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#119032 - 07/01/11 02:17 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software
jazzwombat Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
I recently upgraded to a new Windows 7 64-bit computer (Core I5, 2500K, 3.3G) with 16 gb RAM. In the process, I want to upgrade from my old EMU USB audio/midi interface and Sonar 4 LE software. The only requirements I have for the interface is that it must be USB 2 (or 3) and it has to have at least 4 mic/analog inputs, with phantom power, plus midi inputs, and at least four analog outputs. Of course, it has to work with BIAB, but that's a given, right? I like Sonar 4 and thought to buy Sonar X1 Studio, but I'm open to suggestions. My major use of my DAW is recording my saxophone over backing tracks. If the backing tracks are midi, I pipe through a Ketron SD2, which then inputs through analog.

I was seriously looking at the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra interface, but after reading a recent post here and other reviews around the web, I'm a bit nervous about that idea.

So, here's your chance to help me spend my hard-earned money. What USB audio/midi interface and DAW software would you buy? I'd like to keep the total cost of hardware and software to $500-600, but I might go higher if the increased cost translates to better quality.

If you have a minute, please offer advice, suggestions, etc. I know many of you have DAWs, so let me know what your opinions are, please.

Thank you!

The wombat of jazz aka Bob


Edited by jazzwombat (07/01/11 02:18 PM)
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#119033 - 07/01/11 02:26 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
Matt Finley Online   content
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Registered: 07/12/00
Posts: 17205
Loc: Hudson Valley & Lake George NY
Bob, couple of thoughts.

First, about SONAR, I have X1 after using SONAR 3, 5, 7, and 8.5. Be aware that all those were very similar to version 4, but X1 is a very different animal. I like it, but it takes some relearning. Most of the deal-breaker bugs are fixed now but a couple of very specific ones remain. There's more to this, of course, if you need it.

Second, about M-Audio, I also read some warnings here about drivers and Windows 7 64-bit. It is my understanding that the problems people experienced were mostly a year ago, and that the drivers have been updated and things work fine now. Others may have a different view, but my Fast Track Pro works great.

ps I LOVE Windows 7 Pro 64-bit, running from a SSD boot drive. Not one BSOD in over a year!

also ps: forgive some repeated info. I see you are the same poster where we corresponded about having two soundcards.


Edited by Matt Finley (07/01/11 02:31 PM)
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BIAB 2018 Win Audiophile; [& 2018 Mac Pro]. Software: Mixcraft, Adobe Audition, Ozone, Encore; Win 10 64 Pro. Hardware: custom i7, 16 Gb RAM; Roland Integra-7, Focusrite 18i20(2), TCE Finalizer, Behringer X-Touch, Adam sub & 6" monitors.

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#119034 - 07/01/11 03:16 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Matt Finley]
jazzwombat Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Quote:

also ps: forgive some repeated info. I see you are the same poster where we corresponded about having two soundcards.




Hi Matt,

Hey, sometimes I need to hear things several times before they sink in, so repeat away
Seriously, nice to hear some good things about the M-Audio interface. Its specs are impressive and it's the right price. I just hate hearing of the problems.

Thanks for the advice!


Bob
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#119035 - 07/01/11 03:33 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4275
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
My M-Audio Fast Track Pro 2 is on it's 3rd computer and has not complained yet. And their support is very good, just like here. Web page with a user forum....

I have to ask why so many inputs? Don't you put everything on it's own track? If you are going to record in real time, just use a mixer and pan L&R. Advantage is speed. Disadvantage is that one player's clams hurt the whole take. Discreet tracking let's you tweak one track only, like I have to do with my foghorn like vocals....
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#119036 - 07/01/11 04:18 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: eddie1261]
jazzwombat Offline
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Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Quote:


I have to ask why so many inputs? Don't you put everything on it's own track? If you are going to record in real time, just use a mixer and pan L&R.




I have limited space (desk space) and didn't want to add additional hardware, so I wasn't interested in getting a mixer, but I understand why it would help. I really only need 4 analog inputs (2 Mics and 2 plugs -- for the Ketron) plus the midi, but I got burnt on my EMU, which only has two, so I figured err on the side of too many this time . I wish I had a better reason, but no.
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#119037 - 07/01/11 04:32 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
eddie1261 Offline
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Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4275
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
When I ran out of space, I built UP. Made some stacking shelves, bought a table top 12 space rack to screw everything in to.... but everybody's studio is different in what they have and how they use it, so it really is a case of what works for you. And the older school you are (like me) you know "your way" to do it.

For me, I do BIAB first. Then I put it through a mixer that has a digital reverb looped through it. I then record the BIAB tracks panned left and right to track 1 and 2 of an 8 track Tascam direct to disc recorder. Then I sing onto track 3 and 4. That leaves me 5,6,7 and 8 for additional keyboards, harmonies that come from a vocoder, guitar parts....

But again, that's just what I do and it isn't necessarily the way everybody does things.

On topic, that M-Audio Fast Track will work for you.
_________________________
Why does the Department of DEFENSE want a weapon with first strike capability? Wouldn't that be the Department of Offense?

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#119038 - 07/01/11 07:13 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jazzwombat]
MusicStudent Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 5483
Loc: Chicago
Quote:

I know many of you have DAWs, so let me know what your opinions are, please.






Do you know what is available in REAPER? It is quite impressive.

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#119039 - 07/01/11 07:32 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: MusicStudent]
Noel96 Offline
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Registered: 10/31/08
Posts: 13042
Loc: Australia
Hi Bob,

Like Dan above, I now use Reaper as my DAW. I used to use Sonar (from versions 4 through to 7). Then I started hearing some terrific productions in the User Showcase forum on here where people used Reaper for the final product. Reaper has a great deal going for it. Once you learn to use it, the user interface is incredibly versatile and gives very professional results.

Also, the Cockos plugins that come with the software are excellent (these days I pretty much only use these plugins even though I have around 500 other ones).

Lastly, there is some terrific documentation available for Reaper to help you get the best out of it. I purchased a couple of PDF books from the Cockos website that are fantastic and I also purchased a hardcopy book through Amazon. Because of these books, I'm understanding Reaper in 12 months a whole heap more than I ever understood Sonar in 6 years.

What is amazing is that Reaper is incredibly cheap to buy.

Regards,
Noel
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#119040 - 07/01/11 07:58 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Noel96]
MusicStudent Offline
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Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 5483
Loc: Chicago
Ya, what Noel said..
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#119041 - 07/01/11 11:01 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: MusicStudent]
jcspro40 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 828
Loc: Ohio-USA
I am also a Reap user, but if you use midi a lot, then you might want to take a long look before you buy. All tho the midi works fine for my needs, there are folks who say it is missing a lot of every day workflow parameters....

Then again, you can grab it for $40 at the moment, which gives you updates to 4.99...at the is something you don't find too often....
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Custom Core2Quad 3.2Ghz, 8gb memory, 1gb nVidia dual monitor card, 1tb OS HDD, 2 2gb Internal HDD, 8tb External HDD, dual LG 27" Monitors, Win7 x64 Ultimate, BiaB/RB 2017, Reaper 4.75, Mixbus 32C, IK Multimedia / iZotope / Plug & Mix VST-VSTi Collections

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#119042 - 07/02/11 07:52 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jcspro40]
Tommyc Offline
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Registered: 01/08/11
Posts: 2601
Have you tried Real Band as a DAW ? Comes free with Biab and is loaded with some very usable plug-ins . My M-Audio works with everything, not always with the ASIO drivers that came with it . Save your money for Biab updates !

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#119043 - 07/05/11 06:11 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Tommyc]
Reg Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/11/08
Posts: 22
Want great sound, rock solid drivers and monitor's that will blow you away, not for the faint of heart price wise. I this case the saying "you get for what you pay" apply's here.

Interface= RME USB Fireface UC $1298.00 CAD

Powered Monitors= Focal CMS 65 $825.00 CAD each

Total= $2948 CAD +tax

Most people try to reproduce what they hear on commercial recordings right?, well, you can't do it on the cheap. Get a great interface with solid driver's and great sounding monitor's and you won't regret it. RME are known all over the world for there rock solid driver's and clean pre-amps under XP, Win7 x86 or 64. Go demo this gear and you will buy. This equipment is top notch and will last a lifetime. You only need to buy once and be happy.

And for Daw, if you do a internet search you will find many. the better come with a little learning curve. But in the end you'll be glad you put your head to it. Nuendo and Cubase come to mind here witch is what I use. Pro to the max, jam pack with very usefull features. Lot's to think about here but, how serious are you about making music that will satisfy your ears. Food for the soul here.

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#119044 - 07/05/11 07:23 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: Reg]
jcspro40 Offline
Expert

Registered: 04/16/03
Posts: 828
Loc: Ohio-USA
Quote:

My major use of my DAW is recording my saxophone over backing tracks. If the backing tracks are midi, I pipe through a Ketron SD2, which then inputs through analog.

I'd like to keep the total cost of hardware and software to $500-600, but I might go higher if the increased cost translates to better quality.

The wombat of jazz aka Bob




I think 2k + is a little out of the price he was looking for!

No matter WHAT software & hardware you go for, just MAKE SURE that there are solid drivers for Win 7 64bit, and that the software is 64bit capable. One reason that I did not go for Win7 64 until a few weeks ago was because of the buggie M-Audio drivers for my Delta 66. In Win7 32bit they were fine, in 64 they were....not....

Triple check the SW and HW to make SURE that it has good Win7 64 bit support, and you will be good to go....
_________________________
Custom Core2Quad 3.2Ghz, 8gb memory, 1gb nVidia dual monitor card, 1tb OS HDD, 2 2gb Internal HDD, 8tb External HDD, dual LG 27" Monitors, Win7 x64 Ultimate, BiaB/RB 2017, Reaper 4.75, Mixbus 32C, IK Multimedia / iZotope / Plug & Mix VST-VSTi Collections

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#119045 - 07/05/11 10:10 PM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: jcspro40]
eddie1261 Offline
Veteran

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 4275
Loc: Cleveland, Ohio
If he is buying a new interface, there will be Windows 7 drivers. Used gear.... ah, now we are dealing with a different breed of cat!

Gotta believe for 2 large he gets Windows 7 drivers... LOL!!!
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Why does the Department of DEFENSE want a weapon with first strike capability? Wouldn't that be the Department of Offense?

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#119046 - 07/06/11 09:57 AM [Band-in-a-Box for Windows] Re: Help me spend my money: advice on USB audio interface and DAW software [Re: eddie1261]
jazzwombat Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 457
Loc: Balmer, Merlan, USA
Thanks for the help and useful advice.


FYI: Right now, I am leaning towards the M-Audio Fast Track Ultra and Sonar X1...

Best regards,

Bob aka jazzwombat
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