So basically I've been recording stuff so far on my mac with the built in microphone and garageband. Sound quality is alright but not great, and I can't pick up bass. I'm a bassist Listen to the stuff on my profile to get an idea of where I am.

Anyway, I decided it was time to upgrade a bit, seeing as I'm getting a new macbook soon. I'm quite happy with garageband as my software, though I do have logic pro at my disposal. I was thinking about getting either a

Mackie Onyx Satellite: http://www.mackie.com/products/satellite/index.html
Line6 Toneport: http://line6.com/toneportux1/

The onyx is clearly much better but costs twice as much, and I'm on a shoestring here, and honestly would probably never use half the features, but the firewire is what I'm interested in.

On top of that, I don't know what microphone to go with. I'm looking at fairly low-end large condenser mics, maybe something like this: http://www.thomann.de/gb/the_tbone_sc400_grossmembranmikro.htm

Anyway, I really don't know what to aim for, I'm really only recording guitar and bass right now, with a view to vocals in the future. If anyone's got an opinion or advice it'd be much appreciated
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Well, the Onyx has far better features (preamp, build quality), and it can grow with your studio. A Presonus Inspire's a nice compromise between the two (also Firewire)...the only thing you'll miss are balanced outputs. However, whether an interface is Firewire or USB doesn't matter if you are planning to use only one microphone/input at a time.

As for microphones, just look up reviews of microphones you are interested in. You'll need an SM57 to do guitar and bass...and it can work with vocals in a pinch.
Quote by keiron_d
thank you sooooooo much for the advice Fast_Fingers...i would hug you if i could...i looooove you!

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Recording Guitar Amps 101
I would go with the satellite interface, as said, its got great preamps and is much better than a USB 1.1 toneport any day. You may not use all of it's features however the ADA converters and Preamps are MUCH better and will give much better recording quality.

As for a mic, Try the MXL 990/991 pack which goes for $100.
As mentioned above, SM57s are wonderful for guitar amps (and snare drums) and sound pretty good on some voices.

It's harder to find a good vocal mic because everybody's voice is different, but I'd look at a Shure SM7 or SM7B (they're basically the same mic), which is a dynamic mic and costs about $350. Another one that you don't hear much about is the RE-20, which is another dynamic mic in the same price range. These mics are used a lot in broadcasting, but they've also been used on a lot of famous recordings (I hear Rick Rubin is a big fan of the SM7).

That's all I got.
I've used the RE20s for the college radio station I work for (and seen them in every radio station I've interned in), and they're insane. $400 and perfect for the male broadcasting voice. It's way out of the budget here...and actually I've heard even better things about the RE27, its better equipped variety.

But yeah, from the start, go with an SM57, and if you want a brighter vocal sound, look into condensers. Samson, M Audio, Studio Projects, and MXL make solid ones.
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
Rick Ruben is amazing.

I'm 99% certain that Quincy Jones used an SM-7 when recording Michael Jackson's lead vocals on the Thriller album. Now THAT is tough to beat!

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.