Posts Tagged ‘Recording’
I’ve had this device for a month now and I’m very happy with it.
Reviews on the Akai EIE 16 bit version where pretty thin on the ground so buying it was a gamble.
The sound quality seems very good and I’ve not noticed any latency either with midi or audio.
When I record I tend to run with at least 16 tracks and have not experienced crackles, pops or gllitching.
There are 4 inputs on the front which for me is perfect, no rooting around the back to plug mics or instruments in and the inserts on the back make it easy to add external effects, eqs and compressors.
There is phantom power for each input if needed which you’ll need if you have condenser mics.
There are also switches for each input which can switch from mic/line to guitar.
As a long time computer musician I’ve always used pci sound cards, prior to the Akai I was using a Layla 3g and before that a M-Audio 2496.
Both are great audio devices but the problem was that 1. it took up a pci slot which I needed and 2. Not portable.
A big benefit of the Akai EIE is that it is portable, if I need to record in the garage or away from my home I can take it with me and my laptop.
A couple of things I’d like to address,
1. It’s a 16bit recording device as opposed to 24bit – difference? I can’t tell to be honest, as someone who in the past has recorded using a cassette 4-track it’s always going to be a step up. Let’ss face facts, and I’m sure someone is going to jump all over me on this. When you’re recording on a budget or in a small diy studio 16bit is more than adequate.
2. It’s USB 1.0 – I’d always been warned off USB 1.0, potential latency being the main criticism amongst friends but I’ve not noticed any so far. That said I’ve not tried to record more than one track at a time yet so maybe that will come up.
The Akai doesn’t come with drivers, the disc it is shipped with uses ASIO4ALL which seems stable enough to me.
I’m running a bog standard desktop 4gb memory, 3ghz dual processor, 1gb Graphics card and windows 7 64bit and the whole setup with the Akai seems to be working well.
I use Reaper as my DAW and can be running multiple tracks including Sampletank, Garritan and several audio tracks with multiple tracks.
Like I’ve said it works well and Akai seems more than up to the job.
At £130 it’s well worth the cost but if you’re not sure you could tray the Akai EIE Pro – it’s about £70 more expensive but is 24bit and uses USB 2.0
Additional information below.
One convenient box to connect all of your music gear to your computer.
The EIE is all about plug and play convenience. With the EIE tabletop USB audio interface from Akai Professional, you can connect virtually any musical instrument or piece of production gear to your computer. With three convenient USB inputs in addition to its main USB port, EIE enables you to connect controllers, hard drives or any other peripheral to your computer when native ports may be limited. This compact, 16-bit recording interface contains high-quality components including nickel-plated input jacks, analog-style VU meters and a rugged aluminum casing for a powerful, professional, portable audio solution. The EIE can be used with virtually any music software program like GarageBand or Pro Tools and connects plug-and-play to Macs or PCs; there is no driver installation required.
Each channel of the EIE has an XLR-¼” combo jack, dedicated gain-pot and Mic/Line/Guitar switch. The EIE features four discrete-design preamplifiers with 48V phantom power for use with virtually any microphone. Individual ¼” nickel-plated jacks found on the back of EIE provide you with channel inserts for processing audio signals externally. You can monitor sessions on multiple sets of studio monitors using the four ¼” balanced outputs, which are also nickel-plated. Both pairs of outputs can be monitored visually with the high-quality, analog VU meters providing classic features with modern style. For remote tracking and alternative playback, the EIE has a 1/4” TRS headphone output. High quality analog-to-digital and digital-to-analog converters ensure that every detail of your session or performance gets captured and played back faithfully.
The EIE sends and receives four audio channels on a single USB cable for simple, universal interface to your computer. The three additional USB 1.1 ports allow the EIE to function as a hub as well, bridging other MIDI controllers and hard-drives to the computer. EIE’s USB interface is class compliant for plug-and-play operation with Mac OS X and Windows XP, Vista and 7. The EIE features traditional MIDI In and Out jacks for playing and controlling software with keyboard and pad controllers, workstations, and other MIDI-compatible instruments.
- Record and playback 16-bit, 2-channel audio via USB
- Plug-and-play operation, no driver installation required
- Four XLR-¼” combo jacks with phantom power and gain control
- Four nickel-plated ¼” outputs for two separate monitoring systems
- Two classic, high-quality VU level meters with switchable sources
- Three additional USB ports for connecting other devices through to a computer
- 5 Pin DIN MIDI Interface
- Headphone output with switchable source and direct monitoring dial
- Table-top, solid construction with a great-looking, classic design
- EIE I/O
- Power cable
- Quick start guide
So it’s been a while since I last posted on here. The reasons are many but of no interest here.
One reason though was the acquisition of an iPad.
First my views on apple products before I took the plunge – shook hands with the devil!
As a PC user I disliked apple products for a few reasons.
The two main ones being Cost &Apparent smugness.
There go the apple users at this point, but hey hold on!
I said apparent smugness, let me quantify.
I play guitar and I teach, all my guitars are of a price range agreeable with my students.
That is to say not one guitar passes the £500 mark.
For me to own priceless gibsons and martins would in my mind be off putting, besides I feel the same way about people who have gibson guitars.
Gibson = apparent smugness.
Yes I know, looks like jealousness to me but it’s not, it’s about access for everyone.
And that is why I love pcs.
When you teach you want your students to feel comfortable and have the best they can afford.
What really is the difference between a squire telecaster and a gibson gold top when you can’t play?
This is also my thinking when it comes to apple macs.
It’s about accessibility, I could afford a mac now but would it be the right thing to do?
I teach recording and programming as well and lets face it almost everyone has access to a laptop or desktop.
The apparent smugness left apple for me when the iPhone came out, oh it was there at the beginning in my mind because it was new and I was stuck with my blackberry.
But the iPhone fascinated me, the apps I heard where amazing.
Dammit I had access too!
I had friends and students showing me, and that feeling of apple smugness left.
I became jealous and intrigued.
But I still resisted, why?
Yes you read that right.
Blackberry was central to my business, the fact I could get email instantly was of utmost importance to me business wise.
But Blackberry was losing it’s grip.
The apps are business orientated and clunky.
But worse still Blackberrys crash, a lot, a real lot.
Also their business use became difficult and time consuming.
Using vista or windows 7 meant even more difficulty.
And they crash.
Labouring the point?
I think I must, and here is why and how I became an apple fan and on the road to buying an iPad.
After 16 months of my contract using my Blackberry Touch 2 something happened.
Halfway through a phone call my phone died.
I was on the phone to a student who had missed a lesson and then had called me to apologise.
At a crucial point in the conversation the phone died, just went into spin mode and then stopped.
It looked like I’d hung up.
I panicked, I was out at the time and had no access to a pc.
Now ok this could happen to an iPhone, the battery could die mid conversation but this wasn’t the battery, this was the blackberry just giving up on me.
Fortunately when I got home I could access my pc and get the phone number of said student and call back, luckily for me he understood but the damage could have been done.
And it had, for me Blackberry was dead.
So my choice had to be made, I needed a new phone.
Do I go Android or iPhone?
I’d seen both, the iPhone 4 had been out a while and seemed to be the stronger choice.
Decent battery, well compared to the Blackberry it is.
The best apps?
It seemed so. I’d had the use of an Android tablet and wasn’t overly impressed.
So iPhone it was.
And there it was, I was in love.
It worked, it worked well.
It did everything a blackberry did but better, it has never crashed, the apps are awesome, It can play music, it connects to wifi all day and I still get a days usage out of it.
And that was the start of it.
My head was turned but was it enough to buy an iPad?
The iPad for me was a gadget, something that smug business men pulled out on trains and waved at people lugging laptops around.
It seemed too far, but my curiosity had been fed by my iPhone.
I knew about the music software and had been instantly envious but could not bring myself to buy a £400+ gadget.
Then came the call from my phone provider.
A special offer.
For loyal users.
A 3G iPad 2.
Resistance is futile(Internet geekery? Never watched start trek!)
The iPad 2 – feels like at this moment we need some music, revelatory music, or a big light bulb turning on.
The last 8 months has opened up with the iPad 2
I’m a fan, a massive fan, a massive smug wave it at people with laptops fan.
I even have apple tv, I have a subscription to iTunes match, I’ve bought an iPod touch, I even contemplated buying a second iPad and now I’m waiting for the iPad 3.
I sold my laptop! (bit over the top and something I regret in hindsight)
The iPad 2 is a very important part of my business now.
For me as a guitar teacher it has given me a greater workflow.
I can write guitar solos out using a great software package called Progression. It’s hands on, no mouse! From a working fast point of view it’s hard to explain how damn satisfying that is.
I can write out song sheets with chords and strum using a griffin stylus(£10) and a software package called Notepad. Again no mouse or having to painfully use a graphics tablet.
The calendar, the email, the contacts, the reminders need I go on?
GarageBand and Notion my two favourite apps.
AC-7 Core – control your pc daw – a wifi midi controller, amazing.
And it never crashes,
Sometimes an app will but I’ve found that to be rare.
And it’s silent.
I will be looking at the music and guitar apps in more detail in the future.
And I apologise for the ramble but needed it out of my system.
Long live the iPad!
A few weeks ago my old band mate and best man came around with his spanking new aquisition.
A Big White Monkey 5 watt Chimp – Link
It is of course an valve amp and not an electrified furry beast looking for tarzan.
Anyway a couple of days we decided to get the thing set up and recorded much in the same way I recorded my Fender Champion a day earlier.
From their website:
‘We started off modifying guitar amps as a project—trying to get the sound and feel we wanted from amps already out there. The Fenders, Epi’s and others gave a great sound, but just didn’t have what we were looking for. So we went back to the drawing board and designed our own. We came up with mods you won’t find on any other amp, which help get the tone and sound we wanted. ‘
Getting any info on the Chimp is quite difficult to be honest – there’s plenty of it there on the website but it’s all very technical and a guitar smacker like myself can’t be arsed reading, I want to hear the bugger.
So that’s what we did and we recorded it for reference.
Fender Telecaster(mexican) with single coil seymour duncan bridge pickup.
Shure SM57 and SM58.
Planet Waves guitar leads.
Electro Harmonix Double Muff.
Behringer Xenyx 1622FX mixing desk.
Let’s get started…
Amp settings below,
Mic placement as in the three images below,
From the pictures above you’ll see that the amp has been placed on a cusioned stool about 9-12 inches from the floor.
Two dynamic mics have been placed directly in front on the cone.
These are a SM57 and a SM58 as stated earlier.
Each recording has been recorded in three states with three different pickup selections.
Clean, Single Muff and Double Muff – for each variant Guitar Toggle Down, Middle then Up.
Tones and Volumes on guitar are on full.
Warning you may hear some jibba jabba as this recording setup had two people involved.
Chris is playing on these recordings.
Recording 1: Open Chords
Recording 2: Palm Muting and Power Chords
Recording 3: Lead
Recording 4: Funk
Hope you likey.
Before I start I have to point out that I’m reviewing this amp with sound as opposed to using descriptive terms.
I’ll let you be the judge.
My opinion is that this is a great amp for the money.
Prices vary between £125 and £140 dependant on where you purchase.
Usual blurb product blurb: Scroll past to get to audio
The Fender Champion 600 is a fun and affordable tribute to a rare and historic Fender amp.
The Fender Champion 600 is a 5-watt tube amp with a 6” speaker and 1950 “two-tone” looks. We added a higher-gain preamp circuit to let the overdriven tone exceed that of the original, and we added a choice of high- or low-gain inputs. Internal speaker jack enables use of a larger speaker cabinet.
Fender Champion 600 main features include:
- Type: TUBE AMPLIFIER
- Output: 5 watts
- Ohms: 4 ohms
- Speakers: One 6″, 4-ohm Special Design driver with ceramic magnet (0073904000)
- Channels: Two (Instrument and Microphone)
- Tube Preamp and Tube Power Amp (One 12AX7 tube; One 6V6 tube).
- 5 watts into a 6″ Special Design speaker.
- High-gain and low-gain inputs; hotter preamp circuit than the 1950 original for warm natural overdrive when turned up.
- Single volume control.
- External speaker output.
- Brown and blonde vinyl covering; vintage-correct 1950 “two-tone” cosmetics.
- Leather strap handle.
- Red jewel pilot light.
- Controls Volume
- Weight 15 lbs. (7 kg)
- Dimensions Height: 11″ (28 cm), Width: 12″ (31 cm), Depth: 7.5″ (19 cm)
- Tube Complement 1-12AX7A, 1-6V6 (diode rectifier
The recording of these audio examples was done with two shure dynamic mics – I’m experimenting at the moment so bare with me.
I’ve used an SM57 and an SM58.
Like I said I’ve moved these around until I was reasonably happy.
Amp has been placed off the ground on a very small stool and in the centre of the room – my house is open plan.
I’ve played using a Fender Telecaster (mexican) fitted with a Seymour Duncan at the bridge.
As you can see I’ve got the Tele going through an Electro Harmonix Double Muff.
I’ve set the Fender Champions amp volume to between 6 and 7.
Other equipment used for reference,
Behringer 1622FX, standard XLR mic cables and Planet Waves guitar cables.
Recorded to PC using Sonar.
No fx or processing used.
Each audio example has been played three times:
Clean(bypass) -> Single Muff on -> Double Muff on.
Guitar: for each pedal state.
Toggle switch down -> middle -> up.
First Example: Open Chords
Second Example: Funky
Example Three: Palm Mute and Power Chords
Finally Example Four: Lead
Hope you enjoyed my hacking, note: you may if wearing headphones notice that the amp has quite a strong hum.
When you’re playing it’s not that big a deal and if recording it is only really apparent when listening on headphones.
Listening through my monitors it doesn’t seem that much of a problem.
When I record my next song using this amp I’ll report on how the hum affects the track.