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Advice - Which interface should I get?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
Here for the gear
 

Advice - Which interface should I get?

I am new to recording. I just want a way to have fun creating some music - it doesn't have to sound that great but I'd like to get the best quality I can without spending a ton of money. I would like to be able to record acoustic instruments (guitar, double bass, banjo, etc), Mic guitar/bass amps, record guitar and bass tracks directly (I'm not familiar with this process - but it sounds like you can record the signal directly into the DAW and then use plugin's to emulate amps/speakers? - if so this sounds promising for me since I don't have a great amp), record midi instruments using a Casio CDP 130 (it has semi-weighted keys - will that be a problem?), program drum tracks that sound like acoustic drums (not canned digital drums). I might want to record drums acoustically one day, but that's not any time soon.

Here's what I have to work with:

Windows 10 PC. It's an i7-8700K @ 3.7, 16GB DDR4-3000 RAM, 480GB SSD. Here's a link of the actual PC for more specs: https://www.microcenter.com/product/...sktop-computer

I don't know a ton about mics, but here's what I have (let me know your thoughts on mics and if they're useful or garbage....or useful garbage LOL):
SM57
GT55 (Groove Tubes)
AT853 (looks like it's designed for hanging from the ceiling?)
Behringer B2-Pro.

I also have a Behringer headphone amp (Powerplay pro xl model HA4700). I'm not sure I really need this but thought I'd mention it just in case I ever decide to record several musicians at once.

I have a Whirlwind IMP2 driect box.

Here's my budget....feel free to laugh - I'm a school teacher with a wife and two kids LOL!
Cash: $300
Giftcards LOL: $125-visa; $25 - mastercard; $140 - amazon.

I need an interface and a DAW.
Interface: leaning toward the Focusrite 2i2 and the Behringer UMC 404HD but am open to considering any options y'all think I should consider.

DAW: I'm thinking about purchasing the $60 copy of Reaper. Does reaper come with plugins? Does reaper come with drum sounds that I can use or will I need to buy some? Are there any free DAW's that y'all would recommend I try instead of buying reaper?

Any advice you have to offer is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Rodney
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
Here for the gear
 

Forgot to mention - I have sony MDR-7506 headphones and don't plan on buying monitors anytime soon.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
Quote:
DAW: I'm thinking about purchasing the $60 copy of Reaper.
Get Cakewalk by Bandlab, its free and way better IMHO Save the $60 and buy a few acoustic panels or put it toward studio monitors

Your choice of interfaces are fine. Just make sure you get something with room to grow, or you will be wanting something in 3 to 6 months from now
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
Lives for gear
 
bowzin's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodzilla View Post

Here's what I have to work with:

Windows 10 PC. It's an i7-8700K @ 3.7, 16GB DDR4-3000 RAM, 480GB SSD. Here's a link of the actual PC for more specs: https://www.microcenter.com/product/...sktop-computer

I don't know a ton about mics, but here's what I have (let me know your thoughts on mics and if they're useful or garbage....or useful garbage LOL):
SM57
GT55 (Groove Tubes)
AT853 (looks like it's designed for hanging from the ceiling?)
Behringer B2-Pro.

I also have a Behringer headphone amp (Powerplay pro xl model HA4700). I'm not sure I really need this but thought I'd mention it just in case I ever decide to record several musicians at once.

I have a Whirlwind IMP2 driect box.

Here's my budget....feel free to laugh - I'm a school teacher with a wife and two kids LOL!
Cash: $300
Giftcards LOL: $125-visa; $25 - mastercard; $140 - amazon.

I need an interface and a DAW.
Interface: leaning toward the Focusrite 2i2 and the Behringer UMC 404HD but am open to considering any options y'all think I should consider.

DAW: I'm thinking about purchasing the $60 copy of Reaper. Does reaper come with plugins? Does reaper come with drum sounds that I can use or will I need to buy some? Are there any free DAW's that y'all would recommend I try instead of buying reaper?

Any advice you have to offer is much appreciated.

Thanks,
Rodney
Computer's is good

SM57 is good, something you can hold onto forever

The Groove Tubes, AT, and Behringer are ok and should be fine, get to know them well and go as far as you can with them.

Sony MD7506 are good, get to know them well, listen to albums you know well, etc.

The Behringer headphone amp is surprisingly good, not going to make anything sound better necessarily, but can provide plenty of juice and routing options and won't screw the sound up in the process.

I have Super Drummer 3, not sure I'd recommend it, very expensive and the added packs you have to buy and they are also expensive. It's good not great IMO and I bet there are cheaper alternatives. I want to try the Slate offerings sometime.

Get the free version of Klanghelm MJUC compressor, it's really good. The full version is cheap too. Luftikus is a free eq based on a Maag eq, it's a good free one I got recently. There's lot of good free plugins, stick to those for a while.

Reaper is good, not the most visually user-friendly perhaps, so watch tutorials to get started. It does come with good stock plugins, again visually very stripped down.

I'm a big fan of the Audient ID22, something ypu can grow into, and sounds good for the price range, but sound differences are subtle with a starter setup with no monitors, etc. but like I said something to grow into.

That said, for the price, 2i2 and ID14 are really amazing compared to even like 10 yrs, so dont stress abt it or blow up the budget, those are great.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodzilla View Post
Here's my budget....feel free to laugh
Anyone who laughs at you (either by posting or even in thought) is a pompous idiot. You're obviously intelligent enough to prioritize your spending and keep it reasonable. That's more than many can say.

Gear: The SM57 is a fine mic. Cannot speak to the others. The interfaces mentioned are all fine as well; honestly you're not likely to find a bad one even if you tried. Don't spend more for something thinking "it costs more so it must be better!" This is quite often untrue and differences not only subjective as hell but grossly exaggerated.

DAW: I've tried most of those out there and IMO Reaper or Mixcraft are your best bets as they are the most user-friendly. They have free trials, so I suggest giving them a try; it's the only way you'll know what works for you.

Plugins: pretty much all DAWs come with plugins and they are often very good, underrated, and you may not need any others. I suggest starting with those vs overwhelming yourself with a bunch extra stuff you don't need (but can investigate later). Also don't feel the need to use a particular type of plugin because "you're supposed to." Overuse of plugins is very common IMO. Trust your ears.

If you do look around, there are plenty of very (very) good free ones you can try. "You get what you pay for" regarding plugins is utter rubbish and false at least as often as it is true (and again, subjective). Of course everyone has their own opinions on this or that, but again you have to find out for yourself. If you're so inclined, do a search on the site here and you'll find a bunch of favorites. Also google "best free plugins" and you'll find some good suggestions...most can be found on KVR or Plugin Boutique web sites (there are others).

Short of all that I strongly suggest you read up on recording and gear (esp mics)...the diff types, pros and cons, recording techniques etc.

Last but not least don't underestimate the importance of "treating" your room (sound panels etc)! You don't have to spend a ton but if you do none, you're likely to end up with unsatisfying results no matter how good your hardware and software are.

g/l
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ Mastering View Post
Get Cakewalk by Bandlab, its free and way better IMHO Save the $60 and buy a few acoustic panels or put it toward studio monitors

Your choice of interfaces are fine. Just make sure you get something with room to grow, or you will be wanting something in 3 to 6 months from now
Thanks, I'm going to hold off on Reaper and work with cakewalk. I didn't realize it was free.

I need to learn more about acoustic treatment. I'm sure there's a ton of info/advice on this forum, I just need to find the time to take it all in.

Thanks for the feedback,

Rodney
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Here for the gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bowzin View Post
Computer's is good

SM57 is good, something you can hold onto forever

The Groove Tubes, AT, and Behringer are ok and should be fine, get to know them well and go as far as you can with them.

Sony MD7506 are good, get to know them well, listen to albums you know well, etc.

The Behringer headphone amp is surprisingly good, not going to make anything sound better necessarily, but can provide plenty of juice and routing options and won't screw the sound up in the process.

I have Super Drummer 3, not sure I'd recommend it, very expensive and the added packs you have to buy and they are also expensive. It's good not great IMO and I bet there are cheaper alternatives. I want to try the Slate offerings sometime.

Get the free version of Klanghelm MJUC compressor, it's really good. The full version is cheap too. Luftikus is a free eq based on a Maag eq, it's a good free one I got recently. There's lot of good free plugins, stick to those for a while.

Reaper is good, not the most visually user-friendly perhaps, so watch tutorials to get started. It does come with good stock plugins, again visually very stripped down.

I'm a big fan of the Audient ID22, something ypu can grow into, and sounds good for the price range, but sound differences are subtle with a starter setup with no monitors, etc. but like I said something to grow into.

That said, for the price, 2i2 and ID14 are really amazing compared to even like 10 yrs, so dont stress abt it or blow up the budget, those are great.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bill5 View Post
Anyone who laughs at you (either by posting or even in thought) is a pompous idiot. You're obviously intelligent enough to prioritize your spending and keep it reasonable. That's more than many can say.

Gear: The SM57 is a fine mic. Cannot speak to the others. The interfaces mentioned are all fine as well; honestly you're not likely to find a bad one even if you tried. Don't spend more for something thinking "it costs more so it must be better!" This is quite often untrue and differences not only subjective as hell but grossly exaggerated.

DAW: I've tried most of those out there and IMO Reaper or Mixcraft are your best bets as they are the most user-friendly. They have free trials, so I suggest giving them a try; it's the only way you'll know what works for you.

Plugins: pretty much all DAWs come with plugins and they are often very good, underrated, and you may not need any others. I suggest starting with those vs overwhelming yourself with a bunch extra stuff you don't need (but can investigate later). Also don't feel the need to use a particular type of plugin because "you're supposed to." Overuse of plugins is very common IMO. Trust your ears.

If you do look around, there are plenty of very (very) good free ones you can try. "You get what you pay for" regarding plugins is utter rubbish and false at least as often as it is true (and again, subjective). Of course everyone has their own opinions on this or that, but again you have to find out for yourself. If you're so inclined, do a search on the site here and you'll find a bunch of favorites. Also google "best free plugins" and you'll find some good suggestions...most can be found on KVR or Plugin Boutique web sites (there are others).

Short of all that I strongly suggest you read up on recording and gear (esp mics)...the diff types, pros and cons, recording techniques etc.

Last but not least don't underestimate the importance of "treating" your room (sound panels etc)! You don't have to spend a ton but if you do none, you're likely to end up with unsatisfying results no matter how good your hardware and software are.

g/l
Thanks guys!

I'll definitely check out the free plugins and avoid spending cash on plugins since it sounds like there's plenty of free options that will be just fine for someone like me (just doing this as a hobby with very little cash to spend).

I'll stay away from the super drummer product you mentioned. Are you looking into any other options for drums?

I also would like to incorporate an sm7b into my mic collection based on what I've read. I found a guy that is selling his setup for $250 but he's not willing to split up the deal. It comes with: 1. sm7b (the main thing I want) 2. Some kind of heavy-duty tripod stand that has a very large acoustic shield mounted to it as well as a pop filter 3. Headphones (crappy tascam TH02) 4. Scarlet solo (not sure what gen it is - most likely 1 or 2).

I'm not sure if I could get him to come down on the price. Is that mic shield a good option for someone with a crappy room (my room has no treatment and it's going to take me some time to figure out how to treat my room and get it sounding nice)? I'm wondering if this could be a deal if I could get him to come down to $200, then I could sell the solo and the headphones (maybe make $50-100 back) and keep the mic, stand/shield, and cables?

Also, when I get an interface it probably won't be able to do the sm7b justice so I'd probably invest in one of those cloudlifters.

Thoughts?

Rodney
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by rodzilla View Post
Thanks guys!

I'll definitely check out the free plugins and avoid spending cash on plugins since it sounds like there's plenty of free options that will be just fine for someone like me (just doing this as a hobby with very little cash to spend).

I'll stay away from the super drummer product you mentioned. Are you looking into any other options for drums?

I also would like to incorporate an sm7b into my mic collection based on what I've read. I found a guy that is selling his setup for $250 but he's not willing to split up the deal. It comes with: 1. sm7b (the main thing I want) 2. Some kind of heavy-duty tripod stand that has a very large acoustic shield mounted to it as well as a pop filter 3. Headphones (crappy tascam TH02) 4. Scarlet solo (not sure what gen it is - most likely 1 or 2).

I'm not sure if I could get him to come down on the price. Is that mic shield a good option for someone with a crappy room (my room has no treatment and it's going to take me some time to figure out how to treat my room and get it sounding nice)? I'm wondering if this could be a deal if I could get him to come down to $200, then I could sell the solo and the headphones (maybe make $50-100 back) and keep the mic, stand/shield, and cables?

Also, when I get an interface it probably won't be able to do the sm7b justice so I'd probably invest in one of those cloudlifters.

Thoughts?
First thought is to repeat a prior thought: do the research. You will find many answers this way. For ex you may not need a Cloudlifter for the SM7B, and frankly I wouldn't buy it just because it's a popular/trendy mic anyway esp on a tight budget. Have a better reason to buy it, like you tried your other mics and weren't happy with the results, but then what was it about the results you didn't like and why do you think the SM7 will solve that etc. The answer to better recordings isn't automatically "spend more money." And with mics in particular there is a lot to learn about the diff types, pros and cons and so on.

If you're dead set on buying an SM7B, re the package, if the mic is in good shape, that's a good deal, even just for the mic itself, since it goes about $400 new.

PS the mic shield is absolutely not a substitute for room treatment, and my general impression is they don't do much in most cases anyway. If it comes with the deal sure try it, but don't expect much.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #9
Lives for gear
 
TurboJets's Avatar
Cakewalk by Bandlab is a really nice DAW IMO, very robust and comes with some decent free plugs.

When you're starting out, I think the 2i2 is a good interface.

There are tons of free plugins available that are quite good.
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