Author Topic: USB or mic with cheaper interface?  (Read 34285 times)

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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #120 on: December 14, 2014, 07:03:32 pm »
I'm not really concerned about it, I just am very aware of how much I don't know when it comes to the recording side of music, and I want to make sure I get the right thing since most of them say non-returnable.  You guys have helped a ton so far, and I sort of know what I need, but it still kind of feels to me like trying to order something off a fancy restaurant menu in Italy when I really only know basic Italian. 

Anyone got an instant translator?  ;)
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #121 on: December 14, 2014, 07:14:43 pm »
Yep, I know the feeling.

It really helps to make a chart of comparison


Model # | USB | INPUTS | OUTPUTS | SELECTOR SWITCHES | PHANTOM POWER | ETC....


Then take a look at things like Instrument Level / Mic Level / Line Input Level and Impedances.

The TASCAM breaks it all out. the 2i2 apparently treats Inst In and Line In very similar .. haven't looked...

Some specs are going to be very similar.... some can't be found... that's why I say read the manuals. It doesn't take long and you will soon say... wait a minute... the other one doesn't even mention that .... that's usually a flag.

Drivers really are king though.... you DO NOT want an interface that crashes randomly.


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Offline Scooter Trash

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #122 on: December 14, 2014, 07:26:11 pm »
Personally I would be worried about the input Impedance more than the gain structure but to be honest I don't even know if that will matter for an active pickup acoustic guitar..... Scooter may know.

The pickup is going into the guitar's pre-amp - so the guitar's preamp handles that.. Ideally everything should be at unity, and with more resistance on the load than the source (about 10 times more for most bridged impedance) It would be ideal to run the guitar pre output at 100% and attenuate with the interface, but if the guitar's pre is too hot, turning down the guitar's volume should work fine.

For playing with your amp while tracking you could get a DI and use the instrument/amp output of the DI to feed the amp, and then use the isolated DI output to the interface. If you're going to be playing live, a DI would be a good thing to have. I like the Countryman Type 85 DIs but I've heard good things about the Radial DIs. The Whirlwind DIs work OK and are more affordable. Keep in mind that you might not want to track vocals while playing through your amp. And if you want to use any amp effects it might be best to use the amp's line output. I'm not sure what the output level is from your amp's line output.. That method might also require a DI.

Re: Tascam. I don't know anything about the newer Tascam interfaces, but had some experience with some of their older equipment (multitrack tape machines, and cassette decks) and it was prosumer quality.. just a step above average consumer home electronics quality - mostly because of the features and not the audio quality.

One thing that you might want to also consider is that if you get a less common interface, it may be more difficult to get support. Since several people here and in other recording forums are familiar with the Focusrite interfaces, they may be able to help you. In your price range I still think that the Steinberg or Focusrite interfaces would be the best value.
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #123 on: December 14, 2014, 08:13:43 pm »
Yep, I too had older TASCAM stuff and it was less than stellar. However I think they upped their game in that category now days.

My biggest concern would be driver support

INST INPUT MAX INPUT LEVEL

Stn - UR22 +5.8dBV 1M
TAS - US2x2 +10dBV 1M
Foc - 2i2 +4dBu ( +1.78dBV) input impedance not listed

Scooter am I doing that dBu to dBV conversion right.. if so that input is quite a bit lower

Steinberg/Yamaha == Tough act to follow any way you look at it
TASCAM == Software and support in question
Focusrite == Input impedance and gain level issue potential

That's what I am seeing... would any of that end up being an issue? Probably not.
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Offline Cue Zephyr

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #124 on: December 14, 2014, 08:34:41 pm »
You have to use the volume on the guitar. But since it's a preamp, I'm sure it'll be fine. Now with an electric (bass) guitar with passive pickups, this might be different (volume pots affect tone, in some more than others).

Otherwise, you get this (listen when the gain is all the way down):





About DIs, I have had good results with the LR Baggs Para DI.
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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #125 on: December 14, 2014, 08:47:38 pm »
So if I do end up having any issues with it, it should be fixable just by messing with the different settings and such? 

Amazing how different that clip sounded just changing the gain (that's all he did, right?)

I don't understand the DI thing.  What is it and why would you need it?
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #126 on: December 14, 2014, 08:59:43 pm »
Yes, and you don't want to do what he did. EVER... it's not a guitar amp that you can overdrive like that. Eventually it will burn up.

It may sound cool but it's not made to do that. You don;t want the red lights on. If you want distorted you get it outside the box and feed distorted sound to it while keeping the dial green. Or afterwards in the computer.

He is overloading the inputs.

Everything you plug into that box needs to stay green .. no clipping. If you want distortion it has to come from somewhere else. Otherwise you risk ruining lots of stuff.

DI correct impedance between devices and sets levels correctly.

It's like this... Let's say you have a Blue guitar and it works best plugged into a Blue box. But you have an Orange box

So you get a DI that converts Blue to Orange... It has a Blue input so the guitar likes what it sees and an Orange out so the Box likes what it sees.



Before
BG>>>>OB


AFTER
BG>>>>B-DI-O>>>>>OB





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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #127 on: December 14, 2014, 09:03:53 pm »
No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?
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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #128 on: December 14, 2014, 09:12:50 pm »
No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?

5pin Din MIDI is the THE standard for midi keyboards... So like if you found an old midi keyboard to play SoftSynths on your PC, it might very likely have those 5pin jacks. All the newer stuff has USB ... AND.. .they probably will have the 5pin as well for backward compatability on the higher end stuff. Having a keyboard is not a bad thing. Old drum machines, all that stuff which you can pick up cheap has 5pin MIDI to talk to each other.

Midi is digital like printing, or a mouse or whaterver... it's not audio... it's data.

Mp3 is audio so no, MIDI not required.

Stereo MP3 player >>>> ST2Mono Adapter>>>>> One input of your interface.
Looks like 1/8"ST>>>>>>>>>>>>1/4"mono plug into one of those jacks that your mic is not in.

If you need Guitar + Vocal+Mp3 then you are out of inputs. That's why people buy Interfaces with 4, 8 or more Inputs which = more $$$$

When you eventually get more crap than you know what to do with, some people buy a little Mixer... maybe it has 6 inputs... You plug all your junk into that and it has a Master Stereo Out ... that then goes to Interface Input 1 and 2.

http://www.amazon.com/Mackie-802VLZ4-8-channel-Compact-Quality/dp/B00EDHWLFI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418591720&sr=8-2&keywords=mackie+vlz4


Go here .... download this... Look at the diagrams the y show for different scenarios...
When you see "Computer" just think ( INPUTS 1 and 2 )The Interface.
http://www.mackie.com/downloads/VLZ4/manuals/802VLZ4_OM.pdf
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Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #129 on: December 14, 2014, 09:18:16 pm »
So basically I don't need it, then? 

I have - I think it's a Yamaha keyboard that I would want to use for some songs.  Does it just plug in like the guitars and mics do? 

If I have a 2 input interface, can I record 3 or 4 different instruments but just do one or 2 at a time?  So like if I record a piano track and a drum track, for example, can I then record a vocal and guitar track over those onto the same file so all 4 instruments would be in the same song?
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Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Majik

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #130 on: December 14, 2014, 09:19:13 pm »
It may sound cool but it's not made to do that.

I would be surprised if anyone thinks that sounds good, or "cool".

No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

Exactly. It's digital clipping and digital clipping sounds dreadful.

Quote
The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

You won't be able to connect MIDI devices, such as keyboard controllers, sequencers, etc. If you don't know what it's for, the chances are you won't need it.

Quote
I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?

That's unlikely, and I think you are getting confused with amps or multi-fx pedals where they can act as a USB recording device, but can also be used for standalone performance use.

For example, I have a Digitech RP-355 which can be used as an audio interface, but it's main use is as a standalone guitar pedal for practice or performance use. In that case, you can plug an MP3 player into it so you can play along to songs, backing tracks, etc and the unit will mix the MP3 with your guitar. Many modern amps, modelling pedals, etc. do this these days.

But if you are connecting to a PC, you don't need that, because you can play the MP3 on the PC. So units that are designed primarily as PC audio interface don't have that capability.

Bear in mind, some audio interfaces do have multiple cinput channels, so you could (if you wanted to) connect an MPs player to it and record/playback at the same time, but It's a really tortured way of doing anything; there better ways of doing it (like playing the MP3 directly on the PC).

If it's a backing track, for instance, and you are using a DAW, you can load the backing track into the DAW to play along to.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Majik

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #131 on: December 14, 2014, 09:21:40 pm »
So basically I don't need it, then? 

I have - I think it's a Yamaha keyboard that I would want to use for some songs.  Does it just plug in like the guitars and mics do?

Yes

Quote
If I have a 2 input interface, can I record 3 or 4 different instruments but just do one or 2 at a time?  So like if I record a piano track and a drum track, for example, can I then record a vocal and guitar track over those onto the same file so all 4 instruments would be in the same song?

Exactly. You would need a DAW app like Reaper or Cubase on the PC to do this, but it's exactly how you would do it.

Cheers,

Keith
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX, Gibson SG Special P90
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline Hollywood

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #132 on: December 14, 2014, 09:24:20 pm »
Alright.  And then with the headphones you hear everything you're recording as you're recording it? 

And if you're playing along to a backing track, do you also hear that through the headphones?

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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #133 on: December 14, 2014, 09:30:19 pm »
I would be surprised if anyone thinks that sounds good, or "cool".

You'd be surprised. I can recall a guy who did that to a Neve clone that many of bought and even when told very politely that he was kinda off the mark by some very high level engineers,,, he still insisted he loved it.... and it sounded worse than that.

Never under estimate the power of the fuzz box. No matter what devastation may occur during the process.

I know someone that burned up a DIY talkbox with a MuffFuzz.... but I'm not mentioning any names.

So I wonder which one was the warmer sounding. the more analog... the 2i2 or the 2i4? I'll have to find his review.....





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Offline TB-AV

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Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #134 on: December 14, 2014, 09:31:29 pm »
Alright.  And then with the headphones you hear everything you're recording as you're recording it? 

And if you're playing along to a backing track, do you also hear that through the headphones?

Correct


... and if it's not obvious... you can record as many tracks as your computer will take.
5 guitars, 4 vocals, 3 keys, drums....

You are not limited to one shot each if that's not clear to you.

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