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Home Recording Gear: Audio Interface

Audio Interfaces If your only requirement is recording harmonica into your computer, all you may need is a USB microphone and recording software. But, if you'd like to use quality studio microphones (XLR connectors) as well as record line-level instruments like guitar and keyboard (1/4" phone jack), you will want a USB or Firewire audio interface to connect to your computer. If you choose to use a condenser type microphone to record with, you will need an interface or small mixer that comes with mic pre-amps (Phantom Power) to power it.

ART Tube MP Project Series USB Audio Interface ART Tube MP Project Series Tube Microphone/Instrument Preamp- "With the ART Tube MP Project Series USB Preamp and Audio Interface you get professional results from a single-channel mic, instrument, and line level preamp with limiter. This ART professional microphone and instrument tube preamplifier can serve as a simple front-end for your computer DAW or standalone recorder. The front end features an ultra low-noise, discrete microphone preamp with an extremely flat and wide frequency response to give you a very clean and neutral sound with a wide variety of signal levels. The high-impedance instrument input is optimized for guitar pickups, and both the XLR and 1/4" input levels are monitored via a precision LED level meter. A high-quality 12AX7A tube inside adds warmth and musical dynamics."Our thoughts: This pre-amp with USB output will allow you to use any standard XLR or 1/4" phone jack microphone to record to your Mac or Windows computer.
Alesis MultiMix 8USB Mixer with USB and DSP Alesis MultiMix 8USB Mixer with USB and DSP- "The The Alesis MultiMix 8USB Mixer with USB and DSP is a compact 8-channel desk. It combines studio-quality components and effects processing with solid construction and a sweet price. USB port adds computer connectivity for plug-and-play Mac and PC operation. Equipped with 4 high-gain mic/line (XLR and 1/4" balanced) inputs with phantom power, 2 stereo balanced 1/4" line inputs, plus 100 onboard preset effects including reverbs, delays, chorus, flanging, pitch, and multi-effects. A USB port facilitates allows direct computer connection. Other I/Os include 2 aux sends (Aux 1 is pre/post switchable, Aux 2 is post and can send to onboard or external effects), 2 stereo aux returns, 2-track stereo RCA I/O, separate 1/4" balanced main and monitor and headphone outs,. Other features include separate pan/balance, listen/solo in place, mute/bus, and 3-band EQ per channel with high/low shelving and mid bandpass/reject."
Alesis io 26 Audio MIDI 24-bit 192kHz FireWire Interface Alesis io 26 Audio MIDI 24-bit 192kHz FireWire Interface- "Utilizing DICE II FireWire technology for big bandwidth, fast signal handling, and lots of digital headroom, the Alesis io|26 is a professional level computer recording interface in an easy-to-use tabletop design. You get 8 analog channels and 18 digital channels; Alesis high definition microphone preamps; Cirrus audiophile converters and jitter elimination technology; and high quality 24-bit/192kHz audio conversion circuitry."
PreSonus FireBox 24-bit/96kHz FireWire Recording System PreSonus FireBox 24-bit/96kHz FireWire Recording System- "The PreSonus FireBox is a 24-bit/96kHz FireWire Recording System with a 6-in, 10-out computer recording interface that fits in the palm of your hand. It boasts 2 crystal-clear Class A preamps with 45dB gain, ultra-wide 10Hz-50kHz frequency response, and professional 24-bit/96kHz converters with 110dB dynamic range for a big, musical sound.It has 2 mic/instrument preamps with 48V phantom power conveniently located on the front panel. On the back you'll find 2 balanced TRS line inputs, 6 balanced TRS analog outs, MIDI I/O, and S/PDIF I/O. You can record through 6 inputs and playback through 8 outputs simultaneously. It also has a stereo headphone output and the main volume control on the front panel."
Alesis io 26 Audio MIDI 24-bit 192kHz FireWire Interface Alesis MultiMix 8 FireWire Podcasting Kit- "The easy-to-use Alesis FireWire podcasting kit includes an 8-Channel Firewire Mixer, dynamic microphone, desktop microphone stand, mic cable, headphones, carrying case and Cubase LE recording software - everything that you need for professional recordings of your podcasts. The MultiMix Firewire Mixer can send up to 8 tracks of audio simultaneously to your computer, allowing you to have discrete audio tracks to mix in your Cubase LE software. The Alesis Podcasting kit also comes with 30 days of free podcast hosting on www.alesispodcast.com. This provides the novice, as well as professional, podcaster an easy-to-use solution for hosting and promoting podcasts. During your 30 day free trail you can post up to 500Mb of Podcast episodes with unlimited bandwidth!"
Alesis io 26 Audio MIDI 24-bit 192kHz FireWire Interface PreSonus FireStudio FireWire Recording Interface- "The FireStudio from PreSonus is an 24-in/24-out FireWire recording interface loaded with 8 of PreSonus' acclaimed mic preamps. It has MIDI, S/PDIF, word clock, and ADAT (dual SMUX) I/O plus a 36x18 DSP matrix routing mixer. Firestudio also gives you up to 26 simultaneous inputs and outputs. Combined with the speaker volume and mix control of the optional Monitor Station Remote (MSR), it gives your studio advanced digital capabilities."
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