Intro to Recording Hardware (sticky?)


New member
Ok since there seems to be alot of confusion about computer based recording I thought I might be able to answer and clarify some questions before they get asked.

There are a few ways you can get your drums into your computer.
1. The best way is: you can run your mikes into an Audio Interface (like a FP10). This is a non-destructive way to get your tracks into your DAW(garageband, protools, whatever); in other words, once you record you can separately edit, apply processing and mix individual tracks. This is the preferred way of recording of almost everyone nowadays. Just plug your mikes into the AI, add phantom power as needed (for condensers), make sure your gain is not too hot but not too low, and hit record on your computer. Many AI's have direct monitor to headphones or you can listen to your computers mix where you can add your monitor with click track and other tracks.

2. Mixer based recording (destructive). All too often people buy mixers for computer based recording when it's not what they are looking for. Running a mixer means all your levels, your processing, and effects have to be perfect BEFORE they enter the computer since they get mixed down into one stereo analogue signal. Don't go throwing away your mixer just yet, it can be used for the actual mixing process which I'll go over later. Ok, so to record drums with a mixer, like I said above, you need to get everything perfect while keeping in mind that you can only edit the one mixed down track on your computer. Somewhere on your mixer there should be a "tape out" or something of the sort. It will probably be a stereo RCA. Next, find the audio input on your soundcard/motherboard (if there is one). It will most likely be a stereo 1/8" headphone style jack. You can pick up an adapter to go from RCA to 1/8" at Radioshack. Change your audio driver to "built in input" on your computer and make sure the gain isn't too hot.

3. Straight into a professional grade soundcard: There's some soundcards out there that you can buy (well not for Mac) that will function as an audio interface. They vary in technique but you usually get the least bang for your buck this way.

If you used an Audio Interface, you can:
1. Mix inside your DAW. Most, if not all software can mix your tracks even with automation.

2. For us old-school people who feel better with a fader in our hands instead of a mouse, you can use your mixer for the final mix process. You will have to have as many channels on your mixer as tracks on your project. If not, you can bounce within the DAW and mix down some similar tracks to one track. This approach allows for more natural "gain riding", where you mix as the song plays. First, run each output on your AI (if you can) to a dedicated input on your mixer. Next, take the tape output from your mixer and put it back into your computer. Your sound driver settings should be "input: built in, output audio interface". Play your song in your DAW while you have another program record the mixer output which is the final mix. I prefer to use Logic with the final mix in Peak. This way you can also use your mixers built in processing or run outboard gear. The output from the mixer could also go to any other recording medium such as tape.

If you used a mixer to record, well your drums and everything you recorded at the same time are already mixed. Without an audio interface you have to mix any individual tracks within your DAW

I hope this helps. Feel free to ask any questions here, but if I don't reply quickly just send me a PM.


New member
To start, and unfortunately my research was inadequate, I bought an MBox2 Pro for my Mac with the intention of recording my drum kit. I intended to continue to add on with a pre-amp or 2, then mics, and so forth, until I was equipped to record my kit. I found that AFTER the fact, further research told me that I wouldn't be able to link a pre-amp to my MBox non-destructively, or at all. What say on this?? Can I buy a pre-amp, hook it up to my mbox and go from there?? Or connect the preamp, via firewire, directly to the computer and it still work?? Did I COMPLETELY waste 600 bux on an Mbox2 Pro???
What do you recommend????????