Sound Engineering & Recording

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atze55 / Atze Akkerman 6yr+2mo ago
Hope some of you would give some advice or opinions. I am considering purchasing a 24-bit, 192kHz USB PC audio interface.. Some interfaces I?m considering are Behringer UMC202HD $99, Focusrite Forte $499.99, ICON Umix 1008 Satellite $445.49, RME babyface $799, Roland Super UA USB Audio Interface $349.00, Tascam UH-7000 HDIA Mic Preamp and USB Audio Interface $599 and Steinberg UR22 $149. I am currently using a Roland Duo Capture that has, according to Tech support, a known stability problem. I switch back and forth between DAWs sharing the Duo which causes my PC to crash regularly. Want to fix my stability problem by getting another USB audio interface. My main DAW is Sonar X2 and I am considering upgrading to Sonar Platinum. I have a Dell Inspiron 5720 Lap Top, i7-3612QM, 2.10Ghz, 8GB Ram, Windows 7 64 bit Operating System. Main hard drive is a WD Blue ( WD10JPVT) Rotational Speed 5,400 RPM (nominal), Average Latency 5.50 ms (nominal), and Buffer To Host (Serial ATA) 3 Gb/s (Max). PC has 3.0 USB interfaces. Finally, I hope that when it comes to mastering a mix with a 24-bit, 192kHz USB audio interface that it will give me more dynamic range so the quieter sections of my audio will be less noisy and clearer. Also like the idea of recording a dog snarling at 192kHz, and import it into a 96kHz session (half the speed and pitch but no loss of resolution), and have the ominous guttural growl used in countless sci-fi monster movies. Any advice welcome.


   

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Hi, Atze. There's quite a choice here - but depending on what you want to do, your choice could become limited if you plan on having flexible recording options. For example, if you wanted to connect 8 microphones to record a full drum kit, the ICON Umix 1008 Satellite would be a good bang for the buck. I think the Roland Super UA is overpriced for what you get - but if you want just 2 clean channels, the TASCAM UH-7000 is sensibly priced for what it does. Faced with the same choices as yourself, these are the interfaces I'd be most likely to choose between. Other Kompoz members may have different opinions :o) On a DAW technical point, you'd be better off with two separate HDD's (one for the O/S and one for the audio files you'll be working with). For the Audio hard drive, I wouldn't recomment a 5400 RPM unit. This is slow enough to cause read/write problems with higher track counts. Go for a 7200 RPM drive or an SSD to be safe. Ideally, you'd use an SSD for your O/S and DAW software. As it's a laptop you're using, I'd recommend a fast external drive (USB 3 if you can). Hope this helps a bit.

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atze55   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Thanks, dogbizkits and g4greg very helpful. Never would have thought of using SSD as an option and I think is a brilliant idea. Don?t know how to run my O/S with my DAW on a SSD. The thought of this is new and intriguing to me. Want to find out more about that. I do use a 32 GB SSD in my Tascam DP24 and I do have a slot in my PC as you pointed out on my PC. Seems like a much more affordable option over upgrading my hard drive. I often noticed that as I laid more tracks and plugins, my PC would crash. As suggested by Sonar Tech support, I would adjust my buffer to safer but only prolong the time between my crashes. I have wondered if I could improve stability by upgrading my hard drive. Your tip is helpful and will also consider upgrading my hard drive to a 7200 RPM drive UDB 3.0. First glance the ICON Umix 1008 Satellite looks really impressive and the lower price?.Wow. The ICON would look awesome on my desk, but how does the ICON compare to the RME and forte onboard preamps? When recording, I mostly lay down a track at a time singing or playing my keyboards. While I play drums, it?s easier to import samples to create my drum tracks. I?m thinking that if someday I feel the need to record drumming, I could use and my Tascam DP24 to record and then import tracks into my PC. Considering my current recording practice and needs, I would favor quality over quantity for a PC Audio interface. Thanks again, very helpful.

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g4greg   commented 6yr+2mo ago


I totally agree with Rab, except for 1 thing... If you KNOW you won't be recording drums often, consider this: For the same price, what would you prefer? 2 great preamps, or 8 cheaper ones? The RME and forte have ridiculous onboard preamps, and if you ever need more, they have enough ins to plug in an external mixer/dedicated preamp for the occasional drum recording session.

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atze55   commented 6yr+2mo ago


g4greg, Thanks for your input. I found the RME is more expensive than the Forte. In your opinion, is the RME worth the additional expense for mixing and mastering?

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


I use RME gear. It's top notch :o) EDIT:- Since you're not going to be recording more than 2 tracks at a time (keyboards), here's another interface worth considering: http://global.focusrite.com/usb-audio-interfaces/scarlett-2i4

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atze55   commented 6yr+2mo ago


dogbizkits, The video link you shared has the scarlett-2i4 Audio interface sounding good. I?m holding out on any final decision for a PC Audio interface until March. It probably will be a choice between a RME Babyface or some another PC interface with similar spec and features. Putting in some time studying several links showing how to how to migrate my Laptop to a Solid-State Drive without re-installing Windows. Consider keeping current hard drive for files. I would run on O/S, DAW and other programs on the SSD as you suggested. SSD is more expensive than I thought, but the benefits of having one seem worth the extra trouble and cost.

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AggroPhene   commented 6yr+2mo ago


My eye is on the Motu UltraLite-mk3 Hybrid in that price range. But then I have some emotional and DAW I/O attachment to Firewire use, but with the USB2 capability and onboard effects will be able to slim down if needed.

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


I also use MOTU gear... and its top notch too.

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Your weak link will still be the 5400 drive for audio. As the DAW track count increases, slow hard drives can't give the data throughput required for steady audio. An external 7200 RPM drive for your audio would seem like the priority purchase. The 5400 RPM drive (although not ideal for the OS & DAW software) may get you by, but I'd seriously swap out the original with a 7200 RPM drive.SSD's are great - but not *necessary*. At the appropriate time (and If you have someone tech-savvy nearby), ask him/her to backup your laptop HDD, swap it out for a 7200 RPM drive [or SSD] and have the O/S restored to the new HDD / SSD. The process should take no more than 30 mins. Once you have that done and also have the external 7200 RPM drive, you can go at it with confidence in your hardware.

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g4greg   commented 6yr+2mo ago


yup, 5400 chokes rather quickly.. i know first hand :( I have a saffire, which is basically the same as a scarlett, and all I can say about it, is that I hardly ever notice it... which, I guess, is the greatest compliment I can give it. it's pretty transparent. But the preamps do get noisy if you use ribbons or an SM7 (Basically, if you need to crank them). They are more than fine for condensers though... The forte and RME are in another ballpark. pro level. Dead quiet preamps, and pristine AD/Da converters. The RME is less hiccuppy than the forte, with rock solid drivers. So My bet is that the forte and RME are in the same league, but if you want stability, you need to pay 200 more ;)

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


To be fair on the Saffire though; A microphone designed to drive a high impedance mic input won't drive a low input impedance mic input properly. The thing with ribbon microphones is that these are high-impedance devices and as soon as you plug them into a mic pre with a low impedance input the first thing that will happen is that your treble will be attenuated. If you then crank up the level, it will indeed reveal 'noise' - but that's not because of a design fault with the Saffire. It's because of the impedance mismatch at the preamplifier input through using the 'wrong' microphone. The only way around that is some sort of external 'buffer' preamp (possibly with a transformer) to match the impedance. After that, the treble response wil be back in abundance and there will be less noise when the gain is turned up.

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g4greg   commented 6yr+2mo ago


You do make a great point :) I gotta say though, I Don't own any ribbons, so it fits my needs pretty well. When I use an SM57, and need to crank it up, there is a slight noise floor, but nothing to write my mom about. Since I usually record LOUD stuff with my shures, there ain't no issue. And for condensers, its really, really good. One thing to take in consideration though with the entry level focusrites is that they are bus powered, therefore, they have pretty low output. Both on their headphone plug and speaker outs. Thos things won't blow speakers or headphones, for sure. Make sure your ohms aren't too high on your headphones, and your monitors have a bit more power than you need before you buy. I have 60 ohms cans, so I'm fine... but 80 or higher might be pretty quiet.

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AggroPhene   commented 6yr+2mo ago


So I can't say am absolutely knowledgeable about this separate drive for audio configuration, but it entices me. Are you proposing that all audio being written into the song reside on a different drive which I assume is attached to the computer at the highest possible transfer rate (In my scenario, might be Expresscard slot Firewire 400)? ...7200 RPM as you state? And this might resolve the issues I run into when my track begins getting too large and Reason tells me my computer is too slow? I am sure there is more to the story that I should divulge, but without a detailed breakdown, can you see Reason using the bulk of that drive space or will VST processing still be an issue with too many instruments? Ultimately I realize I need a new DAW computer, but with the lack of reliable O/S from Microsoft or audio oriented devices for PC and not wanting to go Apple, I am likely to build a Linux machine that can run Windows internally.

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dogbizkits   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Think of the data being sent to to the other 7200 RPM drive as water going through a pipe, and the pressure of that water (before the pipe fractures) being determined by the rotational speed of the HDD. Working with a single drive puts a lot of strain on the 'system'. If you use another high pressure 'pipe', the strain is alleviated and the 'system' runs better. System configuration can be tricky and expecting too much from a particular system results in glitches when there are hardware incompatabilities. One can't expect too much in these instances. The only way to get reliable 'performance' is to rethink the recording / mixing process and upgrade some of the vital pieces of hardware - AND keep the DAW off the internet (except for updating licencing). Windows is reliable enough for DAW's although it didn't used to be for Pro Tools. On the other hand Cubase has been extremely reliable for many years on the PC platform. Modern USB audio interfaces are perfectly capable of running 32 inputs and 32 outputs. If looking for more than that (64 / 128), MADI would be a better choice.

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atze55   commented 6yr+2mo ago


The upgrade suggestions for dual 7200 hard drive from dogbizkits is affordable. I?m so frustrated with the constant crashes as I use more tracks. Really an interruption in my creative work flow and it makes me pretty grumpy. So my plan is to replace the internal hard drive with a 7200 RPM drive and run with an external at 7200. So If I get this right, run DAW programs on C drive and all files reside in external drive? And finally, if I understand correctly, the RME is more stable than the forte? So for less than a few trips to a shrink, my sanity is more likely preserved if I go with the RME at it sounds awesome. The benefits to upgrade a laptop to an internal SSD seems really great. However, I talked with Dell and they said I cannot run a SDD in my current Laptop. Wish I could do a work around that, but I do not feel knowledgeable enough to figure that out. The benefits of a SDD really appeal to me, but not enough to buy a new computer. Would rather spend my extra money and upgrade my DAWs. Thanks for all for your suggestions and comments. With any luck, next month I'll be back to mixing tracks again.

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atze55   commented 6yr+1mo ago


Step one, just purchased a Samsung 840 EVO MZ-MTE1T0BW 1TB mSATA Internal SSD today. While the internal 7200 RPM drive would have been less expensive, mSATA reviews seem to acknowledge your recommendation that a SSD would be my best upgrade. Thanks for your recommendation.

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Hotjams   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Here is a new one for the PC http://www.arturia.com/audiofuse/overview And here is the one that I'm seriously thinking of getting, but runs on a Mac http://www.uaudio.com/interfaces/apollo-twin.html and this from Motu http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Track16?adpos=1o4&creative=55225946401&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiAxZKmBRD_5cCvs8SbxXsSJADZBCmdd3Py-4PTMRNCyqRhoyQHsvcL5FZzFa1wQU2Z0PXm_xoCJVbw_wcB

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Hotjams   commented 6yr+2mo ago


Here is a Thunderbolt interface, 24/192, for $300. Nice specs, however don't know about the pre's. http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/TAC2?gclid=CODOu-rwtMMCFRFafgod0ysARA