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USB Audio Interfaces -- trying to narrow it down..


Dave Pierce

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I'm in the market for a USB audio interface. I'll be using this for a pretty specific purpose -- I'm going to connect two condensor mic's in a stereo configuration, and record live shows on my laptop. I've gotten pretty passable results doing this on my Pro Tools Digi 01 and desktop system, but I want something more portable for gigs.

 

I think I've narrowed it down to four models, so I'm wondering if any of you have experience with these models, or if you can recommend a different model that meets my needs. Here's what I need:

 

* Two inputs with mic pre's

* Phantom power

* Wall-wart powered, not USB-bus powered

* MIDI I/O (because I might use it for other stuff)

* Some "LE" version of a DAW (don't care much which)

 

Here's the four models I'm looking at, with the current musiciansfriend.com price:

 

* Lexicon Omega, $199

* E-Mu 404, $199

* M-Audio Fast Track, $199

* Mackie Spike, $249

 

I realize that I might do better with FireWire, but I don't have much of a budget for this, and I already own the laptop with no FireWire interface.

 

Whatcha think? Any experience with these?

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Dave:

 

I don't have first-hand experience with any of the products you mention, but have you considered a handheld recorder like the Zoom H4 ($299 at Sweetwater), which would allow you to do exactly what you want and leave your laptop at home? It's got two XLR mic inputs with phantom power (in case you don't want to use the built-in condensers), USB connectivity, runs on battery or AC power, and comes with Cubase LE. The only thing on your list it doesn't have is MIDI I/O although MIDI interfaces are so cheap maybe that's not critical here? I recall others here posting that they've gotten good results using the H4 to record gigs and rehearsals (even loud ones and even using the built-in mics).

 

Anyway, just a thought.

 

Noah

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What about one of the small Mixing boards? Alesis has one and so does Yamaha now. I think they are in the same price range and might be able to do double duty for you.

 

Alesis

http://www.zzounds.com/prodsearch?form=prodsearch&q=multimix+12&cat=3814&cat2=2912

 

Yamaha

http://www.zzounds.com/item--YAMMW10

 

 

Jimmy

 

Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. Groucho

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I'm just not crazy yet about computers on a gig of any kind. When I was touring in the 90's, I wouldn't even use any keyboard that required a soft-boot of the operating system.

 

Those hand-helds mentioned here sound like a great idea -I just looked at some of those USB mixers at GC the other day - Yamaha / Mackie / Alesis - and, dare I say, Behringer has one.

 

Good luck

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Dave:

 

I don't have first-hand experience with any of the products you mention, but have you considered a handheld recorder like the Zoom H4 ($299 at Sweetwater), which would allow you to do exactly what you want and leave your laptop at home? It's got two XLR mic inputs with phantom power (in case you don't want to use the built-in condensers), USB connectivity, runs on battery or AC power, and comes with Cubase LE. The only thing on your list it doesn't have is MIDI I/O although MIDI interfaces are so cheap maybe that's not critical here? I recall others here posting that they've gotten good results using the H4 to record gigs and rehearsals (even loud ones and even using the built-in mics).

 

Anyway, just a thought.

 

Noah

 

Thanks Noah. A friend of mine has one of those Zoom's, and while it's decent, it tends to get a lot of compression artifacts on a loud gig.

 

--Dave

 

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Thanks Noah. A friend of mine has one of those Zoom's, and while it's decent, it tends to get a lot of compression artifacts on a loud gig.

 

Good to know. That's been precisely my hesitation about buying one, but I have read about others having good experiences with them.

 

All the best,

Noah

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Dave, you will be fine with the Lexicon. A great deal for an audio interface, reverb plug-in and Cubase LE. Welcome to the club. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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