Off-Topice: Muso-geek initiation ceremony


I’m currently undergoing the initiation ceremony to enter stage one of “muso-geekdom” -that is I’m upgrading my recording system on to computer.

So far I’ve been using an old Yamaha digital recorder, which even though it has a lot of geeky specs and functions, I’ve only used it in a basic capacity for recording instruments and vocals. I then have to burn the wav files on a CD using its CD burner, and put the files on to my cheap Acer laptop where I mix on the completely free audio software Audacity. I do have basic Sony software for touching up the finished song, a kind of ‘mastering’ if you will, before uploading my demos on to Soundcloud, Myspace and other sites.

So now I want to streamline the whole process with a recording interface that’ll connect to the computer, but I’ll probably have to get a new laptop because my current laptop is 4 years old using Vistas and I’m not confident it will work well with the latest recording products.

I’ve spent the last week or so scanning music recording forums, copying copious amounts of techy notes and articles about setting up a laptop recording system. Then I’ve analysed up to ten different audio interfaces for all the specs, functions and prices. (It’s a headache!)


 In one sense it’s not too complicated. I need to buy a laptop and an audio interface. It just gets complicated when you want to make sure that both will work together and have the specifications I’ll need (and used to on the Yamaha). Furthermore, you don’t want to fork out thousands to get a product with a glitch or compatibility issue.


After all that I think I’ve narrowed it down to two items -a Saffire USB interface and a Macbook Pro 13″. The main things I’m concerned about now are: noise from the computer’s fan (that is picked up on a sensitive condenser mic) and the latency (or delay) make it problematic to record over tracks I’ve already laid. I think the pro should be OK with the later problem, but I’ve found issues on forums with the Macbooks’s latest noisy fans. But those could be isolated incidents. Will see.


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