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Topic: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

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  1. #1

    Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Hey, guys.

    I suppose this is somewhat OT, but I've come to trust and respect your opinions here, so I just thought I'd ask my friends before I went elsewhere and asked strangers.

    This year will find me on the road a lot doing speaking gigs and workshops. I'm planning on dragging my Nuendo (and GPO!) equipped laptop on the road so that I can take a line out from the mixer and record the talks for future use. My laptop is a Windows 2000 PC, USB 1.0 equipped, so I'm looking for a USB audio interface that's capable of taking a stereo line level input or two and possibly a couple of mic inputs just to cover all possibilities. And anything else you guys think I may have overlooked for this application.

    My priorities are to keep it small (think carry on luggage only, i.e. something that'll fit in my laptop bag), keep it simple (no need for tons of i/o, bells and whistles that I don't need for this project) and keep it cheap. 44.1 / 16 bit resolution is fine - live speaking gigs don't exactly use studio quality mics and mixers.

    Anyway, I would greatly value your suggestions and experience on this. Oh, and just to keep it at least somewhat on topic, I'll be composing via GPO while on the plane to keep myself productive and entertained...

    I'm off to the TCC recording sessions. Thanks, guys!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Smile Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Hi Chris,
    You might want to look at the Tascam US-122. I've been using a Tascam US-428 (His big brother) for a year and a half and when I started using it, I only had USB 1.0 options so I know they work with it. I now have USB 2.0. Hope this helps.

    Eric.
    P.S. When do you think the second round of music will make it into TCC programming? Just wondering as I submitted a couple new things recently. Just wondering.

  3. #3

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    The Indigo IO (by Echo) is the smallest you'll find, and it sounds very good. It's a PCMCIA card solution. I think Gary has one, too. I also have an M-Audio Ozone (USB), which is a mini keyboard, midi interface, and audio I/O all at once. I liked it fine until I tried to record audio into it - I had some horrible digital overload dropouts in connection with Cubase SX2... which led to the indigo.

    Trond

  4. #4
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Gary and I have talked about this several times. He has some concrete setup suggestions for mobile laptop configurations that I think may apply quite nicely to your specific needs.
    Echo Mia and layla come to mind. You might research them more closely.
    Hope this helps.
    Styxx

  5. #5

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Hi Chris,

    I have a Tascam US-122. It's small, rugged constructon, a couple of line level inputs, and two mic preamps phanthom powered, and direct monitoring. It uses USB 1.0: It's enough for 2 channel data transmissions. The converters are high quality (to my needs, at least) 24 bit /48kHz.

    I'm very happy with it. It's worth having a look at it.

    http://www.tascam.com/Products/US-122.html

    Anton

  6. #6

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    So far it looks like the Tascam US-122 will fit the bill perfectly. It's also encouraging that it ships with a version of Cubase since I'll be using Nuendo, another Steinberg product. Price is also right.

    Thanks so much to all of you for your suggestions. It helps a lot!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  7. #7
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    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by dnortana
    The Indigo IO (by Echo) is the smallest you'll find, and it sounds very good. It's a PCMCIA card solution. I think Gary has one, too. I also have an M-Audio Ozone (USB), which is a mini keyboard, midi interface, and audio I/O all at once. I liked it fine until I tried to record audio into it - I had some horrible digital overload dropouts in connection with Cubase SX2... which led to the indigo.

    Trond
    The Echo Indigo is a very good card for notebook computers. I have used it at the NAMM, MENC, CES and various tradeshows demoing GPO and it worked without any problems.

    At CES I saw a new PCMCIA card being offered by Creative Labs. This Audigy card seems very similar to the Indigo and the list is about $129. Worth checking out.

    Gary Garritan

  8. #8

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    The Echo Indigo is a very good card for notebook computers. I have used it at the NAMM, MENC, CES and various tradeshows demoing GPO and it worked without any problems.

    At CES I saw a new PCMCIA card being offered by Creative Labs. This Audigy card seems very similar to the Indigo and the list is about $129. Worth checking out.

    Gary Garritan
    Hey, Gary.

    Glad to have you back. I went with the Tascam due to the USB interface since my PCMCIA slot is taken by my wireless adapter, and a couple of guys here were able to post good experience with it. The Indigo looks like a good, clean approach, though. Thanks!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


  9. #9

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    I second the vote for the Echo Indigo IO card.

    It's PCMCIA, so I just leave it plugged into my laptop at all times, even in the laptop case--it only juts out the computer about the width of my thumb, and has a volume control, and a jack for stereo/headphone out, and line-level stereo in.

    This way I don't have to deal with hooking up USB cables and a seperate piece of gear every time I want to listen to something or do a simple stereo line-level recording.

    When I want to record from mic-level, I just plug my little AudioBuddy preamp (2 mic/line ins -- $79 new, cheaper on Ebay) or a little Behringer mixer ($49 new for 8 channels including 2 mic preamps) into the stereo in. With the audibuddy I can record from a stereo mic, two separate MONO mics (panned L/R), or from from 1 line + 1 mic. With the behringer I can add various other inputs, including RCA.

    I'm looking into firewire/USB interfaces to do multitrack recordings, but they are more expensive and require more setup. For simple stereo or 2-track recording, the Indigo IO is perfect--small, requires no setup or cables, etc. Add a cheap preamp or mixer and you have a compact and versatile setup for small field-recordings. I'd highly recommend it.

    Before you go with the Tascam, I would ask around about your USB 1.0 compatibility--I'm not sure 1.0 is fast enough for reliable recording, but I could be wrong.

    good luck,
    chris.

  10. #10

    Re: Laptop audio interface recommendations?

    Hey, Chris.

    Appreciate the info, man. USB 1 should be fine for my needs. I'll only be recording a single track since it's for capturing my speaking gigs. I also wanted both line and mic level options because you never know what you're going to run into on the road. If I end up in a place where the sound guy can't / won't give me a feed, I can simply plug an SM57 in and still record the gig by miking the room. Not optimal, but still gives me reference stuff to work with. The 122 and 57 will both fit in my laptop bag, so I should be good to go.

    Thanks!
    Christopher Duncan
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Author of
    Unite the Tribes and The Career Programmer
    www.PracticalUSA.com


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