What sort of music equipment should I get for my brother?
March 17, 2008 8:30 AM   Subscribe

What piece of music equipment should I get for my brother's birthday? Are there really only certain types of interfaces compatible with Pro Tools?

My brother mostly plays drums and guitar, but is also proficient on the bass and keys. He's in a few bands. He has an electronic drumset, an Epiphone Les Paul 100 electric guitar, a Boss ME 50 guitar pedal, and recently got a MacBook, installing Pro Tools there. He has a small amp for his electric guitar, and a larger one for his drumset.

Right now, he also has a Wharfedale Pro R-1604 mixer which he connects to a Line 6 Toneport UX1. This isn't really ideal for recording his bands' music, since all the instruments wind up on one track when he records. There's also some lag.

I know he has been wanting an analog Firewire interface for some time (e.g. something like this Alesis Multimix). Basically, he wants the speed and simultaneous multi-track recording capabilities afforded by Firewire, coupled with the more tactile option of mixing his bands' music through the analog controls.

1) Are there specific audio interfaces meant to be used with Pro Tools? If I ever get him something like that Alesis mixer, will he be able to use that with Pro Tools?

2) Can you recommend any audio interfaces (that would work well with Pro Tools) I could get him?

3) I'm not sure I can even afford to get him a firewire mixer. (Unless I buy him a gift certificate from MusiciansFriend and let him fork out the rest?) Are there other music-recording-gear alternatives you can think of, based on what he already has and the type of music he wants to do? Or just music-equipment alternatives?

(I have some music equipment as well, which he shares when I live with him. But most of this equipment goes where/when I go. It includes some microphones (two cheap condensers and an SM57) and an M-Audio 410 Firewire mixer (which he doesn't think ideal for recording band-type music, anyway)...)

Your help is much appreciated!
posted by aielen to Media & Arts (4 answers total)
Protools requires some variant of the Mbox. The Mbox Pro has better quality sound.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:42 AM on March 17, 2008

Best answer: 1) There are three versions of Pro Tools - HD, LE and M-Powered. I'm familiar with HD and LE but have never used M-Powered.

HD has the most features and is the most expensive. It also requires PCI slots. LE has less features and connects via FW or USB. M-Powered has most of the features of LE and uses M-Audio interfaces.

Pro Tools software requires Digidesign hardware. I don't think the Alesis mixer will work.

2) I'd say a 002/003. Those are the Firewire versions, and have 8 inputs, upgradeable to 16. MBox, Mbox Pro, etc are the USB versions, and have at most 2 simultaneous inputs. the 002 is the older version of the Firewire interface, and can be purchased used. Make sure to check out the compatibility requirements at Digidesign's website to make sure that his computer and hard drives will work with Pro Tools.

3) Last time i looked, a used 002 was about $900 or so. How big is your budget? (there's one on craigslist nyc for $850 now, actually.)

I'd say get him the gift certificate and let him get the gear he thinks he needs.
posted by dubold at 10:05 AM on March 17, 2008

If he likes his TonePort, the fairly new TonePOrt UX8 will let him record eight channels at a time, to different tracks (assuming his recording software supports that).
posted by wheat at 12:02 PM on March 17, 2008

*TonePort (not TonePOrt)
posted by wheat at 12:03 PM on March 17, 2008

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