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Hey everyone, I have some equipment that I use for music production, but I am new to the world of Vinyl and was hoping to get some suggestions with my setup.
I have the following gear:
I'm still waiting for the TT to be delivered, but I plan to have things setup like this initially:
> Turntable --[RCA to 1/4 (line input)]--> Audio Interface --[1/4 to XLR (balanced output)]--> Speakers
The only reason I am using the audio interface is because I don't have anything else to control the volume (besides the back of each speaker).
For my current setup, what should I set the gain to for each line? I assume using line (rather than instrument) input would be best? How about the volume on the back of the speakers, is there any best practices for what levels they should bet set to?
Using the audio interface is only temporary, as I want to use the preamp with something else. What are my options for connecting the turntable up to these powered speakers? I have read that I could use an analog mixer, would this be a viable option, and are there any recommendations? How about using a receiver or amplifier with powered speakers?
I was also thinking I would like to get a Google Chromecast Audio for when I want to listen to streaming media, so having something with multiple inputs would be required. I think the Chromecast Audio would be using unbalanced audio, how would this fit in with using balanced audio cables to my speakers, is it a problem?
I live in the US, and want to keep things under a couple hundred bucks and typically prefer new gear.
I will definitely be going external knowing all of this now. Thanks for the advice!
Edit: /u/nighserenity suggested the Scarlett, do you happen to have any insight as to whether or not this would be a good buy?
The computer part will be pretty straight forward. Just make sure you have the extra storage and processing power for encoding. A basic i7 build on internal graphics will be fine. As someone else said, the sidebar will give you everything you need to know here and people will happily critique the build you come up with.
Were things will get complicated (and expensive) for you is in choosing your audio equipment and sound card. There are TONS of options for studio monitors and internal/external sound cards to make sure you have enough I/O of sufficient quality. For example: Focusrite Scarlett Audio Interface
I'd give you more specific recommendations on that equipment but I'm not really a music person. I have heard some people have issues with line interference on internal sound cards and prefer external ones for production. It also allows them to swap it to other computers/laptops if they have to. However as the more musically inclined of the two of us I'd say some of this portion will be up to your own preferences/experience.
I can try, sure.
This is the interface that I have. It's pretty simple; it's powered via USB and there are holes in the back for 1/4 inch cables (like, guitar cables). It's pretty simple to plug it all in, and any interface should come with the necessary software to use it properly.
First, please flair your post.
From my knowledge of 16yos, I wouldn't recommend spending $400+ on audio equipment until you're absolutely 200% sure you want to do this. As for what you should actually get, I'm gonna tag /u/Miles360x, who I believe has some better knowledge of this stuff.
Assuming he answers, I'll start up a few extra questions.
Price range(I'm guessing around $400 given the things you were thinking about)
Do you need any programs?
From my rather new and limited knowledge in microphones, I would recommend something like this, which is only $70~ if you get the base model. Not super sure about mics, as I've mostly researched things for use with Skype, or making crappy youtube videos with my friends. If I had to make a guess though, something like the AT2020 might work.
I am currently using the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 USB Audio Interface for my Rokit monitors. I see this 12 inch Klipsch sub-woofer is on sale from Amazon today and I'd like to add it to my setup but am unsure if I'll be able to connect it to my audio interface or if I'd have to purchase something else to get it hooked up. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
Plugging into a Scarlett 2i4 Audio Interface via a 1/8 to 1/4 inch converter.
Whew the wrong thing banged that out last night in a rush and few drinks in me.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i4 and Focusrite Scarlett 18i8
Yeah the red color looks great! I bought it from a local store here (JB Music in the Philippines). But here's the amazon link.
Okay. For a $500 budget, I would recommend a digital audio interface, which is basically an interface between your microphones/instruments and your computer. It connects to your mics/instruments, amplifies the signals, and converts the signal to digital to be sent to your computer to be recorded. You can then mix the tracks on your computer with Garageband to stereo (or even mono if you want) and there you go.
You can go with something like this: [link]
It only has two inputs so you won't be able to record a band with it. But for your purposes, vocals and guitar, it should work fine. It will connect to your Mac via USB to send the digital signal to the recording program
Next, think about microphones. You can get away with a cheaper dynamic microphone, like this, for vocals, but try to squeeze in a condenser mic for instruments. For a condenser mic, this will suffice: [link]. Don't buy those cheap $30 condenser mic you see on ebay.
You then have to think about how you're going to monitor the sound while recording/mixing (either with studio monitors, or a pair of headphones with a flat (balanced) frequency response). For your budget, you can probably get away with a pair of headphones like these: [link]. If you go with headphones like these, you can plug them directly into the audio interface to monitor the sound.
If you want to do things properly, you'll also need mic stands, but if you think you can get away without them, go for it. Here's a cheap stand that will work for your vocal mic (if you go dynamic): [link].
Don't be fooled into buying super-expensive cables (USB or otherwise). For XLR (mic) cables, buy good cables from name brands and look at the reviews (if you buy them online), but don't overpay. Something like this should work fine. [link]. This will work great if you're standing relatively close to the audio interface when playing/singing. Better to buy a longer USB cable than longer XLR cables since you're on a tight budget. Don't pay anything more than about $6 or $7 for a USB cable under about 15ft or so. Expensive USB cables are all BS. Here's a 10ft USB cable so you have plenty of length to work with: [link]
With a two-mic setup, you're going to be recording your vocals and guitar in mono, that is, one mic on the guitar, and on mic for vocals. That being said, you're likely not going to be able to get a sound with a ton of effects and things like that. You should be able to get a relatively clean, crisp, more natural sound. Of course most of this depends on your room acoustics and how you mix your tracks.
Treating your room acoustically is not necessary right away, but think about in the future. Since your budget is only $500, and you can't go for expensive acoustic treatment, I would recommend close-miking your instruments (but not too close) to combat unwanted room noise, etc, etc. Unless, of course, the room you will be recording in already has a nice sound. Then you can go for a beautiful 'live room' kind of recording by backing the mics off the instruments and having things like 'room mics'.
Here's a good instructional video on how to record an acoustic guitar. It mostly covers mic placement. Ignore the stereo demonstrations they have in the video, since that's not what you're going for. [link]
Another thing: don't stress about recording at unnecessarily high sample rates or bit depths. 96khz/24-bit is really the most you'd ever need for your purposes. I wouldn't even think about 192khz/32-bit or anything like that.
And I think that's about it. Let me know if you have any more questions.
I'll take Snailydale's suggestion on an external DAC. I'll plan to save up for one of these in the future: [link]
As for SLI, I'll definitely consider the single GPU route. I will however, keep a motherboard that's SLI compatible in case I do want that option years upon years into the future. But I will take your PSU suggestion that you listed in the comment before.
I do have a powerline adapter that I used to use with the computer I am using now, but noticed no difference in speed. What made me not include the gigabyte was reading upon this comment: [link]
I may change to the PCI wifi card tho. I'll look more into it
Ill consider buying this in the future: [link]
Thanks for the suggestion man!
Well, I do have a Novation Ultranova synthesizer. It has a built in 2 input audio interface but no phantom power. I was thinking about getting another interface though since this one is through the Novation. It's also kind of a pain using this as a synthesizer, midi controller, and audio interface to record other it and other instruments like vocals, guitar, etc.
I think it'd prob be good/better to have an actual interface. I picked out these two but don't know which to get if I get an interface:
or I found a couple of pairs of monitors but I don't know how good they are...
Presonus Eris E4.5
So I've pretty much decided on the Scarlett Solo ([link]) and was wondering if there's anything else I need to know about. Thanks for the help by the way.
You'll need to get a simple DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), an interface, and a few mics.
I use Pro Logic X and it works very well for me. You may want to start of with something that you can download for free first and see what suits you, Garage band, Audacity, etc.
A popular interface for people doing acoustic recordings is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i4. You can run two mics at the same time which would allow you to track out your songs in Stereo.
For mics I would recommend an AT2050, and a SM58 to start off with.
I specifically say those two because of personal use. The AT2050 is very versatile and sounds wonderful when put in front of an acoustic instrument of any sort. You can use the multi switch pattern to record simultaneously and reduce the bleeding between the mics, if you choose to record that way. The SM58 will last forever and will good. It's not anything too special but sounds great for the price.
Then of course you'll need mic stands and mic cables to go along with it.
I use a Scarlett 2i4 and it is pretty amazing for the cost. The 2i2 also has pretty stellar reviews. I have absolutely no complaints about my sound quality, and I'm a 'light' audiophile.
2i2 runs $150, which is pretty modest for the quality. It's really similar to my 2i4, and all the Focusrite products have awesome build quality. Plus it looks pretty sleek, in my opinion.
Regarding the 2i2:
It has 2 universal line-in ports (takes XLR or 1/4"), 2 line-outs, a 1/4" headphone jack, and a USB slot. The 2i4 has a bit more, but it's also unnecessary for you, I'd think.
Just be sure you get a dual 1/4" to dual 1/4" (assuming the ES100 outputs in stereo). You might also want to grab a 10ft. or longer Type A to Type B USB cable, because I found the one packaged with the Scarlett far too short (think it was 3', so consider the length between your gear). If you want to go directly out to studio monitors, the line-outs are also 1/4", so cable up appropriately.
I'd say avoid Behringer products -- I've only ever had one, which was a small headphone DAC (which was promptly replaced with a FiiO) that stopped working several months in. Their stuff is much cheaper for 'more', but the build quality and, based on personal experience, the product life, suffers for it. It felt very cheap, and I tend to take my gear around a lot, so I like something sturdy. It's anecdotal, but it's a pretty common sentiment. Your mileage may vary!
I'm not familiar with any other brands with hands-on experience, but the other big names (Akai?) tend to cost a fair bit more, and most of the third-party stuff is probably akin to Behringer -- very hit or miss.
Check this model out:
See the buttons next to each input that say "pad" That's what your model should have. When you clip, it lowers the input by around -10 -20 giving your more headroom.
I use a cheap 8 channel PCI from Delta. Otherwise, a scarlett 2i4 or 2i2 is a good choice.