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Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

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Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby Thoughts Riff » Sun Feb 25, 2018 11:44 am

Hello everyone,
I'm new on the forum. I'm an amateur music producer who learned everything from scratch these years.
I would like to ask you some advices about my next purchase.
I have a pretty old notebook (dual-core 2GHz, 4GB ram) and I'm looking forward to buy a new one in a few months (money fly away this period). I was wondering about buying an external usb audio card to at least improve audio quality while mixing. Here is my first question, does a good external sound card improve audio quality?
If yes, can you suggest me a good one? My budget would be like 80-100€, I don't need to register instruments, so I don't need many inputs. I'm into this because I already hear a huge difference between my notebook audio card and my smartphone audio quality (it's a new Huawei P8 2017), this last one is largely better.

I'm both an amateur music producer and a fan of foleys! I like to use recordings in my productions so I would like to know if there is any portable recorder worth to be purchased.

Well, that's enough for now. :) Thanks in advance!
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby CS70 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:59 pm

Yes, usually it would, a little - more headroom, better converters, and the ability of using ASIO. What makes the biggest improvement in mixing is, however, the room where you mix in (if you use monitors) or the headphones you mix with (if you don't).

At your budget level, most modern interfaces (to make things easy, from 2013 on as a rule of thumb) are very similar. But the good news is that they all do a pretty good job for mixing. They all support 24 bit and many go up to 96Khz and preamps and converters are just fine - so long you know how to use them (i.e. you don't push the levels unreasonably).

So it's more a matter of which freebies you get (if any) or how easy it is for you to get a specific model and (even if it's getting more and more seldom) how stable the Windows drivers are . So once you have narrowed your choices to some models, goggle around to see if there are any complaints on stability.
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby Thoughts Riff » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:15 pm

Hi CS70,
first of all thanks for your fast reply.

Well, unfortunately I change place very often so I cannot buy monitors yet. I bought Sennheiser 4.40HD a few months ago, it's a really good product imho. I bought it even because they are wireless, I hate cables. That's my production set for now.

That's good to read! You made a good explanation. So, I can just look for some most-reviewed product on my budget range. I'll keep the search.

Thank you again! :)
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby James Perrett » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:05 pm

The description of your old computer sounds a bit like some of those from around 10 years ago that I used which had awful audio quality - despite having a Harman Kardon label on them. Yes, a USB interface should give you much better sound quality - but if you are looking at a portable recorder it might be worth finding one that works as an interface as well.
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby Thoughts Riff » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:55 pm

James Perrett wrote:The description of your old computer sounds a bit like some of those from around 10 years ago that I used which had awful audio quality - despite having a Harman Kardon label on them. Yes, a USB interface should give you much better sound quality - but if you are looking at a portable recorder it might be worth finding one that works as an interface as well.

Yeah, it's also a secondhand notebook, I didn't buy it.
Well, I was wondering about 2 different devices, 1 external audio USB and 1 portable recorder. Can you guys suggest anything about the second one?

Anyway, thank you James for your reply.
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby Watchmaker » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:56 pm

these days, they're available in one interface - the recorder acts as the sound card. If you need something with built in mics like the Zoom or tascam portable recorders, those files are easy to transfer via USB.

I have an H4N that I like but it's a tad unwieldy though versatile and convenient. I use it often for ambient background noise or foley snips, like waterfalls, train noise, crowds, etc. easy enough to stuff in my pocket and record unobtrusively. I haven't had much luck with it for music though - lack of skill I assume. Eats batteries though. My wife uses a little tascam for recording songwriting notes with remarkable success.
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby CS70 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:18 pm

Thoughts Riff wrote:Yeah, it's also a secondhand notebook, I didn't buy it.
Well, I was wondering about 2 different devices, 1 external audio USB and 1 portable recorder. Can you guys suggest anything about the second one?

The Zoom range and the Olympus are well liked if I'm not mistaken.

However, my two-channels mobile rig is simply a laptop with a Focusrite Forte, and occasionally an external reverb if vocals. It all fits in a bag and I don't have to have two different workflows - I can easily for example prepare a template on the desktop, dropbox it in the right place and it's ready on the laptop.
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Re: Audio interface and portable recorder suggestions.

Postby Thoughts Riff » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:38 am

Watchmaker wrote:these days, they're available in one interface - the recorder acts as the sound card. If you need something with built in mics like the Zoom or tascam portable recorders, those files are easy to transfer via USB.

Yes, I was thinking about a built in mic, but I think i want to keep recording and audio USB separated. I think I'm just gonna buy the external audio card for now.

CS70 wrote:The Zoom range and the Olympus are well liked if I'm not mistaken.

However, my two-channels mobile rig is simply a laptop with a Focusrite Forte, and occasionally an external reverb if vocals. It all fits in a bag and I don't have to have two different workflows - I can easily for example prepare a template on the desktop, dropbox it in the right place and it's ready on the laptop.

Nice organization. Btw these products seem worth.
Anyway, I was reading some reviews about the M-audio m-tracks 2x2. Does any of you have any experiences with it?

Thank you guys for your help.
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