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Author Topic: 3 questions about audio interfaces.  (Read 1911 times)

huggyb

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3 questions about audio interfaces.
« on: July 21, 2009, 09:18:10 pm »

1-What is the significance of the khz/bit ratings? I see unit with     24bit/96khz,24bit/48khz,24bit/192khz and I would presume the higher khz the wider the range of high sounds, but can anyone clear that up for me?

2-Most interfaces have single inputs & one major part of what I have to do is mixdown from stereo l/r rca 1/8"jacks. If I use a rca to 1/4" adapter will it preserve the stereo 2trk aspect? or will it squish it into one track?

3-I'm using an older version of Mac osx (10.3.9), do I need to be concerned with software & plug in compatibility?

Forgive my lack of computer recording knowledge but I still record on a yamaha workstation that works well & I had been mixing my masters to a cd recorder. My CD recorder died recently & I'm looking into mixing down to my iMac for mastering.

Thank you for reading.
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tom eaton

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2009, 11:52:15 pm »

huggyb wrote on Tue, 21 July 2009 21:18

1-What is the significance of the khz/bit ratings? I see unit with     24bit/96khz,24bit/48khz,24bit/192khz and I would presume the higher khz the wider the range of high sounds, but can anyone clear that up for me?


Yes, sampling rate determines the highest frequency your system can record.  Bit depth determines dynamic range, 24 bit is the defacto standard these days for recording.  As far as what sampling rate will work in your particular scenario, or what you prefer... totally subjective.  

Quote:


2-Most interfaces have single inputs & one major part of what I have to do is mixdown from stereo l/r rca 1/8"jacks. If I use a rca to 1/4" adapter will it preserve the stereo 2trk aspect? or will it squish it into one track?



I don't know of any mono interfaces... perhaps you could mention a model you're considering.  There are a million interfaces out there and it's impossible to know about them all, but you simply want to make sure whatever you get has at least two mono line inputs or a stereo line input.
Quote:


3-I'm using an older version of Mac osx (10.3.9), do I need to be concerned with software & plug in compatibility?

absolutely. the vintage of the mac itself is also relevant in terms of speed, and you'll probably want to make sure you have a serious amount of ram in it.

Quote:

My CD recorder died recently & I'm looking into mixing down to my iMac for mastering.

Thank you for reading.


I'd avoid adding a computer into your workflow if you can.  So many non-musical obstacles to overcome to do what seems to be a very simple job.  Consider one of the little Korg DSD units, a Tascam DRVA1000hd or an Alesis Masterlink.  Keep your workflow... just replace your mix printing destination.

tom

huggyb

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2009, 02:10:30 am »

tom eaton wrote on Tue, 21 July 2009 22:52

huggyb wrote on Tue, 21 July 2009 21:18

1-What is the significance of the khz/bit ratings? I see unit with     24bit/96khz,24bit/48khz,24bit/192khz and I would presume the higher khz the wider the range of high sounds, but can anyone clear that up for me?


Yes, sampling rate determines the highest frequency your system can record.  Bit depth determines dynamic range, 24 bit is the defacto standard these days for recording.  As far as what sampling rate will work in your particular scenario, or what you prefer... totally subjective.  

Quote:


2-Most interfaces have single inputs & one major part of what I have to do is mixdown from stereo l/r rca 1/8"jacks. If I use a rca to 1/4" adapter will it preserve the stereo 2trk aspect? or will it squish it into one track?



I don't know of any mono interfaces... perhaps you could mention a model you're considering.  There are a million interfaces out there and it's impossible to know about them all, but you simply want to make sure whatever you get has at least two mono line inputs or a stereo line input.
Quote:


3-I'm using an older version of Mac osx (10.3.9), do I need to be concerned with software & plug in compatibility?

absolutely. the vintage of the mac itself is also relevant in terms of speed, and you'll probably want to make sure you have a serious amount of ram in it.

Quote:

My CD recorder died recently & I'm looking into mixing down to my iMac for mastering.

Thank you for reading.


I'd avoid adding a computer into your workflow if you can.  So many non-musical obstacles to overcome to do what seems to be a very simple job.  Consider one of the little Korg DSD units, a Tascam DRVA1000hd or an Alesis Masterlink.  Keep your workflow... just replace your mix printing destination.

tom


Thanks for your input.

RE:bits/khz - I understand 24bit is standard but is getting a unit with 192khz over one that is 96khz that big of a difference?

RE:replacing Mix printing destination. - Repair CD recorder-$300-400, replace CD recorder $500, Audio interface $100. to $300, new digital mastering unit $???

I've divorced with child support, trying to keep on recording & not spend much. If can keep on working and only spend a couple hundred to be able to produce masters on my iMac I'd be OK with it.

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0dbfs

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2009, 07:32:00 am »

huggyb wrote on Wed, 22 July 2009 02:10


RE:bits/khz - I understand 24bit is standard but is getting a unit with 192khz over one that is 96khz that big of a difference?



In your CDR scenario, you were printing mixes at 44.1khz 16bit. Going with an interface at 24bit will be an "upgrade" no matter what the FS is.

If your final product is CD you will also have to add a step into your current workflow of converting your 24bit mix captures into 16bit masters. Every doubling of the sample rate also double's the hard disk usage or file size. That may be significant for you depending on your hard disk capacity.




huggyb wrote on Wed, 22 July 2009 02:10


RE:replacing Mix printing destination. - Repair CD recorder-$300-400, replace CD recorder $500, Audio interface $100. to $300, new digital mastering unit $???


I would add any new software costs to the imac budget... There are affordable (even open-source) products but you will undoubtedly end up wanting some better software and plug-ins if not additional outboard.

For a minimal cost system you could go with a converter that has stereo I/O, use audacity for edits, and itunes to catalog your mixes, compile your playlists, burn cd's, and convert to mp3 formats.

Most converters will also come bundled with a light version of some DAW software.

Cheers,
jonathan
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Jonathan Burtner
Music is Everything!
Audio is Everything Else!

tom eaton

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2009, 09:41:20 am »

I just think that if you're not using the computer as part of your composing workflow you will find managing the computer becomes another job that will take attention away from your music.  Plain and simple.

I understand the cost issue, so I suggest a Masterlink... at least you can print hi-rez mixes and burn cds from the same machine.

- - - -

Obviously there is a difference between printing at 44.1 and 192, the rewards are REALLY subjective and depend on a million factors.  

Personally, I've liked printing mixes at 96, but you still have to end up at 44.1... and the more you look into it, and start to research all the pros and cons, and various ways to get do SRC, etc... the more you aren't making music.  

I will say that cheap interfaces generally sound cheap if you go the computer route.  You'll need to at least spend a little money before you get something worth running music through.

tom

huggyb

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2009, 11:20:23 pm »

tom eaton wrote on Wed, 22 July 2009 08:41

I just think that if you're not using the computer as part of your composing workflow you will find managing the computer becomes another job that will take attention away from your music.  Plain and simple.

I understand the cost issue, so I suggest a Masterlink... at least you can print hi-rez mixes and burn cds from the same machine.

- - - -

Obviously there is a difference between printing at 44.1 and 192, the rewards are REALLY subjective and depend on a million factors.  

Personally, I've liked printing mixes at 96, but you still have to end up at 44.1... and the more you look into it, and start to research all the pros and cons, and various ways to get do SRC, etc... the more you aren't making music.  

I will say that cheap interfaces generally sound cheap if you go the computer route.  You'll need to at least spend a little money before you get something worth running music through.

tom

Thanks for your input, having to learn how to record masters to my computer will take an extra learning step(wise advice) but the Masterlink is about $300 more than a tascam and I was trying to do it even more economically. I may have to take the time, still not sure at this point, but I see a line6 ux1 interface 24bit/96khz, with recording software,amp models,etc, & 2 inputs for l/r for $149. don't know if it's crap.

The others I see range about $250, another group about $500, and some really high end units that cost thousands.
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huggyb

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Re: 3 questions about audio interfaces.
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2009, 11:24:39 pm »

Thank you all for your input, I will try to absorb it all.
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