Preamp / Interface for Mac OSX?

Heady Jam Fan

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I just got a new Macbook and my old interface (M-Audio Fast Track Ultra) isn't supported. I'm in a band and we are hoping to jump into some live recording (ie., close mic'ing each amp).

The M-Audio's preamp sucked - my old little Behringer mixer sounded better.

I don't have a ton of cash, but I'm hoping to find a good interface with good, built-in preamps if it exists. It would be great if it could take multiple inputs at once so I can record the entire band on one computer, but thats not a deal breaker (I could always run the mics to a mixer first if I have to).

Thanks!
 

nateco

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I have a regular fast track and it works fine.

I use it with main stage...great practice/apartment amp setup.
 

MLG Audio

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Presonus fire studio. It was my first more-than-two channel interface and I got some awesome recordings with it


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Heady Jam Fan

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Thanks guys.

My computer doesn't have Firewire, and whatever interface I get has to work with OSX 10.9.1.
 

MLG Audio

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Macbook that doesn't have firewire? Have they already stopped putting using it? If you have a thunderbolt port I believe you can get an adapter for firewire.
 

Cream

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Babyface RME hooked up via ADAT Lightpipe to a Presonus box with 8 more inputs?
 

Monotremata

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Macbook that doesn't have firewire? Have they already stopped putting using it? If you have a thunderbolt port I believe you can get an adapter for firewire.
Pretty sure Apples getting rid of it.. MOTU even finally threw in the towel and the latest interfaces they just showed at NAMM were Thunderbolt.
The firewire/usb interfaces like the 828 are being moved into their 'Legacy' category already..
 

MLG Audio

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Pretty sure Apples getting rid of it.. MOTU even finally threw in the towel and the latest interfaces they just showed at NAMM were Thunderbolt.
The firewire/usb interfaces like the 828 are being moved into their 'Legacy' category already..
Damn, I really like firewire. The firestudio project and the Studiolive boards have worked amazingly over firewire. This is really my first glimpse of loving a new tech just to have it pulled out from under me so fast lol.
 

LSchefman

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Based on my experience with the Universal Audio Apollo, I'd recommend looking at their new Apollo Twin. If it has the same preamps and converters (and I think it does), it's a steal.

http://www.uaudio.com/twin

By the way, if you decide to get one, get the larger built in UAD card. Their new plugins are very, very good sounding, a major step up from their earlier ones that were highly regarded in the first place.
 

Monotremata

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Damn, I really like firewire. The firestudio project and the Studiolive boards have worked amazingly over firewire. This is really my first glimpse of loving a new tech just to have it pulled out from under me so fast lol.
New tech?? My blue and white G3 had Firewire in 1999! :)
Been using it here ever since hehehe.
Pretty sure when I bought my original MOTU 828 in 2001 or so it was the first firewire interface there was. Was also the first interface to run in Mac OS X.
Ahh those were the days.. ;)
 

Heady Jam Fan

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So to avoid latency, it seems my best bet might be using a Firewire Interface along with a Thunderbolt>Firewire adapter?

The other guitarist in my band has a Presonus Firewire (I think the one with 8 inputs).

Then I can decide if I want to buy a Firewire interface or wait to get a used Thunderbolt based interface.
 

jammybastard

"I'm losing my edge, but I was there..."
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Thanks guys.

My computer doesn't have Firewire, and whatever interface I get has to work with OSX 10.9.1.

Uh...it does have Firewire. It's just disguised as a Tunderbolt port.



http://store.apple.com/us/product/MD464ZM/A/apple-thunderbolt-to-firewire-adapter

$29
BOOM! Problem solved.

The Apollo Twin looks ridiculous. My only concern is that from what I read about at NAMM not all the plug-ins are the "full" versions and you may have to pay extra to unlock them.

What else do you need?
I've got a ton of FW, USB and T-bolt devices I use with my MBP everyday.
Love the Apogee gear, and on the cheaper end Presonus and Focusrite as well.

BTW - That's for all the jackasses who show up to troll by saying, "man Apple sucks because they killed <fill in whatever you want here>! Duuurrr!" without taking 5 min to research it and figure it out. (which seems to be the way at TGP aka "Complain and remain clueless cuz learnin' is hard work!")
 

Monotremata

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So to avoid latency, it seems my best bet might be using a Firewire Interface along with a Thunderbolt>Firewire adapter?

The other guitarist in my band has a Presonus Firewire (I think the one with 8 inputs).

Then I can decide if I want to buy a Firewire interface or wait to get a used Thunderbolt based interface.
Im assuming youre talking about latency while monitoring and recording so, no.. The best way to avoid latency is to make sure the interface has its own hardware monitoring (as opposed to software monitoring).. It was rare as hell back in 1999 but I would think any interface has its own built-in monitoring DSP (like MOTU's CuemixDSP and whatnot) nowadays.

Latency happens because your interface gets its signal, which goes to your DAW software.. The DAW software has to get it, process it, then send it back to the outputs. This is where latency comes in.. Using my MOTU 828MK2 as an example.. My audio comes into the MOTU's built in mixer, and goes straight out to my headphones/monitors whatever. Without this, I would have to wait for Logic Pro to get my signal, and send it back to me. With the built in CueMix though, it goes straight from input to me, and doesnt even bother the DAW so its got more CPU to use for tracking..

I dont really know crap about Thunderbolt since my Mac Pro was born in 2006 but the whole firewire vs USB thing has to do with the way they transfer data.. USB relies on CPU interrupt cycles to start/stop transfers.. USB is crap for audio, you get the slightest bit of load on the CPU and here come the pops and clicks and stutters from USB waiting to send/receive data.. Firewire is a straight serial connection that runs off its own dedicated bus controller and didnt need to rely on anything other then how quickly your actual hard drive could read/write to the platters. USB 2.0 didnt really do much to help either.. Sure it was faster, but its method of transfer still sucks. Great for cameras and scanner and printers.. Not so cool when you want to make sure everyone can hear a 24 track session being recorded at once on time.. USB has always been flaky on Macs for audio just like firewires always been flaky on PCs for anything. But makes sense if you look at when they both were developed.. USB was Intel's baby, and even though Apple used it first with the original iMac, they were still using Motorola architecture not Intel.. Firewire was Apples baby, and they made sure it was way better suited for media considering they were at the time the go to platform for graphics and video editing.. Sure Apples all buddy buddy with Intel now, but what it all boils down to is, USB was designed like crap as far as real time streaming audio goes anyways and it hasnt changed at all no matter how much faster it can theoretically burst transfer.
 

Heady Jam Fan

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So its not clear if I'll be better off buying a firewire interface and using an adapter / waiting for a thunderbolt-based interface or just rockin' USB... If we are recording live, we won't need monitoring. The only time I've used monitoring in the past is recording a single musician (a track or two) at a time, and the last time I did that, I monitored straight from the interface (so that shouldn't take CPU).

Still interested in specific suggestions!

Thanks all!

PS - Think I'm gonna go for the Presonus Firestudio Project and Thunderbolt Adaptor.
 
Last edited:

claudel

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6,547
I've been tumbling this one as well.

A few years back I had the first issue Apogee Duet.

I really liked the sound and the ease of use with an iMac, but I needed MIDI I/O
so I sold it and have been through a couple of others with varying degrees of gratification.

I want to be able to use whatever I get next with both iOS & OSX so I'm
probably going to give the Duet II a go even though it's still expensive.

I've read that there are still a few issues, but it's a nice opportunity to see how the
company/ies respond before I spend instead of after, for a change.

I sold a couple of guitars that were sitting lonely a bit too much, so round goes the merry-go-round... :rockin
 

Monotremata

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1,338
So its not clear if I'll be better off buying a firewire interface and using an adapter / waiting for a thunderbolt-based interface or just rockin' USB... If we are recording live, we won't need monitoring. The only time I've used monitoring in the past is recording a single musician (a track or two) at a time, and the last time I did that, I monitored straight from the interface (so that shouldn't take CPU).

Still interested in specific suggestions!

Thanks all!

PS - Think I'm gonna go for the Presonus Firestudio Project and Thunderbolt Adaptor.
Sounds like you're set! Thunderbolt should eat firewire alive, and firewire was more than anyone needed in the first place so dont worry you're fine.

Now comes the big worries about your monitors and preamps and compressors and eqs and input chains haha! Now that youve got some clarity coming the rest has just begun!
 

Heady Jam Fan

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Sounds like you're set! Thunderbolt should eat firewire alive, and firewire was more than anyone needed in the first place so dont worry you're fine.

Now comes the big worries about your monitors and preamps and compressors and eqs and input chains haha! Now that youve got some clarity coming the rest has just begun!
Yeah - I think that will do it - I appreciate the help!

Not sure if I need the other gear. For now, I want to:
- Record my band on separate tracks while we practice so we can go back and learn from our playing.
- Record myself layering a bunch of instruments one at a time (easy).
- Eventually record some finished products with my band, but...
I don't need any post processing effect for my guitar really. I used to do a lot of post processing, but my last few recordings, I had almost no signal below 100hz, didn't do any EQing, didn't need compression, and didn't find the limiter useful (I had a couple peaks, but mostly it just raised the noise floor a bit). If my bandmates want 'effects' they can spring for it, otherwise I'll use the effects from Garageband :hide2. And I think the Presonus is supposed to have decent preamps (good enough for my current needs/goals I hope).

I have been using the Apogee Duet One for many years. It worked flawlessly but an accidental drop damaged the port for the breakout box. Apogee repaired and it spec'd everything for $60 plus shipping.

The new Duet 2 is USb and works very well with Mavericks, I am told.

For a multi channel approach to recording a band, a USB mixer is great. Someone posted this link on the forum not too long ago, but the price went back up to $279 form $199.

YOu could use garageband it it will permit you to send each channel on the mixer to a different track so you can edit and adjust parameters later.

http://www.amazon.com/Mackie-PROFX12-12-Channel-Compact-Effects/dp/B00352MHGK

Hope this helps!
I thought about going the mixer route, but I know less about using a mixer console D/I to my computer. I figured I would run the mics from the drum set to a mixer to mix down to 2 tracks (stereo) before going to the interface, but its not a digital mixer.
 

NotWesYet

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5,303
Yeah - I think that will do it - I appreciate the help!

Not sure if I need the other gear. For now, I want to:
- Record my band on separate tracks while we practice so we can go back and learn from our playing.
- Record myself layering a bunch of instruments one at a time (easy).
- Eventually record some finished products with my band, but...
I don't need any post processing effect for my guitar really. I used to do a lot of post processing, but my last few recordings, I had almost no signal below 100hz, didn't do any EQing, didn't need compression, and didn't find the limiter useful (I had a couple peaks, but mostly it just raised the noise floor a bit). If my bandmates want 'effects' they can spring for it, otherwise I'll use the effects from Garageband :hide2. And I think the Presonus is supposed to have decent preamps (good enough for my current needs/goals I hope).



I thought about going the mixer route, but I know less about using a mixer console D/I to my computer. I figured I would run the mics from the drum set to a mixer to mix down to 2 tracks (stereo) before going to the interface, but its not a digital mixer.


I removed the earlier post as I found the lower priced USB mixers do not separate the tracks, but only deliver the signal in stereo. I couldn't find one that did, btu I am still looking for you.

I have a friend who is Grammy Award winning engineer who specialty is live classical performances and he has Presonus gear, so I think they must be well made once you get past the bargain stuff all manufacturers seem to offer today.

Garageband is fine and the plugin are fine, too. I just did a voiceover for a California tech company for a trade show animation using a Neumann TLM103/Triton FEThead/Apogee Duet (1) into Garageband and it sounded fine.
 

Heady Jam Fan

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9,009
I removed the earlier post as I found the lower priced USB mixers do not separate the tracks, but only deliver the signal in stereo. I couldn't find one that did, btu I am still looking for you.

I have a friend who is Grammy Award winning engineer who specialty is live classical performances and he has Presonus gear, so I think they must be well made once you get past the bargain stuff all manufacturers seem to offer today.

Garageband is fine and the plugin are fine, too. I just did a voiceover for a California tech company for a trade show animation using a Neumann TLM103/Triton FEThead/Apogee Duet (1) into Garageband and it sounded fine.
Woops - didn't notice you deleter your post!
Thanks for looking for the Mixer that sends individual tracks. I found a used Presonus in my price range - the rackmount Firestudio Project.

I've done pro voice-over too actually and they had me using pretty crappy gear, lol. I offered to do the recordings with my own equipment, but I don't think they grasped the fact it would be audibly better.
 




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