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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I am trying to get a home studio started but am finding trouble in which hardware to purchase. The microphone that I plane on getting is the Audio Technica AT2020. The genres of music that I work with the most are Hip-Hop, Rap, and R&B. I am also on a strict budget.($270.00) What are the pros and cons of each of these interfaces? Are their any cheaper alternatives that have the same capabilities?

My computer is a: emachines T3604 512mb RAM Intel Celeron D Processor 356
 

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The EMU 0404 USB is a superb unit that will do everything you want within your budget (street price is around $150 if you look). Measurements of the unit can be found here.

Also, if you are not set on the Audio Technica AT2020 you can purchase a superb quality microphone for less, the ECM8000. Another plus of the ECM is that there is a calibration file found on Home Theater shack for use with REW. This set up will allow for great performance and fall well below your budget.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanx. I'm going to check out the ECM8000 right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also, if you are not set on the Audio Technica AT2020 you can purchase a superb quality microphone for less, the ECM8000.
I think I'm going to stick with the AT2020 for now. Thanks for the recommendation though.
 

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The EMU 0404 USB is a superb unit that will do everything you want within your budget (street price is around $150 if you look). Measurements of the unit can be found here.

Also, if you are not set on the Audio Technica AT2020 you can purchase a superb quality microphone for less, the ECM8000. Another plus of the ECM is that there is a calibration file found on Home Theater shack for use with REW. This set up will allow for great performance and fall well below your budget.
The ECM-800 is not suited to general recording use. (1) It's pick up pattern is too wide for most practical uses where a narrower field is desired to reduce off axis noises/room reverberation. (2) The ECM-800 has high self-noise; making it inappropriate for most musical recording uses except for nearfield type with loud sources; i.e.; the ECM-8000 ha been used to make some very nice piano recordings when used over the sound board of the piano.

Now, that being said, Behringer does have a line of recording mics that are very high quality, at least some of them, anyways. The most notable is the Behringer B-5, which I have measured/analyzed. It is a condenser with both a cardioid and omnipolar capsule. It has extraordinary linearity; I have yet to come across another mic that is as flat/accurate for anywhere near the same price. It's averaged deviation is +/- 1dB, for both of it's capsules. Only in very narrow bands(too narrow to even be audibly relevant) does it ever exceed this tolerance. This is actual acoustic response, not pressure response, which does not take into account the diffraction effects of the front structure of the microphone assembly. Rarely does the factory provided pressure response come close to the actual acoustic response (real use).

Behringer B-5:


Unlike the ECM-8000, the B-5 has very low self-noise. The closest I have found in value is a similar microphone from Studio Projects, model C-4. It was substantially less linear, especially with the cardioid capsule, and it cost nearly 2x what the B-5 costs. On top of this, the B-5 has superior physical build quality and fit and finish. The deviations on the C-4 are far wider in bandwidth, and larger in magnitude, as compared to the B-5.

Studio Projects C-4:


-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanx for the info, but what is your take on the Audio Technica AT3035? Also, any recommendations of a usb interface that fits these standards: Phantom Power (48V) ,24-Bit 96kHz, very low self noise. Also anything else the company can squeeze in. =) thanx once again
 

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Discussion Starter #7
or is the Emu 0404 USB 2.0 good enough?
 

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The AT3035 would certainly be fine for your application. It's a good choice for conventional studio production recording. I have different ideas though: I don't like mics that have significant built in EQ curves. I like to add the curve I want in post production with EQ, if any curve is desired. But this is not the standard method used today. So if you want to be conventional, the AT will make a fine choice.

The E-MU is fine, so long as you only need 2 channels or less. If you need more channels, or think you will in the future, you need to get a device such as a Presonus Firepod which has a large number of recording input channels. If you intend to record bands, for example, a Firepod is a much better choice and will allow you to mic all of the members simultaneously.

-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #9
thanx Chris. I've been up pretty much all night jumping from site to site looking for ideas. Most people have been recommending fire-wire interfaces. So I went over to amazon.com and in no time found a little 10 dollar fire-wire card. here is the linkhttp://www.amazon.com/Sabrent-SBT-VT6306-Firewire-IEEE1394-Controller/dp/B000A2813G/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

while trying not to go far over $170.00, I came across (what seems to be) a great fire-wire interface. The M-Audio Firewire Solo US35030...which is herehttp://www.amazon.com/M-Audio-Firewire-US35030-Audio-Interface/dp/B0006A9M3K/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

What is your take on these?
 

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I know that you said you're looking to do Rap, and R&B but what specifically are you looking to be able to do?
Is the mic just for vocals?

The only way to know what you need is to decide what you want to do.
Do you want to be able to record drums?
 

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Not all Firewire cards are created equal. The one you found might work well enough for some things but it will more than likely give you trouble if you try to stream audio in real time over it.
I'd look into the Texas Instrument cards.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm only looking forward to record vocals. I should have mentioned that. The main reason I want to use the firewire interface mentioned, was for the use with Pro Tools M-Powered. Is their another interface that will allow me to do this while still in my price range. (now $160) I am also getting a 5 dollar PCI FireWire IEEE 1394 card from amazon.
 

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Since you are only looking to record vocals(1 channel), this is a rather easy situation.

Just about anything will do!

The E-MU 0404 USB of course, would work perfectly. But it is best chosen if you also have a possible use for it's other features too, otherwise get something cheaper. It has many features, and can be used with or without being connected to a computer, as a transfer/adapter device from digital to digital or analog to digital or digital to a analog, and analog is available in balanced or un-balanced, in both input and output. You can essentially connect it to anything, or connect anything to it, all the while, every connection is assured to be of the highest possible technical quality due to it's superb technical performance. The unit suppors ASIO too, but I'm not sure how well it works with VISTA. If you use VISTA, you should look up current state of VISTA drivers. I use XP.

BTW, the Behringer B-5 mic I recommended has a superb cardioid element. But like I also said, it's a very linear device; most mics have big EQ curves built in. That AT2020 is not even remotely neutral. It has huge response swings over very wide bands in both the lower mid range and upper mid and treble range. What it records is a substantial alteration of the original sound. With the B-5 you have the ability to more accurately apply EQ yourself to color the recording to the exact level/type you so desire instead of depending on a hard-wired built in EQ of a mic. The B-5 may not be the typical 'looking' type of mic used for studio vocals, though, but do looks really matter? It's a simple cylinder shape. The traditional studio vocal mics are like the AT you linked. This is not needed; but it's fashionable. :) Just mount the B-5 on a proper isolation mount and point it at the source. BTW, after my analysis/review of many mics, I decided on the B-5s and now I have 3 of them. Wonderful devices. I love the neutral recordings they produce. Having both a cardioid and omnipolar element for it is wonderful for versatility. Get a second one, and with two omnis, you can get some wonderfully realistic recordings of environmental acoustics if you learn to set them up right.

-Chris
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm doing research at the moment on your recommendations. As for the Emu 0404, I've decided to go firewire. Are their any that have 24/96 quality as well as phantom power(48V). Also as low latency as possible. Thank you guys. Your help has helped A LOT.
 

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I am interested in the comparison between the 2 units mentioned in the OP as well. There have been a number of comments suggesting the quality and utility of the EMU 0404 USB 2.0. However, what about the Tascam US-144? It seems to have similar features for slightly cheaper price. Is it worse in any way than the EMU? One thing I notice is that the US-144 does not have a power brick, it's powered by the USB port. But it advertises as supplying phantom power. Is this going to be sufficient? What other quality and feature differences are there to be aware of?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
After a few months of research with both devices, I found that many people have been having problems with latency and drivers. I STILL havn't purchesed a setup:crying: lol , but I have changed my mind about my mic and interface. Does anyone know much about the M-Audio Firewire Solo and AT3035? Is the AT3035 as "colored" as the AT2020?
 

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King,
For what it's worth I have spent the last 18 years building high end recording studios around the world. I would mention that with ANY host based system you will always deal with latency, a firewire connection will almost always be better than USB for minimizing this, but a lot of your frustration will derive from the amount of tracks you are looking to record/ playback. RAM will be an issue if your specs are current in your sig. and the speed of the hard drive you record to will also matter, but back to your question.

I would have to say any of the M-audio products offer you a lot of power and a TON of compatibility will other users you may collaborate with. So, the m-audio option is a smart look. Pro Tools is everywhere.

As for mic choice it is about as subjective as it gets the probably only use of the big music stores are that you can try a lot of mics before you buy, you will notice based on your timbre and tonal voice quality different mics might be attractive sonically to you and might sound horrible with my voice- point being,there really isn't a perfect mic for any one to recommend for your voice, go try some stuff and listen to what you like. Most of the famous vocalists I have worked with end up finding there "favorite" mic, mic pre, eq, and compressor (vocal chain) it makes up the sound you end up hearing and enjoying on all records. Another god option if money allows is to find a local rental place and rent a few mics and try them in your home studio, as these items will definitely sound different there vs a music store!

I hope something in this helps you out. Good luck...
F
 

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Discussion Starter #19
King,
For what it's worth I have spent the last 18 years building high end recording studios around the world. I would mention that with ANY host based system you will always deal with latency, a firewire connection will almost always be better than USB for minimizing this, but a lot of your frustration will derive from the amount of tracks you are looking to record/ playback. RAM will be an issue if your specs are current in your sig. and the speed of the hard drive you record to will also matter, but back to your question.

I would have to say any of the M-audio products offer you a lot of power and a TON of compatibility will other users you may collaborate with. So, the m-audio option is a smart look. Pro Tools is everywhere.

As for mic choice it is about as subjective as it gets the probably only use of the big music stores are that you can try a lot of mics before you buy, you will notice based on your timbre and tonal voice quality different mics might be attractive sonically to you and might sound horrible with my voice- point being,there really isn't a perfect mic for any one to recommend for your voice, go try some stuff and listen to what you like. Most of the famous vocalists I have worked with end up finding there "favorite" mic, mic pre, eq, and compressor (vocal chain) it makes up the sound you end up hearing and enjoying on all records. Another god option if money allows is to find a local rental place and rent a few mics and try them in your home studio, as these items will definitely sound different there vs a music store!

I hope something in this helps you out. Good luck...
F
Thanks a lot for the info. I've already purchased the Firewire Solo and as far as quality goes, it was a very good investment. I haven't purchased a mic yet, so not 100% sure as of yet. A friend of my cousin is giving me one of his studio mics for free. He hasn't mentioned any specific brand ,but said he paid $500 for it. It couldn't be too bad. Even if it is, it's free! :bigsmile:
 

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Thanks a lot for the info. I've already purchased the Firewire Solo and as far as quality goes, it was a very good investment. I haven't purchased a mic yet, so not 100% sure as of yet. A friend of my cousin is giving me one of his studio mics for free. He hasn't mentioned any specific brand ,but said he paid $500 for it. It couldn't be too bad. Even if it is, it's free! :bigsmile:
sounds great, over time I am sure you will collect a bunch of mics so whatever he is giving you will be a great addition to the collection!

Have fun!:yes:
F
 
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