August 5th, 2012, 10:19 PM
I am looking for a way to record my band's practices. I currently have a 2010 Macbook Pro and am thinking either a USB or Firewire interface is the way to go. I am looking for 8 simultaneous channels (four drum mics, two guitar, a bass, and vocals) What would be the best bang for my buck interface out there? It does not have to be studio quality, but decent enough demo quality is what I am searching for. Does anyone have any suggestions?
August 5th, 2012, 10:31 PM
I like the alesis io26 if you can find one.
but why do that? why not find a good spot in the room (where the mix is good) and just record stereo like with a zoom H2?
August 5th, 2012, 11:32 PM
I went with the Echo audio one when I was in your shoes.
Mine is the model sans pre-amps (well, it has two) with the rest being line ins.
They have a model with 8 pres as well.
Decent units for the price, IMO.
August 5th, 2012, 11:44 PM
Might look at the Zoom R16 as well-it has the added benefit of working as a stand-alone recorder as well...great for recording gigs! There's also the R24, which has the ability to run 6 condenser mics if you want to...the R16 only can run 2 condensors...
If all you're looking for is something to just see how your rehearsals went, take getbent's advice and get an H2... if you're trying to put something better together (say, a DECENT demo) then you're barking up the right tree here...
August 6th, 2012, 12:55 AM
I've been looking at the Tascam US-1800 (http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/US1800/?gclid=CPK2gr-N0rECFYNx4AodwlcAGw). It says 16 channels...more than I need. But it has eight XLR inputs, just what I need for recording drums.
August 6th, 2012, 05:40 AM
Tascam US1800 is what I use religiously on my PC... BUT BUT BUT!!!!!!!!!
One day you'll want to expand on the cheap... Pay attention to find devices that you can aggregate on your MAC.. I have a PC which won't aggregate effectively leaving me with no cheap solution. I have to step up to a digital desk with DSUB snakes if I want more than 16in's (this US1800 has 8 mic; 8 1/4" and can run all simultaneous)
If you don't have Garageband go get Reaper. Garage is pretty good stuff if you know what you're doing. Reaper is comparable if not as good. Skip Pro Tool or be a Tool Head. Tools is just a name and standard.
I recently did a job for a movie soundtrack (not hollywood, LOL!!!!) and the producer on the vid side needed the individual tracks. No problem. I sent him MP3's like he asked.. I am no MAC guy, so I was a little perturbed that he didn't know MP3's wouldn't work for him... This little story matters because I'm going to burn a hole in Pro Tools in 3... 2.... 1....
Reaper will convert anything to just about anything. IF an engineer can't figure out how to use Reaper files in Tools, he needs to dig ditches for a living.
The project I was working ended up being converted to ....uggghhhh .AIFF and sent via email across the pond.
Alls well. Promise, you won't be mad about the Tascam and Reaper combo. It has the 8 pre's you need right on the front with individual volume controls also.
August 8th, 2012, 01:32 PM
BIG, HUGE, ENOURMOUS!!! fan of the M-Audio Fasttrack Ultra 8R. Easy to operate (even I can use it, and I'm glad that I get my vacuumcleaner plugged in the socket without sparking myself to death, in terms of technology...) , very good mic preamps, nice functions (monitoring, phantompower,...)
The only downsides are that it is a rackmount (not a big fan of racks myself), and that the plugs are at the backside...
August 8th, 2012, 01:39 PM
You don't actually have to use a rack, you know.
August 8th, 2012, 01:50 PM
I use this (http://us.focusrite.com/firewire-audio-interfaces/saffire-pro-40)
But don't get hung up on Firewire. The USB one's work just as well. Even the more expensive Apogee stuff is USB.
Mine is in a rack but I managed to snag a 16 channel snake box a few years ago for free, so the plugs on the back was not a problem. I just plug the XLR male ends into the back of the Pro 40 and just plug the mics into the corresponding connectors on the box.
August 25th, 2012, 03:10 PM
I'll second the Zoom R16/R24. The R16 is about $100 less. I just got one last week and am in the infancy of learning all of what it can do, however I have the exact same need you do. If it says something about simplicity, my 10 year old son was our "recording engineer" for practice this past week.
Verses what I was doing before, which was dragging my laptop, external hard drive and Line 6 UX1 to practice every week, this Zoom R16 I have fits into a small tote bag, uses SD Memory cards and records wav files. It's light as a feather.
As far as finding that sweet spot, that has been a problem for us and I have tried without success. I was tempted to get one of those handheld Zoom units based on a lot of comments I've read here, but am really glad I have the 8 tracks. Incidentally, the R16 and 24 units have 2 condenser mics built in. I haven't tested yet how they sound, but have heard they are better than what one would expect.
I also found a nice way to connect everything that tested my theory of how things work and saved us the expense of more cables. I run as many tracks (3 vox, 2 GTr, bass) direct to Zoom. I take the stereo out and run that to PA. The remaining 2 VOX and drums I have direct into PA and send back through Zoom on Aux sends from PA. With this connection, everything that can be miced is and I have the control I want when I get home. Main / Monitor 'Verb, ect is handled through the PA.
One other benefit of the Zoom R16/24 is that you can connect 2 units together to record 16 tracks simultaneously.
The Zoom also has built in effects. Mainly 1 at a time, but it also has a compressor only for all channels. I set mine up for a peak limiter only and worry about reverb, etc in Reaper, which in all honesty is better because I can use convolution stuff which is much better anyway.
After 1st use, I made a rough 2 track mix and had it emailed to the band that same night. With a minor learning curve, maybe 30 minutes, including mixing time.
I got mine from a Best Buy that had it in stock. They have a 30 day return policy with no restock charges. That's what put me over the fence. I figured CITI could finance my decision. After using it for less than a week my only other decision is whether to spend the extra hondo and get the R24 (which can also play samples, has some dedicated pads). BTW both units interface with popular DAW and can act as non motorized faders / transport in mackie mode. Pretty serious bang for the buck if you ask me. Oh yea both units can also just be 8 channel interfaces as well.
Incidentally, I convinced the rest of the band to contribute from our gig funds on the premise that we will now have the ability to make killer demo "tapes"