So basically, I'm trying to setup a mini-studio for recording. Unfortunately, I don't have a job yet (I'm 17 XD) but shall be getting one soon.

Anyways, I got myself a Shure PG57-XLR Microphone to record, but now I need an interface (USB preferably). I will ask this as christmas gift from my parents so the price can be up to about $250 CND MAXIMUM.

So I need some suggestions, I've checked out on M-Audio and found the MobilePre USB and the Fast Track USB that could be good. I could always get the Fast Track Pro, but I dunno because my brother have the exact same one and I don't want to feel like a mimic.

So yeah, M-Audio is pretty much the only interfaces I know so help me out Post links, opinions, if you have experienced it, etc.

Thank you guys!
i have an m-audio

i really like the interface but the drivers are kind of hard to install
if you have vista stick with M-Audio. They make the best drivers for that OS and I didn't have any problems installing them.

The emu 0202 or 0404 USB2.0 interfaces are good and offer the USB connection you are looking for.

Don't worry about copying others with gear. I'm sure a ton of studios are using PreSonus gear and it's simply because it works and does a great job. Look at it as a good review. If they are very happy with the interface, chances are you will be and so you should look into it.

Vista isn't bad at all, If I could I would go back to XP but I am not complaining and run Vista in my studio.
Last edited by moody07747 at Nov 7, 2008,
I use a spirit notepad mixing desk. Its pretty sweet, only for 4 channels with both XLR and line inputs also got two aux channels for any outboard effects.
I'd go with something like that if your wanting to set up your own home studio. Also have you thought about getting any more microphones? what will you be using the PG57-XLR for? Its ok for vocals, but as for guitars and such its a bit non-directional and could get quite a bit of spillage.
Nah I don't use Vista, XP ftw. And I'll check those out thanks.

And as for the mic, I don't know if I'll get more. Maybe upgrade it one time for a better because I know the PG57-XLR is not the best out there, but that's what I could afford for now. I'll be using it to record guitar and maybe vocals (If I ever decide to sing, which I don't think will happen :P). I know it's not the best like you said, but it's certainly better than a $5 headset mic.

Just checked out the Spirit Notepad, looks really good, but I dunno if 4 channels is a need for me and is it USB?
Last edited by DarkTom666 at Nov 7, 2008,
the Spirit Notepad looks to be just a standard Analog Mixer which if you have seen my videos, isn't useful at all when it comes to recording. An audio interface is much more worth the money in todays studios.

also USB mixers mix down the audio inputs so those are also quite useless. Once again, stay away from those.
So you're telling me to stay away from USB mixers if I understood correctly? That'd leave me using FireWire. But the problem is I don't know if I have a FireWire plug on my computer.

I'll have to ask my father or brother. Anyways, I've checked PreSonus out and saw the FireBox or the Inspire 1394 that could be interesting and in my price range.

Are they any good?
Yea I suggest staying away from USB mixers and higher end USB interfaces. Most of them mix every input down to two mono tracks. Firewire is better once you get above 2 inputs.

Both the Inspire and Firebox are great, the Firebox is a little better than the two. THIS POLL shows it all quite easily.

You can easily add firewire ports to desktop PCs with a simple to install Firewire PCI card. They are nice to have on any computer so it's worth the price. Simply plug it into a PCI slot and you should be up and running in minutes.

Most desktops have the 6 pin port where as laptops have the 4 pin port. Both are the same, it's just one is different in shape and the 4 pin version doesnt transmit power down the cable to power some products but most of the time you can plug into a wall to counter that anyways..

The ports at the far right are the firewire ports on this laptop:

Last edited by moody07747 at Nov 7, 2008,
I think I have a 6-circuit port, but I'm not 100% sure if it is or not, I'll have to ask someone.

Checked out the poll, FireBox is largely winning, and the ratings and reviews seem to be extraordinary. So currently, I have the FireBox in mind. Would you recommend it to a beginner recorder who doesn't know a hell lot about recording interfaces and such? Also, what program would you recommend to mix with, I'm using Audacity right now since it's free.

By the way, thanks a hell lot for all the help.
Reaper is nice and low in price, as are some of the Cakewalk Sonars. Both are quite nice.
I personally am an fan of Sonar sequencers and run Sonar 7 Producer in my studio.

As for the interface, yea if you have the money it's great for anyone. If you want to save a little bit of the money the Inspire isn't bad at all but the Firebox is just a little better with its higher end AD converters, more ins and outs, and I think it has better preamps than the inspire...
Hmm I'm still thinking..

I recently saw the Mackie Onyx Satellite which seems good too, it even comes with a software that could be really useful for me. I know it has no Vista compatibility, but my computer is running XP aswell as everyother computers in my house.

And it's cheaper.

Would you mind giving me your point of view on this moody? Thanks!
The Satellite is a very nice interface. It has some great preamps on board and has plenty of connections when plugged into the base. I have heard of the socket failing from a handful of users around the net so it may be best to keep it plugged into the base as much as possible.

I would say it's very similar in quality to the Firebox from PreSonus however it lacks features such as MIDI and SPDIF

Now SPDIF isnt really used much by smaller studios however MIDI is a huge help in any studio and I really enjoy working with it. If you like the features and price of the Satellite you can always spend $30 and get the EMU 1x1 USB to MIDI cable, (A product I use).

You could also forget about MIDI for now and go with the Mackie interface...then later down the road, get a USB MIDI controller keyboard which don't run too high in price and are nice to have around. Since they connect with USB there's no need for standard MIDI ports unless you plan on using hardware synth modules.
Last edited by moody07747 at Nov 11, 2008,
IF you want to go into using synths and such or trigger drum machine the MIDI is nice to have IMO however audio is a first priority for most studios.

I suggest going with the Mackie for now and then getting a USB MIDI keyboard later.