#1
Hey, I'm planning my recording gear purchases. Know that the computer I have CURRENTLY is an XP desktop with 1 gig of RAM and what I believe is a 2.3ghz processor, from late 2005. The laptop I will be purchasing (you'll hear more later) will either be a black macbook or some Vista machine, not sure yet.
I'll number my questions, going into more details throughout.

1. First, I can't decide what preamp to get. I was originally set on the Firebox, but at least half the reviews I've read have complaints about getting the thing to work with their computer. I mean, just look at the Presonus forum! I'm not completely ruling it out though. It seems my options are the Firebox, the Edirol FA-66, the M-Audio 410, or a something else. I need opinions on this, because I'm kind of stuck.

2. What will I be recording, you might ask? Well, I do want to compose some MIDI music (I'll have a question about that after) but I will also be recording a full band. Here's how I plan to mic: I have access to three AKG D5 dynamic microphones. They're meant for live vocals, but I was planning on using two as overheads and using an XLR to 1/4 adapter to plug into one of the 1/4 inputs on the back, and use that as a bass drum mic. Would that be possible? I would then DI bass, MIDI keyboards, mic guitars and percussion and sax and such.
Will that produce quality results?

3a. Although some of the music is written, the band will not be record ready for sometime, so I was wondering if it would be worth it to buy the interface now so I can do some MIDI composing? (I have a full size Yamaha with MIDI i/o)

3b. One problem is that the only interface that comes with software is the Firebox, which comes with Cubase LE as well as the "Propak" suite of loops and sounds and such. I don't think I can afford any software along with the interface, not until a while after I purchase the interface at least.

3c. I won't be able to get my new laptop (need laptop for school) until later in the year (think holidays) so this stuff has to work on both computers. Will most software allow installation on more than one computer?

I know I'm forgetting things, but I'll ask them when I remember. I know this is long, so thanks for any help you can provide.

Ketchup

EDIT: Also, I know it doesn't mean much, but I just wanted to let you know that I do have experience with live sound mixing and such, so I understand some of the terms and such.
Last edited by KetchupLad14 at Aug 10, 2008,
#2
Quote by KetchupLad14

1. First, I can't decide what preamp to get. I was originally set on the Firebox, but at least half the reviews I've read have complaints about getting the thing to work with their computer. I mean, just look at the Presonus forum! I'm not completely ruling it out though. It seems my options are the Firebox, the Edirol FA-66, the M-Audio 410, or a something else. I need opinions on this, because I'm kind of stuck.


Well, keep in mind that few people who don't have complaints actually post on the forum. Nevertheless, you should always know the return policy of whatever vendor you buy stuff from.

Quote by KetchupLad14

2. What will I be recording, you might ask? Well, I do want to compose some MIDI music (I'll have a question about that after) but I will also be recording a full band. Here's how I plan to mic: I have access to three AKG D5 dynamic microphones. They're meant for live vocals, but I was planning on using two as overheads and using an XLR to 1/4 adapter to plug into one of the 1/4 inputs on the back, and use that as a bass drum mic. Would that be possible? I would then DI bass, MIDI keyboards, mic guitars and percussion and sax and such.
Will that produce quality results?


Well, it's hard to say. I don't think the microphones will do a good job as overheads, since they are supercardoid patterned...only sounds from a limited area (and distance too) will be captured. I recommend getting a matched pair of omni/switchable patterned condensers to do the trick...Rode NT55's ideally, Samson C2s can work as well. They can pick up all the sounds of the kit thanks to better sensitivity and a wider pickup pattern.

Also, if you want to record a full band, a Firebox is hardly adequate...go for an FP10 or Firestudio Project, or Art Tubefire 8 which have 8 XLR inputs for all the microphones and DI boxes you'll want (Presonus's have built in DI boxes, so you can spend money on reamps).
MIDI can be taken care of by specialty USB cables, and multiple inputs can have separate interfaces that aren't too expensive.

Quote by KetchupLad14

3a. Although some of the music is written, the band will not be record ready for sometime, so I was wondering if it would be worth it to buy the interface now so I can do some MIDI composing? (I have a full size Yamaha with MIDI i/o)


No problems here.

Quote by KetchupLad14

3b. One problem is that the only interface that comes with software is the Firebox, which comes with Cubase LE as well as the "Propak" suite of loops and sounds and such. I don't think I can afford any software along with the interface, not until a while after I purchase the interface at least.


Well, Reaper's a pretty well featured Windows-based DAW that's only $50. Moody can help you use it. Here's a review. Mackie's Tracktion's also an interesting pick.

Quote by KetchupLad14

3c. I won't be able to get my new laptop (need laptop for school) until later in the year (think holidays) so this stuff has to work on both computers. Will most software allow installation on more than one computer?


Yes. Also, since Macs can have Boot Camp, you can get a Windows-based program to work on a Mac, though IMHO you don't get as much power and features going with a Mac. Read this to get a good idea.
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
Last edited by Fast_Fingers at Aug 10, 2008,
#3
First off are you going to be recording the band all at once or one track at a time?

Id go with the carvin 16 channel studio mixer with usb (its a more versitile interface than firebox except for midi). And am i right you can only put two mics or instruments into the firebox at a time?

But for midi there is the m audio midi to usb interface for $40, i havnt used it but i think its worth a look.

As for mics you should be fine for drums if you could invest in a bass drum mic use two of the akgs for overheads and one for the snare. But with the mixer you could just put two over head and on on the bass. I like to mic the snare seprately to add a little reverb or whatever. With the firebox though the mic you put to 1/4 ts will have lower gain and sound not so good, you could try it but i dont think it would sound so good

And i think you should be fine with the desktop. but if your going with a laptop i havent used the usb equipment with macbook, but i have vista in it works fine.

just my opinion.
#4
Thanks for putting so much effort into that.

2. Well the thing is, I was considering putting "mic money" towards a good large diaphragm condenser for vocals or something.
Either way, those mics are way too expensive. Just one of the Rode mics is more than I wanted to spend on a condenser in total. I'm just doing this for demo quality and for fun. I have contacts for when I'm ready to do a more professional production.

As for the Firepod, I was planning on buying the Firebox refurbished, so it would only be $250. I'M GOING TO BE TRACKING THE INSTRUMENTS INDIVIDUALLY. (capped for importance) Which is why I only need two inputs. (I do want the third for the bass drum, which is why I asked about the XLR to 1/4)

3b. If I do get the Firebox, will Cubase LE plus whatever comes in the ProPak whatever be enough to cover me MIDI-wise?

3c. again. I'm going to read that right now.

Thanks a lot for all the help.
Ketchup

EDIT:
Quote by whospinkfloyd

Id go with the carvin 16 channel studio mixer with usb (its a more versitile interface than firebox except for midi). And am i right you can only put two mics or instruments into the firebox at a time?
But for midi there is the m audio midi to usb interface for $40, i havnt used it but i think its worth a look.

As for mics you should be fine for drums if you could invest in a bass drum mic use two of the akgs for overheads and one for the snare. But with the mixer you could just put two over head and on on the bass. I like to mic the snare seprately to add a little reverb or whatever. With the firebox though the mic you put to 1/4 ts will have lower gain and sound not so good, you could try it but i dont think it would sound so good

Why would I spend more money on a mixer that doesn't have MIDI and has more stuff than I want or need?

I would mic the snare also but for now I only have 3 mics. As for the XLR to 1/4 thing, I was thinking that. I was just hoping that maybe these mics wouldn't need a lot of gain as well as the fact that the bass drum doesn't have a wide range of frequencies, so it wouldn't be a huge deal.
Last edited by KetchupLad14 at Aug 10, 2008,
#5
Just finished up some MST3K watching on Youtube...so I can check UG again...

Quote by KetchupLad14

2. Well the thing is, I was considering putting "mic money" towards a good large diaphragm condenser for vocals or something.
Either way, those mics are way too expensive. Just one of the Rode mics is more than I wanted to spend on a condenser in total. I'm just doing this for demo quality and for fun. I have contacts for when I'm ready to do a more professional production.


All right. You can actually pick up very good quality voice microphones for ~$150 or so...perhaps you can get a versatile one like the Samson CL8, and use the Omni pattern for overhead drums (adding the AKG for kick). That way it can do both at once.

An alternative is to get a submixer to act as a two channel preamp for the overheads and go for a more affordable 2 channel interface like the Mackie Onyx which can handle stereos line-ins. You'd connect the outs to the line input (there are dual TRS cables available for that). Despite what you hear on the Internet, Behringer's a fine brand, and I've seen their old $60 mixers used in popular local TV stations.
This Tapco is also a solid choice...perhaps more so since you won't have to pay shipping. You may lose a bit of fidelity since the preamp is cheaper, but since it's just for demos, it's not a big deal.

Quote by KetchupLad14

As for the Firepod, I was planning on buying the Firebox refurbished, so it would only be $250. I'M GOING TO BE TRACKING THE INSTRUMENTS INDIVIDUALLY. (capped for importance) Which is why I only need two inputs. (I do want the third for the bass drum, which is why I asked about the XLR to 1/4)


See above.

Quote by KetchupLad14

3b. If I do get the Firebox, will Cubase LE plus whatever comes in the ProPak whatever be enough to cover me MIDI-wise?


Hard to say. Look at the manuals here, and see if it's well featured enough to keep you interested.
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
Last edited by Fast_Fingers at Aug 11, 2008,
#7
Keep your current desktop computer to run your recording software on. It is completely fine. Take the money you would otherwise spend on a new computer, and re-evaluate your budget. Your possibilities for buying more and/or better gear to get the job done better have just expanded immensely.

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.
#8
No, I need the laptop for school, and my sister will be getting this computer. I know it's not ideal, but it's what's happening. Besides, my parents are buying me the computer, and I'm just buying this stuff.
#9
Quote by KetchupLad14
Just in case I can't get the Samson, do you have any other mic recommendations?


Hmm...you could get two Behringer C2s for overheads (they run about $50) and snagging a $99 large diaphragm condenser, perhaps used. There's also MXL's popular microphone package with te 990 and 991 on Musiciansfriend, though I've heard less than favorable things about the condenser. The alternative is getting the Samson CO3 which also has the switchable patterns, though you will get a smaller diaphragm as a result.
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
#10
Would an AKG Perception 200 be an upgrade from those $100 condensers?

What if I got that, and used it as an overhead (as well as for vocals and acoustic), while using an AKG on the bass as well as maybe a couple other spots (cymbals maybe)?

Then I could save up for something a little better for overheads.
Last edited by KetchupLad14 at Aug 11, 2008,