Which entry-level digital recording setup should I get?
January 2, 2006 2:07 PM   Subscribe

On my Win XP Media Ctr Ed. PC, should I go with the Lexicon Omega with Cubase LE or with a Digidesign MBox with ProTools LE?

So, I'm looking to make the transition from separate self-contained digital 8-track recorder to computer-based 21st century digital recording. I've done a lot of recording in a friend's big ProTools-based studio, so I'm familiar more or less with the way it all works.

My PC, aside from being a lean, mean machine with more than enough oomph to run ProTools or Cubase, runs on XP Media Center Edition. That OS apparently has some incompatibility issues with ProTools LE, which may or may not have been ironed out yet by DigiDesign. I'm led to believe that Cubase LE doesn't have those incompatibilities.

My current recording goals are:

1. Do some modest home recording, but I don't need to record more than two tracks at once. I have some decent condenser mics that need phantom power, a ton of guitar crap, including preamps, and an old synth.

2. I want to be able to share my sessions with my pro recording friends, so they can add the live drums, orchestration, whatnot in their big studios -- their studios are all ProTools systems, AFAIK.

3. I don't want to break the (very small) bank. I don't want to buy a new computer, or get a new OS. I will get a dedicated hard drive for recording.

Which should I get? If I run Cubase LE instead of ProTools, will I still be able to share sessions with my big-studio ProTools friends? Will either or neither work with my dumb operating system?

Any pros/cons I should be aware of?
posted by JekPorkins to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
 
Hm... the XP issues are the kicker here, I'd say. I'm a pro user of Cubase, but from your description I'd say you're much better off going down the ProTools / MBox route. The mic inputs on the Mbox sound nice to me, and it's quite flexible with regards to monitoring.

If most of your potential collaborators are already using ProTools, then yes, using Cubase would cause some problems. There is the option of using OMF, but I'm fairly certain that you'd need to upgrade to at least Cubase SL (at not inconsiderable cost) to get OMF import / export.

Another option perhaps would be ProTools M-Powered - a version of ProTools that works with most M-Audio cards and external interfaces. Perhaps worth a look if you're after another alternative.
posted by coach_mcguirk at 3:21 PM on January 2, 2006


Other options are certainly competetive with Digidesign offereings, but what mcguirk said: if your collaborators are using ProTools, your life will be considerably easier if you do too.

If Media Center interferes, and there's features you want to use, how about making your system dual-boot?
posted by weston at 3:57 PM on January 2, 2006


Response by poster: Great advice! Thanks!
posted by JekPorkins at 5:43 PM on January 2, 2006


Oh God! I hope I am not too late!

DO NOT GET THE LEXICON OMEGA! It is low quality and Lexicon plans on phasing it out soon! If anything, check out the Focusrite Sapphire or Presonus Firebox.

Pro Tools is great, but there are A LOT of headaches associated with Digidesign's whole philosophy and business plan. Expect to be ignored if you have any problems. And spanking new M-Powered isn't all it's cracked up to be since there are some very serious issues with how it works with "real" Pro Tools systems.

And your problem with Pro Tools is probably because you are running a 915 chipset which Digidesign is fully aware of, but refuses to fix.

As long as you have a DAW program that exports OMF, you should have no problems working with any real studio that has Digi Translator on their Pro Tools rig. If they are a real Pro Tools studio, they will have Digi Translator.

I run both Pro Tools LE 6.9 (via MBox) and Cubase SX3 (via RME Fireface 800). I am WAY happier with the latter Firewire setup.

JMHO.
posted by roguescout at 3:26 AM on February 19, 2006


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