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#56826 - 01/20/10 01:27 PM [Off-Topic] Recording to PC - Looking for Advice
Jally Offline

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 26

I am interested in learning more about recording vocals and instruments on my PC.

I’d like to record from 2 mics simultaneously and a guitar (possibly simultaneously but not a requirement) and record as I play/sing along with a Midi track being played in Power Tracks.

I’d like to be able to edit each recorded track individually.

I have experimented with connecting a small mixer to my Audigy 2's line in. Sometimes the sound quality that I capture isn’t that good. I’m thinking about purchasing a USB interface in hopes that I would capture better sound quality when recording.

I have looked at Tascam’s US-122MKII (approx $150 Cdn) and Digidesign’s Mbox 2 (approx $450 Cdn).

My computer and mic is as follows:

P4 - 2.8GHz
2 GB ram (max allowed on MB)
Audigy 2
250 GB HD
Alto mixing board
Shure 57, Shure 58

Any suggestions on what I should research?

#56827 - 01/20/10 02:50 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Jally]
Ryszard Offline

Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 3900
Loc: Kennesaw (Atlanta) GA
I'm an experienced analog recordist, sound engineer, and musician, but PC recording was about to get the best of me. So I broke down and bought PC Recording Studios for Dummies. A few nights of study and things became clearer. I paid around $22; it's currently available for $15.

Don't spend any money until you feel certain you understand exactly what you are trying to do and how you want to accomplish it. You are in one of the best possible communities for learning. Keep asking questions and do some reading and things will begin to make sense.


P.S.: The book title is a link to
"My primary musical instrument is the personal computer."

#56828 - 01/20/10 03:04 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Ryszard]
Edward Buckley Offline

Registered: 03/27/06
Posts: 812
Loc: Guadalajara, Mexico

You didn't mention your budget, as there are so many interfaces available, from under $100 to over $5000.

I suggest you check out the New M-audio Fastrack USB. It is a portable little unit that uses USB. You have both Mic and line inputs, phantom power, direct line use, ASIO 2, and Pro Tools essentials software all for $120.

Cheap, easy to set up and use, and sounds great. After you really understand your software and recording techniques, you can always upgrade to something more "High End".

I also advise you to check and understand the system requirnments of of your PC prior to installing the unit and software.

Good luck!

#56829 - 01/20/10 03:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Ryszard]
rharv Offline

Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18920
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
Also visit for more free reading material.

They have quite a bit of the basic information available there.

I agree with Ryszard above - don't buy equipment as a guess. (unless you have excess money you just want to throw at it)

With those two mics you should be able to get a decent recording.

Line out of mixer into line in of Soundcard, and proper drivers selected in the software should get you a decent sound.
You may just need to understand gain (and gain staging) to get better sound.
Make your sound your own!

#56830 - 01/20/10 03:19 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Jally]
RickeG Offline

Registered: 06/19/09
Posts: 484
Hi Jally,

I would look for a USB/Firewire Audio Interface. It not only makes cable hookup easier, but the audio in/out is better than one that comes with the PC. Audigy is a good gamer sound card. But, for recording, there are different dynamics in my opinion.

Being you are looking primarily for two inputs I would go with the simple interfaces that normally run about $150 US. take a look at this one as an option. I use something called Saffire by a company called, Focusrite.

For recording I use Cakewalk Home Studio. That software contains everything one would need to create a home recording: the ability to import MIDI files, record live tracks... almost infinite amount of them, post mix your processing effects and EQ, mastering, etc.

I look forward to hearing some of your tunes once you have decided what to record with.


#56831 - 01/20/10 03:46 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: RickeG]
Gary Curran Offline

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 10059
Loc: Poulsbo, Wa 98370
Before you go out spending a whole lot of money, unless there is something substantially wrong with your Audigy 2 card, then I would say that you have everything you need already.

Let's go back and look at a couple of things.

First, if you want to use two mics and record them at the same time, you can pan one channel hard left, and the other channel hard right, then record that track as two separate mono tracks, instead of a stereo track. That will give you one mic in a mono track which will allow you to edit individually. The Alto mixer, which I've not seen before, but looks very much like a Behringer (at least the one I looked at) should give you good sounds. However, a lot depends on how you hook it up to your Audigy 2 card.

Secondly, is your Audigy 2 a real card, or a chipset on the motherboard? A real card is preferable. Make sure that you send the Tape Out from the Alto to the Line In on the card, and unless you overdrive the input of the card, you should get relatively good sound. The card really isn't that bad.

Your PowerTracks or Real Band can send midi to the Audigy 2 card, which can be loaded with SoundFonts, some quite good, which will allow you to have a better sounding MIDI sound than using Windows built in synth. Of course, having a high quality synth module like the Ketron SD2 would be better yet, and that could also be plugged into the mixer.

You can use that set up to record multiple tracks, one right after the other.

What you can not do with this set up, or even most USB/Firewire set ups, is to have multiple Audio interfaces. Whereas a PCI card like the M-Audio 1010lt would allow you five stereo ins and five stereo outs, each one is assignable to a different track, giving you up to five stereo tracks to record from at the same time the Audigy won't. Record a stereo or two mono tracks is the best you're going to get from the Audigy or most USB interfaces.

Finally, you need to find out why the recording IS good sometimes with your Audigy, and sometimes it isn't. If you've changed something, then you need to find the 'sweet spot' and leave everything there. That's why Rys suggested the recording books, they WILL help a lot in laying down the basic understanding.



Edited by Gary Curran (01/20/10 03:49 PM)
Music touches everyone, and everyone can touch music, if they wish.

#56832 - 01/20/10 05:05 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Gary Curran]
DanL Offline

Registered: 03/19/02
Posts: 676
Loc: Fairfax, VA
Tweak's Guide is a great place to start, IMO:

#56833 - 01/20/10 08:55 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: DanL]
Jally Offline

Registered: 01/03/08
Posts: 26

Thanks for the ideas everyone. I’ve archived your postings. I will do some reading and some more tinkering with my Audigy 2 and Alto S-8.

#56834 - 01/20/10 10:48 PM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Jally]
Tchairdjian Offline

Registered: 12/29/08
Posts: 238
Loc: Calgary, AB [CANADA]
+1 For Tweak...
2008 Gibson ES-339 Custom & 2010 Les Paul Traditional. Fender SCXD Amp
BIAB/RB 2015 UltraPAK + Ketron SD2
Windows 7/64 Intel i5 3550 PC, Tascam USB144MKII
Behringer X1204 Mixer
Bose Companion 3 and/or L1 II w/T1 + SM58 MIC

#56835 - 01/21/10 06:00 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Tchairdjian]
Mike sings Offline

Registered: 03/09/07
Posts: 1336
Loc: Friesland, The Netherlands
I agree with the others regarding the collection of info ( is a very good starting point!)

As for the interface: You are currently using your SB-card to record. While you CAN record with it, the device was not actually made to record music in a descent quality.

You mentioned you want to be able to record 2 mics simultaneously. You also already had a look at a Tascam UL122 at $150. This is a very good device. You can however get the UL122 for about $120, the Tascam UL144 will cost you about $150.

Most interfaces nowadays come with a lite-version of top class DAW's an sometimes even with additional software. Tascam ships Cubase 4 LE with the UL-series.

#56836 - 01/21/10 07:02 AM [Off-Topic] Re: Recording to PC - Looking for Advice [Re: Mike sings]
manning1 Offline

Registered: 05/08/05
Posts: 1992
Loc: Canada
re interface. has a slew of interfaces which you can sort from low price to high price.
one particular brand that i keep on hearing is good due to convertor quality
in the ADA stages is echo for the price. but caveat emptor as always.
run your own tests n make sure you can return any device if it dont play nice with
your puter.
retired puter engr....powertracks on amd......NICE !
"what is the black art of audio engineering ?"
my silly
see my tips in the tips section.


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