Which interface?

Hi all.
I’m new to the forum and to recording really, I’m looking for a simple way to recording a couple of guitars and mics tracks, I have two condenser mics and both guitars have transducers too. I’m thinking of maybe doing ‘live’ recordings. I do have a desk but realise that may introduce some noise, is there an interface with up to four inputs? Will audacity record four inputs on separate tracks at once or is it a one at a time job?
I have looked on fleabay for used audio interfaces, but there are so many options! Can anyone recommend a reliable, easy to use second hand buy? I don’t want to spend a fortune at this point, but if I get the bug I’d be happy to upgrade later.
Many many thanks for your help.

version 2.1.3, windows 10, dell laptop E6230 core i5

I can’t make a specific recommendation…

Yes, there are lots of [u]USB Audio Interfaces[/u] with multiple inputs for multitrack recording. Prices vary a LOT… There are 2-channel interfaces that cost more than some 8-channel interfaces.

It might be worth getting a couple more inputs than you currently think you need.

Make sure to look for one that has at least 2 guitar/instrument inputs. (Most instrument inputs will be switchable between instrument and mic, and sometimes line.)

I do have a desk but realise that may introduce some noise

I guess you mean an audio mixer? With a mixer, you’re loosing the ability to multitrack. (Note that most “USB mixers” send the stereo mix to the USB bus so they can’t be used for multitrack recording either.)

The mixer’s preamps won’t necessarily introduce any more noise than the preamps in the interface. Most modern preamps are pretty good and usually the worst source of noise is acoustic noise (especially if you don’t have a soundproof studio) and noise from the guitar pickups.

The mixer could be useful for monitoring (by using splitters to feed the mixer and interface at the same time, or by plugging the interface into the channel-sends if the mixer has them). Monitoring through the computer introduces latency (delay) and although it can often be brought-down to an acceptable amount it’s better if you don’t monitor through the computer.

Many interfaces have zero-latency hardware-monitoring (where the monitoring path doesn’t go through the computer) and that’s a good feature to have.

Will audacity record four inputs on separate tracks at once

It’s possible to do [u]multitrack recording in Aucacity[/u], but I don’t think it’s recommended. (I’ve never done it.) It’s better to use a [u]DAW[/u] application (Digital Audio Workstation). They are designed for multitrack recording, editing, and mixing.

second hand buy?

Make sure it has Windows 10 drivers.

The problem with live mixing is you can’t ever make a mistake. Audacity can’t take a mixed show apart into individual instruments and voices so you can correct that one guitar fluff. You reshoot the whole thing.

Overdubbing gives you total control of each instrument and voice.

And you can do that with one microphone and USB interface. No mixer needed.


Thank you for a very comprehensive reply. I appreciate your time.
So you are saying you perhaps think simultaneous multitrack recording might be problematic? Is that due to audacity itself? I had thought of recording all four inputs onto four separate tracks simultaneously to capture the spontaneity, and then remixing and adding to that. But I’m probably getting ahead of myself! That’s a big ask for a complete newbie.
I see you say “It’s better to use a DAW application (Digital Audio Workstation). They are designed for multitrack recording, editing, and mixing.”

What is the difference between a DAW and Audacity? (I thought Audacity was a DAW) I’m not really sure how they fit together. Sorry, do I need both?

Sorry Koz, I got out of step with the posts there.
You are absolutely right, and what little experience I’ve had with audacity has shown it to be a great little tool. I have a sort-of interface already, it’s a Jamvox, which works well enough but doesn’t have phantom power capability.
Is there a simple interface with phantom power, windows 10 driver availability, and works well with audacity? Preferably one which will be available as a used buy?

(Jamvox also has a recording option, but it’s very limited)

Hi, perhaps someone can give a definitive answer to this, as there is much conflicting advice on the net.

Will a tascam us122 work on windows 10 with the workaround of using compatibility mode?


For a definitive answer about the Tascam US122, you should ask Tascam http://tascam.com/contact/
You are welcome to post back here when you have a definitive answer.

Thanks Steve, I have looked at their site already, but Tascam simply say “we do not support this driver for windows 10, we have not tried this combination and therefore cannot comment on compatibility” (or words to that effect). Often these things do work regardless but you don’t know till you try.

I just thought there is a very good chance someone on here will have this very piece of kit and tried to make it work with windows 10. I can get one at a very good price and know the brand well, where I have no knowledge of many of the other brands. But it’s an old piece of kit I know, but might be worth a punt.

That then is the ‘definitive’ answer : it may work, but not guaranteed.

Unfortunately, even if it does work on one person’s Windows 10 machine, that does not guarantee that it will work on another Windows 10 machine.

Yes that’s true, but often unsupported drivers will provide basic playback, and then be very buggy if you require more than basic playback.
Note that because drivers interface closely with the system core, bad drivers can crash the entire operating system, not just crash the program that is using the device.

Looking at the question another way; we occasionally hear from people that suffer from their computer crashing when using Audacity, In every such case it has been because they were using unsupported drivers.

Hi all.

Well it’s only right that I should update the thread.

On my laptop at least, using the drivers for xp/vista and installing them in compatibility mode for vista service pack 1, the Tascam us122 is working flawlessly so far under windows 10 (64 bit). TBH I haven’t tried MIDI but line inputs, Mics and 48V phantom power are all working, and it sounds superb. No crashes yet. If it does give any problems I’ll report back I promise.

I have recently bought my first external sound card. I came across this: 9 Best Audio Interfaces under $200 (Guide) - GlobalDJsGuide and went for the Tascam us122 as well. I’m recording only vocals but so far has been a great purchase. Cheers.