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Old 04-12-2020, 02:11 AM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Default DAW Interface + Preamp, EQ, compressor Strip

I built my home recording rig back in 2005-2007 time frame. I moved to a new home in 2016 and haven’t set it up. I realized my mbox can’t keep up with OSX upgrades and now my 2011 iMac needs an SSD upgrade (already on 32 GB RAM). I’ve a Macbook 12” I could use, but it’s not super powerful.

So, I started looking at interfaces. Boy have things changed!

I’m leaning toward Focusrite Scarlett simply due to low cost and thousands of very happy customers. I’m familiar with pro tools and plan to start there with the free version. I have a (quite old, but not abused) Presonus Euereka preamp, EQ, compressor, etc. I also have a rack mount power conditioner and a Mackie Big Knob. I don’t think I need the Big Knob with modern interfaces, which seem to have headphone and monitor switching and even talk back mics.

So... interface + preamp... I’m wondering if there are opinions for me here (Lol... of course there are!). Specifically, I’m asking myself... Have the new interface preamps come so far I don’t need a separate preamp? Is the Eureka still a good piece of equipment? Or is this preamp too “vintage” to add value in the signal chain with a Scarlett? Should I buy a better interface and scrap the Eureka? or upgrade my preamp? Do analog compressors and EQs add much value these days?

Part of me loves the minimalist idea of a simple desktop interface and a MacBook... the end. I did the “simplification” thing with my live rig, narrowing down to a Play Acoustic Pedal with a Loudbox Performer. The rest of me says I’ve got rack gear to use, and I’ll always want it. It’s cool, customizable, authentic, professional, upgradable, etc.

I realize I can just run side by side sound tests of Scarlett w/ and w/o the Eureka but I have not purchased the interface yet. I’m researching pre money.

And I’m not asking opinions on mics, but I realize it’s part of the equation and the most experienced sound pros here will have a question mark... I’ve a Groove Tubes GT55 and will be adding a Rode NT55 for acoustic guitar mics. I plan to test those in various dual mic configurations.
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Last edited by Adam Legion; 04-12-2020 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 04-12-2020, 01:49 PM
phcorrigan phcorrigan is offline
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Scarlett interfaces get good reviews. The PreSonus interfaces ship with Studio One Artist, which is what I've been using, although I upgraded to the full version. The major limitation of Artist is that it won't accept third-party plug-ins, but it ships with a pretty complete complement of them.

I had a PreSonus Audiobox USB96, but replaced it with a Behringer UMC404HD, because I wanted four inputs. I think you'll find the general consensus is that the preamps on the current crop of audio interfaces are pretty good, so you probably don't need external preamps.

In terms of a DAW, in addition to Pro Tools and Studio One, I'd suggest you take a look at Reaper (reaper.fm). You can download it for free to try it. It's only $60 to license it and get rid of the nag screen.
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:13 PM
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KevWind KevWind is offline
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Arguably you don't "need" a separate pre amp
But that does not mean you might not want to keep and use it.
Yes if the Eureka is still working correctly it is a pretty good piece of gear .

You did not say if you're doing both vocals and guitar, but if you are you may want to keep it . And get an interface that can input and output at least 3 channels (most will be either 2 or 4 )
That way you can use the Eureka as your vocal channel strip and you can also record the guitar in stereo ( which means you might want to think about a stereo pair for the acoustic. )

I use lots of plugins but still today, prefer analog processing when possible.

Anyway that is what I would do.
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:50 PM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevWind View Post
And get an interface that can input and output at least 3 channels (most will be either 2 or 4 )
That way you can use the Eureka as your vocal channel strip and you can also record the guitar in stereo ( which means you might want to think about a stereo pair for the acoustic.
Yes to vocals.

This seems like solid advice (and you answered the actual question, so thanks for that, too). Iíll almost certainly get a rack mounted interface - Focusrite 18i20 is likely the buy until I upgrade the Mac. I only have USB 2.0 on the mid-2011 iMac. Anyway, Iíll have the inputs.

When you say ďstereo pair,Ē does this mean I wonít be able to use 2 different style tube mics using the interface pres? I just want to be sure I understand your suggestion. I was going to experiment with a large and small condenser mic as a spaced pair.
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Old 04-12-2020, 04:58 PM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Originally Posted by phcorrigan View Post
Scarlett interfaces get good reviews. The PreSonus interfaces...
Thanks, man. I was asking about a 13 year old preamp channel strip in the signal chain with modern interfaces, not interfaces specifically, or DAWs. I do have an eye on the new Presonus thunderbolt interface... Quantum 2626... but I think I need a new Mac to run that. By the way, Studio One works with VST plugins.

https://support.presonus.com/hc/en-u...in-Studio-One-
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Old 04-12-2020, 07:34 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Legion View Post
When you say “stereo pair,” does this mean I won’t be able to use 2 different style tube mics using the interface pres? I just want to be sure I understand your suggestion. I was going to experiment with a large and small condenser mic as a spaced pair.
Yes, do that. You do not need a matched pair of mics (at this time). Use and learn the gear you have. At some point, with experience, you can determine any weakness in your recording chain and what (if any) additional or new gear you want/need.

Last edited by DukeX; 04-12-2020 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 04-12-2020, 09:35 PM
phcorrigan phcorrigan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Legion View Post
Thanks, man. I was asking about a 13 year old preamp channel strip in the signal chain with modern interfaces, not interfaces specifically, or DAWs. I do have an eye on the new Presonus thunderbolt interface... Quantum 2626... but I think I need a new Mac to run that. By the way, Studio One works with VST plugins.

https://support.presonus.com/hc/en-u...in-Studio-One-
Studio One works with VST plugins, but Studio One Artist requires an $80 add-on to use them. Still, the included plugins are pretty decent, and still what I mostly use with the full product.

BTW, USB interfaces easily handle multiple tracks. I've had no problem recording at least eight tracks from my XR18 digital mixer, so you may not need Thunderbolt.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:35 PM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DukeX View Post
Yes, do that. You do not need a matched pair of mics (at this time). Use and learn the gear you have. At some point, with experience, you can determine any weakness in your recording chain and what (if any) additional or new gear you want/need.
Cool. That spirit makes complete sense to me. However... I do have a decision to make...

I currently own the GT55. Itís in great shape, well kept in a case in my guitar room, working, etc. Iíve recorded about 10 songs with it with some coaching from a Music Recording major I went to college with. Iím ready to commence my midlife crisis studio refresh. I planned to purchase a small diameter condenser simply to start exploring dual mics. With that context....

Would you suggest a less expensive pair (ex. Node M5 pair for 200 bucks) over one single higher end mic (ex. KM184 copies like Node NT55 or Warm WA84 for about 300-350), the latter of which I would pair with the GT55?

I do have access to a pair of Neumann KM184s at a friends recording studio (Green Room ,Harrisburg PA) so I can do some side by sides... but the entire setup is professional so I canít get a controlled comparison of mics, unless I take mine there. I canít take theirs to my place! Small businesses need mics. Thereís probably 20 grand worth of better when I play there. Anyway, this isnít the spirit of your advice - to train my own musical ghosts to hear, experiment, learn, etc.
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  #9  
Old 04-13-2020, 08:48 PM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phcorrigan View Post
Studio One works with VST plugins, but Studio One Artist requires an $80 add-on to use them. Still, the included plugins are pretty decent, and still what I mostly use with the full product.

BTW, USB interfaces easily handle multiple tracks. I've had no problem recording at least eight tracks from my XR18 digital mixer, so you may not need Thunderbolt.
I get it now. Artist is like the entry version.

Thanks for sharing your USB experience. I sold a 9 year old pre-Intel (no longer OS X supported) Mac Pro and moved to the iMac in 2011. When I started getting into midi instrument tracks through a Reason add/plug inside Protools, production/mixing started getting CPU/RAM hungry. However, I never once had a problem with stripping plugs to get a low (unnoticeable) latency track from guitar or vocals. It was probably FireWire 800 back then through an mbox. I assume Iíll be finewith USB 2.0 but the iMac HHD drive is dying and needs an SSD upgrade for sure (just ordered the 1TB kit from OWC for $170). Somewhere along the line I juiced up to 24GB RAM.
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  #10  
Old 04-13-2020, 09:19 PM
phcorrigan phcorrigan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Legion View Post
Somewhere along the line I juiced up to 24GB RAM.
I think that iMac has an i5 CPU, so with 24GB RAM you should be fine.
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2012 Martin HD-28V
1984 Martin Shenandoah D-2832
2018 Gretsch G5420TG
Oscar Schmidt Autoharp, unknown vintage
ToneDexter
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Yamaha THR10C
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2020, 06:37 PM
DukeX DukeX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Legion View Post
Cool. That spirit makes complete sense to me. However... I do have a decision to make...

I currently own the GT55. Itís in great shape, well kept in a case in my guitar room, working, etc. Iíve recorded about 10 songs with it with some coaching from a Music Recording major I went to college with. Iím ready to commence my midlife crisis studio refresh. I planned to purchase a small diameter condenser simply to start exploring dual mics. With that context....

Would you suggest a less expensive pair (ex. Node M5 pair for 200 bucks) over one single higher end mic (ex. KM184 copies like Node NT55 or Warm WA84 for about 300-350), the latter of which I would pair with the GT55?

I do have access to a pair of Neumann KM184s at a friends recording studio (Green Room ,Harrisburg PA) so I can do some side by sides... but the entire setup is professional so I canít get a controlled comparison of mics, unless I take mine there. I canít take theirs to my place! Small businesses need mics. Thereís probably 20 grand worth of better when I play there. Anyway, this isnít the spirit of your advice - to train my own musical ghosts to hear, experiment, learn, etc.
There's nothing wrong with buying new mics! Especially a pair of SDCs. I just didn't want you to feel you had to in order to get good recordings. There are so many good options out there. For SDCs I have Oktava, MXL, Naiant, and thinking about 3U Audio. I've also looked at Beyer MC930 and Sennheiser 914. Do I really need them? No.

There are many more experienced folks here than I.

Here's Mike Jasper's 2009 Bigass Small Diaphragm Mic Shoot-out
(The original article appeared in the July/August 2009 edition of Tape Op Magazine). It's a great read.

http://www.mikejasper.com/proaudioba...ut/intro1.html
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Old 04-14-2020, 06:48 PM
Adam Legion Adam Legion is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DukeX View Post
Here's Mike Jasper's 2009 Bigass Small Diaphragm Mic Shoot-out
(The original article appeared in the July/August 2009 edition of Tape Op Magazine). It's a great read.

http://www.mikejasper.com/proaudioba...ut/intro1.html
The first sentence... ď In the winter of 2008 I decided to listen to every small diaphragm mic in the world.Ē

I gotta get ready to settle into this one! Thanks for the share, man.
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