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Audio interfaces for beginners/on a budget


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#31 Dad3353

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 11:03 AM

View PostSibob, on 06 September 2017 - 10:20 AM, said:

... it has a lot of advanced features/options exposed all the time...

On the other hand it's editable; there are 'skins' and themes readily available (and free...), some of which reduce the on-screen elements, and menu entries, to just the essentials. Just sayin'. I use Reaper 'standard', and use most of the stuff there most of the time, so I don't know what I'd want removed; it's all useful, I find.
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#32 Al Krow

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 01:46 PM

View PostSimonEdward, on 31 August 2017 - 06:38 PM, said:

Reaper DAW was recommended to me by Basschat members back in 2014 ... and I made the move up (?) from tape based 8-track. I paid for a license from version 4, and never looked back; I wrote a post on my blog about why I Love Reaper, which I thought I'd share >> https://infinitybass...ove-reaper-daw/
All the best, Simon

Meant to say thanks for sharing that and your blog - appreciated.

View PostDad3353, on 06 September 2017 - 11:03 AM, said:

On the other hand it's editable; there are 'skins' and themes readily available (and free...), some of which reduce the on-screen elements, and menu entries, to just the essentials. Just sayin'. I use Reaper 'standard', and use most of the stuff there most of the time, so I don't know what I'd want removed; it's all useful, I find.

Yup, all sounds good! Ok I'm convinced - this thread has been very helpful, thanks guys. I just now need to get the card out for the Focusrite and take the plunge with Reaper :)
Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

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#33 Sibob

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Posted 06 September 2017 - 01:54 PM

View PostAl Krow, on 06 September 2017 - 10:55 AM, said:

Cheers Si. But am I correct that Logic and Garageband are only available on Mac, so for those of us on Windows PCs, Reaper probably is the best entry level option?

Yes absolutely, Mac only. My post wasn't a 'use Logic not Reaper', far from it, just trying to let you know about the only real 'negative' of Reaper.....which is scraping the barrel at best. It is really good :)

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#34 Al Krow

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 02:12 PM

Anyone know what the key difference between the Focusrite Gen 1.0 and Gen 2.0 kit is? And would a beginner like me notice?

Having done a quick search, I can pick up a new gen 1.0 6i6 for around 60% of the price of a new gen 2.0 model, which is quite a saving, so it would be good to get your thoughts on whether to fork out the extra for a Gen 2.0 model?


What I've managed to glean from the net so far is:

- While the I/O options remain the same, upgrades have been done to the exterior, and internal components as well. Changes to the exterior include metal gain controls, and more sleek red metal chassis contributing to an improved aesthetic over the original.
- Internal upgrades include more gain structure, redesigned instrument inputs for increased headroom, analog protection circuitry for unexpected power surges, and increased operating sample rates up to 192kHz.

There was also some mention of improved latency in Gen 2.0 over Gen 1.0 - comparisons a little difficult to guage, because different models and samples:

Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 (1st Gen) – Overall Latency
13.5 ms at 44kHz/64 samples
12.4 ms at 48kHz/64 samples
10.4 ms at 88kHz/128 samples
9.5 ms at 96kHz/128 samples


Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) – Overall Latency

Middle-ground settings on the 2nd gen 2i2 [Not significantly different]
12.8 ms at 44kHz/128 samples
12.4 ms at 48kHz/128 samples
12.6 ms at 88kHz/256 samples
11.9 ms at 96kHz/256 samples


The highest settings on the 2nd gen 2i2 [Quite a bit better but much smaller samples]
5.31 ms at 44kHz/32 samples
5.17 ms at 48kHz/32 samples
3.85 ms at 88kHz/32 samples
3.63 ms at 96kHz/32 samples
3.08 ms at 176kHz/32 samples
3.06 ms at 192kHz/32 samples

Edited by Al Krow, 09 September 2017 - 02:39 PM.

Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

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#35 bazztard

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 06:35 AM

View PostAl Krow, on 09 September 2017 - 02:12 PM, said:

Anyone know what the key difference between the Focusrite Gen 1.0 and Gen 2.0 kit is? And would a beginner like me notice?

I'm sure Si will be here to answer more comprehensively, but this is what I know

The only problem people had with Gen 1 was that those with hot guitar pickups found it hard to get an undistorted sound thru the instrument inputs. Many many guitarists had no problem at all. I used mine for passive bass and acoustic guitars with no problem at all.

So the Gen 1 MAY work for you, but it might not.

Latency has been improved for Gen 2 but latency was never an issue with Gen 1.

So the Gen 1 is half price? very tempting. If money is tight, then grab it. If not, Gen 2 is gonna be better.

Edited by bazztard, 11 September 2017 - 06:38 AM.

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#36 Al Krow

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 04:00 PM

View Postbazztard, on 11 September 2017 - 06:35 AM, said:

I'm sure Si will be here to answer more comprehensively, but this is what I know. The only problem people had with Gen 1 was that those with hot guitar pickups found it hard to get an undistorted sound thru the instrument inputs. Many many guitarists had no problem at all. I used mine for passive bass and acoustic guitars with no problem at all. So the Gen 1 MAY work for you, but it might not. Latency has been improved for Gen 2 but latency was never an issue with Gen 1. So the Gen 1 is half price? very tempting. If money is tight, then grab it. If not, Gen 2 is gonna be better.

Cheers for that. I'm also going to be using with passive and acoustic guitars, but also with electric, drums and vocals. Sounds like you had a Gen 1, did you trade it in for Gen 2?

Gen 2 about a year old now
Gen 1 out about 3/4 years

Here's the formal email response from Focusrite:

"The new 2nd Gen Scarlett units have the following updates:

-Higher Sample Rates up to 192kHz.
-Lowered Latency
-Improved Gain Structure of the Mic Pres
-Redesigned Instrument Inputs for hotter signals
-New sleeker chassis
-Metal Volume and Headphone Knobs

Overall while the improvements are great if you already have a working 6i6 I wouldn't expect you to need to upgrade unless you were also needing to increase your channel count (my emphasis) such as to the 18i20. We want our interfaces to be long lasting, and expect your 1st Gen 6i6 to continue serving you well for a long long time."

So it seems like a Gen 1 should be just fine for a newbie like me to get started on. I've took the plunge and ordered a new Gen 1 Focusrite 6i6 for £109 from Focusrite Store (on eBay) saving me £80+ on the Gen 2.0 price. I guess it means I won't worry about using / breaking it quite as much and therefore more likely to get the most out of it! Although clearly there are some points to watch out for with electric guitars / hotter signals (so thanks for the heads up).

The unit arrived this morning from Focusrite (within 24 hours of my putting the order in). It's actually a little more compact than I was expecting, which is an added bonus.

Just gotta download me some Reaper software and I can get started! Looking forward to it!

Edited by Al Krow, 12 September 2017 - 11:34 AM.

Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

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#37 Sibob

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:03 PM

There should be no issues with hot pickups with the Gen 1 6i6. The only Gen 1 Scarlett that some people had an issue with in that regard was the 2i2, and that was changed in the Gen 2.
I can't really add anything to what Tech Support told you above, so enjoy :)

Si // Focusrite Media Relations

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#38 Al Krow

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 08:31 AM

Cheers Si - good to know!

Final newbie Q, if I may! How much difference / advantage is a condenser mic going to have over a normal performance mic for vocal recording? (I've already got a performance mic, but would need to buy a condenser mic). Is it a "must"? If so, which condenser mic would you recommend?
Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

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#39 Sibob

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:02 AM

View PostAl Krow, on 13 September 2017 - 08:31 AM, said:

Cheers Si - good to know!

Final newbie Q, if I may! How much difference / advantage is a condenser mic going to have over a normal performance mic for vocal recording? (I've already got a performance mic, but would need to buy a condenser mic). Is it a "must"? If so, which condenser mic would you recommend?

It's a slippery slope, you'll get better 'studio' sounding results with a condenser, which are just a lot more sensitive than a dynamic mic, but you'll then get better results by using a reflection filter, and better results with an acoustically treated room etc etc. Fortunately a decent condenser can be had for not much money. Lots of people rave about the Rode NT1A as a decent place to start, the sE Electronics X1A & X1S (especially the X1S Studio Bundle) are also great places to start.

Si

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#40 Al Krow

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:23 AM

View PostSibob, on 13 September 2017 - 09:02 AM, said:

It's a slippery slope, you'll get better 'studio' sounding results with a condenser, which are just a lot more sensitive than a dynamic mic, but you'll then get better results by using a reflection filter, and better results with an acoustically treated room etc etc. Fortunately a decent condenser can be had for not much money. Lots of people rave about the Rode NT1A as a decent place to start, the sE Electronics X1A & X1S (especially the X1S Studio Bundle) are also great places to start.

Si

Cheers Si. Basschat, without doubt, should be renamed "the Slippery Slope" :D

If I get new: the Rode NT1A bundle is £142 and the sE Electronics X1S bundle is £159 (both from Gear4Music). Not very much difference between the two in price terms. If you were going for one or the other, would you have a preference / recommendation?

Edited by Al Krow, 13 September 2017 - 10:58 AM.

Bass player in JukeBox City and The Retros fBook & YouTube - Al Krow

Ibanez SR1800, Sandberg TM4, Yamaha BB425, Warwick Corvette $$ 5, Stagg EDB 3/4
Mesa M6 (combo), Markbass 121 AC (combo)
Smooth Hound wireless, COG T16, Zoom B3n, Aguilar FT, Aguilar Chorusaurus, TwoNotes Le Bass, Aguilar TLC [Ciocks DC8 power]
Recording: Boss RC-30, Focusrite 6i6, Reaper software, Rode NT1a

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#41 Sibob

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

View PostAl Krow, on 13 September 2017 - 09:23 AM, said:

Cheers Si. Basschat, without doubt, should be renamed "the Slippery Slope" :D

I've get new: the Rode NT1A bundle is £142 and the sE Electronics X1S bundle is £159 (both from Gear4Music). Not very much difference between the two in price terms. If you were going for one or the other, would you have a preference / recommendation?

It's difficult for me to be completely impartial here, as Focusrite distribute sE Electronics in the UK, however they are genuinely very good....as are the Rode mics obviously. Maybe try and have a word with Mike Flynn, if you're friends with him on Facebook etc. He's just finished some recording with the X1S and seemed very happy with it from what I gather. For balance, I'm certain you'll find NT1A users equally happy with their setup, it's all subjective :)

Si

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#42 SubsonicSimpleton

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 02:19 PM

View PostAl Krow, on 13 September 2017 - 08:31 AM, said:

Final newbie Q, if I may! How much difference / advantage is a condenser mic going to have over a normal performance mic for vocal recording? (I've already got a performance mic, but would need to buy a condenser mic). Is it a "must"? If so, which condenser mic would you recommend?
Condenser mics are more sensitive and will capture more detail, however sometimes this extra detail can be problematic if you are recording in an environment with less than stellar acoustics or noise leakage issues. So if you live in a densely populated urban area, you might find yourself capturing the neighbours flushing the toilet, the dog barking down the street and passing traffic as well as what you actually want to record.

If you have access to a dynamic vocal mic I think you should start by making some recordings with that, and ask around to see if you can borrow a condenser mic(and other flavours of dynamic mic) to try in the same environment and make the decision based on what sounds better rather than received wisdom from the internet - bear in mind that different voices sound different on different mics, so if you are recording your own voice, some mics may flatter you and others may emphasise things you don't like, and because everyone's voice is different, it is not really possible to give advice on what will give good results with any degree of accuracy.

IMHO it is better to have a mic that flatters a singers voice(requiring minimal processing after the fact) and that they are comfortable perfoming into than having the highest fidelity.





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