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Capturing Multi-Track Raw Audio?

Cliff posted more than 8 years ago | from the garage-band-applications dept.


afex asks: "I've been in and out of bands, and my current one is ready to sit down and put out a nice sounding Promo CD. In the past, I've used a horrible mess of equipment to get this job done. I won't go into detail on what all the microphones were for, but I had 4 going into an analog mixer, mixed down to 2 channels - as well as four other microphones that were unmixed. This left me with 6 separate tracks, which I am now outgrowing. I'd now like to start capturing 8 (or more) channels of raw (delivered via XLR cables from mics) audio. As for quality: 44.1K/16bit is fine. The editing can be done later via software, but my main quest is to get a single piece of hardware (either for my PC or a standalone box) that will ONLY capture the audio - no EQ's, no FX, no mixing, nothing, since that is all done later, on the PC. Got any ideas, Slashdot?""I used to record it all using 2 stereo USB capture devices (Edirol UA-1A & M-Audio MobilePre USB), as well as the PC's soundcard (left and right). I recorded and mixed with Cool Edit Pro, which is now Adobe Audition. This method has been very buggy, and its time for a change. I don't want to add more USB/FireWire capture cards to the mix, and I don't want to pay a heap for a digital 8-track recorder such as Yamaha's AW16G. What can I do?"

cancel ×


M-audio (1)

Gates82 (706573) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208794)

M-audio is probably the way to go, they have several [] multi channel capture cards and breakout boxes.

So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's sister?

Re:M-audio (1)

jokell82 (536447) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208907)

I would favor a stand-alone solution over a low-cost computer interface solution. The Alesis HD24 [] is pretty much standard for this situation.

Re:M-audio (1)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211702)

I would also highly reccommend going for a stand-alone solution for simply capturing audio. My dad runs a professional on-site recording business and also works for a small local recording studio. Both his own business and the studio use an Alesis DA-88 for recording on-location work. It's a true 8 track recorder, putting down 8 channels of digital audio at a time which you can then later pull off and mix down yourself. This tends to be a really good option for capturing live stuff as you're not trying to mix down on the fly, only later to realize that you don't like the mix you did.

If you want something on a computer, then I'd suggest looking for a breakout box that can do 8 channels simultaneously. Either way, I'd definitely reccommend using a mixer as little as possible. For recording work, mixing should be done as absolutely much as possible AFTER then performing is done, when you can go in and tweak everything in the mix until it's just right.

Re:M-audio (1)

twilightzero (244291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212165)

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK wrong company! The company that produces the DA-88 is TASCAM, not Alesis. Don't know what I was smoking, it's too damn early still...

HEY, SLASHDOT (0, Offtopic)

dick pubes (963843) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208980)

no digg!

Re:M-audio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209645)

So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's sister?'s_Sist er []

StrongBad rules!

I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (3, Informative)

b00m3rang (682108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208795)

They both make good multichannel audio interfaces at a good value for the price. I've gone with Echo Audio in the past, and not been entirely happy with the drivers, stability, and support. Interfaces are available as either PCI cards with connectors/cables, pci cards with a breakout box, or (my recommendation) an external box with firewire connectivity. It's the most flexible, you can position the unit away from the PC to avoid RF interference, and in my experience works at least as well as those with dedicated PCI cards.

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (1)

BrynM (217883) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208842)

I was thinking the M-Audio Firewire 1814 [] would be perfect for this. I have a 410 and am pretty happy with it.

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (2, Informative)

rbright (54766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209032)

I'm using a Presonus Firebox and am 100% happy with it. They also make a rackmount version with more inputs/outputs called the Firepod that would probably perfect:

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212612)

i have a firepod, hooked up to my rack, and i do just whats wanted: capture audio with it, to my powerbook, where all the mixing/effects happens.

the firepod is rock solid stable, and not so expensive .. though there seems to be a lot of competition in the firewire audio i/o space since i bought it .. i would probably buy it again, however, because i really like the presonus pre-amps ..

Echo (1)

cachorro (576097) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209504)

I have used the (two input only) Echo Mia Midi card on Demudi Linux with Ardour. Setting up the driver was an ordeal (and not for the technically dis-inclined), but once installed and working, it performed flawlessly.

I have wondered if it were possible to install several such cards to get a more-than-two input configuration, but I have not tried it, nor am I convinced that Jack would do the right thing.

For now, iterative overdubbing works fine. To hear some of the results, check here [] [Disclaimer: Music is religious].

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (1)

mellon (7048) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210723)

M-Audio's drivers are awful. If the device you get works out of the box, e.g. with ALSA, go for it, but if you're running Windows or Mac, it's kind of a crap shoot. MOTU used to have some really good hackers, but I can't speak for their current drivers. Right now I'm using a USB iMic for audio input, and it's rock solid on Linux, but of course there's no real way to ensure that the audio is synced if you use more than one of these.

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (1)

devrx (661465) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211241)

I have a M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI card and have never had any problems with drivers, it works great in WinXP and Linux (using ALSA) and comes with a good mixer utility.

The only problem I have with the card is that there is no gain control on the inputs so you have to make sure that the input signal is the correct level some other way (e.g. by using an external mixer). Then again it is a pretty basic card and M-Audio make plenty of more advanced ones.

Re:I suggest M-Audio or MOTU (1)

AugstWest (79042) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212181)

I'm just DROOLING over the new MOTU UltraLite [] . 8 ins, 10 outs, and not just Firewire, but bus-powered. Drag a laptop and this unit to gigs and you can multi-track everything.

I'm also an electronic drummer, and I use Ablton Live, so with this unit I could chop live loops of ANYONE on stage.

Of course, I don't have $550 to drop on one. So I'm looking at the Berhinger uca202, a $29 USB box that's stereo in/out. I'm running Sonar on a MacBook with Boot Camp, and the drivers for this internal card just blow. Really badly. Really, really badly. The latency's outrageous.

easy solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208820)

take a look for these :

BEHRINGER ADA8000 (eg : 410403504QQcategoryZ23792QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQ cmdZViewItem [] )

a soundcard with an ADAT interface (dont know any makes / models)

some audio editing software - cubase, pro logic (not sure if cool wave will be sufficient)

boom. quality raw audio to be mixed / processed in software

Re:easy solution (2, Interesting)

wcsanders (895451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209343)

I would not recommend any solution that involves Behringer equipment. Behringer is infamous for stealing designs, using cheap parts, and making all around terrible products. I've bought several things from them; most did not last for more than a year, and all of them were dismal quality. I would recommend the Mackie 800R [] . The Onyx preamps are very solid, and it comes with a very nice firewire interface and software. It puts out exactly what you put in (as accurate as a mic preamp at that price point can be, anyway), no EQ, effects, etc.

Re:easy solution (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212691)

I suppose you also beleive the tripe that ran on the internet a few years ago that behringer gear is radiactive. In reality Ive played in around 20 venues that have used behringer gear and bother the studios ive recorded in had at least 1 piece of behringer kit.

While your not going to get the same sound from some boutique all valve preamp the difference between something like the focusrite octopre channel strip and the behringer is minimal. In the end unless you have spent thousands on your microphones they are likely to be the weakest point in the signal chain.

Re:easy solution (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212722)

Bit of further research, the mackie is over 5 times the price of the behringer unit.

Kerplunk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208823)

That's what I reckon.

MOTU (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208830)

I recommend just about anything from Mark of the Unicorn [] . Good hardware, good support, good bundled software, and compatibility with apps other than their own (unlike Avid/Digidesign). And they have a wide range of stuff for any size job.

And while you say you're not interested in more gear, we all know you're lying. You named too many specific items that you've tried (and likely bought). That makes you a gearslut. You're only here for the gear. Just accept that and move on.

Yeah, but you need a log-in to download patches (2, Informative)

commonchaos (309500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208871)

It's good to know that other people have had good experiences with MOTU.

Mine has been pretty lackluster. All I can remember is being really pissed off that I had to log-in to their website to download updated drivers. (See for yourself: [] )

If that wasn't bad enough, it took HOURS for the aproval email to arrive in my inbox. Meh.

Re:Yeah, but you need a log-in to download patches (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208940)

Wow. Sounds like a minor inconvenience.

Firewire Mixer (2, Informative)

jimson (516491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208872)

This is the piece that I just picked up and I can't tell you how happy with it I am so far. /products_detail.php?product_id=139 [] []

The Phonic Helix Firewire 18. It sends the signal pre any EQ or mixer, the only control is the gain. Up to 16 Channels into your computer. Works like a charm, and the price is great for what you are getting. I picked mine up for a little over $500 (Canadian) and it also functions as a standalone mixer.

I'd post a link to some tunes that we've recorded with it, but they are not ready for general consumption yet. You can check out some of our previous stuff at []

Re:Firewire Mixer (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209167)

What sort of software do you need to have on your computer to work with the incoming audio stream or even to recognize the hardware as an audio interface in the first place? Just wondering how open a standard it is, and whether there's "future proofing" in something like that ... I wouldn't want to get one and then find out in a few years that they're no longer releasing the drivers for whatever the new OS version of the day was, or the company's gone out of business and you're stuck with a proprietary digital interface that will only work with one very old version of someone's editing software.

Maybe I'm using an overabundance of caution here, but I have a lot of vintage analog audio equipment that's never worked better even though it's 30 years old or more, and I've always felt like it was a dangerous gamble to pour money into a digital interface unless you were sure you were going to amortize the cost out completely in 3-5 years, just in case something happened and it wasn't developed any further. Audio, for whatever reason, seems to have a history that's strewn with the remains of proprietary formats that just never quite took off. In fact, I've acquired a small collection on eBay over the past few years (my personal favorite is the dbx Model 700 [] ) but as I'm buying stuff up at 1/10th or less of its original price, I can't help but feel sorry for the people that bought it new and had to scrap it a few years later.

I guess I just haven't really moved the "computer mindset," where today's $1500 gizmo is tomorrow's dumpster-diving relic, to audio equipment that's traditionally had a good resale market.

Re:Firewire Mixer (2, Informative)

jimson (516491) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210363)

Yeah Dude! Way too catious! You've got an .mac address, so I assume your using a mac. No drivers involved. OS X just recognized it as an audio device I can use for whatever. For software, I'm currently using Logic Express, though Garage Band works great as well. I'm definetly getting my vaule out of this in 3-5 years. Its a standalone mixer so its worth the money right there.

I stayed away from ProTools because I didn't want to be locked into one suite of software for recording, as nice as it is. Nothing is future proof, just do your research and figure out what you need and buy that. This thing was $500 so I use it for a couple of shows and its paid itself off.

MOTU or PreSonus (1)

speedydave (971072) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208878)

MOTU does indeed make interfaces that do just what you ask: LOTS of inputs, no required card, a pure A/D converter with niceties like built-in mixer and bundled software. However, their products are on the expensive side. MOTU 828mkII: $749 on Musician's friend [] PreSonus manufactures a competetive product (8 mic pre's, bundled Cubase LE, good support) called the FirePod ($599 on MF) that i've really heard great things about. I've been experimenting with digital multitracking as well, and the small two or four channel boxes are not going to cut it when you need to track the full band, or more. As with everything in the audio world, the more you pay, usually the better/more-featured product you will get. Good luck.

Re:MOTU or PreSonus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210478)

I used a MOTU 828 to record a band the day I bought it and it worked great. Add an Behringer ADA8000 for another 8 channels of joy for only 199 bucks (it is damn good despite the name and all).
Pickup a motu 828 mk1 for 200 on Ebay and tick the don't look back box.

16 decent quality channels of joy for less than 500 bucks.

Comes with free tracking sofware for the MAC too.

Multitrack recording (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208881)

This is a product a friend uses and should do what you need and works well with cubase. There is only a 6 channel version for what i can see, im pretty sure his was 8. Possibly discontinued? [] Specs: Layla3G is the third generation of our flagship PCI based multitrack digital recorder. The original Layla premiered seven years ago to critical acclaim, including a TEC award nomination. Since then we've been perfecting the art of making high quality recording products at affordable prices. Now you can get all of the features of the Layla24 for a new low price, and with dual mic preamps!! Layla3G is the perfect center for any professional studio. It has 2 universal inputs with mic preamps, 6 balanced analog inputs, 8 balanced analog outputs, and a stereo headphone output. ADAT lightpipe, optical and coaxial S/PDIF, and MIDI are included as well. Layla3G comes with a 15' cable and PCI card that connects to the audio interface. Layla3G is compatible with PCI-X (3.3 or 5 volt) motherboards and Power Mac G5 computers, as well as older systems.

Re:Multitrack recording (1)

kaptink (699820) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208908)

Oh and this might also be worth checking out: [] This box contains everything you need to turn your computer into a powerful 24-bit/96kHz digital audio workstation. The 2408mk3 provides 8 channels of pristine 96kHz analog recording and playback, combined with 24 channels of ADAT and Tascam digital I/O - the most ever offered in a single rack space audio interface. Connect up to four interfaces to the included PCI-424 card for an expanded system capable of 96 simultaneous active input and output connections at 96kHz.

Sorry dude (3, Insightful)

illuminatedwax (537131) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208882)

The problem is that either you have to buy a new USB/Firewire box or you have to get a multitrack recorder unless you want to pay thousands of dollars for a multitrack DAT.

Listen to everyone else and get an MOTU (or equivalent from Behringer if you're broke ;).

RME and Ardour (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208884)

RME []
Ardour [] (New website! :-))

Re:RME and Ardour (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209004)

When you say "RME," which of their products did you mean?

They make quite a bit of stuff. List here [] . And I'm linking to Sweetwater rather than RME's website because their site doesn't link prices and just sends you on this horribly roundabout trip to a dealer's site for a price quote, of which Sweetwater is one. (They also have good service in my experience, just as a shameless plug, and their web site is easy to navigate.)

As far as I can tell, all their inexpensive stuff uses ADAT as its digital interface, and then requires a PCI (or CardBus) card in your PC to do anything with the ADAT output. While this is fine (and there are worse formats than ADAT), I think the OP wanted something that didn't require an additional card.

The only exception is the Fireface 800, but that's $1500; I'm sure it's wonderful, but that's a rather big pill for a lot of musicians to swallow.

Re:RME and Ardour (1)

slashflood (697891) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209132)

When you say "RME," which of their products did you mean?

Just follow the link.

$1500; I'm sure it's wonderful, but that's a rather big pill for a lot of musicians to swallow.

Is it? Who knows how much his mixer is.

Re:RME and Ardour (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209298)

Sorry, having a bit of a "duh" moment there I guess.

Looks interesting though, and I guess all the additional I/O you'd get (ADAT, word clock, MIDI, SPDIF), plus monitoring from the PC back through the hardware, would make it worth the premium for the PCI card it requires. Their interface is rather strange, I'd love to know more about how it works. It uses FireWire cables and connectors apparently, but it doesn't use FW for any of the actual data transfer, that's all proprietary. I guess that's better than inventing some new connector and charging $80 for the cable, although I think it might cause confusion down the road when people try to connect it to a regular PC and wonder why it doesn't work.

The going price seems to be $700 for the interface and $270 for the PCI card, which I guess is pretty reasonable. I guess I shouldn't have made any assumptions about the OP's pocketbook, although from what it sounds like, he's not doing any external mixing. He previously was just running everything into the USB audio interfaces and into the PC, and doing all his mixing there. Call me biased, but I think if he had a nice analog mixer he'd be using it (at least for the pres, if nothing else; any decent mixer has to be better than whatever they've got in those 2-channel USB interfaces). Who knows, though.

Re:RME and Ardour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210882)

RME refuse to release specs for the fireface. Shame as it'd be the perfect compliment to ardour/linux and it'd fit in an SKB rack as part of a mobile rig. Apogee have a firewire option for the 800 and apparently freebob [] will support it. Unfortunately Apogee's convertors are hideously overpriced.

Alternatives to ardour (2, Informative)

munpfazy (694689) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209800)

I'm a big fan of ardour; as a software mixing console, it's hard to beat.

But, if you just want to grab raw audio and dump it to file, there may be simpler (and more robust) alternatives.

My own favorite is ecasound. It's pretty light on resources and easily handles any real time recording task. And, it can be run entirely from the command line (and thus from the scripting language of your choice) and has a console client, both of which are convenient if you want to leave it running on a dedicated machine without having to be physically present. (I suppose you could try running ardour through a vnc.)

Ardour doesn't crash much these days, but compared to ecasound or less featurefull alternatives, it's a serious resource hog and a pain to set up if you're just recording raw data.

Pre sonus (1)

funkmasterbillis (949560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208886)

you didn't specify how much you wanted to spend, but I highly recomend the presonus firepod [] 8 channels of xlr (or 1/4 inch) and it will sound much better than behringer or some ultra cheap POS. resonably priced at $600 street. a comparitively price motu unit (the ultralite) has 10 ins but only two are xlr you could of course spend a lot more...

Re:Pre sonus (1)

funkmasterbillis (949560) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209153)

oh yeah, and you might check out the applicable sections at []

Buy better equipment (2, Informative)

MikkoApo (854304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208910)

In your situation I would definitely get better equipment and in this case a better multi-io sound card or breakout box. Routing the audio through a mixer and few input cards sounds like a way too complex setup. Your own words were "This method has been very buggy".

If you buy one good multi-io card you can skip the mixer, skip any extra mic-preamps and drop the extra sound cards. With one card and a suitable recording software you'll get perfect multitrack recording.

Unfortunately only a few audio interfaces support 2 or more mic inputs, but this one from Alesis seems to have 8 []

Re:Buy better equipment (1)

Dmala (752610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209712)

Routing the audio through a mixer and few input cards sounds like a way too complex setup. Your own words were "This method has been very buggy".

This is actually pretty doable once you get past a few hurdles. First, your driver model needs to support this. As I recall, ASIO hosts cannot access more than one independent driver at a time. WDM or MME will work on the Windows side, I'm not so familiar with Mac and Linux setups.

Second, you need to sync the cards. If both cards are running on their own clocks, you are guaranteed to have sync problems (audible as pops and clicks, or pure noise in an extreme case) over time. The cheapest and easiest way to do this is to connect the S/PDIF output of one card to the S/PDIF input of the other. Set the first card to use its own clock and the second to use S/PDIF as its clock source.

Finally, you need to make sure the drivers for the two cards play nice with each other. This is the only one that's a bit of a crapshoot. Two cards of the same brand will always be more compatible. I think USB/Firewire devices are also more likely in general to work together than PCI cards, although this will vary from card to card, and even machine to machine.

A single, multiport interface is definitely easier, but if money is tight and you already have the smaller interfaces, it is possible.

Re:Buy better equipment (2, Interesting)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210955)

Another way of syncing two cards, if they are the same make and model: Find the crystal, which will be either a two- or three-leaded metal can {on an expensive card} or a three-leaded ceramic blob {on a cheap and nasty one}. Probe each pin of the crystal with a 10:1 scope probe; you will see that one will have a "squarer" waveform than the other. Note which one {this is the oscillator output}. Unsolder the crystal from the slave card. Get a 74HC04 and a small piece of breadboard {or use a 74LX1GU04, single gate, if you can get it; even just a simple NOT gate consisting of a MOSFET and two resistors should do}. Plumb this in to any convenient positive supply and 0V. Ground all save one of the 74HC04 inputs. Wire the oscillator output {pin with the squarer waveform} on the master sound card to the remaining input of the 04, and take the output to the opposite hole on the slave card {crystal input}. This should work for multiple slaves: one NOT gate will easily feed more inputs than most motherboards have expansion slots.

How it works: a crystal behaves like a precision delay line. If it's connected between the output and input of a NOT gate, then the "output" of the crystal will change states half a period after its "input" changes state, so forcing the output of the NOT gate to change state; this will cause the "output" of the crystal to change state another half period later. As long as the period of the crystal is longer than the propagation delay of the NOT gate and the capacitances on the two pins of the crystal are unequal {and in any real circuit, they will be different enough} this will start and continue to oscillate. What we just did was to feed the oscillator input of the slave card from the oscillator output of the master card. A crystal has too high an internal resistance to supply more than one gate, and the crystal output must be the opposite of its input; so we have to use a proper NOT gate so the signals at the two oscillator inputs will be in phase with each other.

Something a little different. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208916)

National Instruments makes a series of d/a cards that can be used with Labview.

The cards aren't cheap but there's huge support for Labview. You should be able to find people to help you at the local university and, of course, on line. If you can get into a lab with some of these, you can even experiment for free.

The cards can also supply data to Matlab. Again, the support is huge. There are many many canned routines to do almost any kind of signal processing that you can imagine.

The bottom line is that you should be able to put together a totally awesome system that you couldn't even think about buying.

Why Slashdot? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208921)

Why are you asking a question about digital recording on Slashdot when there are so many better places to ask?

Just a few links: [] (my favorite) [] [] hp []

Re:Why Slashdot? (4, Funny)

afex (693734) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208948)

basically it was a scheme to get those links from you. thx

Grab a Digi002 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15208937)

this is the absolute best way to do this.
you get GREAT hardware with excelent A/D converters,
and great software to mix it down.. (and prob some effects included in the bundle I guess) /digi002 []

and its not TO expensive..

Mackie (1)

Wolfgan (905102) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208958)

The new firewire line from Mackie is also very promising (didn't get my hands in one of these yet). Check them out at [] the analog audio section from Mackie is excellent. Wolf

Neat, potentially overkill? (1)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209102)

That's not bad at all: I didn't realize initially that you had to get the mixer separately, but that's not bad, since I suppose you could move the digital module up if you upgraded mixers in the future.

Still it ends up costing you a little more than the competition; a Mackie 1220 runs $530, that's the lowest-end mixer you can put the Onyx Firewire card into, and then the card is $400. For $930 I think I'd probably do a separate analog mixer and a basic ADC box. Or in the case of this guy's actual question, where he doesn't want to have a mixer at the frontend at all, just go straight into the DAC, I think it's a little bit of overkill.

A question I have though, for you or anybody else who has experience and wants to answer: what format do these FW audio interfaces use for transporting the audio streams over FW? Is there a standard format / specification for transport, like there is for DV? So basically, any multichannel audio interface will work with whatever software you want? Or is it proprietary and you have to get device-specific drivers? And what does the device "look like" to the computer (I use a Mac) ... is it a Core Audio device, or can you only access it from within specific, vendor-suppored applications? (I see Mackie bundles their products with Traction, for example, and I can only assume there's a ProTools plugin.)

Re:Neat, potentially overkill? (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211655)

For $930 I think I'd probably do a separate analog mixer and a basic ADC box.

Well, the Onyx does 16 channels of audio, plus a stereo mix - and a 16 channel ADC box will cost you more than $400, usually, plus you won't get the scratch mix.

Or in the case of this guy's actual question, where he doesn't want to have a mixer at the frontend at all, just go straight into the DAC, I think it's a little bit of overkill. True - but maybe he needs a new mixer anyway. Sounds like it, with all the submixing he has to do.

A question I have though, for you or anybody else who has experience and wants to answer: what format do these FW audio interfaces use for transporting the audio streams over FW? Is there a standard format / specification for transport, like there is for DV? So basically, any multichannel audio interface will work with whatever software you want? Or is it proprietary and you have to get device-specific drivers? And what does the device "look like" to the computer (I use a Mac) ... is it a Core Audio device, or can you only access it from within specific, vendor-suppored applications? (I see Mackie bundles their products with Traction, for example, and I can only assume there's a ProTools plugin.)

On the Mac, it's easy - they have Core Audio drivers, and are usable by any well-written Mac application (YMMV with ProTools). But in Garageband, Nuendo, Final Cut, Audacity, etc., they just show up as regular input/output devices. Neat thing with Core Audio is that you can actually route one interface to multiple programs simultaneously (send inputs 1-6 to Garageband, inputs 7-8 are the mix through an outboard piece of gear then brought back to Nuendo, use inputs 9-16 for tape ins in Audacity).

Not that you'd ever want to do something like that, but you can.

On the PC, after you install the hardware, reboot, install the drivers, reboot, re-install the hardware and reboot, they show up as a multimedia I/O device, and should be selectable in most programs. Again, ProTools might not see it, because they write for their own proprietary interfaces and don't like to play with the other kids.

Re:Neat, potentially overkill? (2, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212127)

On the Mac, it's easy - they have Core Audio drivers, and are usable by any well-written Mac application (YMMV with ProTools). But in Garageband, Nuendo, Final Cut, Audacity, etc., they just show up as regular input/output devices. Neat thing with Core Audio is that you can actually route one interface to multiple programs simultaneously (send inputs 1-6 to Garageband, inputs 7-8 are the mix through an outboard piece of gear then brought back to Nuendo, use inputs 9-16 for tape ins in Audacity).

Now that's slick. I haven't really done much with computer-based audio in a while--the last time I had access to a DAW, it was using some version of Protools that wasn't OS X compatible--and I've never used CoreAudio for anything more complex than two channels.

You're right, I can't really think of much reason why you'd want to send various channels to different applications, but it's nice to know the feature exists.

Thanks for the info.

Re:Mackie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209287)

I have the Onyx 1620, and it does exactly what you are asking for. The firewire card is extra, but when you put the mixer and the firewire card together, you get lots of bang for the buck. The ADC happens after analog gain (high-quality pre-amps) at up to 24/96Khz and can interface with ASIO at 6ms latency. The 1620 has 16 channels of live recording + 2 mains out + 2 monitor in, for a total of 20 digital channels supported over the single firewire connection. The 1220 is 4mono+4stereo, the 1620 is 8mono+4stereo, and the 1640 is 16mono. I've used this gear to record with great success using Mackie's Tracktion, and Adobe's Audition. Audition 2.0 works very well with this hardware. So you're looking at about $1600 for everything, or $1200 for the 1620 with the firewire card and Traction bundled. I preferred Audition myself, and 2.0 has lots of polish and utility for post-editing. It also allows for easy realtime monitoring (6ms loopback to monitor outs through firewire) with the Onyx. Good luck!

MOTU 828mkII or 896HD (2, Interesting)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208960)

I use the MOTU 828mkII [] with Adobe Audition and love it. You can easily record eight channels with it. The one I have uses firewire to connect to the computer but I see on their site that you can also get it with a USB 2 interface.

The only down side is that it only has two XLR inputs. If you need more then you should look at the 896HD [] which has eight XLR ins and outs. You can chain more 896's together to get more channels. I don't own one of these so I don't know how it compares to the 828.

Re:MOTU 828mkII or 896HD (1)

jkerman (74317) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211892)

here here! even the non-mk2 versions in the MOTU 2408 line of products work great. I use that, coupled with a presonus digimax LT preamp. 8 channel rig costs about $850 on ebay.

Ive really had my eye on the presonus firepod too... ~$600, 8 (fantastic) preamps built into a firewire audio interface.

Apogee Ensemble (1)

Nuclear Elephant (700938) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208967)

I don't recall what OS you wanted to run, but the Apogee Ensemble [] is supposed to be "the stuff" I've heard.

Hoontech (1)

skrugen (229044) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208978)

ST Audio has very reasonably priced stuff that will do what you want.

Check out the DSP3000 M-Port, for instance.

Re:Hoontech (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210693)

I'd second that. I've got the predecessor of the C-Port, and it works fine. Only 2 mic preamps built-in, so I need to make my own for the other 6 channels (but no probs there, cos I'm an elec eng and have full PCB-making gear at home :-) The boxes allow daisy-chaining too, so if you want to add another 8 channels of input then you can just buy a new ADC box and connect the cables without needing the PC-side stuff upgrading. IIRC two boxes plugged into the one PC is the max though, so your max is 16 channels.

Recording quality seems fine, including the quality of the built-in mic preamps. I'm not a "golden ear" audiophile or pro sound engineer, but I can run a desk pretty competently for performance, so I think I've got a reasonably good idea of what works. At 24-bit and with decent mic preamps, your mic characteristics are more likely to be the limiting factor.

I had problems getting Win98 (on a Duron 800MHz) to record all 8 tracks, which basically looked like driver problems. On WinXP, more recent drivers and upgraded mobo/processor, it has no problems at all - Audacity will happily record 8 tracks at a time to your heart's content. Linux support is unknown.

You will need one spare PCI slot, but that's not usually a problem. And a shitload of hard drive space is pretty much a given for any recording to PC.


ADAT (3, Informative)

TekieB (841517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15208995)

A lot of the various sound cards come with an adat interface (or multiple) that you can use, what you need to do is get a preamp, the first one that comes to mind is [] this, you can get them cheaper, but with audio gear a lot of times you get what you pay for, and mackie is good stuff, so you get a soundcard (your choice of interface) with many adat inputs, and add preamps as needed

What about Linux Solutions? (1)

farrellj (563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209002)

I know some M-Audio cards have some Linux support...any others?


Re:What about Linux Solutions? (1)

mrjb (547783) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211060)

M-audio and RME work.

Now the original poster mentioned not wanting to shell out bigtime for a multitrack recorder, but that just might be the ideal solution in the end. A second-hand EMU darwin wouldn't cost that much for 8 tracks, and will record to FAT filesystem (in fact I have one left over in good state which I may be willing to sell). An Alesis HD24 is a rather economical solution for 24 tracks, and has built-in FTP server which guarantees Linux compatibility, should this be a requirement. Plus there is a highly active forum on yahoo.

Ever look at RME? (1)

alienw (585907) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209066)

Take a look at RME audio and their soundcards. They have stuff up to 56 channels at reasonable prices.

Tascam FW1884? (1)

Alterscape (904055) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209099)

Depending on what OS and software you're working with, and the degree of portability you need, the Tascam FW1884 is a nice audio I/O system with a built in mixing board w/moving faders and fun control-surface-y stuff. The audio editing system my university's theater department teaches on is built around it, and it's pretty nice to work with in most circumstances. The good: Works pretty well once set up, has 8 XLR / 1/4" TRS inputs with mic preamps and phantom power; nice moving faders, good native integration with Digital Performer; decent integration with ProTools via Mackie control surface protocol emulation. The bad: It is pretty bulky -- about 2.5' square, and 6" deep. Tascam tech support is more or less nonexistant. I've only used it on a mac; I'm not sure what the Windows/Linux driver situation is like. Based on what other people are reccomending, its probably overkill, but if you need the feature-set, it ain't a bad little board. Certainly more cost-effective than an M-Audio 002, and more compatible..

Re:Tascam FW1884? (1)

TekieB (841517) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209206)

I'm currently using the fw1804 (same d/a's, no control surface, half the price) for a musical doing playback, and it rocks, solid unit. I also used it to track the promo video for the musical, it only has 4 mic preamps, but does that adat thing (see previous post) and will take 4 more unballanced inputs just fine (works nicely for us with wireless) It is a nice unit, cubase is buggy in the newest version under OSX (works fine in logic), but seems to work just fine under windows.

Re:Tascam FW1884? (1)

littlerubberfeet (453565) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210138)

The parent is right, the 1884 board is probably way overkill for what the guy is trying to do. I love the board though, it has done well for me. I have the 8 pres connected to a balanced patchbay, so I can pass either line signals or mic signals from preamps, sound modules or outboard gear through the patchbay to the board. I like having 4 channels of MIDI I/O too. Tascam tech is OK...I spent some time on the board figuring out an incompatibility with a PCI graphics card I had installed...It isn't hugely good though.

I would suggets a presonus firepod...At the end of the day, you get what you pay for, and if a demo is worth $700 dollars, then invest the money. I have been the starving musician, and spending the money for a clean system is your best route, even if it takes a little time to earn the money. The closer to release-quality that demo is, the better received it will be. You NEVER want to have to say "well, it's a demo, so it could be better". That kills it completely.

As an broadcast engineer in another life... (1)

Nethead (1563) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209116)

Get the Broadcast Supply West (er, Worldwide) catalog. All sorts of trick stuff.

Or just find an old JH-110 on ebay.

Relationships (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209122)

I've been in and out of relationships, and my current one is ready to sit down and put a pounding...

Traveler (1)

aitikin (909209) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209152)

Nearly everyone is mentioning MOTU. I'd have to mention a specific model. I'm researching it for my own purchase. It's the MOTU Traveler. It's about the size of a laptop and has excellent reviews. It costs a little more than the FirePod previously mentioned, but it truly is an amazing piece of machinary from what I'm reading. Haven't seen a poor review yet.

The other poster pointing out that you need to login to MOTU's site in order to download drivers or anything was right.

As for software, I use Digital Performer, also by MOTU. I haven't tried Ardour out yet, going to soon, but I've heard ravings about that. If you're willing to pay for your software, there's bound to be some other ones that could be better.

MOTU 2408mkII + Mackie 1604 (1)

rockmuelle (575982) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209166)

I've been using a MOTU 2408mkII as my main audio capture device for similar purposes. The one thing I've found is that it's worth putting a decent mixer in front of it to get all the signals up to a line level. The on-board level adjustment in the MOTU appears to be all software controlled (think digital zoom on a camera) and it was difficult to get consistent signals from the various mics and direct boxes I used. I use the inserts on the Mackie to send the signal to the inputs on the MOTU.

The different in raw sound quality is noticable. Without "cleaning" the signals first, I rarely had enough of a signal to work with and the MOTU algortihms for adjusting the level just weren''t good enough for poor signals.


8-track recording (1)

pfelelep (952023) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209185)

Mackie ONYX 800R
Perfect sounding. Has 8 variable impedance mic preamp channels at 24/192 kHz, includes a Mid-Side decoder which can come handy. []
€ 1229 (sorry too lazy to check for US price)

PreSonus Firepod
Good sounding, 8 channels @ 24bits/96 kHz.
$ 800

Behringer BCA2000 (or any soundcard with 8-channel ADAT input support) + second hand ADAT converter
ADAT converter examples : PreSonus DigiMax @ $200 on eBay, PreSonus DigiMax LT
Ok, this one is in two parts, but the BCA2000 (which I own) is a very nice portable 4in 8out 24/96 + 3xMIDI soundcard, and it works with USB2. I used to avoid USB interfaces, but this one works perfectly and can be used on computers without FireWire, such as older notebooks.
around € 220 + starting at $ 200 on eBay, usually around € 450

Ask Google (1)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209293)


There are (at least) three ways to do what you want. One is to get a cheap multitrack recorder, then manually transfer pairs of tracks to your PC. If you look hard enough, you can find a used multitrack for 300$ or so, or maybe just rent one for the weekend if you're really strapped for cash.

You can also get a cheap PCI sound card like a M-Audio Delta 1010LT, but then you'll need lots of mic preamps because it only comes with 2 mic inputs, the other 6 are just crappy old RCA. The card is 250, the preamps will run you at least 50 each so total cost is around 550$.

The 21st century way is to blow around 1500$ and get an M-Audio Firewire 1814 interface and an Octane 8-way preamp. The beauty of this system is you get ADAT Lightpipe support so you can grow your studio without replacing the PC interface. You will end up with 10 mic inputs, 8 1/4" inputs (guitars, synths, drum machines), four 1/4" outs and a few digital outs.

Note that I mentioned M-Audio.. I'm not trying to start any holy wars here, feel free to substitute your favorite brand. I know M-Audio, I just don't know the other companies well enough to make recommendations.

Garageband? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209327)

Won't Garageband do this? ording.html> ...or is it not up to snuff?

Re:Garageband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15209399)

Garageband may be able to do processing - but the sound needs to get into the computer via some kind of hardware interface in the first place. He's looking for the hardware solution to get it into the computer.

Re:Garageband? (1)

Dmala (752610) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209818)

He's asking about hardware, not software. You need a bunch of gazintas to get sound from out in the world into the computer. ("The mic gazinta there, the guitar gazinta there, the keyboard gazinta there...")

A typical computer only has two audio inputs (one stereo pair, usually a 1/8" jack right next to the headphone jack). To record multiple instruments at the same time, in a way that lets you control them individually, you need more than two inputs. There are tons of "professional" USB, Firewire, and PCI audio interfaces on the market that offer this, and the submitter is basically asking which one he should get.

Once the audio is in the computer, there are any number of software packages (including Garageband) that will let you record, mix, and tweak to your heart's content.

Re:Garageband? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15211122)

I don't remember him requesting a homosexual solution.

Cubase / pro-tools (1)

Mindcry (596198) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209349)

I've used M-Audio and Cubase and had no problems... mixing 64 channels present 0 troubles. Crazy amount of plugins, drum machines, software synths also exist (if you're into that) and hardware support (for various I/O devices and cards) has been very good. (Only pro tools and its extremely costly software/hardware solutions seem to work better)

I didn't really think cool edit was meant for multi track editing.

Echo Audio (1)

qodfathr (255387) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209503)

Look at [] I've been using thier products for 10 years (I've produced some CDs with them), and I've always been pleased with the level of support.

These guys understand recording.

Huh? (1)

djbckr (673156) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209572)

I can't possibly understand how you can say:
I'd now like to start capturing 8 (or more) channels of raw (delivered via XLR cables from mics) audio.
Along with:
I don't want to add more USB/FireWire capture cards to the mix, and I don't want to pay a heap for a digital 8-track recorder such as Yamaha's AW16...
I'm sorry, that just doesn't make sense. Recording equipment is expensive any way you slice it. You either pay for the convenience, or live with the inconvenience.

Oh, and just for the "record", I use a Roland VS-2480 CD unit. Costs a few thousand dollars. Hard to use. Great sound. Very powerful. I recorded an entire album on it (the usual drums/guitar/bass/keys/vocals) and I can compare the results favorably against much higher-budget albums.

You can't beat the price/features for it. No, I don't work for Roland. Many years ago, I worked in a 24-track recording studio with the 2-inch tape and the works. This thing sounds better than that old studio could dream of, and for a very small fraction of the price.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15211048)

A Roland portastudio sounds better than an analog 24 track? That must have been some crappy, low budget studio you were in buddy. <sarcasm>Don't let me keep you from enjoying the Roland's rich, non-grainy on-board COSM effects and fantastic pre-amps.</sarcasm> Not to sound cruel but you're either deaf or you need your ears syringing.

The cheapest solution (1)

aybiss (876862) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209669)

would be to get an Audigy or two. Anyone who thinks recording multi-track audio is an expensive thing to do these days obviously doesn't hang around computers enough.

Count my vote for the Presonus Firepod... (1)

chaboud (231590) | more than 8 years ago | (#15209698)

I've used quite a few options, including gear from Echo, MOTU, M-Audio, RME, and Digidesign.

Easily the most robust hardware for me has been the Presonus Firepod. 24/96 8-in/8-out with on my crappy Dell Inspiron 700m with a 4200 RPM hard drive in Vegas. Their drivers may not have a bunch of shiny bells and whistles, but, when it comes to the business of actually laying down audio to disk, they just work.

On top of that, the pre-amps are really good, leaving you with a device with good sound quality and robust operation at a low price. Pointing out that you can run three together for 24-channel goodness almost seems like rubbing it in.

If you're looking to record your audio without headaches, grab a Firepod and get to it.

Re:Count my vote for the Presonus Firepod... (1)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210114)

I'll second that opinion. The FirePod is considered to be by and far the best solution for getting 8 tracks of audio into a computer at this point.

Your mess of multiple interfaces is going to hurt you in the long run with latency issues and whatnot. Just don't do it. Seriously.

What's more, the Firepod isn't that expensive considering what you're getting. $600 is perfectly reasonable for a high-quality piece of audio gear (PRO audio gear that is, the stuff designed for musicians and the like. None of that prosumer crap. )

MOTU! (1)

rhadc (14182) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210111)

A band I'm in just finished up releasing a CD, and the total bill came to over $4k. We weren't happy with one studio, and it was $1k down the drain. Another studio was great, but that was $2k or so for 2.5 days of recording, mixing, and mastering. Manufacturing was another >$1k.

I recently purchased a MOTU Ultralight, and it's fantastic. I record up to 8 channels of Audio in, and I have a lot of flexibility. The recorded audio sounds clean and I have not faced any glitches that negatively effected sound quality. No hums, clicks, buzzes, or anything else... The included software is alright, but you'll probably want to buy a better package.

Overall, I think that we could have done better by spending the $1k necessary for recording hardware and software, another $1k on mics and other recording equipment, and done it all ourselves. Next time, I'll have all the gear and I'll just rent a mountain cabin for 3 days at a time and try to turn it into a big uninterrupted recording session. It would still be cheaper than going the studio route again.

You may also want to look at the Presonus Firepod as well.


44.1KHz == so so quality (1)

doti (966971) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210132)

Unless all your audio data will unfortunatly end on audio CDs, go for 96KHz.

(check the two [] first []
search results from 96KHz [] )

Re:44.1KHz == so so quality (1)

Tweekster (949766) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210435)

isnt that basically oh, 99% of all audio data...

Re:44.1KHz == so so quality (2, Informative)

Theaetetus (590071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211606)

isnt that basically oh, 99% of all audio data...

Yes - the reason for recording at higher sample rates - 96 kHz, and even 192 kHz, is that the anti-aliasing filter (which has to be down 40 dB at the Nyquist frequency - 1/2 the sample rate) can be much gentler. A brick wall filter dropping 40 dB from 20 kHz to 22.05 kHz tends to also be an oscillator near 20 kHz, and it has phase distortion down to around 5 kHz. Instead, running a filter that drops 40 dB from 20 kHz to 48 or even 96 kHz can be a much smoother filter with the phase distortion out of the audible band.

Turn it into a 44.1 kHz CD after mastering.

Presonus Firepod (1)

Judge_Fire (411911) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210425)

The Firepod [] by Presonus is a very good piece of gear.

Combined with Apple's Garageband, which can record 8 tracks simultaneously, you'd have a simple, clean and good recording setup with low latency.


Do the drums in a studio... (1)

lennart78 (515598) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210532)

... and the rest at home.

Face it, the only aspect of recording that usually can't be done at home with basic equipment is recording drums. And unless you're serious about doing this kind of thing more often, ask yourself if it is worth the investment.

In the past, I went to a studio with the drummer, recorded all the drums for the tracks in 1 day on their equipment. (We did 6 tracks in 1 day), and take these recording home. Jammed in all into cubase, and recorded all bass, guitars and vocals through my soundcard. Worked like a charm.

And depending on the sound quality you're after (and the way your drummer uses his toms), you might even record your drumkit by placing 2 overhead mics over it, and maybe an extra mic for the kick and the snare. That requires only 4 tracks, and leaves you with enough flexibility to get a decent sounding mix out of it.

And while you're busy: It greatly helps to use some compression when recording drums. It gives you a much better signal to work with in your software. Behringer has a few decent, low-budget compressors for instance, which will keep the snarelevels in check (it's allways the last hit in the song that will send it into the red...)


Re:Do the drums in a studio... (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212635)

No no no! Compress in software where it isnt destructive!!! this isnt the 80s!

firepod! (1)

undef24 (159451) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210683)

get the firepod [] and be done with it. if you need midi then go for a motu.

firewire or bust

You don't make sense. (1)

soliptic (665417) | more than 8 years ago | (#15210803)

using 2 stereo USB capture devices (Edirol UA-1A & M-Audio MobilePre USB), as well as the PC's soundcard (left and right)

3 stereo devices - that adds up to 6 input channels. You want 8 channels. 8 into 6 doesn't go, that's just how counting works.

my main quest is to get a single piece of hardware (either for my PC or a standalone box) that will ONLY capture the audio - no EQ's, no FX, no mixing, nothing, since that is all done later, on the PC.

Yes... that's what's known as a soundcard. And you want 8 channels, so buy a soundcard with 8 inputs. Try the M-audio Delta 1010 for example.

Coming out with this "I need to record 8 channels but I refuse to buy an 8-input soundcard and want to use some budget USB input stages and an unspecified PC soundcard (probably onboard sound with the world's worst ADCs) which simply don't add up to 8" is really absolute nonsense.

I might as well "Ask Slashdot":

"I want to program a high performance hugely distributed 3D game environment but I don't know how to program. C and Java are both out, but I wrote some VBA macros once, can I do it with Windows Script Host? I refuse to buy or download any compilers or libraries I don't already have"

You can imagine the response I'd get. Well, that's your question as it reads to a regular record-bands-on-my-PC bedroom-studio-geek.

ADAT card + DAC (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210813)

How about a soundcard with ADAT in- and output and a 8-channel ADC + DAC?

Alesis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15210998)

I don't know how well these work, and the web site is a little sparse on whether or not it has even been released, but it sounds like what you are looking for. []

Zoom. (1)

xanderwilson (662093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211249)

I'd recommend a Zoom standalone box, record directly to a hard drive. The files are easy to transfer to your PC/Mac and best of all Zooms are the easiest multitrack recorders to use.


Think outside the box or rather inside (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211370)

Buck up fella,
Don't cut corners building a DAW.
make it a dedicated computer.
Find the MOBO of your dreams,fill it with RAM,Fast Processor,1 NIC card,1 video card,Fill the rest with Soundcards.Run DeMuDi(Debian Multimedia Distribution) with preemptive and realtime kernel patches.Use a fast filesystem.RAID if you can.
jus a lil advise from ol uncle flyneye

Uhhh (1)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211383)

Two M-audio delta-44s or delta-66s.

MOTU 896HD (1)

dmnic (452122) | more than 8 years ago | (#15211621)

I'm a hobbyist recording engineer and have done a few demos and live multitrack recordings over the past few years. The MOTU 896HD works great and is super easy to use. 8 preamps via XLR or 1/4" plus additional flexibility of S/PDIF I/O, MIDI, ADAT(via lightpipe) and you can chain up to 4 of them togethor.
Primarily I use DP on a Mac, but have also used this with Vegas and Cubase on a PC with the same great results.

the card will run about $950 through places like Sam Ash or Guitar Center. You may find it cheaper online...

the MOTU 828mkii works as well, but the mixer functions and I/O settings can be a pain to work with as it is all menu driven from the LED display. Of course, with the 828mkii you are limited to 2 preamps.

I havent worked with the Presonus Firepod myself, but if it is anything like the Firebox(smaller 2 channel version) then the hardware is very good, but the driver/mixer leaves a bit to be desired.

some people say the ADC in the MOTU arent that great but I personally have heard no complaints from clients...

just buy a mixer, or you will nickel and dime it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15211683)

If you are in a decent band producing decent music just go out and buy a mixer. What you're doing right now is asking people how to half ass your production which in the end will cause your music to suffer. The Fostex VF160EX is an affordable ($800) mixing board with 8 inputs and a total of 24 tracks, you can easily upgrade it to a 16 input board with an ADAT lightpipe ($150). It has a built in CD burner for internal mixing or you can send each channel to a wav file for your post production needs. And its got a 40 gig hard drive which is end-user upgradable to whatever suit your needs. But in my use I rarely get close to filling it up. Its the best investment I ever made.

here's what I just did (1)

theJamAbides (947551) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212147)

Presonus firepod, all the way. Check out [] for some sounds and what you can do. (just got done recording this about a month ago using the firpod and nuendo 3.)

remember preamps (1)

The_reformant (777653) | more than 8 years ago | (#15212566)

I looked into this exact problem recently.

First remember that if your mic'ing your going to need a preamp for every microphone you want to use otherwise it will sound like shit. The good news is that its quite easy to take a flexible inexpensive route there.

Firstly you need an ADAT compatible audio interface, you can either go PCI or usb/firewire. I opted for USB since i want to use the system with my laptop. A Behringer BCA2000 has 2 mic preamps and a hi-z input of its own and critically has an ADAT port. Price for this is about £130 in the UK.

Now the ADAT allows you to add an 8 channel preamp to get a total of 10 mic preamps and hi-Z instrument input. The Behringer Ultragain ADA8000 retails for £175 in the UK making the total solution around £300 hardwarewise.

I would then look at changing out Audition for a sequencer, fruity loops is a good budget choice with cubase being what i use for preference. Add to this some decent plugins like waves and you have a setup that is on par with most commercial studios (well comparable to the 2 i've recorded in anyway and assuming your mics are good)

Also as a bonus the behringer BCA2000 has sliders which you can assign to the mixer in your sequencer giving you a much more tactile mixing experience. Ive ordered mine but sadly they are out of stock until june!!!

With the setup of my band here a run down of how id use the inputs

Preamped inputs
1. Drums overhead 1
2. Drums overhead 2
3. Bass drum
4. Snare
5. Tom1
6. Tom2
7. Tom3
8. Tom4
9. Guitar1
10. Guitar2

Hi-z input
DI output from bass amp

Id then record the vocals separately. In a modern context you really cant beat close mic'ing the toms.
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