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Can You Recommend a Decent Auidio Interface For Me


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I'm trying to record my guitar into FL Studio but i don't have an audio interface so it sounds terrible. My setup right now is my guitar plugged into my Line 6 120W Spider 3 and my amp is connected to the integrated audio in my laptop which just isn't working for me. It won't record clearly. Can you recommend a good audio interface that would help me achieve what i'm trying to do. Prefferably for under £200 because i'm a student and i don't have much money. Thanks.

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As long as the interface you get has instrument level inputs, you're golden. Pretty much all interfaces with preamps on them (a telltale sign is if it has XLR and 1/4" combi inputs) can act as DI for guitars.

The main selling point of the pod is the software it comes bundled with - other than that, it's not really unique as a standalone interface.

You can also look at a few M-Audio boxes -

M-Audio Fast Track - http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOFSTRKMK2

M-Audio MobilePre - http://www.zzounds.com/item--MDOMOBILEPREV2

I usually try to stay away from PreSonus, but other people like them so I'll put this here too

http://www.zzounds.com/item--PRSAUDIOBOX

In this price range, the difference in the electronics isn't going to be that huge, so your best bet is still probably the ART usb interface that theshaggyfreak suggested. If you do have the extra cash though, I'd go for the M-Audio MobilePre. M-Audio makes some decent-sounding preamps, and having 2 XLR inputs goes a really long way (rule of thumb a professor of mine goes by is if you need more than 2 mics and it's not drums, you're doing it wrong).

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TBH I don't really know anything about the headphones or the mic. Although assumption is usually bad, in the case of spending money on music gear, I assume something is not good until I hear someone say something good about it.

That said, if those headphones are your first set of studio headphones, you'll probably notice a difference between your regular speakers or headphones and these ones, but it may not be huge.

Can't say anything about the mic - I don't really know.

I guess it boils down to this (and this is only recommendation coming from gear-hoarding experience) - if you plan on pursuing this hobby more and more in the future, I'd hold off on the headphones and mic for now and save up for something better. These are some alternatives that I DO know about, have used, and recommend (not saying you shouldn't get the package, since I don't really know about it).

- You can find decent large diaphragm condensers for under $100 US (Audio Technica ATH 2020/2035 are the first to come to mind). Large diaphragm condensers are great - they're versatile, and usually the best mic to start your collection with. Some people go with the dynamic Shure SM57 first (also just under $100 US), which is also pretty standard for micing guitars and other applications. I don't own one, but I've used it and it sounds pretty good.

- You can use cheap Sony studio headphones for the time being (they're what, like $15 US? and they sound pretty freaking good for $15 - model is something like MDR-XD1000) while you save up for something good down the road (personal favorite is AKG K240, ~$100 US). Even then you should be able to get some mileage out of these headphones, unless you already have pretty good headphones.

- As for the DAW, you're already using FL Studio.

That leaves you with roughly $210 if you get the Sony headphones, or $125 if you get the AKG (if i'm converting correctly) in your budget for an interface. That is, if you don't get used gear. Used gear is awesome. It's cheap and (usually) still works 100%. Don't get used headphones though... some people have pretty gross heads.

Just a note, I know people that use the Sony headphones for their actual work. Not necessarily the headphones of choice, but definitely good enough.

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Let me know if you have any questions about the ART USB Dual Pre. I've put it through it's paces it it's surprisingly good for the price.

Some really good points about this thing:

1) It's in a metal housing. So many small/cheap interfaces feel like a toy that's about to fall apart in my hands when I use it.

2) It's USB compliant. What does that mean? You don't need to install drivers for it. You just plug it in and it'll get recognized by Windows, OSX, etc.

I've researched a lot of the smaller/cheaper interfaces before I got this one and it really seems to be one of the best ouf of the bunch.

As far as mics go, there are a ton of really good mics that won't break the bank. I really don't own a single expensive mic but I've been able to do quite a bit with the less expensive ones that I've found. Here's a few:

Apex 435 - I have two of these cheapo things and they're great! They are my goto mics for recording acoustic guitar. This would be just find for vocals too.

K-Micro Silver Bullet - You can't beat this for $29! For recording acoustic like instruments and drums, these things are amazing for the price. Hurray for cheap Chinese mics! These probably wouldn't be the greatest thing for vocals, though.

Either of those mics would be a great start.

Oh! Here's another couple mics that are always a decent deal:

MXL 990/991 - I've had these two mics for a long time and have used them on a number of different things.

As far as that Presonus bundle goes, I'm not a huge fan of bundles. The interface is decent but the other stuff it comes with may not be that great. It kind of goes that way with bundles, IMHO.

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How well does it eliminate latency and hissing etc?

I haven't had any issues with latency using it. I seriously doubt it'll give you any problems in that area. The preamps on the Dual Pre are fairly quiet. As long as the source going into it is quiet, you shouldn't have any problems with noise.

I've used a lot of different interfaces over the years both cheap and expensive. This little box really does the job if you just need two basic inputs and two basic outputs. Listening through the headphone output sounds pretty good too. I really can't find anything negative to say about it.

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