View Full Version : Interface recommendations
The more I read on-line about setting up a voice over studio the more I get confused. Many of the recommendations appear to be from 2006 (a good year for many I'm sure) but I'd rather have the newer more user friendly stuff, if you know what I mean. I have a new Dell desktop to use and I have decided on a Rode nt1-a because it's a good "first" mic and it looks sexy. I had set my sights on the MBox 2 Mini with the Pro tools software, but based on what I read here: fa-ged-a-bowd-it! Adobe audition looks more user friendly for V/O work so why bother with the MBox 2 Mini, right! So I have reached a fork in the road: Mic- check. PC- check. I need phantom power and some interface. What are you who know recommending?
12-30-2010, 09:04 AM
John, I'm not nearly the tech-head that some of the folks around here are, so let me preface my thoughts by saying you'll be better off hearing from others here like Mike Sommers, Lance Blair, JS Gilbert, Jacoby and so on.
However, based on my limited exposure to things like the MBox and ProTools, I'd say for the normal v/o guy it's overkill. Professional studios use ProTools for a reason. If you're going to be mastering and mixing 24 or 30 track cds, then go for it. OR if you like the challenge of a substantial learning curve while probably never using more than about 25% of the software's capabilities. But Audition is cheaper, easier to use and every bit as functional. For that matter, for basic recording, download and use the free edition of Audacity.
I recently just upgraded my own interface from a bottom-line Behringer mixer to a ProSonus BlueTube pre-amp and I love the warmth it's giving me now. Inexpensive, too, at $249.00 list (I paid $140 for mine, new).
So... just my thoughts to kick off this thread. I look forward to hearing what the more knowledgeable types have to chime in with.
12-30-2010, 09:29 AM
... I've got an Alesis USB 2.0 mixer with a PreSonus TubePre.
Plenty of power for VO (heck, I could handle a small band!)
For software, I use SoundForge and Magix. No need for overkill, and I work with several large studios that swear by SoundForge (less headaches, simpler to use...)
2 cents from me,
Joe J Thomas
12-30-2010, 11:03 AM
I use Pro Tools and have for years. Pro Tools finally got with the program and with Pro Tools 9, you can use any interface you want, or to work on an already recorded project, no interface at all.
My philosophy is, if the learning curve is steep, so be it. Are you going to be doing this for a month and giving up or is this something you'll still be working with five or ten years down the road? Five or ten years is 2016 or 2021, and it will be here anyway (that sounds scary). So do you want the experience under your belt and have that much more flexibility or just keep it to one or two track auditions.
I love production. I often produce voiceover pieces with 8, 9, or 10 tracks. I do a lot of videos, where the client will request a VO for a video and rather than just give them the VO, I'll ask for the whole rough cut of the video with their scratch track and music bed. Then I send them back the video with my VO. It helps me give them the delivery their looking for when I can see what they've shot, and they can just download what I've done, already put together with their project, without any work on their part. With Pro Tools you just import the video and everything is right in front of you to go to work.
I got by on an Mbox Mini for years. I've done a lot of TV audio where the client just used the aif file I sent them. I use a stellar preamp, Martech MSS-10 ($1950) and a Sennheiser MKH 416 (street price about $1,000), and I realize that's costly. But while there is a slight noise floor with the Mbox, I never had anyone complain. That includes clients like Chevy, Mediacom (which broadcasts in Hi Def), Hyundai and Twinlabs (which ran on ABC and ESPN), to name a few of the bigger ones.
So in answer to your question, I love Pro Tools. I think it's well worth the effort if you ever want to do any more than just one or two track VO's. Maybe you'll really like this vocation and open up a studio. It happens. Getting started with learning the basics won't take that long and once you do, learning other stuff, via You Tube instructional videos and advice from those more experienced than you, is fun.
I believe the more knowledge you have about anything, puts you in the upper part of the curve. And in this business, Pro Tools is a major player. Why be left out.
My two cents.
12-30-2010, 11:32 AM
For what it's worth, I've been doing VO for 14 years and sound editing for more than 20, never used ProTools and never felt left out. I've used Steinberg WaveLab for years, nowadays version 5 although version 7 is the newest. When I need to dub to video I use Sony Vegas.
As for preamp I started with a cheapo mini Behringer console as my pre (still in use as my headphone amplifier in my booth btw, but the pre's are sh*t), upgraded to an ~$800 Joemeek VC1Q, also still in use as pre for my radio production setup, got a sweet deal on a $3500 retail Tube-Tech pre with more knobs and switches than my car has, which I sold in favour of a no-nonsense ~$1000 Danfield preamp.
Oh, dang it... this was about interfaces. Well, I've used two my whole career and only two, both of them still in use: an M-Audio 2496 PCI and an Echo MIA PCI. Both are around $100. I have NEVER used USB or FireWire. Woops, not entirely true. My phone patch is actually a phased-out laptop with Skype, which use a cheapo Behringer USB-interface.
If you prefer an all-in-one box with preamp and interface, something like an M-Audio FastTrack (USB) would do fine. Used by many and won't break the bank. For FireWire I would recommend the TC Electronic Konnekt 6.
Not sure this was helpful at all, actually... :cheesy:
12-30-2010, 11:53 AM
Rick, perhaps the best answer to the question of "What is the best audio recording/editing software?" might be:
"The one you use."
Meaning, it's different strokes for different folks. My wife always said, in response to the Mac vs. PC question: The best computer? It's the one YOU use.
No doubt there are many ardent fans and followers of ProTools and I know it to be an awesome program, although I was pretty put off by it when it refused to install on my Windows 7 computer (and yet my 10 year old copy of Cool Edit Pro installed instantaneously!).
I have mastered 5 music cds on Cool Edit and it works fine. I can record and mix up to 64 tracks although the most I've ever had the need for is around 22, I believe.
Like you, Rick, I love to learn new programs and softwares, but also don't necessarily believe in overkill, which, for the average v/o dude (dudette) ProTools might be. However, if someone WANTS to get it and learn it and use it, more power to them and I say good for them. But in the case of someone looking to control costs and get the job done in as relatively easy a way as possible, I suggest there are easier and cheaper alternatives.
12-30-2010, 12:45 PM
I totally agree with all of you who use and have different equipment and outlooks on the business. That's why I ended with "My 2 cents"
Thank all for responding. I found a reference from Mike S to The Focusrite Saffire 6 USB on the article about re: Monitors. I think they might be a good match. On that topic, Rick you mentioned you liked the KRK VXT, which size do you have 4-6-8?
12-30-2010, 10:18 PM
For all intent and purpose Adobe Audition is a fine program, and now that it's available for Mac (beta) makes it all the better.
Protools is like going to the market to get a dozen eggs in a Lamborghini, but if you do a lot of production then it's the shitz. Also form what I understand the new Protools will accept any interface. Very smart move.
If you're just starting out you can pull back a little, and get something that will get you by, but the Saffire is getting a lot of talk. If you have Firewire I would go that direction- the Echo AudioFire 2 is my personal favorite.
12-30-2010, 10:50 PM
Protools is like going to the market to get a dozen eggs in a Lamborghini.
My vote for analogy of the year!
12-30-2010, 11:21 PM
Ever driven a Lamborghini? Iíll take one to the market any day to buy a dozen eggs .
One egg at a time.
12-30-2010, 11:30 PM
Rick you mentioned you liked the KRK VXT, which size do you have 4-6-8?
I went with the 4's first, knowing if I didn't like them I could return them, but if I did like them and wanted a little more, I could audition the 6's or even 8's. I've found the 4's to be quite sufficient. They'll blow my ears out before I can blow them out. And they're extremely clean throughout any listening range I've put them through.
If you have a Guitar Center, they have them and they have a 30 day money back policy. You can't lose.
Thanks Rick and Mike I have Dell PCs with no-firewire. By pull back a bit what do you suggest?
Thanks all you guys for the straight shooting!
12-31-2010, 01:20 AM
If you have a slot you pop in a Firewire card.
By pull back a bit what do you suggest?
The best question is how much are you willing to spend? If you're just starting out, you can get by well with an M-Audio interface, but if you think you can get more out of nice interface for things other than VO. By all means get the best you can afford.
As for the monitors
The 4" are nice, but I think 5" are just right. 8" are nice if you have a large mix desk and room.
Hint on buying stuff from the big box stores: Don't be afraid to haggle the price!!! Know your pricing, do your on line research, have those numbers handy so you haggle intelligently- nothing's more intimidating than a well informed shopper. (Just when I can't get them to come down anymore, I start "hemming and hawing"-- ask to listen to them again, and when you're done listening say, "I don't know" and offer a lower bid.) If they say they can't go any lower, ask if they throw in some cables to seal the deal.
Also the big secret, ask for open box items. Open Box items have been some of my best buys. These are returned items that are under full warrantee.
And February is one of the best months to buy, because they need to clear out the old stuff for the new models.
Thanks Mike for the tips. 'Nother question: why firewire over usb?
12-31-2010, 09:46 PM
"USB was originally seen as a complement to FireWire (IEEE 1394), which was designed as a high-bandwidth serial bus which could efficiently interconnect peripherals such as hard disks, audio interfaces, and video equipment. USB originally operated at a far lower data rate and used much simpler hardware, and was suitable for small peripherals such as keyboards and mice.
The most significant technical differences between FireWire and USB include the following:
USB networks use a tiered-star topology, while FireWire networks use a tree topology.
USB 1.0, 1.1 and 2.0 use a "speak-when-spoken-to" protocol; peripherals cannot communicate with the host unless the host specifically requests communication.
USB 3.0 is planned to allow for device-initiated communications towards the host. A FireWire device can communicate with any other node at any time, subject to network conditions.
A USB network relies on a single host at the top of the tree to control the network. In a FireWire network, any capable node can control the network.
USB runs with a 5 V power line, while Firewire in current implementations supplies 12 V and theoretically can supply up to 30 V.
Standard USB hub ports can provide from the typical 500 mA [2.5 W] of current, only 100 mA from non-hub ports. USB 3.0 and USB On-The-Go supply 1800 mA [9.0 W] (for dedicated battery charging, 1500 mA [7.5 W] Full bandwidth or 900 mA [4.5 W] High Bandwidth), while FireWire can in theory supply up to 60 watts of power, although 10 to 20 watts is more typical.
These and other differences reflect the differing design goals of the two buses: USB was designed for simplicity and low cost, while FireWire was designed for high performance, particularly in time-sensitive applications such as audio and video. Although similar in theoretical maximum transfer rate, FireWire 400 is faster than USB 2.0 Hi-Bandwidth in real-use, especially in high-bandwidth use such as external hard-drives. The newer FireWire 800 standard is twice as fast as FireWire 400 and faster than USB 2.0 Hi-Bandwidth both theoretically and practically. The chipset and drivers used to implement USB and Firewire have a crucial impact on how much of the bandwidth prescribed by the specification is achieved in the real world, along with compatibility with peripherals."
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