A question about 2 channel interfaces.......

Discussion in 'Recording In Progress' started by FortyEight, Sep 30, 2020.

  1. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    OK, sorry to bug you all with another question. I'm learning so much lately and it brings up a lot of questions. So thank you for you guys being patient with me.


    I have a borrowed old M-Audio 2 channel interface with 2 XLR inputs. It took me a couple of times of using it to understand the fact that it is set up to record 1 stereo channel with an input for either side. Channel 1 is left side, Channel 2 is right side.

    For guitar and bass it's not ideal, but it has a really nice sound. And I am learning to work with it. I can just split the tracks and use one side mono track if I want to have it in the middle of the mix. One song I left the bass on one side and the rhythm guitar on the other and I kind of like that.

    Anyways... Are most 2 channel interfaces set up this way or no? Cuz My drummer is ready to upgrade from his cheap USB mic that doesn't do that great of a job to an interface with eventually 2 mics. But since we are using audacity, it would be best if the interface works as mine does. Cuz then we can mic the bass drum and then have one mic for everything else. And then split the tracks and have individual adjustment to mix.

    I know I could call sweetwater or whoever and find out from them but I figured I'd ask here first. As some of you may know off the top of your heads how the newer ones work. Or some of the popular brands.

    Money is tight so what he showed me this morning is one called a Midiplus Smartface II on amazon for only like 54 bucks. And then our music go round has one SM58 for 65 bucks. And then we would need another mic eventually.

    I'd rather not get into a debate on if a 58 is good enough for drums or not. I like 58's. I am using one now and it's a crap ton better than the CAD USB mic we both have.

    He also is looking at a focusrite single input one used (gen II) for 100 at music go round. But I told him I think it would be best if we try to figure out a 2 channel, as long as it is stereo like the one I got.

    Cuz as far as I know, you can't record multiple tracks from an interface into audacity. I realize other programs might have the ability to do that but right now we're using audacity cuz we're new at it and it's simple to use. And works well enough, IMHO. Maybe eventually I will get something better. I would probably be able to mix and master better with some other program.
     
  2. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Every interface I've owned has by default grouped inputs into stereo pairs. Depending on the app you use, it should be possible when recording to say "I just want to record the left channel of stereo pair 1/2 onto a mono track". Sometimes you might have to go into the audio device configuration to change these settings.

    At the moment I have a Behringer XR18 mixer/audio interface and it does not work at all with Audacity, somewhat to my surprise. I was hoping to collaborate with a guy who lives a couple states away without forcing him to purchase Ableton Live which is what I use.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
  3. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    Yeah, I guess that's the other big question. Will audacity see it.... Behringer claims to plug and play with their smaller interfaces. As do most other ones. Like presonus and focusrite.

    Audacity recognized my M-Audio right away. There were a few times I had to go into settings and enable it. It was like it kept automatically getting disabled for some reason. But now it hasn't done that since those few times. LOL. Computers. I feel like they have a mind of their own sometimes.

    So it's typical for a 2 channel to record in stereo, one track in your experience?
     
  4. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Again it is up to the application and the "driver". I can set Ableton Live to record adjacent channels e.g. 5/6 as either a stereo pair or either/or in mono. If I had Audacity working properly for recording I'd go try it, but alas...
     
  5. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    Gotcha. I think there is a way to choose just mono tracks in audacity. So I get that. I personally like leaving it stereo and see what I can do. Yesterday I used my interface to record bass and one side I did direct from the xlr out of my amp and mic'd it for the other side and I liked the result. For sure one side sounds a bit different from the other but the whole track sounds good. IMHO.

    The SM58 worked well. Had a nice signature and I think I may have even preferred the sound. But the direct side was a bit brighter and highlighted the highs. Which I don't always love for bass but it still sounded good. Put the two together and you don't really notice the difference in each side unless you're really looking for it. I think. Plus it gives some options for mixing other stuff in.
     
  6. Digital Larry

    Digital Larry Friend of Leo's Gold Supporter

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    Yeah the only problem with recording true stereo like that is that you can't pan the signal to the other side. I think there are some ways to convert stereo to mono though which would get around that. Sounds like you're figuring it out. Have fun!
     
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  7. Ed Driscoll

    Ed Driscoll Tele-Holic

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    My old RME Fireface UCX interface (which I purchased around 2012 or so to retire my old M-Audio interface) has the option of recording a track in stereo or mono. I'm pretty sure I could do that in my old M-Audio interface as well (I recorded lots of mono vocals and DI'ed basses through it.)

    With most interfaces, you should be able to choose whether you want to record in mono or stereo. If not, the mixer should be able to hard pan the input to either right or left. Your DAW should be able to choose which input to record in. In the very worst case, if yours can't for some reason, you could probably record in one channel, and then your DAW should be able to generate a pair of split mono tracks afterwards, and you can then delete both the "stereo" track that only has audio on one side, and the half of the split mono tracks that is silent.
     
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  8. gregulator450

    gregulator450 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have an old Focusrite Saffire 6 with 2 inputs going into Ableton Live 8. In Live 8, I can pick input 1 by itself, input 2 by itself, or both inputs, so for example, I could run a line out off my Vox PF15R through my Mooer Radar to input 1, and a mic on the speaker of the amp into input 2 and have a stereo signal I can blend at the interface. I can also use a stereo-to-two-mono cable to go from my headphone out on my modeling amp to both inputs to record a stereo channel (I have yet to try this).

    I can also arm two tracks, and send one signal to the first track via input 1 and the other signal to the second track via input 2, and then I can "blend" the two in the DAW after tracking.

    When I record electric guitars I usually do one input mono, either micing the speaker or, lately, running a line level signal out through the Mooer Radar for "silent" recording. I only use the two-input methods when recording acoustics, using a small condensor blended with a large condensor.

    I did try the "Fredman" technique once, in which you run a SM57 pointed directly at the dust cover and a second SM57 at about a 40-degree off axis right next to it, and blend the two signals. The technique was made popular by Fredman Studios when recording In Flames "Clayman" record, and is widely used for high gain/metal. I tried it on a lightly overdriven Vox for some radio rock type music and it sounded quite fantastic. If you must run two inputs all the time with your DAW, this is a pretty great way to go. Some companies even make a mic clip that holds 2 SM57's in this config. One of my 57 types is an Audix i5, so I have to use two mic stands to do it.

    Here's a picture of the Fredman technique:

    [​IMG]




    I am not by any means the best recording engineer in here, but these methods have worked well enough for me to make some nice sounding demos, which is as good as I will ever get recording on my own.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  9. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    I would spend a bit extra time looking around put together a better rig.

    The interface is very limited, with only 16-bit (depth) capability at 44.1kHz sample rate.

    And a used Shure SM58/57 has a high risk of being a counterfeit. For that price, why bother?

    You could buy a new Behringer UMC202HD and XM8500 dynamic mic for just about the same money, and have a much more solid start, plus have a lot more people that are using that equipment to answer questions, supply YouTube videos, etc.

    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/prod...audiophile_2x2_24_bit_192_khz.html?ap=y&smp=y
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/215145-REG/Behringer_XM8500_XM8500_Dynamic_ULTRAVOICE.html
     
  10. ZenGuitarist

    ZenGuitarist Tele-Afflicted

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    I think a good starting point would be to check out the Focusrite Scarlett line for a recording interface. There are several models to choose from depending on your needs. Unless your budget is really tight, I'd skip over the Scarlett Solo and look at the rest of the models. I think either the 2i2 or 4i4 would be the ones you would most likely be interested in.
     
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  11. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    The short answer is that, "No." it's not typical to always record stereo just because you have a 2 (or more) channel interface. If you have one mic to record with, you record one mono channel, not a stereo track. Recording stereo just creates more work because (as noted), you cannot (e.g.) pan the left side of a stereo track to the right side of the stereo image, so if you needed to do that, you'd have to split the track to mono anyway. And, an actual DAW would only generate a mono track for a single input unless you overrode it's default behavior.

    Here's a video I just did showing how to record 2 separate mono tracks with 2 inputs from an interface, or a single mono track using only one input in Audacity.

     
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  12. klasaine

    klasaine Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    As shown above you should be able to 'assign' each input to a separate channel in the daw.
     
  13. still_fiddlin

    still_fiddlin Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Audacity can record all device inputs to single tracks, but assignment of those inputs is not something you can do in that application. For that you need a traditional DAW like Reaper, Cubase, even GarageBand (et alia).

    Excerpt from the Audacity website (on multi-channel recording):

    There are two current limitations:
    • Channel selection: You can't select exactly which channels are used - Audacity will simply use the first ones it finds. You may need to increase the number of recording channels in Audacity preferences (possibly to the maximum supported by the device, even though you are only recording a subset of them), until all you want are included. This may mean having to delete silent tracks after recording. Some audio interfaces however will display a "Multi" device. Selecting this as recording device in Audacity should let you record all the channels at once automatically.
    • Channel to track allocation: Particular channels of the sound device can't be recorded to particular tracks. After recording, multi-channel files can be exported using current Audacity, by choosing the appropriate mixdown option in Preferences (Import/Export tab). Playback support in Audacity is currently limited to stereo (2 channels), so all multi-channel recordings will be sent to your sound device in stereo. ....
     
  14. ZenGuitarist

    ZenGuitarist Tele-Afflicted

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    I didn't catch this the first time but this is very very true. You should only buy a SM57 or SM58 brand new from an authorized dealer. Sure it will cost a little more upfront but they will last almost forever.
     
  15. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    Still fiddlin. THANK YOU THANK YOU. For that vid. I was on the archived audacity forums and my search led me to find threads where doing more track at once was depending on the interface and if audacity would see them or your drivers were right, or all very complicated stuff. I will try what you did. It looks like you could go all the way up to four for drums eh?

    I may need to find a four track interface for my drummer. That would be freaking sweet. But it would also be a lot more money. LOL. Cuz we'd need more mics. I have two decent ones on loan but we are both set up to do what we want at our leisure. Although I could take my mics up to him for a time. But then I'm without mics.. Anyways... you get my point.

    At least 2 individual tracks with some decent mics would be a HUGE step up in quality from the single CAD U37 USB mic he's using.

    I didn't realize SM57/58's have counterfeit models. Thanks for the warning. Is there ways you can tell? He was going to get it at music go round and they are usually informed and a solid place to get good used equipment but I guess anything is possible.

    I looked for any kind of adjustment on the old M-Audio interface I'm using and I don't see any kind of physical switch that would convert it from stereo to mono. There may be something if I go into the software on settings but I've never seen anything.

    what a great thread. I'm glad I asked. I gotta experiment with what you showed on the vid still fiddlin. Maybe I'll try to record some drums here tonight. I got two mics.
     
  16. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    Cakewalk is free.

    QUOTE="Digital Larry, post: 10141425, member: 136478"]Every interface I've owned has by default grouped inputs into stereo pairs. Depending on the app you use, it should be possible when recording to say "I just want to record the left channel of stereo pair 1/2 onto a mono track". Sometimes you might have to go into the audio device configuration to change these settings.

    At the moment I have a Behringer XR18 mixer/audio interface and it does not work at all with Audacity, somewhat to my surprise. I was hoping to collaborate with a guy who lives a couple states away without forcing him to purchase Ableton Live which is what I use.[/QUOTE]
     
  17. FortyEight

    FortyEight Tele-Meister

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    So my drummer bought a presonus 2 channel interface and an SM58. All new. And then he had an AKG D3600 in his stash of stuff. So think he can use that AKG for the kick and the SM58 for an overhead.
     
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