#1
Dear reader,
I play in a band as a guitarist, and a while ago someone brought some recording gear and we recorded a few songs in our rehearsal room. I decided I want to do it myself in the near future, so I'm looking for an audio interface. We want to record it all at once (live), so I'll need quite some inputs. 7 or 8 for drums, 1 for bass, 2 for guitars and 2 or 3 for vocals, so that makes a minimum of 12 sufficient. I didn't buy mic's yet, but first things first.
I'm quite experienced in home recording, I have a fine laptop, and I know what software to use and how to mix (I've been using a little audio interface to record my own guitar and vocals to make songs in Reaper (DAW) with EZdrummer, Amplitube, and all that stuff).

Anyway, the whole thing is kind of overwhelming for me, there's lots of diffrent products and I hoped to find someone here to point me in the right direction. I'm not really sure about what I can spend on it yet, because I don't really know what to expect (except for prices ranging from 400 euro's to infinity, right?). I'd prefer to stay below 800 euro's, but I don't know. What would you recommend?

Thanks in advance .
Last edited by Dorky at Nov 21, 2015,
#2
You don't specify what interface type you need (firewire, USB, thunderbolt, PCIe).

Off the bat I've had very good results with 2 PreSonus 8 in/out units chained together via firewire.

They even had 1 that had 16 in/out that is discontinued so it might be had very cheap:
http://www.houstonmusicreviews.com/GearReview/presonusfs/presonusfs.htm

The tube channels in front were great for vocals or something else that needed a bit more push like bass or snare or kick track. I think they had drivers for up to Win7 on this one.

This is what I could find that will fit your needs on USB, as I am assuming that's what you have as firewire is rare on new PCs.
http://www.sweetwater.com/c695--USB_Audio_Interfaces?params=eyJmYWNldCI6eyJTaW11bHRhbmVvdXMgSVwvTyI6WyIxMiB4IDEwIiwiMTIgeCA4IiwiMTIgeCAxMiIsIjE0IHggMTQiLCIxNCB4IDE4IiwiMTYgeCA4IiwiMTYgeCAxMCIsIjE2IHggMTIiLCIxNiB4IDE0IiwiMTYgeCAxNiJdfX0

From this list MOTU or Roland seems capable. There's also the budget Behringer and Tascam.

I have some friends that got the Tascam and like it. It might be high latency but you shouldn't worry as you're capturing live.

You might also make it work with 8 input by submixing all your band on a mixer and feeding that to one mono input, say on ch8 and leave 7 inputs for drums. I've done demos that way too.
Last edited by diabolical at Nov 21, 2015,
#3
Unfortunately I don't have firewire on my laptop, but USB should be fine. Thanks for the info, good to hear that an 8 input interface will work too. I'll look into it .
#4
@Dorky - 8 input will work with some caveats.

There are 2 ways that I can think of that you can approach it:

1. Create click track in your DAW, record the scratch band minus the drummer either all at once or piecemeal and overdub drums using all 8 inputs with drummer responding to click and your already recorded performance, then re-record to capture better performance from each player until everything is finished.

The other two method involve cheap mixer, I have Behringer Eurotrash 2004 that I use...

2. Submix drums so you can get the track count. I submix toms to stereo since our drummer had 5 or 6 including floor toms, so that becomes a stereo out from the mixer which takes 2 tracks on the interface, so Kick (#1), Snare (#2), Toms Submix (#3 & #4), OH L (#5), OH R (#6) and you have two tracks left for the band submix for scratch take that you cut with your drummer.

On the mixer you can use different send groups or aux groups to route to different out so they are not bleeding into the drum track, so essentially you route your band mix to outputs 3&4 on the mixer (mine has 2 stereo out, main 1&2 and another subgroup 3&4 I can send out of). Alternately, you can use aux sends to create that mix.

If you have two kick drums or want to capture mic under the snare you'll end up with one input left for the band, which then means that you'll have to submix the whole scratch track to mono on #8 on the interface.

Since you'll have to throw about $500 in drum mics, stands and clamps, it might be a good idea to find a studio where you can track drums and your scratch tracks as one piece, usually sessions go for about $60 per/hr, if well rehearsed maybe it'll take you 4-8 hours to record all the drums to 8 song LP, then you can take that home and do as many overdubs as you want via your interface. That would decrease your channel count for the interface and you can probably get better quality 2 input interface, for example.

The Tascam option is valid as well. I have friends that have cut decent demos with these as well.

BTW - the Roland on there is 10 channel with two digital channels (spdif), not 12 channels as it is listed. So for you intents and purposes it is 8 analog ins. The digital ins can be used if you get mic preamp that covers digital spdif out, in my case I have a Joemeek TwinQ (too expensive on your budget, $800 used) which if I use that card will bypass its inputs via the digital interface, thus I get two much higher quality inputs via my expensive preamp, bypassing the Roland inputs.

You'll also have to look at mic options as well.

These are decent for the price, probably the best I've found:
http://www.amazon.com/Samson-8kit-8-Piece-Drum-Microphone/dp/B000KVZS2Y/ref=pd_sim_sbs_267_4?ie=UTF8&dpID=51wpzKlKB2L&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=00A6298AKC405F8HRQQ1

The overhead mics also work well as vocal mics on some vocalists and could be used as room mics on guitar and bass cabs (about half a foot away from the amp).
So all you need is one more kick drum (try to match if you can) and something like Senn e609 for guitar cabs.
#5
Wow! Great info, thanks alot for the effort! I'm going for option 2, because we really want to record live and capture the feeling of it, works better for us. So no click.

If I understand it correctly, the drums all go straight into the interface, and the rest of the band through a mixer into the interface? We use only 1 kick so stereo is possible for that.

...And we're talking about mixers like this right? http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/X1222USB
Wouldn't it be more efficient to buy an interface with more inputs then? I can mix with VST's.

We already have 2 vocal mic's and I have one Shure SM57, should be fine for a guitar cab. And what did I need one more kick drum mic for again? As for the OH mics as room mics, don't we need them for the OH? :P

That mic set looks pretty affordable, nice. I'll still need to save up a few months but it's starting to look pretty doable. Thanks again!

edit: Btw, you ment this Roland?: http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UA1610
I count 12 inputs, why is there only 8 I can use?
Last edited by Dorky at Nov 22, 2015,
#6
This Roland (UA1610) will work great for exactly what you need so even the rest of the band can go direct via miked instruments on the recording, so disregard the submixing, you can probably record each instrument direct into the UA1610.

The other Roland was deceptively advertised as 12 input while it was 8 analog and 2 digital, not the UA1610. I think it is a Sweetwater mistake as Roland list it as 10 inputs.

I meant the OH mics from the Samson kit can be used when overdubbing guitar as second guitar mic, if you want to capture room ambience or blend in dynamic/condenser sounds into one, some of the big guitar sounds are not just a SM57 on a grille, usually are much more involved, in some cases a ribbon mic, condenser mic and a dynamic mic all blended together to taste.
#7
In my opinion an elegant and cost effective cross platform solution is a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 ($349.99) connected via ADAT light pipe to a Focusrite OctoPre MkII ($499.99) which gives you a total of 12 analog mic preamplifiers, 12 analog outputs, and two independent monitor outs (18i8) at a bit depth and sample rate of 24bits x 96 kHz via USB 2.0. The nearest box that comes close is the MOTU 16 ($1495). At $899.98 this gives you extra cash for microphones for your 12 channels of mic pres. I don't know the current conversion in euros, but I think this close to your budget.
As a recording guitarist I like the idea of a built in DSP mixer with an ultra low latency of 1.4 ms. along with Focusrite's plug in suite which includes their Red line EQ and compressor along with gates and reverb as well as Softube's Time and Tone plug in suite which include reverb, a tube style delay, and saturation to add warmth to your mix, plus Ableton Live Lite, the Novation Bass Station soft synth and a Loopmasters sample pack.
This setup works with Pro Tools, Logic, and most industry standard DAW's as well as iOS devices such as iPad and iPhone.
The OctoPre MkII is optimized for drums and every channel has 48v phantom power and a -10 db pad.
In my humble opinion this is a logical solution to recording a band at rehearsal that could easily become pro recordings for some future release. Stranger things have happened.
Last edited by kendall jones at Nov 23, 2015,
#8
The ADAT way is not a bad idea, the ADAT pres could be had for next to nothing used:
PreSonus Digimax D8 can be had for about $200 used ($400 new), there's also Behringer ADA8000 about $150 used. ART Tube Opto8 also works well and goes for about $350 new.

Not crazy about ADAT syncs as the more things you connect the more can fail but I've used Pro Tools with Octopre preamps and it was fine. Not totally crazy about their preamps like some other Focusrite fanboys on here but they are clean so at this price range that's pretty much all that matters, probably either Focusrite or PreSonus preamps at this price range will work best. I had friends that used the Behringer and they're not bad, very cheap way to add extra inputs and remember that you can mix and match so you can upgrade to something better if you decide to go this route.

I'd probably go with the all-in-one Roland if you can afford it.

Also might be worth investigating what DAW you want to use and what brands work best with it.

For example I had hard time with PreSonus and Digital Performer on Mac, while Cubase worked on same Mac without a glitch. Also some odd things happened with a few brands' interfaces while I was on Sonar. So investigate forum complaints as you might end up getting the wrong DAW for your interface.
Last edited by diabolical at Nov 23, 2015,
#9
I'm not a fan of S/MUX ADAT sync, but you wordclock sync the OctoPre and that should take care of the Scarlett. ART Sync Gen ($99.00) is an inexpensive way to go.