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Audio interfaces

Caseeno8

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I'm Chris, a new member from Pa. Are any audio interfaces geared towards the accordion? Or can I just pick one like the FocusRite Scarlett which seems to be really popular. I bought a USB mic to record into Bandlab but I am being talked into getting a budget audio interface. Totally new to all this but really just want to record my playing and be able to play it back and send my recording as an mp3 through email for critique. Any help is appreciated. I've got a full size Pancordion

Thanks.
Chris
 

JerryPH

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There is no such thing as an audio interface geared for an accordion, the first and most important factor is your budget. The more you pay, the higher dynamic range, the greater gain and lower noise you get.

That said, this is a nice time to be an accordionist that wants to record, you can get some fairly decent audio interfaces for fairly reasonable prices. The low end starts with ones from Behringer, midrange ones come from Focusrite and upper ones come from names like Antelop, Audient, etc.

I have a bit of a small home studio and currently have 2 audio interfaces, one that is portable and one that's more of a true full size mixer.

My first one is a Zoom F4, made mainly for cinematic purposes, it is a 6-input unit that can record at up to 256k (massive overkill for us), but is amazingly low noise and has a ton of gain and can be AA-battery powered as well as 12-volt or mains powered..
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My second one is a Mackie 1640i 16-channel mixer that is a true 16 channel in and 16-channel out Firewire audio interface that can literally record 16 channels all at once in to a DAW and is a really nice mixer with very low latency (think single digit latency). It's claim to fame is that its super clean and when plugged in to a computer, you can use VST plug-ins to augment the sound coming in and/or out.

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What will have greater impact is if you want to record an acoustic accordion is choice of microphone... that's a world all unto it's own. :)

If I had to choose budget equipment but NOT want budget sound, I'd get something like a Behringer U-PHORIA UMC202HD, 2-Channel a pair of mic stands, 2 XLR cables and a pair of Neewer NW-410 mics. Shopping carefully you are easily under $300 and to get better results you would have to spend upwards of $600US to improve on it.

I own the Neewer NW-410 mics and they're not only cute, but really sound good for a pair of mics with 3 different exchangeable heads. They are condenser mics, so they must be powered by phantom power.
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I also own a pair of super cheap Newer NW-800 mics that go for $20 each, and though nowhere near as good as the 410's are the best super tiny budget mics on the market.

Of course I also own a matched pair of SE Electronics sE4400a mics but they are not budget mics. At $1100US these are one of those little known gems in the audio recording world that have a sound capturing ability that if you want better, need to spend 3 times more. A very neutral sound.

Buy 2 mics, you want a stereo image... the 1940's mono sound is out, unless you want that kind of result of course! :)


 
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jozz

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Focusrite Scarlett will get that job done

I have the first gen, and bedroom record both my digital and my acoustic through it, no problems. You will hit room acoustic problems, before you hit preamp limitations.

Would be interested to know what the new 'Air' button does to accordion sound on the current gen Scarlett's.

NB. A USB mic is probably more practical though....just saying
 

NickC

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How do the recordings sound with just the USB mic? Does it work for you purposes? The good thing about the interface is that you can set up multiple mics to capture the right and left hand. If you are sending to a teacher for critique, it might be nice to have a more detailed sound.

I recently got back into computer audio, and it's amazing what is available. Like Jerry said, there is something for every budget. I keep making small, but noticeable upgrades to my gear. Right now, I am mostly multi-tracking to make arrangements to send out to other musicians for live gigs. But, I'm learning a lot in the process and think that one day, I'll be able to record a group for demo purposes.
 

JeffJetton

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I bought a USB mic to record into Bandlab but I am being talked into getting a budget audio interface. Totally new to all this but really just want to record my playing and be able to play it back and send my recording as an mp3 through email for critique.

If your main goal is merely to be able to listen back to what you're playing and to send to someone else, for learning/instruction purposes, then a USB mic will certainly fit the bill.

Heck, the built-in mic on your phone or laptop would work just fine for this, to be honest. Using a decent standalone USB mic would be a step up from that already.

Getting a standalone audio interface and presumably one or more regular (non-USB) mics to go with it would be fun, but IMO it's overkill for this purpose. You're wanting the accordion version of dictation, not voice-over work.
 

jozz

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Agreed with @JeffJetton

For me personally,
Fast multitracking with monitoring is one reason I have the Scarlett. A physical dry/wet knob on the unit for playback vs. monitor level is very nice to have for flexible sessions with other people. A real step-up from recording out of USB-mic and fiddling with all the software controls. But I guess there are modern mic's that offer similar stuff nowadays...?

Then the fact that the Scarlett is bus-powered, makes it only a tad more cumbersome than a USB-mic on itself.

But if you are the only one recording, then I'd probably use a USB-mic plain and simple.
 

Caseeno8

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Thanks for all the info. Since I already have the USB mic I'm going dabble with it and see how it goes. If I enjoy the whole music making process then I will get some more serious equipment.

Thanks
Chris
 

NigelB

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I have the Audient ID14 and I find it to be excellent for the price and well regarded among the engineering snobs I know.
 

JerryPH

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Thanks for all the info. Since I already have the USB mic I'm going dabble with it and see how it goes. If I enjoy the whole music making process then I will get some more serious equipment.
I very much like the concept of using what you have until you find it doesn't serve your needs anymore and replacing it with something that does. :)
 

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