Need to stop using my computer mini out for mixing?
I'm a "student film composer" and use mainly internal instruments/effects. Since I rarely record anything live (and if I do its only 2-tracks at a time max) I have decided to forgo the purchase of an audio interface and just use the mini out on my G5. I have been told that using the mini output is not the best option, as its conversion is not very good that makes everything sound more "mushy" when there are many parts playing back. I have experienced "mushiness" but I always thought it was my poor mixing skills!
Since my Dual 2.5 G5 has an optical output built in, I'm thinking it may be wise to get some form of D/A converter and no longer use the mini-out of my computer. I also have 3-4 external midi instruments that I occasionally use in projects (using them more and more thanks to realtime routing/effects in logic), but I'm currently routing them through a patch bay due to the fact I only have 2 inputs. This is a hassle if I want to use multiple external devices, as I have to bounce each track before I continue, but it can be done with some effort.
So, if you were in my situation, would it be best to purchase some form of audio interface, or go with some sort of D/A converter? Being a poor student, I really hate to waste money, and with technology moving so quickly I cant afford to "buy something I'll grow into." So what would you do in my situation? Buy an audio interface which will probably run on either PCI or FW (not utilizing the optical port on the G5 and thus using some CPU) for the wonderful connivence of hooking up external midi gear but not really for much live audio recording, or go for a simple product that will interface with the optical port on the G5?
I posted this topic at the apple logic forums and was suggested to try either the Mindprint Trio or an Echo PCI audio interface. Any other suggestions? My main need is to improve my monitoring chain through no longer using the computers built-in D/A converters while having the ability record at least 2 inputs at once, yet if the sound quality and price are comparable, more inputs would be desirable.
Whatever I end up choosing, I'll need to A-B it to hear how well it functions in my studio before coming to a final decision. What dealer offers the best policy for testing out gear in your own studio? I am located in the Los Angeles Area (30min north of Magic Mountain/Santa Clarita) if that helps.
I'm sorry to post a topic that is not directly related to sample libraries, but since this is a sample forum, I thought this would be a great place for advice. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR HELP AND REPLY!
Re: Need to stop using my computer mini out for mixing?
Thank you for your reply! I currently use passive Alesis Monitor One's with a QSC USA400 Power amp. Should I upgrade my monitors first or my D/A converter? I hear your system is only as good as its weakest link. What do you think is my weakest link?