Buying Computer Interface to Use w/ Analog Gear

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oconjo
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Buying Computer Interface to Use w/ Analog Gear

Post by oconjo » Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:35 pm

Hi,

I?m considering buying an 8 channel recording interface.

In addition to direct-to-computer recording, I?d like to be able to use it in conjunction with a couple of 8 track analog machines I use. For one, I?ll be making track-by-track digital transfers of tapes (both as digital preservation of old tapes, and for digital mixing and overdubbing on new recordings). I?m also wondering if the preamps of a computer interface would be at all useful in the signal chain before recording to tape. Would this offer any potential improvement over using my very low end Behringer mixer (my current "preamp")? Also, if I am just using the interface as a preamp, going from the outputs to the tape machine, does this preserve an all-analog signal? Or does the preamp convert the signal to digital and back again?

I realize that these are relatively ignorant questions, and that I?d be better off with an independent preamp. However, I have almost no equipment budget, and any additional use I can get out of a given piece helps.

Does anyone have a take on what to expect in these applications? I.e. if what I?m imagining will work? Any info or suggestions you can offer would be appreciated.

The interface I?m currently considering is the ART Tubefire, but I?m interested in opinions there, too. (Incidentally, anyone know if my Celeron 1.7 GHz processor will do the trick?)

Thanks in advance.

P.S. Not exactly sure why it reads "audio school" by my screen name there...

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Phiz
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Re: Buying Computer Interface to Use w/ Analog Gear

Post by Phiz » Fri Aug 14, 2009 1:14 pm

oconjo wrote:I?m also wondering if the preamps of a computer interface would be at all useful in the signal chain before recording to tape. Would this offer any potential improvement over using my very low end Behringer mixer (my current "preamp")?
You will very likely see improvement.
oconjo wrote:Also, if I am just using the interface as a preamp, going from the outputs to the tape machine, does this preserve an all-analog signal? Or does the preamp convert the signal to digital and back again?
The ART Tubefire manual indicates that there is an all analog path when just using it as a preamp. For many preamp+converter interfaces this is probably not the case.
oconjo wrote:Does anyone have a take on what to expect in these applications? I.e. if what I?m imagining will work? Any info or suggestions you can offer would be appreciated.
I think it will work, however probably don't need those preamps to do transfers from tape. Therefore, if most of your recording is overdub based, then I'd recommend getting stand alone converters (no preamp), and buy a nicer 1 or 2 channel stand alone preamp.
oconjo wrote:Incidentally, anyone know if my Celeron 1.7 GHz processor will do the trick?
You should have no problems getting 8 tracks at 44.1kHz/24bit in at once. You won't be able to run a ton of plugins, and I'm not sure if you could go to 96kHz.
oconjo wrote: P.S. Not exactly sure why it reads "audio school" by my screen name there...
It is a function of the number of posts you have made -- welcome newbie.

oconjo
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Post by oconjo » Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:01 pm

Thanks for your welcome, Phiz. This is helpful info.

>I think it will work, however probably don't need those preamps to do >transfers from tape. Therefore, if most of your recording is overdub based, >then I'd recommend getting stand alone converters (no preamp), and buy a >nicer 1 or 2 channel stand alone preamp.

I hadn't thought of that. Can the preamps be expected to undesirably "color" the tape transfer, when it comes to preserving old tapes?

And, any recommendations for stand alone converters?

Thanks again!

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Phiz
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Post by Phiz » Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:30 pm

oconjo wrote:I hadn't thought of that. Can the preamps be expected to undesirably "color" the tape transfer, when it comes to preserving old tapes?
Given that these are marketed as "tube" preamps, I'd guess they do have some color. They might be more neutral at the low gain levels you would be using to do a transfer, however I'm sure you could find similar devices with more neutral sounding preamps.
oconjo wrote:And, any recommendations for stand alone converters?
Sorry, I haven't purchased converters in a few years. There are plenty of threads on here about converters though....

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