at Dec 16, 2012,
Ideally 24-bit would be good. That said, if you are planning on recording to a CD that's only 16-bit anyway so it's not a huge deal.
There are arguments for tracking in 16Bit, as well as those favouring 24Bit. Personally, I prefer 24Bit, for the headroom when tracking, but that's not to say that recording in 16Bit is 'bad' as such. Many people record in sample rates far higher than 44.1kHz (CD Redbook sample rate) these days, but to save on down-sampling causing any major changes during the bounce process, I still track in 44.1kHz (and would use 48kHz for DVD Audio if I was recording for that).
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