Anyway you can get a firewire card installed on the PC? I think it would open up your options alittle more in terms of interfaces. I still have problems trusting the old USB(not quite sure why, just dont)
Firewire PCI cards; buy one with a Texas Instruments (TI) chipset. Get a FW400 speed 1394a card. Buy one that's firewire only, no combo firewire/USB cards, they won't work.
For $250-300 USD, try and find a used Presonus Firepod. 8 usable mic pre's. zero latency monitoring, good headphone power & level. Has drivers that work well with XP, and will work with virtually any PC motherboard/chipset combo. You should be able to find someone who'd ship you one to AU from USA.
I have the SP B1's, I'd choose them over the A-T 2020's.
>My Ideas so far are a pair of AT2020's or a pair of SP B1's?
I personally would prefer the ATs over the SPs. I have had the B1 and I really didnt like it all that much. Any particular reason you want LDCs over SDCs for Overheads?
>I was thinking maybe an M-Audio Fast Track Pro?
Now this one I do have and absolutely hate it. It picks up noise coming from the computer even when not Buss powered. It consistently has this high pitched whine. The Mic pres arent great in it either. I cant speak for any of the Fast Track Ultra products. Some one here said that they were completely different and re-designed from the previous units but the Fast Track Pro sucks as an interface.
Go for either a firewire or PCI interface. I find that PCI interfaces tend to have less latency than outboard devices.
Yesterday i recorded a drums with two Rode NT1A as room mics. Toms and kick were huuuge, cymbals bright, but not harsh (room was small and almost dead treated) and overall picture was decent. As overheads i used Rodes NT5 sdc's, but for the mix i chose to use mostly NT1A tracks, just because this way drums sounded the best.
if it was me I'd go the firewire route. Get a Focusrite Saffire LE if you only need the two mic ins, it has 2 line ins on the back so you could theoretically do 4 tracks simultaneously. I use the Focusrite Saffire Pro 26 and Pro 10. The pres are some of the best on an interface period, especially for under $1k a piece. I think they are much better than anything by PreSonus and leaps and bounds above anything labeled M-Audio. Firewire has many advantages over USB with music. Firewire will have a larger amount of dedicated bandwidth. Chances are only your interface will be on the firewire card where with USB you have a mouse, hard drive, keyboard, or whatever else.
As far as mics I'd recommend spending $200-$300 on one mic of higher quality. Any condenser at $150 just won't give you much to work with. I've owned them and I hated myself for ever wasting my money on them, you'll never get anything for them when you realize they were a mistake. Look into new/used mics like the AT4050, AT4050 CM/5, AT4040, AT4033, AT4033/CL, AT4047, Sterling Audio ST55, Groove Tubes GT57/GT55, etc. Check out ebay, craigslist, and music go round. Don't forget to use resources like here or check sites like harmony central where you can access user reviews. As far as the imaging of toms it's all about personal preference. I use big drums and big cymbals and prefer the vintage sound so I like LDC mics. SDC mics also work well if you want to go that route check out the Rode NT5 pair or the Shure KSM137 pair/individual mics.
I would avoid using any Studio Projects mics and to a lesser extent the low end A/T mics. I would say hold off and pick up a second mic when you get the money. You will like yourself later down the road. Personally I use either AT4050 CM/5 or Sterling Audio ST79 in stereo pairs as overheads with e904 tom mics, e905 on snare, and then any number of mics on kick drum (I have like 5 kick mics that I go between/combine). Typically I like to use something like SM81 or KSM137 mics to mike up my hats and ride.
Are there any advantages to going mono? or is the idea that i am going to get one better mic for the same price as the two i suggested?
There are some advantages to going mono (but also advantages of stereo) Mono overheads tend to have a lot of punch and cut through mixes really well. But mostly my suggestion was based on my belief that one great channel of of mono is better than lesser quality stereo.
what about the Karma K 35's i have had my heart set on these things for the longest time and was wondering if anyone else had any opinion on these. here is the link, people seem to love them and all of karmas products.
Gefell M71s are my LDC choice for overheads. I've picked up a pair for $250. Into a ISA428 and onto the AKAI DPS24. Other mics I've used as OHs in the past are Gefell M70s although I mostly use SM81s, they always work. I've picked them up real cheap too. The old gefell stuff is amazing for the price though. Wouldnt really recommend the Oktava Mk-012s although I regularly use them on rack toms.