New Apogee Quartet Recording Interface

Good news for all you Mac users out there.  Apogee just announced the debut of the Apogee Quartet, which offers four inputs on an interface that connects to any Mac via USB.  The Quartet is a desktop interface with controls on the top.  This is as opposed to the more common rack-mount interface units that have the controls on the front, like the M-Audio Fast Track and it's ilk.  Apogee have two other interface units in this category: the Apogee One and the Apogee Duet, which have one and two inputs, respectively.  Their other stalwart in the professional interface category is the Apogee Ensemble, which has 8 inputs (though the Ensemble is a rack-mount unit).  The Quartet will act as a sort of middle ground between the Duet and The Ensemble. Apogee is renowned for offering high-end … [Read more...]

How to Build a Home Recording Studio, Pt 3: Microphones and Interface

This is part 3 in our How to Build a Home Recording Studio series that shows you how to set up a computer-based studio capable of recording pro-quality audio. In part 2, we talked about how to prevent and/or reduce noise, which is the biggest enemy of great sounding audio. Today let's address step #2 of computer recording basics, the part where sound is converted to ones and zeros (digital audio) by a sound card or other type of interface. Quality of audio conversion (in this case, bad quality) is the main reason the $5 plastic PC mic going into a sound card is not the best idea for a studio set-up. The microphone is very limited in how accurate it can be since the components are small and cheap and tend to be oversensitive to certain sounds (p-pops and rumble and other low frequency … [Read more...]

New Home Recording Bundles: Rode and Pro Tools Vocal Studio

I just found out about some killer home recording studio bundles now available from B&H Pro Audio. Both use the Rode NT1-A large diaphragm condenser microphone, which is one of the most amazing vocal mics on the market for recording your voice.  And both of these bundles fall into my home studio classification of "configuration 2," which means they are standard XLR microphones that get plugged into an audio interface, which in turn gets plugged into a computer, via USB in this case. Mbox Mini Vocal Studio The Avid Mbox Mini Vocal Studio (the "mini" is for the product called the Mbox Mini) consists of the awesome Rode NT1-A large diaphragm condenser mic, along with the Rode shock mount and integrated pop-filter and 20-ft. mic cable; the Avid Mbox Mini audio interface with ProTools … [Read more...]

How Do I Set Up A Small Home Recording Studio?

I was just answering a question over at Yahoo! Answers.  The poster asked "How do I set up a small recording studio?"  This is such a frequently asked question that I wrote a 5-part series of articles to answer it over on the previous Home Brew Audio site.  To read that series, click here. But just as a quick answer to the question, I started by asking what the poster wanted to do with the studio.  If they want to do voice-over type stuff, such as narrations for videos, podcasts, radio and TV ads, eLearning etc.  If so, the small home recording studio can be quite small.  You can get very good sound from a decent audio interface such as the M-Audio Fast Track, and a large diaphragm condenser microphone such as a Audio-Technica AT2035.  Total cost for those two items totals about $150.  … [Read more...]

What is a Mic Preamp?

The term preamp, most often paired with the word microphone is something you'll see a lot if you do much reading about audio recording.  So what is a preamp?  Well first off, it's short for "preamplifier."  Second, yes - it is a thing that amplifies something before it goes to an amplifier.  I know, I know - more confusing terminology in the audio recording world.  Shocker.  That's one of the reasons I write these articles. OK, so what are they talking about when they say "microphone preamplifier" or "mic pre" for short?  Here it is.  Microphones put out really quiet levels.  But audio recorders (and other devices that ultimately amplify and send signals to speakers) need something a called a line level, which is quite a bit louder than mic level.  So you need a device to boost … [Read more...]