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Hooking up preamps to a computer Audio Interfaces
Old 7th September 2011
Here for the gear

Hooking up preamps to a computer

Hello everyone. I'm new to the site, lurked a few times but had questions so i decided it was time to register! a bit of background on me, I started school for audio engineering in jan and am loving it so far, running PT9 on an i7 Macbook Pro (version right before Thunderbolt :( ) and just have an mBox Mini 2. one of my school projects is to build a preamp, so here lies my question.

How would I go about hooking up a preamp (or as many as 8) up to my computer via firewire or something to that extent? would i need an AD/DA converter that hooks up firewire? or is there a way to create a cable or something that i can do this by. I also have a desktop (that is unfortunately a PC...I'm big on macs now) that i can run PT9 on and hook into that, but I'm still left with figuring out how i would do this.

all insight on this would be majorly appreciated!
Thank you
Old 7th September 2011
Lives for gear
well you would need a recording interface that has as many Line inputs as the number of preamps you want to track at once.
Old 7th September 2011
You def need conversion, which is what an interface does. I recommend the Focusrites.


Remember a lot of interfaces offer more channels than onboard pres meaning it may have 12 in but on 4 of those channels have the pres
Old 7th September 2011
Here for the gear

can anyone recommend brands of converters? I don't need one with mic pre's in it already, since i'll have outboard pre's, correct?
Old 11th September 2011
Here for the gear

You many not need one with mic pres, but convertors with mic preamps aren't neccessarily much more expensive than without mic preamps, in which case, ALL other things being equal, in the future use it may be more convenient to not have to hook up one additional piece of gear.
ALL other things are not equal, and the qualtiy of the preamp you are building, and the many many choices of feature sets with audio interfaces means you could have an overwhelming number of considerations you could weigh in deciding on an audio interface.
Also, it may be possible to plug the preamp straight in the mac's line input with the right cable, but the quality and functionality would probably be less than with a well chosen audio interface.
You could possibly try this first until you worked with your setup a bit and have learned more what your long term needs in an audio interface might be. Your instructor should be able to provide some guidance.

For example, how many microphones would be the maximum you would record at once? Is your goal the least expensive means of achieving your minimal requirements of functionality? Or the best value/ qualtiy for the money invested? Or the no cost spared very best only noticed by conniseurs esoteric quality? Or somewhere in between?
Old 12th September 2011
Originally Posted by andrew.northstar View Post
can anyone recommend brands of converters? I don't need one with mic pre's in it already, since i'll have outboard pre's, correct?
Yes you are correct. As conversion is one of the most important core elements of a digital studio, you'll find that higher end converters do not do anything but convert. It's the lower end ones for the most part that include other features such as monitoring, preamps, etc.

If you want nice conversion (highly recommended) take a look at the Lynx Aurora converters. They come in either 8 or 16 channels configurations and are identical except for the channel count. Additionally you'll need an interface card for your computer if you're using PCIe OR you can opt for the LT-USB card for the Aurora and plug right in. Beyond that you'll need a monitor control like the SPL 2Control to adjust the volume of your speakers and have headphone outs.
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