newbie multitrack software / hardware Q

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junkstar
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newbie multitrack software / hardware Q

Post by junkstar » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:39 pm

Home (analog) studio dismantled for the time being. Just bought a nice Windows 7 machine and wondering if I should buy a multitrack software program and a couple of decent XLR inputs so I can play around while I find a new space (which could take awhile). For those active in this 'computer world' forum, what mid-priced Win 7 multitrack software seems to be the favorite, and same goes for some mid-priced mic inputs... Two inputs will do. Thanks for being patient!

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Post by farview » Mon Sep 20, 2010 12:48 pm

Reaper is really good and it's only $50. You can try it for free.

As far as interfaces go, Motu makes decent stuff. The only interfaces that I have really heard complaints about are the lexicon and presonus stuff. (their bottom of the line ones) Other than that, most of the cheaper stuff is all about the same from a quality standpoint. The only real difference are the features and connectability.

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Post by EasyGo » Tue Sep 21, 2010 7:37 am

+1 for Reaper. I think it's actually only $40 until the next version comes out. I've been using the demo for the past 2 weeks, and I've been happy enough to want to buy it.

I like the fact that it is set up like a traditional mixer, and the controls are pretty much where you'd expect them. Seems like it'd be a good app for someone coming from the analog side. Has an easy learning curve to get started but is MUCH more powerful than that.

I will be watching to see what hardware recommendations people give. I have an old MOTU that is working for playback, but I fear the inputs are not. I'm looking at the Presonus Firestudio Mobile right now, since I have firewire, but I see the poster above is referring to complaints about Presonus.

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Post by junkstar » Tue Sep 21, 2010 10:12 am

I'll take a look at Reaper, but thought for sure people would be talking Cubase or ProTools or something like that.

I've dabbled with whatever the Tascam software was a few years ago and did not like it, nor the preamp it came with. I am not a fan of Presonus but am comfortable with some Lexicon. Bummer is, I have a set of about 8 nice Aphex preamps (analog) that I will miss. Any way I can just use one of those with a decent interface? Puzzles me why finding reliable (non-marketing) info on my specific situation is so hard to find! I always appreciate the help here.

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Post by farview » Tue Sep 21, 2010 12:54 pm

It really depends on your budget. There are several interfaces out there that just have line inputs, if you are planning on using the mic preamps that you like. In fact, most of the interfaces with preamps also have line inputs.

BTW, I know several people that have used the lexicon interfaces and no one has anything good to say about them. Presonus does make some useable stuff, just not the cheapest one they make.

Do you want a pci interface? USB? Firewire? What is your budget?

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Post by junkstar » Fri Sep 24, 2010 8:00 am

Looks like my new machine does not have firewire (and although powerful, does not have expansion options for a sound card etc - it's a compact). Not to sound totally clueless, but the options look like USB, eSATA (?) and SPDIF. Let's say budget is uncertain, but mid-level is a comfort zone per element needed (software a few hundred, hardware ??). I have experience using Sony digital audio production software, but not any real digital multitrack experience (only mono/stereo).

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Post by EasyGo » Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:15 pm

I ran into the compact PC issue as well with an unused PC I'd considered using ? I couldn't fit my firewire card in the box. Since I wanna stick with firewire, I ended up not using that machine and loading up a normal size desktop instead.

I'm not familiar with many USB interfaces; the only one I have used ? M Audio Audiophile USB ? technically worked, but does not have direct hardware monitoring as a feature (D'OH). I'm still kicking myself over that one. Perhaps someone has a good suggestion for a USB sound card that is powerful enough to do multitrack recording projects?

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Post by junkstar » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:08 am

Hmm, figures my decision to go compact would come back to bite me. Maybe I'll just stick to my 8-track for now and worry about this all later. I don't want to get some junk USB setup that I'll use 5 times. Thanks guys.

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Post by mattdhall » Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:12 pm

junkstar wrote:Looks like my new machine does not have firewire (and although powerful, does not have expansion options for a sound card etc - it's a compact). Not to sound totally clueless, but the options look like USB, eSATA (?) and SPDIF. Let's say budget is uncertain, but mid-level is a comfort zone per element needed (software a few hundred, hardware ??). I have experience using Sony digital audio production software, but not any real digital multitrack experience (only mono/stereo).
SATA provides a connection for an external hard drive. SPDIF is for stereo digital audio, but it's only useful if you're... well it's not useful at all for making music. Looks like you're stuck with USB there. You could get something like a Tascam US-1641. That will get you 8 XLR inputs and runs about $300.

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Post by mrc » Sat Oct 02, 2010 6:07 am

Line 6 makes usb interfaces up to 8 inputs, plus the hardware acts as a software dongle for some nice plugs. I actually use a RME 9652 and lightpipe converters, but have tried the converters in the kb37 I have for guitars and light keyboard use, and think they are ok. Using the line in with a good preamp seems just fine to me. http://line6.com/toneportux8/specifications.html

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