The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
$500. Need sound card, mic, accessories from Guitar Center. Newbie here! Audio Interfaces
Old 30th December 2010
  #1
Here for the gear
 

$500. Need sound card, mic, accessories from Guitar Center. Newbie here!

Hey guys. I'll start by mentioning I don't really know anything about recording, but seeing how good my friend could make my music sound made me want to buy some recording gear haha. He referred me to this forum for suggestions on what to buy.

So the Guitar Center is doing this thing where if you spend at least $499, you get $100 off. Sounds pretty good to me.

I'm about to drop at least $500. Maybe a little more if necessary but lets say for now this is my budget (If it's REALLY worth it, I can go over). Could someone link me what I should buy from www.guitarcenter.com? I am assuming the basics are a sound card/interface and a mic, but again, I'm just assuming! Also, if the Guitar Center is just overpriced to begin with and not worth the $100 off, then just let me know and link me something else.

I just need stuff to record guitar (most acoustic) and vocals. That's about it. Nothing fancy. Just for things like songs and covers to put on facebook and YouTube and whatnot.

Please also let me know about any cables I might need. I'm a total beginner here!

Thank you very much for your time!

EDIT: What I already have:
- Nice laptop
- Cakewalk Sonar
- Nice speakers
- Nice headphones
Old 30th December 2010
  #2
Lives for gear
yeah, don't go buying anything just yet. Read up a little on what you're about to own. Those GC promos will come and go and the gear you want will more or less still cost the same.

With that said:

Assuming you have a decent computer, what you need is software, an interface with a mic pre, a mic, cables, and a guitar if you don't own one already. Also, you would need either headphones or some monitors so you can hear yourself.

(1) Firewire interfaces (sound cards) generally require you to have a separate fw card with a TI chipset amongst other things, so unless you wanna go down that route, I suggest a usb interface to keep things simple.

Something like the focusrite saffire 6 usb would work. It has built in mic preamps to use. It also has a headphone out that you can use if you don't have speakers.

(2) You'll need recording software. You can DL Reaper which is free to try and $50 to own. Other software is out of your budget but come with instruments and fx to play around with. You can find decent free ones if you look around. Something like Fruity Loops might be fun too since you can use that to make beats and stuff on. I think it's $50-100?

You can ask around about mics and the other things mentioned above...getting (1) and (2) will be about $200-$250 of your budget.

(3) You may also consider getting a midi keyboard that you can use with vst instruments like drums/piano/synths should you choose to get some virtual instruments. You can find a used 49 key midi board for like $50. May come in handy.

Finally, if you're really doing this just for fun, don't let people steer you towards things like external HDDs, etc. For your needs, it's unnecessary and you can always get those things later should you get more interested.
Old 30th December 2010
  #3
$500. Need sound card, mic, accessories from Guitar Center. Newbie here!

The above poster is right on. Just take your time and do research.

Another route would be:
1) Echo Audiofire 4
2) SM57
3) KRK Rokit 5's
4) Reaper

That would be a VERY flexible, high quality beginners rig that could grow with you as you grow.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 30th December 2010
  #4
Lives for gear
Something like this if you're just starting out:
Buy Digidesign Pro Tools Mbox 2 Package | Studio & Recording Packages | Computer Music Packages | Musician's Friend

Maybe you could show the add to guitar center and coax them into giving you a better deal?

Thats a good deal for some people, might not be as much of a good deal for your situation...my other suggestion is this:

Look around for some kind of interface, if you're mainly doing acoustic guitar and vocals for youtube, i can't see you needing more than 2 inputs...in this case USB or firewire...both will be pretty equal at this stage.

Some interfaces to look at:
m-audio profire 610 (firewire)
m-audio fast track
Focusrite Saffire 6

If you wanna record your guitar and voice at the same time, maybe a 57 and 58...oh and XLR-XLR cables...two of them...don't get tricked into buying XLR-1/4"

For $500...maybe go down the KRK route witht eh rockit 5s, but since you're mainly doing it for youtube and its just vocals and acoustic guitar, you'd probably get away with just headphones...

Software...reaper, or a light version of something like cubase essentials or something (reaper [pretty cheap] or even audacity [free] will probably suit your needs)
Old 30th December 2010
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Aaron Miller's Avatar
Like above posters said, take your time and research out your options.

Do you have a PC or mac? If mac, just use Garage Band. It's very capable for a freebie.

Do you have a decent set of home stereo speakers you can use for monitors? I'm asking because IMO dedicated studio monitors in the price range you're considering will offer you no benefits over a decent set of home stereo speakers. Besides, if you already have them and listen to music on them, you already know what music should sound like on them. Any new studio monitor, you'll have to learn.
Old 30th December 2010
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Thank you for the suggestions guys! I'd really love to take my time but the $100 off offer only goes through Dec 31, so I can't haha.

I forgot to point out I'm not terrible at mixing, just recording I'm not sure how this happened really. I own a copy of Cakewalk Sonar already with very nice headphones and speakers, as well as a $2000 laptop. Okay time to stop bragging -_-, but I've always just recorded stuff with a crappy webcam and made that sound as good as possible. I always got it to the point where I thought things sounded okay, but after hearing what a real studio mic and interface could do, I was completely blown away.

So all I really need is a mic and an interface. Does that SM57 sound good for only being $100? I could easily throw over $200 for a mic. Let me know.
Old 30th December 2010
  #7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luong View Post
Thank you for the suggestions guys! I'd really love to take my time but the $100 off offer only goes through Dec 31, so I can't haha.

I forgot to point out I'm not terrible at mixing, just recording I'm not sure how this happened really. I own a copy of Cakewalk Sonar already with very nice headphones and speakers, as well as a $2000 laptop. Okay time to stop bragging -_-, but I've always just recorded stuff with a crappy webcam and made that sound as good as possible. I always got it to the point where I thought things sounded okay, but after hearing what a real studio mic and interface could do, I was completely blown away.

So all I really need is a mic and an interface. Does that SM57 sound good for only being $100? I could easily throw over $200 for a mic. Let me know.
The 57 is fine, it's easily the most-used mic in the music industry.

I have an MBox Mini just for making demos at home; it works just fine (I have a Pro Tools HD3 Accel rig at my studio).

M Box Mini
Old 30th December 2010
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Draw the Moral View Post
1) Echo Audiofire 4
2) SM57
3) KRK Rokit 5's
4) Reaper

That would be a VERY flexible, high quality beginners rig that could grow with you as you grow.
This.
Old 30th December 2010
  #9
Lives for gear
 

Honestly, that Digidesign package above is what I'd probably go for. I'm pretty sure Guitar Center could have something like that going, they're related to Musician's Friend in some way.

A Shure SM57 is a useful mic, but it's crap on acoustic guitar, without question. I like the microphone with the package about better.
Old 30th December 2010
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Pick an interface (I have a Tascam US-1641 that works great for me...I've never had a single issue with it.)

But I definitely recommend getting an SM57, but I'd also suggest getting either an MXL V67G or 2003a. If you buy from B&H Photo, you can get the 2003a in a pack with the 603S, shockmounts and windscreens for each, two XLR cables and a hardshell case for $179. With a dynamic like the SM57 and a good condenser or two, you'll be able to cover a lot of ground.
Old 30th December 2010
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

I'm assuming that by mentioning Sonar, that's the software you want to stick with. That's cool.

So you need an interface and a mic or two.

You said you're keeping it simple acoustic guitar and vocals.

I think the Focusrite Saffire Pro 14 is a great box to start with. 2 mic pres with 2 additional line ins for keyboards or if you graduate to outboard mic pres.

I think for mics you get something like the AT2041SP mic pack Those 2 mics should give you plenty of sounds to experiment and learn with.

Don't forget to get mic cables, mic stands, and such.
Old 30th December 2010
  #12
Gear Head
 
tanders12's Avatar
 

My recommendations:

1) Interface:
FIREWIRE

Audiofire 4
Echo AudioFire4 FireWire Audio Interface and more Audio Interfaces at GuitarCenter.com.

OR

Saffire Pro 14
GuitarCenter

USB

EMU 0404
GuitarCenter

Fast Track Ultra
GuitarCenter

2) Mic:
MXL 2003a/603s combo
MXL 2003/603S Microphone Pac Plus and more Microphone Packages at GuitarCenter.com.

OR

Rode NT1a
Rode Microphones NT1-A Condenser Mic Bundle and more Condenser Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.

3) Cables
4) Mic stands

Like someone already said if you go firewire you might run into problems with the chipset (you want a Texas Instruments Firewire chipset), however I don't know much about the USB interfaces. Just make sure you get USB 2.0.

For vocals and acoustic guitar you'll definitely want a condenser, not a dynamic mic. However it's always a good idea to have a SM57 laying around.
Old 31st December 2010
  #13
Here for the gear
 

Thumbs up

Quote:
Originally Posted by BLUElightCory View Post
The 57 is fine, it's easily the most-used mic in the music industry.

I have an MBox Mini just for making demos at home; it works just fine (I have a Pro Tools HD3 Accel rig at my studio).

M Box Mini
Yes it is the most used mic in the industry......for stage vocals.

You want to spend a couple hundred on a condenser mic (AKG makes the best product under $500, from what I've been told. (I use a Blueberry or a Shure KSM)

This way, you can do guitar with it, and anything else for that matter, including vocals. You will not get the same detail from your guitar with an SM57, either. You need an interface with phantom power for it, though. Shouldn;t alter the budget much.
Old 31st December 2010
  #14
Lives for gear
 
mhs2xs's Avatar
 

MXL CR-24 Pac

This mic package just went on sale at GC for $149, the LDC is a 2003A with a different paint job. Excellent mic, plus you get an SDC, shockmounts, case, etc. Then you've got $350 left. See the 2003A thread for a shootout done by kidvybes.

Good luck in your quest.

Cheers!
Mitchell
Old 31st December 2010
  #15
Here for the gear
 

For my sound interface, I am going with:
Echo AudioFire4 FireWire Audio Interface and more Audio Interfaces at GuitarCenter.com.
I've never used FireWire before. My laptop has a 4-pin port. I just buy a 6-pin to 4-pin connector and I should be good to go correct?

As for the mic(s):
Rode Microphones NT1-A Condenser Mic Bundle and more Condenser Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.
MXL CR-24 Black Chrome Microphone and more Condenser Microphones at GuitarCenter.com.
Which is the better mic? The site tells me I am saving $300 on the MXL CR-24, which means it has to be pretty decent haha. Can someone clarify? I couldn't find a demo of it on YouTube. The Rode NT1-A however sounded really good in a demo. Someone just tell me what the better option is out of these and I'll be ready to purchase!

That'll put me just over $500. I'll spend the remaining budget on a stand and cables or something.

Thank you all so much for all the help guys! This is so exciting. I can't wait to visit the store tomorrow.
Old 31st December 2010
  #16
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Luong View Post
For my sound interface, I am going with:
Echo AudioFire4 FireWire Audio Interface and more Audio Interfaces at GuitarCenter.com.
I've never used FireWire before. My laptop has a 4-pin port. I just buy a 6-pin to 4-pin connector and I should be good to go correct?
The audiofire is a SOLID interface...I used to own the AF8. But as you say, if you've never gone the firewire route and you're on a PC laptop, be weary. You will need an expresscard with a TI chip and even with one, it can be tricky.

If I need a new interface, I'm going fw...BUT if I was wanting to make home demos of vocals and guitar, I'd go usb and be done with it. In any case, that interface is a good solid one. Just make sure you have the other things ready to get it working properly.

Also, you will find cheaper prices than at GC and you won't pay tax if you order out of state. That's you're cable money right there.
Old 31st December 2010
  #17
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by blacklion View Post
The audiofire is a SOLID interface...I used to own the AF8. But as you say, if you've never gone the firewire route and you're on a PC laptop, be weary. You will need an expresscard with a TI chip and even with one, it can be tricky.

If I need a new interface, I'm going fw...BUT if I was wanting to make home demos of vocals and guitar, I'd go usb and be done with it. In any case, that interface is a good solid one. Just make sure you have the other things ready to get it working properly.

Also, you will find cheaper prices than at GC and you won't pay tax if you order out of state. That's you're cable money right there.
Is an express fw card with TI chip necessary? I can't just plug the interface into my 4-pin fw port and have it work? I keep reading about how fw is much faster than USB and that I should get it if I can. If this means buying an express fw card, I would rather do that if say a $300 Echo AudioFire 4 is really that much better than the $300 M-Audio Fast Track Ultra.

How do I check what kind of fw chipset I already have?

EDIT!!!!!!!!!!!: Figured it out. JMicron.
http://h30434.www3.hp.com/t5/Noteboo...5eg/td-p/10066
"hello!
i have big problems using build in firewire-chip (Jmicron JMB83x) on my notebook - all the audio interfaces i plug in simply wont work properly.
on echo audiofire 4 i could hear audio but with lot of crackle/noises (expecially in ASIO mode)."

^NO THANK YOU! Going with a USB interface. Probably M-Audio Fast Track Ultra now. If the Focusrite Saffire 6 is actually better, please let me know. Also still wondering about the mics. Rode NT1-A or MXL CR-24? Thank you!
Old 31st December 2010
  #18
Gear Nut
 

the mxl2003a is a decent mic, if it's built better it could fetch for more than $160
Old 31st December 2010
  #19
Gear Head
 
tanders12's Avatar
 

If the Saffire 6 were USB 2.0 I'd say go for that hands down, but all things considered I'd say go with the fast track ultra.

Like mhs2xs said, GC in store is offering the MXL 2003a combo for $150 right now. Online it's still $199, but someone suggested that that might change on the 1st. However that will be too late for you. I'd say just for guitar and vocals just go for the NT1a and be done with it. From what I've read it can be pretty bright (emphasis on highs), whereas the MXL 2003a is more neutral. However it seems that the sound of the NT1a is nice for acoustic guitar.
Old 1st January 2011
  #20
Here for the gear
 

I ended up going with the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra and the MXL CR-24 pac. The Rode was sold out at my local guitar center.

So far VERY happy except for one thing. My Cakewalk Sonar is freaking out and keeps BSODing every time I press stop record. Never had this problem with my old mic. I tested the gear out in Reaper however, and it sounds amazing. This software will be a problem though.

To be honest I was never really a huge fan of Cakewalk Sonar. I posted on their boards for help, but just in case I feel like trying something new, what software do you guys recommend? Price doesn't matter. What's the best out there? I like Reaper so far, but feel it may be too simple.

EDIT: I didn't realize an interface is just like an external sound card! Now all of the music I listen to sounds better too haha.
Old 1st January 2011
  #21
Lives for gear
actually the Saffire 6 is usb. Looks like the Op went with the fast track. Perhaps a little too late, but I hope you didn't pay $300 for the fast track.

In any case, good luck and have a good time.

Reaper is as full fledged as you'll get aside from some midi and editing options and included instruments. Just used it last night with a friend and he made a little demo for himself in no time. If you've already got Sonar, you should be able to make it work.

'best' is determined by the user. Most DAWs are comparable these days and it really depends on what you're using it for and how comfortable you are with it. I use Cubase/Live/PTLE for different things and I like them all. Have the most experience with Cubase so that's my choice most of the time.
Old 1st January 2011
  #22
Gear Addict
 

By reaper being "simple" I'm assuming you mean it lacks flashy GUI and may be limited in flexibility. Reaper is really quite powerful and flexible. I haven't run into anything yet that Reaper couldn't do. Give it a little time and YouTube some tutorials. It'll be worth it.
Old 1st January 2011
  #23
Here for the gear
 

Yeah screwing around with Reaper, it seems pretty awesome. I took a long time to figure out Sonar, but I'm not pro and don't really need all that flashy stuff like you mentioned. It seems just as capable as Sonar.

Overall, things are going awesome. Once again, thank you all for all your help. I did pay $300 for the Fast Track Ultra lol. The guy at GC was trying to charge $350 saying the sale ended 2 days ago. I was like eff that and got him to drop it back down. It said $300 on the website anyway. Man if I should have gotten the Saffire 6, bummer! I am pretty satisfied with the Fast Track Ultra though, it being my FIRST sound interface haha.

One question though. How to get rid of all static? There is a tiny bit of static coming into my headphones. It is very minor and almost not noticeable, but how do I completely get rid of it?
Old 1st January 2011
  #24
Gear Head
 
tanders12's Avatar
 

The saffire would have given you better preamps and overall SQ, but the fast track lets you transfer more data being USB 2.0. There's always a tradeoff.

The static may just be the mic noise. There will always be a little of that. The NT1a is known for being super low noise, but it's hard to beat the CR-24 at $150. As a matter of fact I picked one up today and so far I love it :D Did you get it at the sale price?

If you can make Reaper work for your needs it's hard to beat at the price. I don't know why Sonar would be BSODing you...
Old 2nd January 2011
  #25
Registered User
 

how complex do you need it?

reaper does rewire
reaper does vsti and direct x
reaper does full automation

what else do you neeD?
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread
Thread Starter / Forum
Replies
Kollision / So much gear, so little time
4
skiltrip / So much gear, so little time
4
ozraves / So much gear, so little time
12
Nfinite2006 / Geekslutz forum
14

Forum Jump
Forum Jump