recording using a laptop / external sound systems

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Marcello, Aug 6, 2004.


  1. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    I own a compaq laptop with a crappy 16bit soundcard and i'm not satisfied with the quality of my recordings. I'm thinking of buying a USB external soundcard.

    But i'm all confused with all the different products on the market today. There are 24bit Audio solutions like M-Audio audiophile stuff, Omnistudio, etc and there are soundcards like soundblaster stuff.

    is the M-Audio a soundcard or what?

    if i use this equipment with my laptop is it gonna bypass my ****** 16 bit soundcard ? Can't figure out what i need really :( ...soundcard or something else

    Thanks
     
  2. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    You need a USB audio interface like the M-Audio.
    All your audio will get routed through this and will bypass the internal soundcard.
     
  3. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    Thanks for your answer
     
  4. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I had problems with latency on the USB interfaces. I'd recommend firewire. M-Audio seems to be a bit on the flakey side. I'm considering selling my firewire 410 and getting the moto 828
     
  5. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    yeah, i'm looking for a firewire device.

    you mean there's a latency when hearing what you play in real time ? hope not on the recording itself.

    i don't care for mic preamps and stuff, so im thinking of getting a simple soundcard like http://www.bit-tech.net/review/320/ or http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.main&ID=8165223d4cfae86989745b38a55cdfcband plug my mixer into it.
     
  6. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Well, forgive the spam but I'm selling a 2 week old Maudio FW410 interface. Email me offline if you're interested. The only reason I'm getting rid of it is that I want balanced outputs so I upgraded to the Motu 828.

    My experience is that you will get about a 10ms latency when trying to hear yourself in realtime with any of the USB interfaces. That's enough to really be annoying. You can get 2.5ms with the FW410.

    And yes, it's on the recording itself if you are playing along with a recorded track. What happens is that if you are adjusting your playing in real time along with a previously recorded track, your playing will then be off by 10ms. Of course, you can shift the track forward in most recording apps but it's very annoying. With firewire, the delay is imperceptable.

    Jaz
     
  7. Unburst

    Unburst Member

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    Firewire is better than USB, didn't know if you had it or not.

    Jack-The MOTU interfaces are v. good.
     
  8. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    I do all my songwriting now on a laptop. It's important to get a good external hard drive, because the slow internal drives on them just won't cut it for much when recording audio or video. I am extremely happy with my current setup. I use a Toshiba P25-S25 with a WD 80g external usb2 7200rpm drive and a MOTU 828MKII. I use Sonar3 Producer for multitrack and midi, and have the Waves Platinum plugins. I use Wavelab for editing and rough draft finalizing.

    I have been doing songs between 24 and 30 tracks and have very little load on the computer.

    -Mike
     
  9. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    You have any problem with picking up your external drive motor through the audio channel? My external drive whines through the audio output of my FW410 interface. One reason I am switching to the Motu 828 is the hope that the balanced outputs may cure that issue...
     
  10. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    By the way, the MOTU 828 MKII has zero latency hardware monitoring, as several other units out there. You just have to look at the specs and see if it's there.

    -Mike
     
  11. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    There is zero external sound in my recordings from the HD or anything else. The 828 is VERY clean and quiet and I highly recommend it. If you get one and need help settingn it up, just let me know!

    Mike
     
  12. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    How does that work? You monitor off the headphone jack of the motu instead of the output of the unit?

    With the FW410, I could get the latancy down to 2.9ms monitoring off the outputs but it required setting the buffersize to 128k which caused occasional glitching. 256k worked better but yielded 5.8ms latency.
     
  13. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    Thanks Mike. I sold the FW410 on ebay yesterday and am receiving the 828 friday! :D
     
  14. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    No no.

    There is internal routing in the 828 MKII. Imagine it as a 16 channel digital mixer, just without the faders and knobs. You can control all of it through the Cue-Mix console on your computer or from the little LCD panel on the front. You can hear the output in realtime through the headphones, main outs, or any other output you choose to use. As soon as you hook up something to any of the inputs, you hear it through the outs...even if the unit is not connected to a computer. It can actually function as a standalone mixer.

    This was a big point in me choosing that unit, and when I started using it all of my choices were validated!

    -Mike
     
  15. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    I'll probably be using it with a mackie mixer because I want to be able to "wet-monitor" my guitar without feeding that sub-mix back to the inputs to be recorded (or can the 828 handle that too?)

    Regarding zero-latency monitoring - Are you telling me I can enable echo in Sonar and apply real-time effects with 0 latency when recording? If so, that's fabulous. I can get 0 latency monitoring off the headphone jack of the FW410 but I believe it's the line input signal off the mic preamps prior to the audio going over the firewire and back to the outputs of the audio interface.

    The way my setup works is that I'm doing all direct recording. I plug into a mesa boogie studio preamp. I run the record outs to my mackie for monitoring and the line out goes to an input of my FW410. The main outs of the FW410 go into a stereo channel of my mixer.

    I'm sure there are much better ways to do all of this...
     
  16. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    That rules it out for me. Damn...I knew it was too good to be true. I'm going to be really pissed if my latency is worse with the 828 than with the FW410...
     
  17. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    I guess that would be an issue. I learned from the school of doing it mostly dry and adding stuff later in the mix. That or outboard gear. I don't really use anything in the box except for compression, eq, and sparse reverb. I would think that real time in the box fx would depend more upon your machine than anything. Do alot of people record that way?

    -Mike
     
  18. jzucker

    jzucker Supporting Member

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    More and more that's becoming the norm. The software is not the bottle neck in that sort of processing. For example, using Native Instruments Guitar Rig with amp modeling, 3 or 4 effects and cabinet modeling, it's only taking 15% of the cpu's resources. The bottleneck is the firewire interface. That's why it's important to me. I can monitor off a submix coming from my preamp but then I have to duplicate all the effects I'm doing in software which kind of defeats the point. I can't play the same with the dry sound. It just effects how I play.
     
  19. Hard2Hear

    Hard2Hear Member

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    I see what you're doing there.

    I've never done that because I have several amps available to me when I record. What about sending 1 signal to an amp and a dry one to a track that you can play with or re-amp later. I guess that's kind of the old school way to do what you are using the Native tool for.

    I hope it works for you. I would imagine the MOTU is better than the M-Audio in every way. Not knocking M-Audio cause I own their stuff and like them, just that MOTU is better.

    Mike
     
  20. Marcello

    Marcello Member

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    Could someone explain me the latency problem...i'm an idiot...

    if you use an external soundcard to play a backing track and record on top of it, where does the latency takes place?
    thanks
     

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