#1
Hi there. I've recently built myself a relatively high spec pc, with the intention of using it to start recording some stuff. However, being a student i've had to wait for my next loan installment to be able to afford an interface and stuff. I know next to nothing about this at the moment - i know how a computer works fairly well, and i know how all my gear works, but bridging the gap to start recording is the difficulty.

So, i was wondering if you guys would be kind enough to point me in the direction of some good hardware and software. I need an interface, preferably PCI (or PCI-E) without breaking the bank - i'm looking for something less than £200. Most of my recording will be coming out of a POD 2.0 or an amp, with a few direct signals. Guitar, bass and vocals. Midi would be nice, tho not essential, as i can get a USB keyboard if i need to.

Also, i don't know if audacity can run VST plugins, but if it can, could someone please point me in the direction of some good but easy to use synths and drum machines, and if not, some programmes that will handle this for me.
#2
Well, for starters, are you wanting to buy the synths, or find some decent quality free ones?

In terms of a PCI card, I hear good things about a lot of the M-Audio stuff. The Delta 44 is only £85 here, and comes with a breakout box so there's no need to fiddle around behind the PC every time you need to plug something in. If you want integrated preamps, you could go with something like the Delta 1010LT.

However, I'm probably not the best equipped to answer this, as I have limited experience with PCI interfaces, but this should give you a basic idea. Both cards I mentioned are quite a bit less than your budget, but when you get more expensive, you get more inputs, which you probably won't need.
There is poetry in despair.
#3
Well, if the free ones are of similar quality to cheaper pay for synths, i'd rather go for one of the free ones.

What would i need intergrated pre-amps for - or rather, do i actually need them?
#4
A few things...First: although the Delta 1010LT has XLR inputs, it does NOT have microphone preamps. Not even the $600 full version with balanced inputs. You won't need it if you're recording from a Pod.

Second: Audacity can run VST plugins...there's a list of them on their website...audio tweaking such as Nyquist or De-Ess.

Third: You will need a preamp to plug in a microphone, or supply phantom power for a condenser. ART (Applied Research and Technology) and Behringer make good inexpensive preamps. You'll only need one I/O...a Tube MP will do the trick (it's about $45). You can easily upgrade them with 2 $12 tubes if you want to improve their sound. Also, preamps can make your digital Pod sound much better...you may want to get a dual channel preamp if you really like it.

Fourth: The Delta44 is probably the best one for you to go on. You don't need many inputs from what you're doing (at most, it'll be two tracks at a time). It's $160 US, and based on my experience with the cheaper Audiophile coming out of professional quality Genelecs...it'll sound awesome. You'll need a Y-cable to monitor through headphones, and it'll give you the chance to easily plug in active monitors, which are necessary to figure out if your sound's any good.

Fifth: Get your stuff (cables too) all at once. At other (often less expensive) places like Americanmusical and ZZounds, they can ship for free given a minimum order.

I do have a question...is the bass going to be plugged through the Pod?

As for synths and drum machines, look at Emusician.com for thorough reviews and get the best one for your budget.
Last edited by Fast_Fingers at Mar 1, 2008,
#5
I have the Delta 44 with a Yamaha MG series mixer in front of it. I love it.

DS
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#6
Thanks for all the info.

My plan with the bass was actually to buy a cheap DI box and put the signal from the bass through it into the interface. It's got an active EQ, and i've had success running the signal through a DI box and into a mixer and PA live. Most of my tone comes from the EQ (the curse of cheap amps) so it's worked before. Is this a good idea?

Sounds like the delta44 is going on my shopping list then (-:
#7
Thats how I record my bass, and I can get a great tone that way.
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#8
The Delta 1010LT actually does have 2 mic preamps, but they are pretty lousy, you can adjust jumpers on the card to make them line inputs.
#9
Quote by Mad_BOB
Thanks for all the info.

My plan with the bass was actually to buy a cheap DI box and put the signal from the bass through it into the interface. It's got an active EQ, and i've had success running the signal through a DI box and into a mixer and PA live. Most of my tone comes from the EQ (the curse of cheap amps) so it's worked before. Is this a good idea?

Sounds like the delta44 is going on my shopping list then (-:


Absolutely. The DI box is the preferred method to record bass.

And I guess I stand corrected on the 1010LT...really odd that the 2x more expensive version sacrifices it for balanced I/O.
#10
Cheers for the info and advice guys. I think i've got a good idea of what i'm gonna spend my money on now (-:
#11
Quote by Fast_Fingers
Absolutely. The DI box is the preferred method to record bass.

And I guess I stand corrected on the 1010LT...really odd that the 2x more expensive version sacrifices it for balanced I/O.


The 2x more expensive one puts everything together for you in a rack-mountable box too.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#12
Quote by axemanchris
The 2x more expensive one puts everything together for you in a rack-mountable box too.

CT


True, but it'll be way beyond his needs. Besides, we don't even know if he has rack-mounts available.
#13
Personally I would get a Mackie Onyx Satellite interface (if you can do firewire) and an M-audio Keyrig/Keystation which is a USB keyboard with hammer action weighted keys. It won't be cutting corners by any means and should still fit your budget.
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Quote by BrianApocalypse
Good call

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#14
Quote by Fast_Fingers
True, but it'll be way beyond his needs. Besides, we don't even know if he has rack-mounts available.


Agreed. I'd highly recommend the Delta 44.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.