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:http://www.untidymusic.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/open_chords.mp3|titles=Open
Recording 2: Palm Muting and Power Chords
Recording 3: Lead:http://www.untidymusic.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/lead.mp3|titles=Lead
Recording 4: Funk:http://www.untidymusic.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/funk.mp3|titles=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.
<–Sonar and Sidechaining–>
For this article I’ve used the free sidechain vst plugin created by slim slow slider download: here
Sonar 7 upwards supports multi-input plug-ins, typically sidechain plug-ins.
Sidechain plugins are VST effects that have two inputs, a main input and a sidechain input.
When a VST sidechain effect is inserted in the FX bin the sidechain capability is detected.
A virtual output is then created for each of the inputs the sidechaining effect has.
Audio tracks, Bus Outouts and Send outputs can be now routed to sidechain inputs.
Sidechaining is usually used with compressors to limit one signal by using the signal level of another.
Common uses of sidechaining are to reduce the level of a bass guitar when there is a kick drum, or to reduce the level of music whenever a DJ/Announcer talks (also called ducking).
Again there’s a multitude of uses and as with everything on this site experimentation is recommended.
Try recording two tracks, one a kick drum the other a bass track.
1. Insert the sidechaining effect you have on track one, the kick.
2. Now route the output of track 2 from ‘Master’ to the new virtual output,
Now it’s just a matter of learning how the effect works, go extreme with your settings and listen.
A couple of things to look at, the signal of the kick will disappear when you route it across.
You can use ‘keyvolume’ knob to bring that signal back in.
Instead I tend to introduce/add a new ‘send’ on the kick track – I then route that to the master bus.
Right Click on the track properties, insert send and look for master.
Then click ‘post’ for the signal to be sent. You can change the amount being sent by adjusting the ‘post’ volume.
Be careful not to blow your speakers or ears, but experiment.
Experience has taught me that the only way to learn this stuff is to mess around with it and see what it does.
<–Bouncing Audio with Sidechain Plug-ins–>
In order to render a sidechain input as part of a mix when bouncing audio, you must select all tracks that contribute to the sidechain input.
–>Freeze and Sidechain Inputs<–
Freeze does not work with the sidechain inputs because Freeze only works on a single audio track at a time.
To mix down sidechain inputs, use the ‘bounce’ command with all sidechain sources selected in the mix.
Try this on youtube: It’s using Logic but the principles are the same:
SONAR 7 includes the following plug-ins that support sidechaining:
Vintage Channel VC-64 (Producer Edition only)
Sidechaining Signal Flow
Weird turn up for the books,
‘Now, you can rent the Waves you need to give your next project that extra edge.
Waves Rental Plan is the new, easy way to use selected Waves bundles.
For tracking, mixing, mastering, restoration, or live—whatever your sound field, you require the very best audio signal processing available.
For a week or for a month, rent Waves plug-ins, and get the job done—professionally.
Best of all, you can now apply your Waves Rentals fees to the purchase of any product or upgrade!*
Visit our online store or contact your local dealer to rent Waves plug-ins today!
The Rental period begins once the iLok has been authorized.
With each Rental, you will receive a Rent-to-Own coupon code.
To redeem the code, contact your dealer.
Rent-to-Own coupons can be redeemed for up to 50% toward the MSRP, up to 45 days from Rental expiration date.
Waves Update Plan coupons can be redeemed for up to 50% toward the MSRP, up to 45 days from Update Plan purchase date.
Rent-to-Own and Waves Update Plan coupons together can be redeemed for up to 50% toward the MSRP.’
Free VST Compression Plugins – BuzComp Free Series – Download Here
The BuzComp Free Series is a set of compression plugins from buzzroom.
The Set contains the,
BuzComp Free GranComp
- Classic Hard Compressor -
BuzComp Free GranComp3
- Multiband Classic Hard Compressor -
BuzComp Free GeneComp
- Generic Digital Linear Compressor -
and finally the BuzComp Free GeneComp3
- Multiband Generic Digital Linear Compressor -
Free VST Compression Plugins – BuzComp Free Series – Free Download Here
MSED is a professional audio encoder/decoder plug-in for mid/side processing which is able to encode (split) the incoming stereo signal into two components: mid/side pair, and vice versa: decode mid/side signal pair into stereo signal. MSED is also able to work in the “inline” mode with the ability to adjust mid and side channels’ gain without the need of using two plug-in instances in sequence.
These days the amount of software out there for guitarists is pretty mind boggling.
The variety in sound and the varying cost can make it pretty difficult to decide what is right for you and your setup.
There are decisions to make when it comes to choosing what you want.
It cand come down to space, cost and reliability.
The free effects available here are all well and good and most of them are really good.
But they don’t have the power or support that the big boys have – and I’m sorry to say they just can’t compete.
If you’re a novice do you really want to or have the patience to mess around with your pc or would you rather spend money and have an instant, plug and play system?
In these articles I’m going to run through some of the commercial software available, the relative interfaces or alternative interfaces and the idea of using hardware instead.
Native Instruments – Guitar Rig
Guitar Rig is probably the most well known, and it is expensive but is it? Native Instruments have developed this great software to be practically faultless – lets’ be fair with stuff like this you get what you pay for.
And Guitar Rig is cool – really cool.
And now they’ve taken into account the budget market with their Guitar Rig Mobile.
The nice thing about Guitar Rig is that it has always tried to keep it;s roots with the guitarist by having foot switch controllers. And it works great.
I’ll be honest I’ve only tried the foot rack once before and yeah its good it works, much like most midi based foot pedal switch controllers.
Not really the best judge – I have a rack unit that I use all the time – foot switches tend to break because I’m heavy footed – and if your the same maybe you should give it a miss and stick to the software.
That said it was a while ago that I tried that out – best to get down to your local store and try one out.
As with anything like this you’ve got to investigate what your looking at, make sure it will work on your system.
Read reviews, forums and other articles.
You’re always going to get conflicting views on this kind of thing so it’s best to way up the pros and cons.
And be sensible – do you really need it – do you need both the controller and the software?
Are you looking at just the interface? If so can you cope with just the light version of the software?
Answer these questions before you part with your cash.
Below are some examples of Guitar Rig Products available in the USA and UK
Complete Software Equipment to Produce High-end Guitar and Bass Tones
Treat your studio to the ultimate solution for creating perfect guitar and bass tones- at an unbeatable price. GUITAR RIG 3 Software Edition contains all the features and functionality of the GUITAR RIG 3 Kontrol Edition, with the exception of the Rig Kontrol foot pedal. Now featuring authentic emulations of 12 amps, 17 guitar and 6 bass cabinets, four rotary speakers, nine microphones and 44 effects – the multi award-winning guitar studio sets the tone for excellence.
* Twelve supreme-sounding guitar and bass amps, all perfectly emulated in stunning detail
* New matched cabinet module provides tried and true classic sounds in seconds
* 44 effects: meticulously modelled stomp boxes, distortion and volume pedals, as well as other popular units
* 18 guitar and six bass cabinets, four rotary speakers and nine microphones – all based on popular vintage gear
* Highly flexible, intuitive and easy-to-use “rack“ concept with drag & drop operation
* Intelligent preset management for fast access to a huge selection of ready-to-play sounds for all styles
* Essential tools: Integrated tuner, metronome and two tapedeck modules for easy recording
* Premium special features include a loop machine for on-the-fly jamming, plus modifiers such as LFOs, step sequencers, envelope followers and multi-step envelopes for dynamic signal modulation
* Dedicated “Live View”for instant parameter assignment overview
* Dynamic Tube Response Technology® delivers a profound sonic quality
If you are trying to Master your own tunes you will be wanting to know which effects to use and what order to use them in.
Truth is there is no set way to set up your mastering effects.
It’s all about your ears, does it sound right?
2 previous articles on this site.
Let’s look at mastering for the beginner.
Add a Limiter to your fx chain, typically the limiter will go at the end of you mastering fx chain.
Well it’s not a set in stone rule but if you’re trying to get your track to level out and increase the overall volume of your track a limiter or limiting effect will with a little care and good ears get this for you.
Some setups will include placing a compressor set at a low rate at the beginning of your fx chain.
What you place inbetween is down to choice, typically this is usually an EQ effect.
So a simple setup could be,
Compressor – EQ – Limiter.
That said removing the Compressor at the beginning is not out of the question.
If your track is well mixed and your eq is spot on then the EQ can be removed as well.
It’s about what suits.
Usually an EQ is added to lift a track in some parts(boost) or to remove problems(cut).
If you do boost – be gentle – if you find yourself having to correct too much then you need to look at your mix.
Using EQ a roll off around 40hz(link) can usually give you a bit more room for volume as the lower frequencies tend to take up much more room in your overall levels.
Other than that messing around with eq is again up to taste, but be careful with your boosts – whatever you boost has an effect elsewhere in the track – gentle boosts are a safer way of massaging your sound. If you find yourself doing more then you may have a problem in the mix.
Learning more about bandpass filters and types of eq is necessary – get your ears used to what happens to instruments and mixes when you apply eq – drastic and dramatic settings can be helpful to tune your ears but they will be often be damaging to your master – if in doubt leave it out.
Use eq for gentle lifts and cuts only.
—Adding Other FX—
There are many other Effects that can come into play when mastering,
Each of these effects have their own uses, the order in which you use them again is down to taste.
For example a Reverb before an EQ will be affected by the EQ so decide wether that is what you want.
Remember It’s all dependent on sound not so-called rules.
Imagine a big reverb going through a limiter – what will happen?
If you compress a high pass eq what happens?
Adding distortion into your mastering FX chain does exactly that – think about it.
Sometimes it can have a warming effect – too much and it will distort.
Be gentle but at the same time keep in mind what you want to achieve.
A good mix can be killed by bad mastering.
Start off simple, listen and learn.
1. Decide on the sound you want – will it be part of an album of songs?
2. If so that has a bearing on your mastering – eq’s have to match – your volumes will depend on the order/playlist of your music.
3. Take your time – bounce your mixes first – find the order of your songs – then listen on as many different types of stereo listening equipment as you can.
4. Were all the songs recorded around the same time/studio/equipment? Look at point no.2
5. Get a few commercial songs to A/B and Compare against – take notes – use analysis plugins – LISTEN!.
6. Take a few weeks off – don’t master straight away – yeah I know me neither but run a basic master off if you must – just to listen to – but then take a few weeks away – do something else and go back to it – if you have a few songs to record finish those off before you master any more.
Recently I’ve been checking out mini amps and doing audio reviews.
The following list is the equipment used when testing.
Studio Projects – C1 Condenser Microphone
t.bone SC-300 Session Master SCM 300 Condenser Microphone
Trakstar Pen Condenser Microphone
Joe Meek VC3 Compressor
AKG N62E PhantomPower Unit
Behringer Xenyx 1622FX
Fender 1990 Silver Series Squier Start – Black
Fender Mexican Telecaster w/seymour duncan bridge pickup – Cream/White
I like moto equipment and I like it’s ‘does what it says on the tin’ mentality.
I saw this advertised recently and liked the fact that it’s all included: Onboard effects make this worth the bucks.
MOTU UltraLite MKIII @ Dolphin Music £493
‘The Ultralite-mk3 is MOTU’s most compact and portable FireWire audio interface, featuring convenient bus powered operation, on-board mixing and effects, superb sound and reliable performance.
The UltraLite-mk3 provides flexible and mobile bus-powered operation, professional audio quality at samples rates up to 192 kHz and plenty of I/O, including two mic/instrument inputs, six line-level analog inputs, ten channels of analog output, stereo S/PDIF and a discrete stereo headphone output.
Housed in a rugged, compact enclosure you can take anywhere, the UltraLite-mk3 is equally well-suited for studio and stage, with or without a computer. As an interface or standalone mixer, the UltraLite-mk3 provides 10 separate inputs and 14 separate outputs.
Connect all of your studio gear, including microphones, guitars, synths, keyboards, drum machines, effects processors and even MIDI devices. Record, monitor, route and process all of these live inputs using the professional on-board CueMix FX digital mixer — with no latency and no processor strain on your computer. Apply hardware DSP-driven effects processing to inputs, outputs, and busses independent of your host computer. Add Classic Reverb™ with lengths up to 60 seconds. Further sculpt your sound with 7-band parametric EQ featuring filter types carefully modeled after British analog console EQs. Choose between two forms of compression: a conventional compressor and the Leveler™, an accurate model of the legendary LA-2A™ optical compressor that provides vintage, musical automatic gain control.
After programming the on-board mixing in the studio, unplug the UltraLite-mk3 from the computer and take it on the road for operation as a stand-alone mixer with effects. All mixing and effects parameters are adjustable using the front panel backlit LCD.
The UltraLite-mk3 provides cross-platform compatibility with Mac and Windows and all of your favorite audio software and host-based effects via WDM/ASIO/Core Audio drivers. Or you can use the included AudioDesk workstation software for Mac, with 24-bit recording/editing and 32-bit mixing/processing/mastering.’
There is a trap that we all fall into when we first start recording – we try and get everything louder.
Guitars are no exception.
So what can we do to get them to sit in the mix better and have a feeling of greater loudness.
Let’s look at compression on guitars.
Using distortion or overdrive can add a lot of energy to a guitar recording but be careful too much and you run the risk of killing it.
Don’t be fooled distortion does not necessarily increase volume and can have the opposite effect.
Sometimes a waspy guitar tone can sound thin and weak.
Pull back on the gain and double up on the recording – I tend to half the effect and double track that guitar part – pan left and right.
EQ can also be of immense use – if other instruments are fighting for the same space as your guitars the perceived volume and energy will be affected.
Carve your guitars out of the mix using EQ first and see if that works.
Also using a type of compressor like a limiter will also help push up the enegry levels.
Distorted guitar can be compressed quite a lot but be careful you can really crush a sound – if it’s a really driven sound you desire then go for it – remember it’s an effect and as such use your ears to determine wether it works in the mix.
Don’t solo the guitar – if you solo the guitar out of the mix you can’t get it to sit properly.
Soloing to listen to the effect working is fine but try to work on it within the mix as much as possible.
Always when mixing you’ve got to bear in mind the other instruments in the mix – vocals especially will disappear behind a badly mixed guitar and bass guitar will lose some of it’s impact if your guitars are not processed in a way to allow it to breathe in the mix.
Be aware of the space you want to create – the song you are recording is defined by it’s dynamics – don’t crush them out of your guitars.
If you want a big brash sound doubling up your guitars will work wonders, adding a limiter and calming the peaks and bringing up the volumes will work a treat but be careful not to take up space that other instruments need to occupy.
At the end of the day it’s a matter of taste and experimenting.
I believe in having a fixed guitar sound that you can alter, a goto sound for each occasion.
But I aslo believe in having a limited amount of resources when it comes to effects.
Find one effect unit or vst plugin for each process and use them until you’re comfortable.
Too many choices cloud the decision process.
If you’re new to the recording scene find yourself a limter, a compressor and an eq and get to grips with those before you move on.
All EQ’s, Compressors and Limiters have a sound of their own but they all pretty much work in a similar way. Learn to use one of each before you move on to getting other ones to experiment with.
M-Audio 2496 Audiophile Studio Sound Card Review
My favourite soundcard, simple and easy to set up. Never had a problem.
Open up PC find empty PCI slot insert start up pc and install software.
The thing is it’s that simple, latency is great and the signal is clear, dependent on incoming signal quality of course.
Used it with Sonar, Reaper, Audition and Wavelab with no problems.
Let’s face it as well at just under sixty notes it’s not too bad price wise.
So yeah these days USB and Firewire cards are all the rage but they take up desktop space.
If you’ve got a tower why not?
Well I suppose it’s downside is that if you only use PC based instruments and record with one mic at a time then a usb/firewire device is probably more desireable.
But then if you want more flexibilty and a mixing desk then the 2496 is just the job.
‘The Audiophile 2496 embodies a quantum leap in computer audio fidelity and performance unequalled by other audio cards in its price range. This critically acclaimed PCI card features premium digital audio converters, elegant board design and ultra-stable drivers just like the rest of the Delta line, but with a simpler I/O configuration.
As a member of the Delta family, the Audiophile 2496 supports all computer platforms and major software programs, ensuring seamless integration and rock-solid performance. See why the Audiophile 2496 is one of the best-selling digital audio cards in the industry.
“How does it sound? In a word, stunning. This has to be one of the best sounding cards we’ve had in for review…” — Computer Music’