#1
So I have been looking at interfaces, I would like either firewire or USB 2 as I have them, and under $200. Also I have Vista which seems to be a problem at the moment.

The two main interfaces I am looking at are the TASCAM US-144, and the Mackie Onyx Satellite. The Mackie isn't approved for Vista yet but it is in the process, anyone know how long that might be?

Anyway, I want midi, hi-z guitar in's, and a good mic preamp, preferably with combo mic jacks. My two main factors are 1.) Latency and 2.) Preamp. I will be using the software that comes with the interface, I have an old version of Acid Pro but I don't really want to use it anymore.

So the Tascam says "Zero-latency hardware monitoring." Does this mean zero-latency overdubbing or is the "hardware monitoring" some fancy way of saying zero-latency is a special case?

The Mackie says low-latency. Will this be a problem with the Mackie? Will there be a noticeable delay? Because I don't feel like dropping $200 if it can't even overdub without a delay (my computer can do that, though it doesn't sound as good).

Finally, how do the Tascam mic preamps stack up to the onyx preamps, anyone know anything about this?

Edit: I also want to throw the E-MU 0404 in there if anyone has any opinions about that.
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Last edited by zipppy2006 at May 9, 2008,
#2
Mackie has no MIDI, but do you already have a MIDI keyboard? If you don't, it's easy enough to get a USB keyboard.

The TASCAM means that it'll route whatever sound you're inputting to the headphones. If you have a guitar, it'll probably be the clean (not processed) sound. And the Mackie's low latency will mean that it's unnoticeable, <10ms.

Both are reliable brands, and I can't really comment on the preamp qualities of both...it really depends if you have good enough monitors to even notice a difference in the first place.
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#3
Wow Your right, I don't know how I overlooked that. I do have a nice midi keyboard so I would like midi. Good to know about the latency thing, thanks.

Bummer, anyone know anything about the E-MU 0404 or the different qualities of the mic preamps?
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#4
The Mackie doesn't have MIDI, but it does have very transparent preamps. Still, sticking MIDI to the computer's ridiculously cheap and easy. Finally, to confuse you even more, there's the M Audio Fast Track Pro to consider, which can support a limited version of Pro Tools (it's almost exactly like LE).

Maybe if you can go into a guitar center and try them out on their equipment you'd figure out which was the easiest to use and best sounding.
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#5
Okay, well the Fast Track Pro is USB 1. Basically, most of my recording will be a guitar into an amp micced. So will the mic preamp on the Mackie be much more transparent than the E'MU 0404?

Also, with regard to latency stuff, I usually listen to the track through headphones while miccing my amp with my guitar and overdubbing. So will I be able to do this with zero-latency?
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#6
I have the EMU 0202. I like it, and it has a hi-z input thing. I haven't experienced much latency, there is probably a few milliseconds but it isn't noticable. I doesn't have MIDI, but I think the 0404 does.... well I'm sure you've looked into that.

Also, you get a great software bundle with the EMU. You get "lite" versions of Sonar, Cubase, Ableton Live, and also some other types of programs like Wavelab, Melodyne, and and Amplitube (again, all "lite" or "LE"). Having said that, of these programs I use about 2. I found Sonar was the best, and it doesn't restrict me at all.
#8
the E-MU's combo mic/line/guitar jacks worry me. How does that work and is there any drawback? Sifting through these interfaces is starting to bug me, would it be possible to just get the Lightsnake or the MXL here: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navigation?page=1&N=100001&Ntk=All&Ntt=mic%2Binterface&Nty=1&Ns=P_Price%7C0

and buy a SM-57? I wouldn't have midi but it would be a lot cheaper and miccing the amp and vocals is mostly what I would be doing.

Also, how does the latency work when you are miccing an amp? Because if I have a few tracks put together on my computer and I am recording another track on top of those, can I just listen through my amp for zero-latency recording (listen to the tracks on the computer through headphones, and also listen to my amp?)
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Last edited by zipppy2006 at May 10, 2008,
#9
I think you plug the mics into the full XLR slot, and 1/4 inch jacks into the hole in the middle. At least that's what I gather. I shouldn't worry too much about the fact they are combined, mics and guitars both produce a similar, weak, electrical signal, which need a pre-amp.

Here's a review btw you might wanna look at. http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jan07/articles/emu0404.htm

Also, if you don't want to buy the EMU, bear in mind that separate MIDI interfaces aren't expensive. Mine was only £40, and I bought a yamaha one because I wanted to make sure it was compatibe. I could probably got one for cheaper if I bought a generic one.
#10
yea the combo jacks are nothing cheap. I see quite a few high end interfaces using these type connections now.

As for buying and looking around MF, search under something like Audio interface or just go into Recording » Computer Hardware » Sound & Recording Cards / Audio Interfaces.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/navigation/computer-hardware-recording-cards-audio-interfaces?N=100001+304891

latency should be unnoticeable when using an interface with USB 2.0 or firewire connection. The audio will run though your interface so recording and playback should be good. If you mic your amp you can put headphones on and run them to your phone port on the interface and so monitoring with recording and playback will not give you any delays.

I have used an E-MU 1x1 USB/MIDI cable with vista and it works well. I don't use midi much in my studio but do have it on my m-audio 2496 card so I don't use the USB other than to back up my drum module.

I suggest the E-MU 0404 interface, and if you have the money, go for an SM57 for any type of general use.
#11
Cool, Yea I've searched all of the interfaces on MF. And I know the combo jacks are good for 1/4 mics and normal mic ends, but usually the interfaces have a separate instrument/line in jack-- thats what I was thinking about. But yea probably wouldn't be a big problem eh? I am leaning towards the E-MU now, and if not that then the tascam 144.

As far as mics, I was thinking about the SM57 or this guy http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/Sennheiser-E609-Silver-Dynamic-Guitar-Microphone?sku=276668
I will be micing an amp 90% of the time and I have my $30 mic or could I also use this one for voice? Or should I just go with the shure?

Also, as a side-note, could I go to guitar center and buy both of these (mic and interface) for $300 and barter them down a bit since it is commission-based? Or doesn't this work for multiple items? I don't have any experience with the guitar center system.
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#12
The SM57 can serve double duty. Just get a pop-screen or improvise one yourself.
Quote by keiron_d
thank you sooooooo much for the advice Fast_Fingers...i would hug you if i could...i looooove you!


True love exists in UG. Can you feel it?

Recording Guitar Amps 101