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Capturing Multi-Track Raw Audio? 119

afex asks: "I've been in and out of bands, and my current one is ready to sit down and put out a nice sounding Promo CD. In the past, I've used a horrible mess of equipment to get this job done. I won't go into detail on what all the microphones were for, but I had 4 going into an analog mixer, mixed down to 2 channels - as well as four other microphones that were unmixed. This left me with 6 separate tracks, which I am now outgrowing. I'd now like to start capturing 8 (or more) channels of raw (delivered via XLR cables from mics) audio. As for quality: 44.1K/16bit is fine. The editing can be done later via software, but my main quest is to get a single piece of hardware (either for my PC or a standalone box) that will ONLY capture the audio - no EQ's, no FX, no mixing, nothing, since that is all done later, on the PC. Got any ideas, Slashdot?"
"I used to record it all using 2 stereo USB capture devices (Edirol UA-1A & M-Audio MobilePre USB), as well as the PC's soundcard (left and right). I recorded and mixed with Cool Edit Pro, which is now Adobe Audition. This method has been very buggy, and its time for a change. I don't want to add more USB/FireWire capture cards to the mix, and I don't want to pay a heap for a digital 8-track recorder such as Yamaha's AW16G. What can I do?"
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Capturing Multi-Track Raw Audio?

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  • M-audio is probably the way to go, they have several [] multi channel capture cards and breakout boxes.

    So who is hotter? Ali or Ali's sister?

    • I would favor a stand-alone solution over a low-cost computer interface solution. The Alesis HD24 [] is pretty much standard for this situation.
      • I would also highly reccommend going for a stand-alone solution for simply capturing audio. My dad runs a professional on-site recording business and also works for a small local recording studio. Both his own business and the studio use an Alesis DA-88 for recording on-location work. It's a true 8 track recorder, putting down 8 channels of digital audio at a time which you can then later pull off and mix down yourself. This tends to be a really good option for capturing live stuff as you're not trying
        • AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK wrong company! The company that produces the DA-88 is TASCAM, not Alesis. Don't know what I was smoking, it's too damn early still...
    • "M-audio is probably the way to go, they have several multi channel capture cards and breakout boxes."

      Which of the M-Audio cards and breakout boxes are the most linux friendly? I've been thinking of playing with building a DAW to play with using ardour, and a multi-io card from M-Audio since I'd heard they could be used with ALSA. But, I'm wondering if some models are better than others?

  • by b00m3rang ( 682108 ) * on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @07:51PM (#15208795)
    They both make good multichannel audio interfaces at a good value for the price. I've gone with Echo Audio in the past, and not been entirely happy with the drivers, stability, and support. Interfaces are available as either PCI cards with connectors/cables, pci cards with a breakout box, or (my recommendation) an external box with firewire connectivity. It's the most flexible, you can position the unit away from the PC to avoid RF interference, and in my experience works at least as well as those with dedicated PCI cards.
    • I was thinking the M-Audio Firewire 1814 [] would be perfect for this. I have a 410 and am pretty happy with it.
    • I have used the (two input only) Echo Mia Midi card on Demudi Linux with Ardour. Setting up the driver was an ordeal (and not for the technically dis-inclined), but once installed and working, it performed flawlessly.

      I have wondered if it were possible to install several such cards to get a more-than-two input configuration, but I have not tried it, nor am I convinced that Jack would do the right thing.

      For now, iterative overdubbing works fine. To hear some of the results, check here [] [Disclaimer: Music i
    • M-Audio's drivers are awful. If the device you get works out of the box, e.g. with ALSA, go for it, but if you're running Windows or Mac, it's kind of a crap shoot. MOTU used to have some really good hackers, but I can't speak for their current drivers. Right now I'm using a USB iMic for audio input, and it's rock solid on Linux, but of course there's no real way to ensure that the audio is synced if you use more than one of these.
      • I have a M-Audio Audiophile 2496 PCI card and have never had any problems with drivers, it works great in WinXP and Linux (using ALSA) and comes with a good mixer utility.

        The only problem I have with the card is that there is no gain control on the inputs so you have to make sure that the input signal is the correct level some other way (e.g. by using an external mixer). Then again it is a pretty basic card and M-Audio make plenty of more advanced ones.
    • I'm just DROOLING over the new MOTU UltraLite []. 8 ins, 10 outs, and not just Firewire, but bus-powered. Drag a laptop and this unit to gigs and you can multi-track everything.

      I'm also an electronic drummer, and I use Ablton Live, so with this unit I could chop live loops of ANYONE on stage.

      Of course, I don't have $550 to drop on one. So I'm looking at the Berhinger uca202, a $29 USB box that's stereo in/out. I'm running Sonar on a MacBook with Boot Camp, and the drivers for this internal card just blow. Real
  • MOTU (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I recommend just about anything from Mark of the Unicorn []. Good hardware, good support, good bundled software, and compatibility with apps other than their own (unlike Avid/Digidesign). And they have a wide range of stuff for any size job.

    And while you say you're not interested in more gear, we all know you're lying. You named too many specific items that you've tried (and likely bought). That makes you a gearslut. You're only here for the gear. Just accept that and move on.
  • Firewire Mixer (Score:3, Informative)

    by jimson ( 516491 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:07PM (#15208872) Homepage
    This is the piece that I just picked up and I can't tell you how happy with it I am so far. /products_detail.php?product_id=139 [] []

    The Phonic Helix Firewire 18. It sends the signal pre any EQ or mixer, the only control is the gain. Up to 16 Channels into your computer. Works like a charm, and the price is great for what you are getting. I picked mine up for a little over $500 (Canadian) and it also functions as a standalone mixer.

    I'd post a link to some tunes that we've recorded with it, but they are not ready for general consumption yet. You can check out some of our previous stuff at []
    • What sort of software do you need to have on your computer to work with the incoming audio stream or even to recognize the hardware as an audio interface in the first place? Just wondering how open a standard it is, and whether there's "future proofing" in something like that ... I wouldn't want to get one and then find out in a few years that they're no longer releasing the drivers for whatever the new OS version of the day was, or the company's gone out of business and you're stuck with a proprietary digi
      • Re:Firewire Mixer (Score:3, Informative)

        by jimson ( 516491 )
        Yeah Dude! Way too catious! You've got an .mac address, so I assume your using a mac. No drivers involved. OS X just recognized it as an audio device I can use for whatever. For software, I'm currently using Logic Express, though Garage Band works great as well. I'm definetly getting my vaule out of this in 3-5 years. Its a standalone mixer so its worth the money right there.

        I stayed away from ProTools because I didn't want to be locked into one suite of software for recording, as nice as it is.
  • MOTU does indeed make interfaces that do just what you ask: LOTS of inputs, no required card, a pure A/D converter with niceties like built-in mixer and bundled software. However, their products are on the expensive side. MOTU 828mkII: $749 on Musician's friend [] PreSonus manufactures a competetive product (8 mic pre's, bundled Cubase LE, good support) called the FirePod ($599 on MF) that i've really heard great things about. I've been experimenting with digital multitracking as well, and the small two or
  • Sorry dude (Score:4, Insightful)

    by illuminatedwax ( 537131 ) <{stdrange} {at} {}> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:09PM (#15208882) Journal
    The problem is that either you have to buy a new USB/Firewire box or you have to get a multitrack recorder unless you want to pay thousands of dollars for a multitrack DAT.

    Listen to everyone else and get an MOTU (or equivalent from Behringer if you're broke ;).
  • RME []
    Ardour [] (New website! :-))
    • When you say "RME," which of their products did you mean?

      They make quite a bit of stuff. List here []. And I'm linking to Sweetwater rather than RME's website because their site doesn't link prices and just sends you on this horribly roundabout trip to a dealer's site for a price quote, of which Sweetwater is one. (They also have good service in my experience, just as a shameless plug, and their web site is easy to navigate.)

      As far as I can tell, all their inexpensive stuff uses ADAT as its digital interface,
      • When you say "RME," which of their products did you mean?

        Just follow the link.

        $1500; I'm sure it's wonderful, but that's a rather big pill for a lot of musicians to swallow.

        Is it? Who knows how much his mixer is.
        • Sorry, having a bit of a "duh" moment there I guess.

          Looks interesting though, and I guess all the additional I/O you'd get (ADAT, word clock, MIDI, SPDIF), plus monitoring from the PC back through the hardware, would make it worth the premium for the PCI card it requires. Their interface is rather strange, I'd love to know more about how it works. It uses FireWire cables and connectors apparently, but it doesn't use FW for any of the actual data transfer, that's all proprietary. I guess that's better than i
    • I'm a big fan of ardour; as a software mixing console, it's hard to beat.

      But, if you just want to grab raw audio and dump it to file, there may be simpler (and more robust) alternatives.

      My own favorite is ecasound. It's pretty light on resources and easily handles any real time recording task. And, it can be run entirely from the command line (and thus from the scripting language of your choice) and has a console client, both of which are convenient if you want to leave it running on a dedicated machine w
    • I use an RME Hammerfall DIGI96/52 almost every day. It's since been replaced by the Hammerfall HDSP, and runs around $500 new. This card provides 24 channels of I/O (3 8-channel ADAT lightpipes in and out) and has worked flawlessly for 5+ years with my windows, mac, and (currently) linux machines.

      Along with this card, I have 3 8-channel A/D converters (all different brands, use what you can afford) letting me dump 24 tracks of raw audio at 16/20/24bit, 44.1/48/88.2/96khz into Ardour with almost no CPU loa
  • you didn't specify how much you wanted to spend, but I highly recomend the presonus firepod [] 8 channels of xlr (or 1/4 inch) and it will sound much better than behringer or some ultra cheap POS. resonably priced at $600 street. a comparitively price motu unit (the ultralite) has 10 ins but only two are xlr you could of course spend a lot more...
  • Buy better equipment (Score:2, Informative)

    by MikkoApo ( 854304 )
    In your situation I would definitely get better equipment and in this case a better multi-io sound card or breakout box. Routing the audio through a mixer and few input cards sounds like a way too complex setup. Your own words were "This method has been very buggy".

    If you buy one good multi-io card you can skip the mixer, skip any extra mic-preamps and drop the extra sound cards. With one card and a suitable recording software you'll get perfect multitrack recording.

    Unfortunately only a few audio inte

    • Routing the audio through a mixer and few input cards sounds like a way too complex setup. Your own words were "This method has been very buggy".

      This is actually pretty doable once you get past a few hurdles. First, your driver model needs to support this. As I recall, ASIO hosts cannot access more than one independent driver at a time. WDM or MME will work on the Windows side, I'm not so familiar with Mac and Linux setups.

      Second, you need to sync the cards. If both cards are running on their own
      • by ajs318 ( 655362 )
        Another way of syncing two cards, if they are the same make and model: Find the crystal, which will be either a two- or three-leaded metal can {on an expensive card} or a three-leaded ceramic blob {on a cheap and nasty one}. Probe each pin of the crystal with a 10:1 scope probe; you will see that one will have a "squarer" waveform than the other. Note which one {this is the oscillator output}. Unsolder the crystal from the slave card. Get a 74HC04 and a small piece of breadboard {or use a 74LX1GU0
  • Why Slashdot? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:17PM (#15208921)
    Why are you asking a question about digital recording on Slashdot when there are so many better places to ask?

    Just a few links: [] (my favorite) [] [] hp []

  • The new firewire line from Mackie is also very promising (didn't get my hands in one of these yet). Check them out at [] the analog audio section from Mackie is excellent. Wolf
    • That's not bad at all: I didn't realize initially that you had to get the mixer separately, but that's not bad, since I suppose you could move the digital module up if you upgraded mixers in the future.

      Still it ends up costing you a little more than the competition; a Mackie 1220 runs $530, that's the lowest-end mixer you can put the Onyx Firewire card into, and then the card is $400. For $930 I think I'd probably do a separate analog mixer and a basic ADC box. Or in the case of this guy's actual question,
      • For $930 I think I'd probably do a separate analog mixer and a basic ADC box.

        Well, the Onyx does 16 channels of audio, plus a stereo mix - and a 16 channel ADC box will cost you more than $400, usually, plus you won't get the scratch mix.

        Or in the case of this guy's actual question, where he doesn't want to have a mixer at the frontend at all, just go straight into the DAC, I think it's a little bit of overkill. True - but maybe he needs a new mixer anyway. Sounds like it, with all the submixing he ha

        • On the Mac, it's easy - they have Core Audio drivers, and are usable by any well-written Mac application (YMMV with ProTools). But in Garageband, Nuendo, Final Cut, Audacity, etc., they just show up as regular input/output devices. Neat thing with Core Audio is that you can actually route one interface to multiple programs simultaneously (send inputs 1-6 to Garageband, inputs 7-8 are the mix through an outboard piece of gear then brought back to Nuendo, use inputs 9-16 for tape ins in Audacity).

          Now that's s
        • "On the PC, after you install the hardware, reboot, install the drivers, reboot, re-install the hardware and reboot, they show up as a multimedia I/O device..."

          I assume with all the reboots, you're referring to Windows on a PC. Not so much needed with Linux.


  • by Matt Perry ( 793115 ) <perry,matt54&yahoo,com> on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:24PM (#15208960)
    I use the MOTU 828mkII [] with Adobe Audition and love it. You can easily record eight channels with it. The one I have uses firewire to connect to the computer but I see on their site that you can also get it with a USB 2 interface.

    The only down side is that it only has two XLR inputs. If you need more then you should look at the 896HD [] which has eight XLR ins and outs. You can chain more 896's together to get more channels. I don't own one of these so I don't know how it compares to the 828.

    • here here! even the non-mk2 versions in the MOTU 2408 line of products work great. I use that, coupled with a presonus digimax LT preamp. 8 channel rig costs about $850 on ebay.

      Ive really had my eye on the presonus firepod too... ~$600, 8 (fantastic) preamps built into a firewire audio interface.
  • I don't recall what OS you wanted to run, but the Apogee Ensemble [] is supposed to be "the stuff" I've heard.
  • ST Audio has very reasonably priced stuff that will do what you want.

    Check out the DSP3000 M-Port, for instance.
    • I'd second that. I've got the predecessor of the C-Port, and it works fine. Only 2 mic preamps built-in, so I need to make my own for the other 6 channels (but no probs there, cos I'm an elec eng and have full PCB-making gear at home :-) The boxes allow daisy-chaining too, so if you want to add another 8 channels of input then you can just buy a new ADC box and connect the cables without needing the PC-side stuff upgrading. IIRC two boxes plugged into the one PC is the max though, so your max is 16 chan
  • ADAT (Score:3, Informative)

    by TekieB ( 841517 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2006 @08:32PM (#15208995) Homepage
    A lot of the various sound cards come with an adat interface (or multiple) that you can use, what you need to do is get a preamp, the first one that comes to mind is [] this, you can get them cheaper, but with audio gear a lot of times you get what you pay for, and mackie is good stuff, so you get a soundcard (your choice of interface) with many adat inputs, and add preamps as needed
  • I know some M-Audio cards have some Linux support...any others?

    • M-audio and RME work.

      Now the original poster mentioned not wanting to shell out bigtime for a multitrack recorder, but that just might be the ideal solution in the end. A second-hand EMU darwin wouldn't cost that much for 8 tracks, and will record to FAT filesystem (in fact I have one left over in good state which I may be willing to sell). An Alesis HD24 is a rather economical solution for 24 tracks, and has built-in FTP server which guarantees Linux compatibility, should this be a requirement. Plus there
    • He's using audition / cool edit so he's clearly on windows. If you REALLY must use a non windows OS then MAC performs a lot better than linux. The virtual non-existance of VST support in linux makes it essentially impossible to use for serious audio work.

      Besides you really dont want to be working with a hundred different programs connected via the terminal when your trying to be creative. What you need is a fast efficient workflow that is intuitive and easy to use. Something that in every field is histor
      • "he virtual non-existance of VST support in linux makes it essentially impossible to use for serious audio work."

        Well, I dunno...while yes, you do need to be a bit of a techie too to DAW it in can be a very useful tool. I believe Jack is the analagous software to VST you can use it to connect the various programs together. Also, with linux, since you can custom compile everything to precisely your hardware, you can creat a very quick machine with VERY low latency. A good

        • The problem is that you are then limiting yourself to a handful of hobbyist created plugins rather than thousands of professionally made plugins. And incidently as well as the high quality (and often high priced) commercial plugins you also have thousands of free hobbyist VST plugins, certainly a lot more than exists for Jack.

          In a modern studio the sequencer application is really just a shell for modular studio components implemeted as VST plugins. Its the plugins themselves that operate on the sound for
  • Take a look at RME audio and their soundcards. They have stuff up to 56 channels at reasonable prices.
  • Depending on what OS and software you're working with, and the degree of portability you need, the Tascam FW1884 is a nice audio I/O system with a built in mixing board w/moving faders and fun control-surface-y stuff. The audio editing system my university's theater department teaches on is built around it, and it's pretty nice to work with in most circumstances. The good: Works pretty well once set up, has 8 XLR / 1/4" TRS inputs with mic preamps and phantom power; nice moving faders, good native integra
    • I'm currently using the fw1804 (same d/a's, no control surface, half the price) for a musical doing playback, and it rocks, solid unit. I also used it to track the promo video for the musical, it only has 4 mic preamps, but does that adat thing (see previous post) and will take 4 more unballanced inputs just fine (works nicely for us with wireless) It is a nice unit, cubase is buggy in the newest version under OSX (works fine in logic), but seems to work just fine under windows.
    • The parent is right, the 1884 board is probably way overkill for what the guy is trying to do. I love the board though, it has done well for me. I have the 8 pres connected to a balanced patchbay, so I can pass either line signals or mic signals from preamps, sound modules or outboard gear through the patchbay to the board. I like having 4 channels of MIDI I/O too. Tascam tech is OK...I spent some time on the board figuring out an incompatibility with a PCI graphics card I had installed...It isn't hugely go
  • Get the Broadcast Supply West (er, Worldwide) catalog. All sorts of trick stuff.

    Or just find an old JH-110 on ebay.
    • BSW and the other broadcast parts houses have good stuff (or did the last time I was on the air, 'bout a decade ago) but if it isn't absolutely broadcast only (say mics or Henry boxes rather than xmitters or exciters or Optimods) it's usually available elsewhere with a lot less markup.
  • Nearly everyone is mentioning MOTU. I'd have to mention a specific model. I'm researching it for my own purchase. It's the MOTU Traveler. It's about the size of a laptop and has excellent reviews. It costs a little more than the FirePod previously mentioned, but it truly is an amazing piece of machinary from what I'm reading. Haven't seen a poor review yet.

    The other poster pointing out that you need to login to MOTU's site in order to download drivers or anything was right.

    As for software, I use Dig

  • I've been using a MOTU 2408mkII as my main audio capture device for similar purposes. The one thing I've found is that it's worth putting a decent mixer in front of it to get all the signals up to a line level. The on-board level adjustment in the MOTU appears to be all software controlled (think digital zoom on a camera) and it was difficult to get consistent signals from the various mics and direct boxes I used. I use the inserts on the Mackie to send the signal to the inputs on the MOTU.

    The different
  • Mackie ONYX 800R
    Perfect sounding. Has 8 variable impedance mic preamp channels at 24/192 kHz, includes a Mid-Side decoder which can come handy. []
    € 1229 (sorry too lazy to check for US price)

    PreSonus Firepod
    Good sounding, 8 channels @ 24bits/96 kHz.
    $ 800

    Behringer BCA2000 (or any soundcard with 8-channel ADAT input support) + second hand ADAT converter
    ADAT converter examples : PreSonus DigiMax @ $200 on eBay, PreSonus DigiMax LT
    Ok, this one is in two parts, but
  • Grrr..

    There are (at least) three ways to do what you want. One is to get a cheap multitrack recorder, then manually transfer pairs of tracks to your PC. If you look hard enough, you can find a used multitrack for 300$ or so, or maybe just rent one for the weekend if you're really strapped for cash.

    You can also get a cheap PCI sound card like a M-Audio Delta 1010LT, but then you'll need lots of mic preamps because it only comes with 2 mic inputs, the other 6 are just crappy old RCA. The card is 250, the p
  • Won't Garageband do this? ording.html> ...or is it not up to snuff?
    • He's asking about hardware, not software. You need a bunch of gazintas to get sound from out in the world into the computer. ("The mic gazinta there, the guitar gazinta there, the keyboard gazinta there...")

      A typical computer only has two audio inputs (one stereo pair, usually a 1/8" jack right next to the headphone jack). To record multiple instruments at the same time, in a way that lets you control them individually, you need more than two inputs. There are tons of "professional" USB, Firewire, an
  • I've used M-Audio and Cubase and had no problems... mixing 64 channels present 0 troubles. Crazy amount of plugins, drum machines, software synths also exist (if you're into that) and hardware support (for various I/O devices and cards) has been very good. (Only pro tools and its extremely costly software/hardware solutions seem to work better)

    I didn't really think cool edit was meant for multi track editing.
  • Look at [] I've been using thier products for 10 years (I've produced some CDs with them), and I've always been pleased with the level of support.

    These guys understand recording.
  • by djbckr ( 673156 )
    I can't possibly understand how you can say:

    I'd now like to start capturing 8 (or more) channels of raw (delivered via XLR cables from mics) audio.

    Along with:

    I don't want to add more USB/FireWire capture cards to the mix, and I don't want to pay a heap for a digital 8-track recorder such as Yamaha's AW16...

    I'm sorry, that just doesn't make sense. Recording equipment is expensive any way you slice it. You either pay for the convenience, or live with the inconvenience.

    Oh, and just for the "record"

  • I've used quite a few options, including gear from Echo, MOTU, M-Audio, RME, and Digidesign.

    Easily the most robust hardware for me has been the Presonus Firepod. 24/96 8-in/8-out with on my crappy Dell Inspiron 700m with a 4200 RPM hard drive in Vegas. Their drivers may not have a bunch of shiny bells and whistles, but, when it comes to the business of actually laying down audio to disk, they just work.

    On top of that, the pre-amps are really good, leaving you with a device with good sound quality and robu
    • I'll second that opinion. The FirePod is considered to be by and far the best solution for getting 8 tracks of audio into a computer at this point.

      Your mess of multiple interfaces is going to hurt you in the long run with latency issues and whatnot. Just don't do it. Seriously.

      What's more, the Firepod isn't that expensive considering what you're getting. $600 is perfectly reasonable for a high-quality piece of audio gear (PRO audio gear that is, the stuff designed for musicians and the like. None of
  • by rhadc ( 14182 )
    A band I'm in just finished up releasing a CD, and the total bill came to over $4k. We weren't happy with one studio, and it was $1k down the drain. Another studio was great, but that was $2k or so for 2.5 days of recording, mixing, and mastering. Manufacturing was another >$1k.

    I recently purchased a MOTU Ultralight, and it's fantastic. I record up to 8 channels of Audio in, and I have a lot of flexibility. The recorded audio sounds clean and I have not faced any glitches that negatively effected so
  • Unless all your audio data will unfortunatly end on audio CDs, go for 96KHz.

    (check the two [] first []
    search results from 96KHz [])
    • isnt that basically oh, 99% of all audio data...
      • isnt that basically oh, 99% of all audio data...

        Yes - the reason for recording at higher sample rates - 96 kHz, and even 192 kHz, is that the anti-aliasing filter (which has to be down 40 dB at the Nyquist frequency - 1/2 the sample rate) can be much gentler. A brick wall filter dropping 40 dB from 20 kHz to 22.05 kHz tends to also be an oscillator near 20 kHz, and it has phase distortion down to around 5 kHz. Instead, running a filter that drops 40 dB from 20 kHz to 48 or even 96 kHz can be a much smooth

  • The Firepod [] by Presonus is a very good piece of gear.

    Combined with Apple's Garageband, which can record 8 tracks simultaneously, you'd have a simple, clean and good recording setup with low latency.

  • ... and the rest at home.

    Face it, the only aspect of recording that usually can't be done at home with basic equipment is recording drums. And unless you're serious about doing this kind of thing more often, ask yourself if it is worth the investment.

    In the past, I went to a studio with the drummer, recorded all the drums for the tracks in 1 day on their equipment. (We did 6 tracks in 1 day), and take these recording home. Jammed in all into cubase, and recorded all bass, guitars and vocals through my sound
  • get the firepod [] and be done with it. if you need midi then go for a motu.

    firewire or bust
  • using 2 stereo USB capture devices (Edirol UA-1A & M-Audio MobilePre USB), as well as the PC's soundcard (left and right)

    3 stereo devices - that adds up to 6 input channels. You want 8 channels. 8 into 6 doesn't go, that's just how counting works.

    my main quest is to get a single piece of hardware (either for my PC or a standalone box) that will ONLY capture the audio - no EQ's, no FX, no mixing, nothing, since that is all done later, on the PC.

    Yes... that's what's known as a soundcard. And you

  • I'd recommend a Zoom standalone box, record directly to a hard drive. The files are easy to transfer to your PC/Mac and best of all Zooms are the easiest multitrack recorders to use.

  • by Tom7 ( 102298 )
    Two M-audio delta-44s or delta-66s.
  • I'm a hobbyist recording engineer and have done a few demos and live multitrack recordings over the past few years. The MOTU 896HD works great and is super easy to use. 8 preamps via XLR or 1/4" plus additional flexibility of S/PDIF I/O, MIDI, ADAT(via lightpipe) and you can chain up to 4 of them togethor.
    Primarily I use DP on a Mac, but have also used this with Vegas and Cubase on a PC with the same great results.

    the card will run about $950 through places like Sam Ash or Guitar Center. You may find it che
  • Presonus firepod, all the way. Check out [] for some sounds and what you can do. (just got done recording this about a month ago using the firpod and nuendo 3.)
  • I looked into this exact problem recently.

    First remember that if your mic'ing your going to need a preamp for every microphone you want to use otherwise it will sound like shit. The good news is that its quite easy to take a flexible inexpensive route there.

    Firstly you need an ADAT compatible audio interface, you can either go PCI or usb/firewire. I opted for USB since i want to use the system with my laptop. A Behringer BCA2000 has 2 mic preamps and a hi-z input of its own and critically has an ADAT
  • I will advise this--that you NOT buy another computer interface. Get a standalone hard-disk multitrack recorder instead.
    For the $1500 or so that a decent multitrack hard-disk recorder costs, you simply can't build a computer that will work as well for recording. Additionally, the standalone unit is easier to use, is more portable (no laptop anywhere runs fast enough!), already has the right kind of inputs (1/4" / XLR) and controls, and will not suffer system or latency issues when recording on all i

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