I am New to Home Recording. Please Be Gentle :)

Hi Kids. first, for accuracy, I did have a PC that was put together for me with an M-Audio Audiophile 2496, Windows XP and no Internet capability.
Foolishly I let my brother borrow it for some mad scientist experiment because he needed an old style PC with a motherboard that had PCI slots.

fast forward, he said he gave it back. he didn’t. I don’t have it anymore. my brother is an idiot. likely, so am I for loaning it to him

fast forward some more. I loved the computer, the sound card, and it had an older version of Cubase installed. anyway…I recently downloaded
what I thought was a free version of Reaper. it’s ok, I guess. but not really. Now I have Audacity which is light years nicer than Reaper in my opinion,
but no sound card, and Windows 10.

I had foolishly assumed that a “sort” modern PC would have a decent onboard sound card. but it’s pretty stoneaged. also no PCI slots, and the cost of a decent PCI express card is sometimes more than a USB interface. FINALLY my QUESTION(s) :slight_smile:

before I buy one, can anyone offer a recommendation? it’s just going to be me adding 1, 2, or possibly 3 guitar tracks to a project that a friend is working on. he does all the instruments and sings the demo and needs me to play some guitar, remotely these days. so, something really basic is all I need. one part at a time, and I anticipate 2 parts at the most for MOST demos or songs. what should I buy? ok, last question. how does the audio signal go from the usb interface INTO the PC? how does that work?

I apologize if this is a really DUMB question. but I really don’t know. thanks so very much!

how does the audio signal go from the usb interface INTO the PC?

Over the USB bus. :stuck_out_tongue: It’s bi-directional so you can play, record, and monitor. It’s essentially a upgraded USB soundcard with proper stage/studio mic inputs/preamps, and possibly guitar inputs and possibly multiple inputs, etc.

The main feature I’d look for (besides the number and type of inputs) is zero-latency direct-hardware monitoring. That way you can monitor yourself with headphones without the signal going through the computer with the associated latency (delay). Often, you can get the latency low enough that it’s not noticeable but that’s not always easy so IMO it’s best to completely avoid the problem.

and it had an older version of Cubase installed. anyway…I recently downloaded
what I thought was a free version of Reaper. it’s ok, I guess. but not really. Now I have Audacity which is light years nicer than Reaper in my opinion…
…it’s just going to be me adding 1, 2, or possibly 3 guitar tracks to a project

Audacity usually isn’t the best tool for multitrack recording/mixing. Most people can’t get multi-track recording to work. If you are only recording one (or two) track(s) at a time, Audacity is “OK” for multitrack mixing but it’s missing some features of a full DAW and it doesn’t have a master gain control so you really have to “watch your levels”.

thanks DVD Doug! so it does magically go back and forth via the USB bus? that’s great, and fantastically simple. thank you so much.

so, would maybe Reaper be better for adding 2 or 3 guitar parts to an existing pre mix project? for now, that’s all I want to try to do
with this particular PC. hopefully Reaper is ok. I downloaded that too. I don’t know many more decent free DAWS I can load into this boat anchor.

so a far as a USB audio interface goes, how “cheap” can I be? I need to be frugal because this is a spec project in hopes of drumming up demo business
for my midi crazed backing track friend and myself in light of the no gig quarantine in most of this city. thanks Doug!

Yes the workflow is different, but I’ve done a lot of multi-track projects with Audacity and in a lot of ways it is much easier than using a “full feature” DAW.

There’s a lot to choose from. If you’re looking for something that is relatively inexpensive, we’ve had generally positive reports about the Behringer UMC202HD, though I notice that prices seem to be much higher for these in the US than in Europe.

Reaper is probably a better choice if you are wanting to record multiple tracks at the same time. Reaper can use “ASIO”, and most multi-channel interfaces require ASIO for full functionality on Windows. Audacity does not ship with ASIO support due to licensing reasons.

If you are only going to record one or two channels at a time, then most mono / stereo interfaces will work fine with standard Windows drivers.

Thanks much for the recommendation Steve! and for the link to the manual. Yeah, I’ve done minimul tracking at my house. I have 2 friends that
do demos, and they before experience the chicken or feathers phenomenon. One guy plays well enough that he doesn’t really “need” me, the bugger.
the other guy, Ron, he plays ok, but would rather have me on guitar tracks. unfortunately he’s going thru a “feathers” phase and is drumming up new biz. and he lives too far away now to just go to his house and knock out some gittar tracks. so it goes :slight_smile:

thanks much!

hey, I didn’t see this post. yeah, I downloaded audacity, so I’m not sure about the ASIO. I will only ever be recording one
track at a time for this project and for the forseeable future. reckon a downloaded version of audacity will cut it?

and how bout this rascal for an interface? https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-u-phoria-umc22

that one review said it had no proper drivers available for itself on Windows 10. I wonder if that will be a bugaboo

I’ve not used one myself, but reviews seem decent. Quite similar to the UMC202HD but the (more expensive) UMC202HD has two microphone inputs.

yep, good reviews cept’ that one. the guy was on about the drivers and the bundled software. I looked, and drivers seem easy to find
and I don’t really need any more software. I could be in bidness :slight_smile:

thanks for your help Steve.

Almost all of these “little” USB interfaces are “class compliant” which means they are plug-and-play with the Microsoft-supplied drivers built-into Windows.

Behringer gives you a link to the 3rd-party “universal” ASI04ALL driver which allows regular Windows hardware/drivers to with an ASIO application. You don’t need that with Audacity since Audacity doesn’t support ASIO. …ASIO4ALL doesn’t work the other way around… If you only have ASIO drivers (a very rare situation) there is no way to use your hardware with Audacity or any non-ASIO application.

Some higher-end Behringer devices may come with special drivers (and maybe true-ASIO drivers also).

Sometimes you’ll get a “lite” version of a DAW with an interface, but I don’t think Behringer does that. And some come with special software that allows you to adjust the recording volume remotely from the computer or to adjust the headphone mix and things like that.

I’m pretty happy with my Behringer UM2. That’s it on the left.

It has direct monitor so you can listen to yourself mixed with the backing or rhythm track on headphones in real time. One XLR microphone and one “instrument” input. If you capture mono, it gives just the microphone.

It will produce 48 volt phantom power for condenser microphones that need it.

It’s certified for overdubbing and the only problem I ever had with it is the overload red light comes on slightly before Audacity actually overloads. So pay attention to the lights.

I think this is the cheapest you can get in this product line and still have enough features to get the work done.

Headphones are practically required and good, sealed against the head units are the way. Do you have headphones you like?

Doesn’t work with wireless. The sound has to come from the mixer inside the UM2 and it doesn’t support wireless. Wired only.


I’m Bill using Windows 10, yay rejoice and Audacity 2.x.x

To: kozikowski steve & DVD doug

Hey guys! sorry I was so long in replyingh to y’all. I finally got an interface. a Focusrite ScARLETT 2i2

things are still going slowly cause I have no idea what I’m doing. but a breakthu must be imminent. at least I assume so

so, a very Merry Christmas and a safe New Years to all you guys who replied to my thread and helped me out. cheers all!

peace :slight_smile:

Hi Bilmo2024. I am in the same position but have looked at a LOT of videos on this topic. I also have an old tower PC and was concerned that my more recent (but still old by now) notebook lacked the soundcards my DELL had with the jacks in the back. Apparently those old cards were not all that great although they seemed to be at the time. I am using Audacity to convert LPs using my analogue turntable. But I intend to buy an inexpensive Pre-Amp or Interface as input to Audacity or maybe another DAW where much of the initial work and connections can apparently be done. Go to YouTube and subscribe to this English woman’s channel at “Music Repo”. Her name is Jane and she has a ton of videos on all of this. There are lots of others broadcasting the same thing. Sounds like I also need music notation software for writing my own notes and playing them back. Probably need a good MIDI editor for this and apparently Audacity is not very good for that. So far the LP conversion is easy - again lots of videos on the topic - most say the same thing. Another Audacity guy - really good - is Josh Meyer on Youtube. Best of luck

Sounds like I also need music notation software for writing my own notes and playing them back…Probably need a good MIDI editor for this…

Correct. MIDI is machine control. It’s not sound. MIDI is a song in the same sense that printed music is a song. Also, in that same sense, you can’t start with a foreign musical performance and end up with either sheet music or MIDI.

Casting my mind way back, I’m pretty sure my old Yamaha MIDI keyboard and computer setup could translate between MIDI and sheet music. It’s not that big a stretch to translate between “Press Key Number 49” and “Press A above Middle C.”

I remember the high point of my day was playing a MIDI song on the wrong instrument.


by kozikowski » Thu Dec 24, 2020 6:59 pm

Hi Kozikowski? Bill here! how goes it. my great friend who wants me to be part of his recoding band, and original material band gave me
a couple of toys that are somewhat outdated compared to what he now has with is DAW. but they’re Christmas presents to me :slight_smile:

the idea is to find one more player, a bassist, and we’ll start working. no bars, etc… but we’ll work at Alvins house writing songs or possibly
instrumentals and recording them.

this is gonna be fun! the reason he gave me the toys is so that I can record on my own rather OLD PC. and just demo guitar parts onto exsisting tracks
for clients, for varying amount of money per song. like a sideline

the original song/recording only, stay out of the bars band is the main project, and my friend Alvin has everyhing he needs, except a bassist.

what I have here at home is an old Dell computer with Windows 10, and Audacity 2.xx. the first new toy is a Scarlett 212 3rd release. I could NOT m,ke it work with this computer.

so he gave me a Roland Edirol Firewire Audio Capture FA 66 ti try, but he forgot to give me the cord, and I’m not sure he has one this is old
stuff to AJ, but brand new to me.

in your opinion, which interface would be easier to use? I don’t think the computer has firewire, so that’s a non starter. the Scarlett 212
is a USB unit, but it din’t work. the computer did not recognizr it. bottom line…

do I need a new computer? the PC I have was also given to me (I’m a stasrving musician with very nice friends) so buying a new PC
is not a bad idea at all. but what should it be decked out with? does anyone else still use firewire? would it be worth having it installed on
this PC or even a new build? Thank for any feedback.

I’m fumbling around in the dark waiting to put some guitat parts on some songs, and am stuck in nuetral thanks for any and all
advice! Peace!

Roland Edirol Firewire Audio Capture FA 66 ti

It’s not a cable. The FireWire type connection is typically found on early Macs. You can get a firewire card for your PC so you can plug FireWire things into it. I’ve done that. But you have to be comfortable ripping into your computer. If you’re on really good terms with the technical angels, you can do video production on a Mac with a FireWire connection.

People are not running to your rescue because you hit the “sour spot.” “I’m a Starving Artist with limited technical abilities and people are giving me respectable but incompatible equipment to plug into my older computer. What should I do?”

Make really good friends with a techie who needs music for his jobs.


People are not running to your rescue because you hit the “sour spot.” “I’m a Starving Artist with limited technical abilities and people are giving me respectable but incompatible equipment to plug into my older computer. What should I do?”<<<

so I come across like a bit of a pillock? yikes, I didn’t mean to do that. I really am a good player. I just never took the time to get a knack for the
technical aspects. I really should have done so. I always used to just go to a friends place and play, and they would record.

well, thanks :slight_smile:

I’ll go and start searching youtube tutorials. thanks for the honest advice Koz. Cheers!

[looking up “pillock”]

No, but this is an all-volunteer army with the idea of getting Audacity running. It’s totally possible someone is going to pop up and guide you through the mysteries of computer operation. It’s a forum and the official idea is people with similar problems and complementary talents can help each other along. But that can take weeks not an hour or two.

You may occasionally see someone stunned at the response time. Active elves over 9 time zones, etc. etc. They’re accustomed to normal forum operation. So you’re in the same group as the people with highly customized systems using non-standard devices in a unique way. We can wait for someone with the same system to check in and work with you.

There is one odd advantage of a very active forum. Have you noticed there are no adverts to increase the size of your manhood, pave a driveway in Russia, or help you buy kitchen cabinets in Manchester? I’ve never seen an advert to help me increase the size of my kitchen cabinet. There may be an opportunity there.


I’ve quickly scanned through this topic and I understand that you want to record your part along with recordings sent to you by your friend.
I didn’t see what your part is - rhythm guitar? lead guitar? vocals? bass?
Do you have a microphone? If so, what sort?
Do you have headphones? If so, what sort?

well, “pillock” is simply an old british slang term that on a good day could be translated as “nitwit” for us 'Muricans :slight_smile:

I was not taking my ball and going home! Nay, there is much to be learned here, starting with this brief exchange of thoughts and ideas

your point is well taken concerning the the point of, and purpose for the forum. maybe I was being unintentionally lazy. there must be other
discussions that focus more on various bells and whistles, like audio interface devices. in this case, none of the ones I have seem to work with this
particular PC, and so I haven’t even had the chance to get confused about Audacity yet. it looks pretty neat to me :slight_smile:

I’m not going anywhere Koz, and I think msybe I need to take care and phrase my posts a bit more specifically. And yes, thanks ever so for the
opportunity to NOT increase the girth of my kitchen cabinets. to sau “they’re fine the way they are” would be a lie. my cabs need a much more tried and true technology known as a bulldozer, no advertisements required :mrgreen: