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$525 to spend on recording gear
Old 16th November 2009
  #1
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
$525 to spend on recording gear

A friend of mine wants to get into recording some of his stuff: vocals, electric guitar, drums. He has $525 to spend, which I know is not a lot. I personally use a Duet with a Groove Tubes mic and an CAD M179 for my acoustic stuff and love the simple setup. His needs are a bit more but with less money!

In terms of mics and an interface, what would you recommend on this shoestring budget?
Old 16th November 2009
  #2
Lives for gear
 
staticwhitesound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
what are his needs exactly?

*edit: what kind of music? how many inputs does he need? is he looking for firewire or PCI, PCIe or USB interface?
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #3
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Well,

Audio Interface
Emu 0404 USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface 200$, Recording software is bundeled.

Dynamic mic for electric guitars, classics
Shure SM57 100$, a must have mic


A pair of
Audio Technica AT2020 For acoustic and vocals. 2 x 100$

25$ for cables stands and guitar picks.

Cheerz!
Old 16th November 2009
  #4
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
He's recording alternative/rock music.

He says he wants four recording inputs (xlr) at a time.

Should he avoid USB because of latency? I went right to firewire and have never looked back.

He's looking for demo quality stuff.
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #5
Lives for gear
 
Ca$h Marty's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Starting from scratch to get 4 XLR inputs/pres into a firewire interface and also buy mics with $525 is going to be tough. I would say scour craigslist, find someone looking to sell quick and lowball 'em. You really have to buy used in that price range.

With that budget you can't get too picky. Focus on the inexpensive bread and butter items like the SM57.

Additionally, you gotta fit in a budget for some sort of DAW software. Reaper seems to be the most affordable one out there.
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #6
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
USB 2.0 will not give you latency problems. If he wants 4 XRLs than 525$ is not enough concedering buying mics

I would than look at

Tascam US1641 USB 2.0

Cheerz!
Old 16th November 2009 | Show parent
  #7
Lives for gear
 
ohmicide's Avatar
tell your friend to start slow.. just a decent interface, an sm57 and some decent headphones for now

if he goes out and gets all this cheap recording gear he's just gonna be frustrated with how bad his stuff sounds and possibly give up on it
Old 17th November 2009 | Show parent
  #8
Lives for gear
 
staticwhitesound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
with that budget, if he's hoping for 4 channels, then i'd say he should seriously consider an interface like the EMU 1212m. it's expandable, its got good converters and its crazy cheap.

$150:
E-MU 1212M v2 | Sweetwater.com

$160:
M-Audio DMP-3 | Sweetwater.com

that's two clean channels for around $300, but the interface also has s/pdif and adat i/o, so he can build on it a little at a time, as he gets more money. to add another two channels, he could get a two channel preamp with spdif out. or to add 8, he could get an 8 channel pre with adat out. it's expandable up to 12 channels.

so he might be best off getting something like this, aiming for 2 channels for now and shopping around for used mics. a couple 57s and a couple oktava mics would cover a good bit of ground.

2 used sm57s and 2 used mk-319s would be around $225 or so maybe, total?

there are pluses and minuses to everything of course. the patchmix software that comes with the 1212m is tough to get your head around for a while, but once you get used to it, you realize it does a lot for you. but some people get frustrated and can't get past it. but you seriously can't get a better, more expandable interface for anywhere NEAR that money anywhere else.

Or... I've also seen this: Lexicon Omega | Sweetwater.com
I have no experience with this one, but my brother got the step down from that - the Lambda and he's happy with it. The Omega has 4 inputs and is only $179, seems like a good fit for your friend. And would certainly be easier than the PCI card, external pre-amps, etc, if he's looking for an easy and decent sounding rig to record demos.
Old 17th November 2009 | Show parent
  #9
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Ol' Betsey's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Can he stretch to $530?

R.
Old 17th November 2009 | Show parent
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
dfahb44's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Used Firepod - 250-300$
4 ES57's - 100 $ (Very good SM57 clones.)
Spend the leftover on headphones/cables.
Old 17th November 2009 | Show parent
  #11
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aclarson's Avatar
Hmm, the 4 preamps thing is the tought part at that pricepoint. There are a lot of interfaces that are inexpensive and have 2 pres but more ins, and if you have some cheap pres like a cheap mixer, you could use those temporarily for the other inputs. For a while I was using a cheap Alesis mixer that I have as two pres, use one channel panned hard right and one channel panned hard left as two mono preamps. This will get you to 4.

There are a number of cheap interfaces in this category, if you didn't mind PCI, you could go with something like a M-Audio Delta 1010LT, you could probably find a used one really easy since they've been out forever, and it's PT compatible if you ever wanted to go that route. You could probably score one for $150 easy.

That leaves $375, which ain't much. Keep trying the secondhand thing, but again this is how I started out. I went with a 57 and a Studio Projects B1, which is a great, versatile, cheap pair of mics. Maybe grab two MXL 603s to use as overheads or on acoustic. That'll leave about enough change for cables.

Accesories could be a bitch here since you need all the cabling and stands, that could run you past the budget. Keep you eyes open on Craigslist for deals, I've had a few major studio upgrades from finding killer steals from studio closings and the like.

And keep acoustic treatment on your mind - it would be the first thing I'd do if I were to start over. The equipment will only get you so far when the room sounds like crap. It's easily the best value upgrade you can do, and it makes your room more fun to work in, which is priceless in and of itself.
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #12
Lives for gear
 
desotoslo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
part of me thinks either tell him to spend more, or to pear down how much he expects to get for 500 bucks.

makes more sense to buy something built well for more money and have less of it, than a whole pile of
Old 18th November 2009 | Show parent
  #13
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staticwhitesound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpspecial ➑️
He's recording alternative/rock music.

He says he wants four recording inputs (xlr) at a time.

Should he avoid USB because of latency? I went right to firewire and have never looked back.

He's looking for demo quality stuff.
Based on your follow-up info you provided here, I'm thinking he isn't expecting the kind of quality YOU'RE getting with your Duet setup. He's knowingly looking for more channels, for less money, with just "demo quality" stuff as a goal. I don't think that's outlandishly unrealistic. Most modern interfaces will get him where he needs to be. Big question is: "Is 4 channels REALLY all he wants, or will he one day want more?" Basic question of expandability. As someone said a used firepod would be a way to go. I also just saw this: Focusrite Saffire Pro 24 | Sweetwater.com which is a 16-in/8-out FireWire for $299, with DSP monitoring and software bundled. This seems like an awesome deal, although I know nothing about this product that I didn't read there just now. Maybe a Search here will yield some results?
Old 19th November 2009
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
🎧 10 years
He's looking into an Alesis MultiMix 8 USB Mixer with USB and DSP features. It has 4 high-gain mic/line inputs with phantom power, but I'm wondering about the preamps and converters. Also, it doesn't seem to have USB 2. Are these problems, or should he buy the mixer? Are there red flags here?
Old 20th November 2009 | Show parent
  #15
Lives for gear
 
staticwhitesound's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jpspecial ➑️
He's looking into an Alesis MultiMix 8 USB Mixer with USB and DSP features. It has 4 high-gain mic/line inputs with phantom power, but I'm wondering about the preamps and converters. Also, it doesn't seem to have USB 2. Are these problems, or should he buy the mixer? Are there red flags here?
I believe all modern USB interfaces are USB 2.0 now at this point, so it should be A-OK in that respect. As for the pre-amps and the converters, he might not want to stress too much about that with this budget. You could certainly get better converters and preamps. But if he's only got around $160-200 to spend on an interface w/pres, because he has to get mics too, he should just get whatever he needs in order to get off the ground and get recording. He should definitely read up on the build quality and support of whatever interface he's looking at. Read customer reviews, board posts, etc.
Old 21st November 2009 | Show parent
  #16
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
$ 525 to spend

Look into the M-Audio DELT 1010 LT $173.00 comes with recording solfware.He will get 10 in 10 out.Leaves a little spare change to buy two or three mics.

alex
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