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New Pre Amp or New interface? - Line 6 UX1 Mixers (Analog)
Old 10th September 2011
  #1
Here for the gear
 

New Pre Amp or New interface? - Line 6 UX1

First post :D Bought an MXL 2003a a couple of months ago, but obviously since my UX1 doesn't have phantom power I can't use it for the time being...

I should be getting some cash soon for an EP I recorded for a friend, so I'm wondering whether I would be better off getting a new preamp to go with the UX1, or a new interface altogether (I only want to spend around $220 USD, maybe a wee bit more)

I've read quite a few other threads but I'm still not entirely sure what to get. Bhphotovideo.com have the M-Audio Mobile Pre Mk II for $128, plus another or so 50 to send to New Zealand, which is kinda tempting. It's USB bus powered so I wouldn't have to buy a new power supply or voltage converter. I want something that I can stick with for quite a while so idk if it's the best choice.

What do I do guys?

Thanks!
Old 10th September 2011
  #2
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I would get a better audio interface. but there's other things you need to consider too.

how's the rest of your recording setup? do you have monitors? is your studio room acoustically treated?

the overall strength of any recording chain is the weakest link. If you don't have good AD/DA converters, good microphones, good monitoring equipment etc then an expensive preamp will not give you the results you are hoping.

I'm guessing that you're relatively new to music production. I have sub-par recording equipment (based on gearslutz opinions) but I still can learn more with what I have.
Old 10th September 2011
  #3
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At the moment I'm just mixing through some headphones so I don't really need to worry about room. I'm recording mostly pop punk bands so I can get by with fake drums and amp modelling, so my main focus was to get a decent vocal/acoustic instrument mic (I only had a Shure PG58). Since I now have ther MXL 2003a, I just need to be able to use it An interface or pre amp will let me do this, I'm just not sure which one will be more useful in the long run. I think I am starting leaning towards an interface actually...

I'm not worrying about the room and getting a bunch of expensive gear. Next year I'll have free access to a local studio which has a decent set up, but I can only go in when they're not booked.

Thanks for the advice! Any ideas on an interface?
Old 10th September 2011
  #4
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Definitely get something that would last you a couple of years. Don't think "Oh, I'll just buy something cheap and upgrade later with something expensive."

E-Mu 0204 USB 2.0 Audio Interface at FrontEndAudio.com

I've heard good things about E-MU and their interfaces. If I wasn't using a standalone multi-track recorder (Zoom R16), I would probably buy this or the 0406.
Old 10th September 2011
  #5
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Actually, I take that back. Here's some bad stuff about the E-Mu 0204:

E-MU: The End?
Old 10th September 2011
  #6
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I think I'm gonna stay away from E-MU then haha, their products are all pretty ugly anyway...
Old 11th September 2011
  #7
Gear Addict
 

I'm always amazed at the rap the Line 6 interfaces get. Their pre's are weak, certainly, but I never thought their AD/DA was all that bad. In fact, I've had almost everything they've made at one time or another (UX1, UX2, KB37, UX8, and POD X3), and I've always liked them. If you only need 2in/2out, it's a great little interface.

My favorite configuration was using it with a Soundcraft Compact mixer in front of it. You can get used ones usually on eBay. Either the Compact 4 or Compact 10 depending on how much stuff you want to leave plugged in at once. Great little pre's, decent monitor & headphone sections.

I love using the POD Farm interface for tracking. Even if you record dry, you can monitor with reverb, guitar FX, amps, or even mic preamp models.
Old 12th September 2011
  #8
Lives for gear
 

I liked the UX1 when I was using it - they're pretty good low-budget all-in-one solutions.

Last edited by Black Shadow; 12th September 2011 at 01:00 PM.. Reason: It makes more sense when you put the words in the right order
Old 12th September 2011
  #9
Gear Nut
 
davemccall's Avatar
I like to spend money on things that will last. A good pre should remain practical for two to three decades. A good interface becomes obsolete much more quickly.

Analog gear is a much better long term investment.

Anything tied to a computer is destined to the same fate as the computer... Four years or so of good use, then it is worthless and obsolete. I try to spend as little as possible on this side of things.
Old 13th September 2011
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemccall View Post
I like to spend money on things that will last. A good pre should remain practical for two to three decades. A good interface becomes obsolete much more quickly.

Analog gear is a much better long term investment.

Anything tied to a computer is destined to the same fate as the computer... Four years or so of good use, then it is worthless and obsolete. I try to spend as little as possible on this side of things.
But a <$200 pre will become obsolete just as quickly, it would be handy having a couple of extra mic and instrument inputs in the future to speed up tracking
Old 3rd October 2011
  #11
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Sokar's Avatar
 

Hope you're still around.

I'm in the exact same boat as you. I have a Line6 UX1 and I'm planning on buying a MXL 2003a.

I got out of the business for about 5 years. Back in the day, I had a couple of UAD-1's, high end sound card (although for the life of me, I can't remember which, other than it was a PCI card), really nice preamp... the whole nine. I produced several charting records on that rig.

I've been trying to get back up to speed with what is available these days now that I'm starting over. I have this UX1 that I bought 2-3 years ago because I was traveling and all I was interested in was playing my guitar (which I took with me). Not recording.

Back when I first decided on the MXL 2003a, my thought was to go with what I have done in the past and get a Studio Projects VTB-1 to put in front of the UX1 so I would at least have phantom power. It wasn't until I picked up a pair of KRK RP6 monitors that it occured to me that I was going about it wrong.

The UX1 doesn't have balanced outputs which I would prefer to run with the RP6's. At first I was concerned about noise. Turns out that my monitors are dead silent even without the balanced outputs. However, it suddenly didn't make sense any more for me to stack up a half assed preamp into a half assed sound card. Why not kill to birds with one stone and simplify the input chain?

Sure, you could get 'character' with a tube preamp connected to a preamp that is going to be colored itself (the UX1), but it makes much more sense to get as clean and strong a preamp as humanly possible in the price range you are going for and add whatever color you need for the track you're working on in your mix.

It's cool if you like the color pairing up two devices give you, but that's the sound you're always going to have.

That's my opinion. Ditch the UX1. It's a great little device, no doubt. But for really good recordings, there are much, much better options out there. That's the path I'm going down now.

Hope that helps.
Old 3rd October 2011
  #12
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brockorama's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by davemccall View Post

Anything tied to a computer is destined to the same fate as the computer... Four years or so of good use, then it is worthless and obsolete. I try to spend as little as possible on this side of things.
I don't get this? You either have standalone converters or they are part of an interface. And I would buy quality in either one is my advice. My FF800 is about 8 years old and will probably last another 10 yrs. There's no reason it won't that I can think of. If they quit supporting it I'll record on a OS that does support it.
Old 12th November 2011
  #13
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Wow, it's been a while since I looked on here!

I won't be selling the UX1, it's great for guitar and integrates well with the standalone Pod Farm which is great since I don't use a guitar amp anymore when practising

I was looking around and I found this here . Considering I'm paying NZ currency, that's a REALLY tempting price for an interface with phantom power. Is it actually worth getting, or should I just save up more and get an even better interface?
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