Hey folks...

I've got a computer studio set up for recording. My Les Paul plugs into a Boss ME-50 which plugs into a channel on my Mackie DFX-6. A male-to-male stereo RCA cable goes from the Tape Out on the mixer to a RCA-to-1/8" adapter which goes to the Line In on my PC. The PC is a sweet P4 with Windows XP, lots of RAM, a big hard disk and Cakewalk SONAR 6 Producer Edition.

There's noise in the system - lots of background hum - especially when I have the main outs on the Mackie connected to my Marshall stack at the same time as the connection from Tape Out to the PC.

The Mackie DFX-6 is the culprit and I'm keeping an eye out for something to replace it.

Here's the thing... My PC has USB 2.0 and Firewire connections and I'm thinking that maybe there's a better way of connecting a mixing device to the PC.

I do want to keep some sort of mixer. I also use a micropohone to record tracks and the mixer gives a lot of flexibility.

There is one bonus to my current setup - I can use the left and right channel of the stereo connection to record two mono tracks simultaneously.

Does anyone have any recommendations for some sort of mixer that has USB 2.0 ir Firewire outputs that can connect to the PC and have the signal be understood by SONAR 6?

Thanks for any ideas you have!
1. Check out presonus, either the firestudio or the firepod. These are 8-XLR-input units, which are firewire, that will drastically increase the quality of the recording.

2.Check out some power current cleaners - I think Monster makes one - these things process the power running into all your electronics and keep them receiving a steady consistent current voltage, which is probably the source of the humming.

Note that if you keep putting that amount of power into your line-in port you can severely damage your motherboard.

Also, the firewire offers another HUGE advantage: you can record any number of tracks, not just a stereo signal...which is the case with usb and analog...firewire kicks the crap out of both.
Are you gainstaging properly? Are your cables balanced? You should check stuff like that before you start investing in new gear.

Try each channel individually and see if maybe a specific channel is the source.
Thanks for the info, GITAR... I saw the PreSonus FireStudio Project ($500) and PreSonus FireStudio FireWire Recording Interface ($700) on guitarcenter.com. Not sure what the difference between them is! The latter includes software...

If I get a PreSonus device and plug it into a firewire port on my compooper, then the sound card and its DSP chip is no longer being used, right? Am I losing something by eliminating whatever DSP the soundcard has on it?

If I get a PreSonus device will my CakeWalk Sonar 6 still work for recording or will I have to use their Cubase?