Interface for recording

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
Soo I've decided to start saving up my money to buy some recording gear so I can record myself in my garage...I'm probably going to buy a pack of CAD Pro 7 mics ( I know, not the best quality but its about the least i can afford if i'm gonna want a kick, snare, 2 tom, and 2 overhead mics)... I'm also gonna most likely be getting a pc to set up next to my drumset which means i'll probably end up using Reaper as my recording software... However, I know i'm gonna need something called an interface but the thing is, i basically have no idea what an interface is :eek:..... Can someone please give me some info on what exactly an interface is as well as some afforable products of decent quality with at least 6 mic ports with preamps?.... Also, I hear alot of people talking about USB and Firewire and was wondering what the difference is between the two, and the compatability of each one to a pc?... Any info on an interface or USB and Firewire will be appreciated.. Thanks :)

Jacob
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
An interface is quite simply a discrete sound card that accepts audio inputs and generates audio output. They usually have XLR inputs so that you can use microphones and sometimes have DI's built in (mine does) to track guitars and keyboards.

Think of it this way. You have eight microphones. What the Hell else are you going to plug them into?!

Firewire is just simply a protocol for data transfer, much like USB. Firewire is technically better (on board controllers, more stable transfer rates, no CPU interference) but in reality it makes little difference on consumer interfaces. If you're using a PC then it's most likely that you don't have a Firewire socket anyway so I would recommend a USB 2.0 (or 3.0 if you've got sockets) interface. The data transfer rates are easily high enough for high-quality audio - I've been using an 8-in/8-out USB interface for years.

As for the microphones, really don't bother with the CAD pack. You need fewer microphones, a copy of 'Modern Recording Techniques' (Huber & Runstein, Focal Press) and some guile. You're best off buying fewer high-quality microphones and learning to use them properly than a big, cheap pack that sound terrible and throwing them on the kit. Without the know-how, mic'ing everything is a waste of time anyway.

I would, however get yourself an interface with 8-in capability. That means 8 XLR sockets. That will give you room for expansion.

What is your budget?
 

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
What is your budget?
Thanks for the info.. Helps alot!.... As far as a budget goes, I'm gonna save for one item at a time.. first the mics then the interface but by the end of the summer (the time when i wanna have all my gear by) i'm hoping to have spent no more than 350-500 dollars on mics, an interface and whatever else i may need.....
 

nitrokid

Member
What you have to remember is the recording chain: Drum Kit - Mics - Interface - Computer . That is the recording chain in its most simple form. A good interface with enough inputs for what you need is something like a Zoom R16. Very easy to use and relatively cheap. For mics i would agree with what has been said and start of with a few mics (maybe 2 overheads and 1 bass drum mic) of some quality instead of going all guns blazing and buying loads of cheap microphones which will give you disappointing and disheartening results. Good look with recording!
 

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
A good interface with enough inputs for what you need is something like a Zoom R16. Very easy to use and relatively cheap.
Yeah the Zoom R16 caught my eye the first time i saw it... Like you said, it seems easy to use and it even looks great... However, it still seems kinda expensive.. Just looking on Ebay, all the R16s range from about 300 to 650 bucks.... Do you think this price range is reasonable for a quality interface? Do you know of anything maybe slightly cheaper that is of decent quality?
 

Xero Talent

Silver Member
I have the CAD 7 piece mic set. I use a TASCAM 1800 (8 XLR, 8 1/4") with Reaper and a 10 year old laptop.

Works flawlessly.
 

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
I've had the Zoom R16 for a while now and I love it.
Bo, how much did you pick your R16 up for? At all the places I've seen it, it seems to still be relatively expensive (for me at least). Although I think I might just have to consider taking the hit to the wallet if I want a good interface.
 

Xero Talent

Silver Member
That particular video I used the CAD Mic, which is why you can barely hear the kick.

I use Reaper. I didn't like the Cubase interface or resources for support.

And yes it was on an old XP laptop with 256MB RAM LOL :)
 

Soupy

Silver Member
Yeah the Zoom R16 caught my eye the first time i saw it... Like you said, it seems easy to use and it even looks great... However, it still seems kinda expensive.. Just looking on Ebay, all the R16s range from about 300 to 650 bucks.... Do you think this price range is reasonable for a quality interface? Do you know of anything maybe slightly cheaper that is of decent quality?
You're not going to find anything cheaper that's better. Regular street price on a new R16 is $400, and you can find them for $350 if you look. Used is a bit tricky since there aren't a ton of them on eBay.

The only way you can go cheaper than that is by getting a smaller interface with fewer inputs. And I'd also suggest that you're better off with a single overhead mic and a single bass drum mic of decent quality rather than getting a pack with a lot of cheap mics.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Bo, how much did you pick your R16 up for? At all the places I've seen it, it seems to still be relatively expensive (for me at least). Although I think I might just have to consider taking the hit to the wallet if I want a good interface.
I bought mine new at a Sam Ash for $389. Last I checked something like the PreSonus FirePod cost about the same, but you need a computer to go with it. With my R16, I couple it with a Mackie 1604VLZ mixer which has 8 direct outs, so by using the mic pre's on the Mackie, I got good signals to the Zoom, which I love.

When it's time for me to do a mix down, I simply pull the SD card from the R16, dump the tracks into my computer (running either Apple's GarageBand or Logic Studio), and then I can tweak and mix from there. I love the simplicity (or maybe it's not simple for some) and it affords me options on how I might want to work.
 

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
I bought mine new at a Sam Ash for $389. Last I checked something like the PreSonus FirePod cost about the same, but you need a computer to go with it. With my R16, I couple it with a Mackie 1604VLZ mixer which has 8 direct outs, so by using the mic pre's on the Mackie, I got good signals to the Zoom, which I love.

When it's time for me to do a mix down, I simply pull the SD card from the R16, dump the tracks into my computer (running either Apple's GarageBand or Logic Studio), and then I can tweak and mix from there. I love the simplicity (or maybe it's not simple for some) and it affords me options on how I might want to work.
So you basically record with the R16 and mix with the Mackie as opposed to mixing straight from the R16 to the computer?
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
So you basically record with the R16 and mix with the Mackie as opposed to mixing straight from the R16 to the computer?
Well, the Mackie is handling all the input signals going into the R16. The Mackie mic pre's are more robust than what's in the R16 (although the R16 can handle it too, I like having the Mackie act as the 'buffer'). That's all I use the Mackie for, but have the option of not using it too when I go portable.

The mixing is different, I'll dump all the tracks off of the Zoom R16 SD card into my mac and assign each track to its own track in either GarageBand or Logic Studio, and I can tweak it from there. From GB or Logic, I can send the mixdown into iTunes to save as a file and burn to CD.
 

Soupy

Silver Member
To highlight a point, you don't need an external mixer or external preamps with the R16. The R16 is a standalone mixer. It can record directly to an SD card OR it can be used as a computer interface into DAW software (Reaper, Cubase, whatever). So it's a very capable, very flexible device.

or maybe it's not simple for some
Bo, I think you're the complex part of the equation. :].

(Future), with you budget constraints, just realize that you don't need a complex setup.
 

(Future)DWdrummer

Senior Member
(Future), with you budget constraints, just realize that you don't need a complex setup.
Yeah I know :).. I've ben listening to a lot of mic tests/drum covers on YouTube and I've found that quite a few dudes can get a pretty good sound by simply using a few decent mics and a relatively inexepensive interface (like a TASCAM) which connects into a DAW on a computer...
 

Xero Talent

Silver Member
Yeah I know :).. I've ben listening to a lot of mic tests/drum covers on YouTube and I've found that quite a few dudes can get a pretty good sound by simply using a few decent mics and a relatively inexepensive interface (like a TASCAM) which connects into a DAW on a computer...
The TASCAM1800... currently on sale at MusiciansFriend.com.... ;)
 
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