View Full Version : Audio... interface?

2009-07-11, 07:55
Hello guys,

I am writing this because I am really, REALLY confused :confused:. Around a year ago I sold my drum kit and bough an electronic drums kit (Yamaha DTXpress IV) and a nice couple of active monitor speakers. Ever since I have my Mac Pro's analog line out connected on the auxiliary port of the drums and I listen to the computer sound/music through it. This was a very useless setup so far, I cannot record audio, never use the optical i/o of the mac, cannot listen to music and play along efficiently etc.

On top of that my old band is re-uniting and now we have a mic and a keyboard (midi/usb and audio out) and no-where to connect them :(

I have been to various sites (esp. M-Audio) but I am lost. I want to be able to listen to my computer and drums without any particular software running on the mac. I would love to be able of recording the instruments mentioned (drums, keyboard, mic) and process them on GarageBand / Logic or similar software. Extra credit if I can record them one-by-one while the others play off the computer :)

I really liked the looks of some firewire m-audio interfaces but I am not sure they will do the job I want. My budget is around 500$ and I must a way to order from Greece. Any hints?

THANK you,

P.S. I do not really understand the audio i/o terminology very well, but will answer any questions asap

2009-07-11, 13:47
I have had only bad experiences with M-Audio products.

I'd highly recommend anything from MOTU (http://www.motu.com). I got an 896HD last year for $600 on eBay, and it's just incredible. Their Mac support is top notch, and the sound quality is excellent.

I'm not exactly sure what your I/O needs are, but check out their FW interfaces; I'm sure you can find something suitable.

2009-07-11, 13:50
Thanx for the swift reply, I am checking their product right now... Still, the problem remains, I am not sure my self of what I/O I need for these devices :(


2009-07-12, 20:18
I have an M-Audio Firewire Solo and the drivers suck.

I'd stay away from M-Audio as well.

2009-07-12, 20:49
I'd also check out the Presonus (http://www.presonus.com/) line of products.

Your drum kit will need a MIDI I/O and your keyboard could use the same interface or use the USB cable direct to the computer. Your mic will need an input and I'd suggest making sure there's phantom power available in case you move beyond dynamic mics. Also, don't underestimate the impact that the mic preamps have on the quality of the recording. Check device reviews on this point specifically.

I'd get a device with as many I/O options as your budget will allow. Too many options is a better problem than too few. What you're looking for should be easily accomplished with your $500 limit.

2009-07-12, 21:08
If you want MIDI I/O and a device you like otherwise doesn't have it, you can get a MIDI I/O that outputs through a USB cable for pretty cheap. I think I paid about $30 for my Edirol UM-1SX, and it works perfectly with OSX (I'm running Leopard, and it worked on Tiger as well).

2009-07-13, 05:12
I will make a post here to collect all the I/O needed in a list as a bare minimum then, thank you all for your advice :)

Drums: Midi I/O (Will the several drum voices still apply?)
Computer: SPDIF I/O Digital OR just FW? (Remember my active speakers take 2xmono analog I/O and I want the computer audio to be audible without any special software running, only drivers)
Mic: Analog mono, with good pre-amp
Synth (Has USB & Midi & Analog, so wouldn't be a problem I suppose)

The big question remains for my Mac Pro sound :/


2009-07-13, 08:16
Why are you only running the output via Midi?

You should look at something like a Presonus Firepod. I own one and I've recommended it to several other people. It has 8 inputs, 2 with phantom power and it runs output via firewire.

It also has a Midi I/O and a S/PDIF I/O on it as well.

You can pick one of these up off ebay used for a couple hundred bucks. I think I got mine for around $300.

2009-07-13, 08:54
Why are you only running the output via Midi?

I am not. I probably failed on explaining my current and desired setup. Since my English is poor I made some diagrams in order to (hopefully) simplify my request. I will follow your advice and avoid M-Audio, but bare in mind that I don't even know what I want: Console? Audio Interface? I don't know where to click on the websites provided :(

Current Setup:

What I would love to achieve with 500$:

You should look at something like a Presonus Firepod. I own one and I've recommended it to several other people. It has 8 inputs, 2 with phantom power and it runs output via firewire.

I tried googling firepod (couldn't locate it on the site) that and got http://www.presonus.com/products/Detail.aspx?ProductId=3. It has 8 mic inputs (drums & synth & mac are stereo and I think they dont need pre-amps?). I am getting more and more confused now :(



2009-07-13, 09:30
Here (http://cgi.ebay.com/Presonus-Firepod-w-firewire-cable-pwr-supply-and-CD_W0QQitemZ120445320839QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_Defa ultDomain_0?hash=item1c0b19be87&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=65%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C39%3A1%7C293%3A1%7C294 %3A50) is the Firepod listed on ebay. They don't make it anymore, but they have a new version which is the same thing you linked to just a little more fancy so now you can get these relatively cheap off ebay. It's basically 8 inputs via 1/4 inputs or XLR inputs (microphone cables) that have preamps but that's not going to affect anything with you. Also 2 of those inputs have phantom power so if you use a condenser mic, you'll be able to power it, but if you use a dynamic mic, it doesn't matter. The mics will benefit from the preamp.

This thing would work perfect because I checked out the back of your drum machine and it has a R/L outputs so you would run a 1/4 cable from each of those to the firepod.

As for your synth, I have a Alesis Micron and have messed around with synths and they usually have R/L stereo 1/4 outputs on them so you can run those into the firepod as well.

The drum machine, synth, and mic will use essentially 5 inputs giving you 3 left over.

This thing works and is powered via Firewire and you can hook monitors into the back of the firepod via XLR or 1/4 cables.

From what I understand this thing will do everything you want it to do and you could probably get it off ebay for around $200-300.

2009-07-13, 12:20
I've heard good things about the Firepod, so I'd go with that, or a MOTU 828 mkII (the older model) if you can find one used. They should both accomplish the same thing, I believe.

2009-07-13, 12:24
I've heard good things about the Firepod, so I'd go with that, or a MOTU 828 mkII (the older model) if you can find one used. They should both accomplish the same thing, I believe.

Yeah, the firepod is a great interface. I use it and another guy in my band has one and we can pretty much do all our demoing we need with one or two of them. They have great quality and are very easy to use, especially on macs because you pretty much just plug and play.

2009-07-14, 03:40
Yontsey, you answer was very enlightening!
So given that it is not a problem having 2xMono for stereo instruments, only one question remains and I will be probably buying one of these things (FP10 new or original Firepod):

Will I be able of listening to the mac's audio output through the firewire connection (or maybe the optical spdif through a converter?) without special software running?

Thank you all very much,
the search seams to be finally coming to an end :)

2009-07-14, 08:41
Yup, I'm doing it right now as we speak.

You get some powered monitors, which I believe you were planning on, and run them via 1/4in cable to the outputs on the back of the Firepod and then go to System Preferences -> Sound ->and for input and out, switch them to Presonus Firepod. It's that easy.

If it were me, I would try and find a Firepod off ebay as opposed to buying a new FP10 because they're basically the same thing and you can save yourself a couple hundred dollars.