Is Onyx/Tracktion the best way for me?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by carljoensson, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. carljoensson

    carljoensson Member

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    Hi,
    I'll appreciate all the time and effort it would take you to advice me - and I'll do my best to use the search function.

    This is what I want to do (in order of priority):
    1. I want to record instruments and vocals, mix and experiment and mixdown using my computer.
    2. I want an easy way to build drums for my songs (using loops?) - this is what I feel most limiting with my present setup.
    3. More than anything it will be my home project studio, but taking the gear with me to record my band live or in a good room is interesting.
    This is what I've done so far:
    I have a standalone 16-channel Fostex multitracker. Now I want better overview of the tracks, an easier way to work with plug-ins and effects and drums. I have not worked (myself) using DAW & software - total newbie.

    This is what I own already:
    • Dell Inspiron 6400 (laptop), Intel Centrino Duo T2250 @ 1.73 Ghz, WindowsXP home edition version 2002, service pack 2, 1 Gb RAM, Internal harddrive 120 Gb, 1 firewire port, 4 USB ports.
    • Mackie Onyx 1220 mixer
    • Various mics, Amps, guitars, bass, nice headphones, good homestereo
    • Cheap synth (Roland XP-10) which I can't play at all (being a limited guitarist/singer).
    • Fostex VF-160 multitracker, Zoom drummachine.
    So my question: what would I need, what should I focus on?

    My thought:
    Since I've got an Onyx mixer, the Onyx firewire card could be the logical step for hardware. If buying that Tracktion 2 would be included in the package. This would let me record 12 tracks simultaneously, a bit much at home, but good if I record the band live.

    Would you agree this is a good solution?
    Anything else that gives me more bang for the buck?


    Drums/software - EZ Drummer, Reason or stuff already included in the Tracktion package?

    What about the laptop? Does it seem good/fast enough?

    Thanks for taking the time to read this through. I'd be most grateful for any pointers that could take me into the right direction!

    Cheers,

    Carl
     
  2. bchamorro

    bchamorro Member

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    Do you Really think you need the mixer?

    You could just get the Onx 1200F.
     
  3. gixxerrock

    gixxerrock Member

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    I have had an old Mackie 1202 VLZ mixer for about 8 years and it has been great. It is a workhorse that has served me well in many different situation. You should keep it.

    Tracktion is decent well thought out software. If you intend on going really deep, you might limit out on it compared so some of the other bigger packages. It is still good to learn on. I am not sure how much they want for the firewire card, but there are probably a bunch of other firewire interfaces in the same ballpark price. You could still use the Mackie board for its mixing and mic pre and just keep the alt-out hooked up to your interface.

    What you are suggesting is also fine. All I am saying, is don't restrict yourself to Onyx firewire/Tracktion just because you already have the mixer.

    Shawn.
     
  4. carljoensson

    carljoensson Member

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    767
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    HI there,
    Thanks for your replies. Today my initial post seems extremely loooong so I guess I scare most people away. (I'll edit and shorten it)

    I got the mixer for a great price so it's not going anywhere.

    Shawn: Yes, this is what I'm really wondering. Am I already on the Mackie route by owning the mixer or should I also look elsewhere? Also if my computer is good enough.

    Thanks,

    Carl
     
  5. kludge

    kludge The droid you're looking for

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    I absolutely love and swear by Tracktion. I should upgrade to Tracktion 3 someday, but T2 has been so good to me, I'm afraid T3 might somehow be a letdown.
     
  6. carljoensson

    carljoensson Member

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    Hi Kludge,
    Thanks for chiming in. I guess I might have killed the interest in this thread for simply writing too long or too specific.

    Nevertheless, more than anything I'm looking for a fast, fun and easy way to record - and to BUILD DRUMS. And if I could get it as bugfree and "compatible" as possible the better.

    The onyx firewire card might not be the cheapest one areound - but since it would work so well with my onyx mixer it seems a very tempting solution. Getting Tracktion2 in the package... well that sort of make the price look better, though I guess other soundcards might come with software as well.

    All input most welcome!

    /C
     
  7. dwoovre

    dwoovre Member

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    Tracktion is the wrong tool for building drum loops, but it will work as a host for a better program (such as EZDrummer, Reason, etc.) The version of Tracktion I received with the Onyx firewire card did not have any extras along with it. They might have changed it, but at that time the extras were limited to the retail version. Another bargain host worth chekcing out is Reaper:

    http://www.cockos.com/reaper/

    I have used Reason and FL Studio for doing simple drum programming, and both work well enough. Reason is pretty pricey if you are only going to use it for drum programming, and the coolest features only come with the drumkits expansion, so I would look toward EZDrummer or something similar to use within whatever host you end up choosing.

    For the $450 that the Mackie firewire cards are going for now, there are a lot of options available. I got mine free with the mixer, so it was a no-brainer. However, if I had to spend full retail today, I would probably pick up a Presonus FireStudio Project or something similar. For carting around to practices/gigs, etc, I would prefer something more compact. That 1220 mixer can be handy, but a little hefty for lightweight mobile recording, and it only has 4 preamps.
     
  8. carljoensson

    carljoensson Member

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    767
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    Hi Dwoovre and Croakus!

    Thanks for widening my horizon by giving me more alternatives. I'll be checking them more closely. Had a glance at the Presonus, and I suppose that might be an option.

    After all, it seems the Onyx 12202 only allows you to send tracks "post-gain" - some review I read was bothered about this only allowing you to record dry.

    At the time Midi is not of my interest. I know very little about it, still I might have a keyboard player come over to my house to add something... so what about the Onyx mixer/firewire not having any Midi-ports? Doesn't that seem strange? Or can I run midi-cables into the computer via some other connection like USBs

    Reaper looks interesting. I should download a demo to try out. But, right I still need to get a decent soundcard first. Hmm.

    Thanks,

    C
     
  9. Crikey

    Crikey Member

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    Your questions require pretty specific knowledge and experience, so most probably don't feel qualified to chime in. I am always comfortable chiming in when I lack qualification, however! :AOK

    I can't speak to whether your notebook will cut the mustard. There are lots of things you can do configuration wise to help if it doesn't seem to be cutting it -- adjust the latency in your DAW software, disable extras on the notebook like antivirus and Google Desktop and your wireless card while you are recording, etc. So if you get glitches at first, persevere!

    As for the Onyx Firewire board, I can see both sides. The advantage is you can send each channel individually to the DAW and mix their levels or do punching later without affecting the other channels -- and you don't have to patch each channel of an audio interface somehow into channel inserts on your mixer to do it. If your 1220 only has four mic inputs, though, and you aren't already planning to use your mixer as part of the PA when you gig, for a similar price to the Onyx Firewire board you can get an audio interface with 8 mic pres. The same is true in your studio at home.

    I haven't gotten to the point of working with loops or software-generated drum tracks with my DAW, or used Tracktion, but the poster above mentions it.

    Good luck!


    Crikey
     
  10. carljoensson

    carljoensson Member

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    Hi Crikey,
    Thanks for chiming in - I appreciate it!

    I can see what you're saying. Using the Onyx mixer for recording it seems I would just take advantage of the gain knob for every input, right? And then I might as well get an audio interface with more xlr-inputs instead - which I guess might be just that - xlr-inputs with gainknobs. :jo

    I'll consider it!

    /C
     

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