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Author Topic: Gear Related Recording Questions  (Read 1130 times)

Offline achincuanco

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Gear Related Recording Questions
« on: August 03, 2016, 11:19:14 PM »
Hello Philmusic,

Recently, I've been upgrading my gear to build my own mini recording studio. I've bought a good enough PC to handle the DAW editing and got a pair of KRK Rockit 6 as studio monitors. My current interface is the M-Audio Fastrack but I want to upgrade into something more semi-pro. Usual suspect for recording is just my Condenser Mic and 1 line input for 1/4 cable from Electric and Bass Guitar. Here are some questions:

1. What kind or brand / model interface should I get to replace my M-Audio Fastrack? Goal is to get the best quality with a medium sized budget. Think I need an interface with a balanced output cause the Fastrack's output is only unbalanced (lower quality?)

2. Does the khz of the interface matter in relation to the recording quality? The Fastrack only gives 48 Khz, I'm not sure if this is good enough.

3. Should I use a mixer instead? Or combine? Music stores have been recommending me to use one instead.

4. Should I use a compressor (and / or other gears) to minimize peaks and enhance quality when vocal recording? How does this work?

5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?

Thanks for your suggestions.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2016, 11:56:02 PM by achincuanco »


Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco

Offline jiiimperial

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2016, 03:52:08 AM »
I'm in no way, shape or form a pro, but I've been tinkering with home recording for a while. So here's my two cents:

1. How much exactly is your budget for the interface? You indicated recording only 2 inputs at a time, so I suggest you look into focusrite's scarlet. Either the 2i2 or 2i4. If you could shell up more, then I suggest you go the Apogee Duet route. Super clean preamps imo.

2. kHz is simply the amount of sampling your interface does. So if you have 48kHz sampling rate that means 48,000 samples are recorded every second. Generally, the higher the sample rate, the better characterization of your overall sound. Though, I'm not sure that it's even noticeable, especially on untrained ears. Well, I don't notice the difference in 48kHz vs 92kHz haha but that's probably just me.

3. No to a mixer in my opinion. I think these are better put to use in live situations. Never had one though but I think you would be better off sticking to mixing in the box, i.e your DAW in your PC, way more flexible.

4. Not sure about using an outboard compressor/gears, never tried one. But I suggest you upgrade your interface first, then decide if you feel like you need outboard gears from there.

5. What's your current condenser mic? Also never tiried using a preamp, so I can't comment there.

Let's wait for the input ng mga masters:) They will give you much better insights.

Online Ralph_Petrucci

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2016, 11:07:07 AM »
Hello Philmusic,

Recently, I've been upgrading my gear to build my own mini recording studio. I've bought a good enough PC to handle the DAW editing and got a pair of KRK Rockit 6 as studio monitors. My current interface is the M-Audio Fastrack but I want to upgrade into something more semi-pro. Usual suspect for recording is just my Condenser Mic and 1 line input for 1/4 cable from Electric and Bass Guitar. Here are some questions:

1. What kind or brand / model interface should I get to replace my M-Audio Fastrack? Goal is to get the best quality with a medium sized budget. Think I need an interface with a balanced output cause the Fastrack's output is only unbalanced (lower quality?)

2. Does the khz of the interface matter in relation to the recording quality? The Fastrack only gives 48 Khz, I'm not sure if this is good enough.

3. Should I use a mixer instead? Or combine? Music stores have been recommending me to use one instead.

4. Should I use a compressor (and / or other gears) to minimize peaks and enhance quality when vocal recording? How does this work?

5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?

Thanks for your suggestions.


my comments:

1. What kind or brand / model interface should I get to replace my M-Audio Fastrack? Goal is to get the best quality with a medium sized budget. Think I need an interface with a balanced output cause the Fastrack's output is only unbalanced (lower quality?)

-it depends. do you want more inputs/outputs? you can look into Focusrite or Native Instruments Interfaces. the Scarlett and Komplete audio have the best preamps and output options to choose from. number of inputs and outputs will define what model you would be getting.



2. Does the khz of the interface matter in relation to the recording quality? The Fastrack only gives 48 Khz, I'm not sure if this is good enough.

-48 KHz is already good enough. 44.1 KHz is the usual bit rate for most media (CD's, MP3s). so you already have some padding here.



3. Should I use a mixer instead? Or combine? Music stores have been recommending me to use one instead.

-Depends on your use. again, if you plan on recording more inputs, best to have a mixer, but if you're just recording 1-4 inputs, I would just rely on a VST plugin for the mixer capabilities.




4. Should I use a compressor (and / or other gears) to minimize peaks and enhance quality when vocal recording? How does this work?
-Compressors should be used sparingly, and as an enhancer, not as a tool to hide errors. if you have peaks, then lower the input signal. its always better to work with a cold signal compared to fixing a very hot, peaky signal. I suggest you experiment using VST Compressors first before diving into buying the hardware. Youtube tutorials help as well in learning how to use them.



5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?
-First of all, what is your condenser mic? if your condenser is not very good to begin with, it'll be futile to get a separate preamp for that as you will be boosting the bad bits of your mic as well. I suggest you get a better interface with better preamp, then experiment with a better mic, before jumping into buying a separate preamp. in most cases, a separate preamp is not needed.


hahaha ako binibiyak ko muna yung wetpaks para makita kung may yellow thingy hahahaha

Offline achincuanco

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2016, 07:31:50 PM »
I'm in no way, shape or form a pro, but I've been tinkering with home recording for a while. So here's my two cents:

1. How much exactly is your budget for the interface? You indicated recording only 2 inputs at a time, so I suggest you look into focusrite's scarlet. Either the 2i2 or 2i4. If you could shell up more, then I suggest you go the Apogee Duet route. Super clean preamps imo.

2. kHz is simply the amount of sampling your interface does. So if you have 48kHz sampling rate that means 48,000 samples are recorded every second. Generally, the higher the sample rate, the better characterization of your overall sound. Though, I'm not sure that it's even noticeable, especially on untrained ears. Well, I don't notice the difference in 48kHz vs 92kHz haha but that's probably just me.

3. No to a mixer in my opinion. I think these are better put to use in live situations. Never had one though but I think you would be better off sticking to mixing in the box, i.e your DAW in your PC, way more flexible.

4. Not sure about using an outboard compressor/gears, never tried one. But I suggest you upgrade your interface first, then decide if you feel like you need outboard gears from there.

5. What's your current condenser mic? Also never tiried using a preamp, so I can't comment there.

Let's wait for the input ng mga masters:) They will give you much better insights.

Thanks for your reply!

1. I'm looking about 30k (with or without outboard)  I'll read up on the Apogee :)

2. Oh okay, cause usually I think best quality for mp3 is 320 khz. If the 48 khz is ok for recording, then I'd get an interface with that amount of sampling.

3-4. That's good advise. Thanks!

5. I'm currently using a Behringer C1. Actually that why I wanted to get a good interface cause me and my friend did a demo vs the Neumann U8. The Behringer could actually compete though he used a ULN-8 Preamp & Converter for the signal chain.
« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 07:46:47 PM by achincuanco »
Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco

Offline achincuanco

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2016, 07:48:47 PM »

my comments:

1. What kind or brand / model interface should I get to replace my M-Audio Fastrack? Goal is to get the best quality with a medium sized budget. Think I need an interface with a balanced output cause the Fastrack's output is only unbalanced (lower quality?)

-it depends. do you want more inputs/outputs? you can look into Focusrite or Native Instruments Interfaces. the Scarlett and Komplete audio have the best preamps and output options to choose from. number of inputs and outputs will define what model you would be getting.



2. Does the khz of the interface matter in relation to the recording quality? The Fastrack only gives 48 Khz, I'm not sure if this is good enough.

-48 KHz is already good enough. 44.1 KHz is the usual bit rate for most media (CD's, MP3s). so you already have some padding here.



3. Should I use a mixer instead? Or combine? Music stores have been recommending me to use one instead.

-Depends on your use. again, if you plan on recording more inputs, best to have a mixer, but if you're just recording 1-4 inputs, I would just rely on a VST plugin for the mixer capabilities.




4. Should I use a compressor (and / or other gears) to minimize peaks and enhance quality when vocal recording? How does this work?
-Compressors should be used sparingly, and as an enhancer, not as a tool to hide errors. if you have peaks, then lower the input signal. its always better to work with a cold signal compared to fixing a very hot, peaky signal. I suggest you experiment using VST Compressors first before diving into buying the hardware. Youtube tutorials help as well in learning how to use them.



5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?
-First of all, what is your condenser mic? if your condenser is not very good to begin with, it'll be futile to get a separate preamp for that as you will be boosting the bad bits of your mic as well. I suggest you get a better interface with better preamp, then experiment with a better mic, before jumping into buying a separate preamp. in most cases, a separate preamp is not needed.

Thanks for your reply!

1. "It depends. do you want more inputs/outputs? you can look into Focusrite or Native Instruments Interfaces. the Scarlett and Komplete audio have the best preamps and output options to choose from. number of inputs and outputs will define what model you would be getting."

>I'm only looking at 2 inputs, 4 maximum. Will check your recommended interfaces. Thanks!

2. Noted!

3. Guess I wouldn't consider getting a mixer since I'm only using 2 inputs and I'm usually doing track recording.

4. "Compressors should be used sparingly, and as an enhancer, not as a tool to hide errors. if you have peaks, then lower the input signal. its always better to work with a cold signal compared to fixing a very hot, peaky signal. I suggest you experiment using VST Compressors first before diving into buying the hardware. Youtube tutorials help as well in learning how to use them."

>I've been using the Fastrack for awhile but have difficulty recording vocals since there are parts in the songs wherein you sing it louder compared to the other parts and you can hear the sudden change in volume.

Also, there are some parts in the vocal track where you really have sing loud. When I lower the input, the quality seems a little bit lower?

Should I be working on my vocal technique or is this a natural problem when using a starter interface? Or is there something I could get to avoid this problem?


5. "First of all, what is your condenser mic? if your condenser is not very good to begin with, it'll be futile to get a separate preamp for that as you will be boosting the bad bits of your mic as well. I suggest you get a better interface with better preamp, then experiment with a better mic, before jumping into buying a separate preamp. in most cases, a separate preamp is not needed."

>I'm currently using a Behringer C1. Actually that why I wanted to get a good interface cause me and my friend did a demo vs the Neumann U8. The Behringer could actually compete though he used a ULN-8 Preamp & Converter for the signal chain.

I'll take your advise in getting a better interface with a good preamp. Thanks!


« Last Edit: August 04, 2016, 07:53:44 PM by achincuanco »
Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco


Online inigo

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2016, 12:21:37 AM »
1. What kind or brand / model interface should I get to replace my M-Audio Fastrack? Goal is to get the best quality with a medium sized budget. Think I need an interface with a balanced output cause the Fastrack's output is only unbalanced (lower quality?)
Focusrite 2i2. Good preamps, no latency monitoring. Way below your 30k budget.
Fasttrack should be fine, but input is low. I'm guessing its because it's just USB powered. Not enough power getting to its preamps. Get one that plugs into an outlet.

2. Does the khz of the interface matter in relation to the recording quality? The Fastrack only gives 48 Khz, I'm not sure if this is good enough.
Yes, but only for the trained ear and only if your listener will use ultramegatothemax hifi sound system. For the average joe, 48 or 44 is fine.

3. Should I use a mixer instead? Or combine? Music stores have been recommending me to use one instead.
Don't. Binebentahan ka lang nun. You can mix on your DAW.
Only get a mixer if you're going to mix to your inputs, e.g., mix 3 mics into one input in your interface. By the way you described your situation, you only want to record one thing at a time. Or maybe 2, with guitar. Your Fasttrack or 2i2 already has 2 mic inputs.

4. Should I use a compressor (and / or other gears) to minimize peaks and enhance quality when vocal recording? How does this work?
Yes, but you can do this in post. For the actual process of recording, just pull your gain down, peaking maybe 60% max.
Lots of stuff that can be done with compressors, from controlling dynamics to even shaping tone. Search online na lang.

5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?
Room/vocal area treatment na lang. Minimize your room's effect on your mic.
400/hr recording. Banana Rising Recording Studio www.bananarising.com

SOUND SAMPLES: http://www.bananarising.com/p/sound-samples.html

Online Ralph_Petrucci

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #6 on: August 05, 2016, 10:22:40 AM »
Thanks for your reply!




my further responses:

1. >I'm only looking at 2 inputs, 4 maximum. Will check your recommended interfaces. Thanks!
-Look at the Focusrite 2i4 or the NI KOMPLETE AUDIO 6.


4. >I've been using the Fastrack for awhile but have difficulty recording vocals since there are parts in the songs wherein you sing it louder compared to the other parts and you can hear the sudden change in volume.

Also, there are some parts in the vocal track where you really have sing loud. When I lower the input, the quality seems a little bit lower?

Should I be working on my vocal technique or is this a natural problem when using a starter interface? Or is there something I could get to avoid this problem?


two things. first, the fasttrack as I recall, does not have a lot of headroom (i.e. easier to reach peaking levels). however, you have to work on your technique as well. this is the difference between good singers and professional singers. the gain knob is not the only thing deciding your volume, you can always step back from the mic to lessen the volume being picked up by the mic. for now, record on a low input volume, then manually adjust the gain on the waveform, or use a loudness maximize. after which, you shape the tone and body using a compressor. you don't use a compressor to limit the volume. that will sound weird and unnatural, be it a compressor VST or actual hardware.




5. >I'm currently using a Behringer C1. Actually that why I wanted to get a good interface cause me and my friend did a demo vs the Neumann U8. The Behringer could actually compete though he used a ULN-8 Preamp & Converter for the signal chain.

I'll take your advise in getting a better interface with a good preamp. Thanks!


The reason it could compete is because you were hearing the tone of the preamp, and not the actual mic character of the Neumann or the behringer. both mics sound close because it is already shaped or colored by the preamp. investing on a preamp is fine, however you can get VSTs that actually do the same thing, at the fraction of the cost. with that, you're given a more flexible route because you can tweak a recorded signal with the VST preamp, unlike on an actual preamp to interface setup where the sound you get from the preamp is fixed once recorded.
hahaha ako binibiyak ko muna yung wetpaks para makita kung may yellow thingy hahahaha

Offline achincuanco

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2016, 08:42:21 AM »
5. Are there any other setups I can consider to get the best quality of my Condenser mic to my DAW? Perhaps Preamp?
Room/vocal area treatment na lang. Minimize your room's effect on your mic.

Thanks for all your advise! I'm starting to get a clearer picture on what I want. Do you know of any 15-20k budget condenser mic I can get worth the buck? I'm planning to retire my Behringer C1 already and get a new one. 
Maybe you could also recommend a good pair of monitoring headphones?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 10:49:37 AM by achincuanco »
Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco

Offline achincuanco

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2016, 08:48:04 AM »
1. >I'm only looking at 2 inputs, 4 maximum. Will check your recommended interfaces. Thanks!
-Look at the Focusrite 2i4 or the NI KOMPLETE AUDIO 6.

The Focusrite 2i4 has alot of good reviews! I'm really considering getting it tomorrow.

1. two things. first, the fasttrack as I recall, does not have a lot of headroom (i.e. easier to reach peaking levels). however, you have to work on your technique as well. this is the difference between good singers and professional singers. the gain knob is not the only thing deciding your volume, you can always step back from the mic to lessen the volume being picked up by the mic. for now, record on a low input volume, then manually adjust the gain on the waveform, or use a loudness maximize. after which, you shape the tone and body using a compressor. you don't use a compressor to limit the volume. that will sound weird and unnatural, be it a compressor VST or actual hardware.

Makes alot of sense. Thanks for the advise!

The reason it could compete is because you were hearing the tone of the preamp, and not the actual mic character of the Neumann or the behringer. both mics sound close because it is already shaped or colored by the preamp. investing on a preamp is fine, however you can get VSTs that actually do the same thing, at the fraction of the cost. with that, you're given a more flexible route because you can tweak a recorded signal with the VST preamp, unlike on an actual preamp to interface setup where the sound you get from the preamp is fixed once recorded.

I guess that explains it. Too good to be true for the Behringer to compete with the Neumann without the aid of a good preamp. If I'm getting the Focusrite, what is a good 15-20k condenser mic you can recommend to replace my Behringer and a good studio headphone for monitoring?
« Last Edit: August 07, 2016, 10:48:53 AM by achincuanco »
Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco

Online Ralph_Petrucci

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2016, 10:51:29 AM »
The Focusrite 2i4 has alot of good reviews! I'm really considering getting it tomorrow.

Makes alot of sense. Thanks for the advise!

I guess that explains it. Too good to be true for the Behringer to compete with the Neumann without the aid of a good preamp. If I'm getting the Focusrite, what is a good 15-20k condenser mic you can recommend to replace my Behringer and a good studio headphone for monitoring?


I'd recommend the AUDIO TECHNICA AT2020, and the AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X. these are already above average. but it wont really break the bank :) would probably cost 18k for items (AT2020 goes for 8k, M50 for 10, but you can get it lower if you wait for the sales)
hahaha ako binibiyak ko muna yung wetpaks para makita kung may yellow thingy hahahaha

Offline achincuanco

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Re: Gear Related Recording Questions
« Reply #10 on: August 09, 2016, 08:06:06 PM »
I'd recommend the AUDIO TECHNICA AT2020, and the AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-M50X. these are already above average. but it wont really break the bank :) would probably cost 18k for items (AT2020 goes for 8k, M50 for 10, but you can get it lower if you wait for the sales)

Thanks! Much appreciated!
Not your typical perfect musician. I'm just a music lover who happens to have a guitar, a camera, some microphones, and a laptop in his hands. http://www.youtube.com/user/AldriceChincuanco