Music: Practice & Theory Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for musicians, students, and enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I would like to start recording my band practices. Current configuration is bass, guitar, and drums. I would like to record individual tracks to my computer so that we can add other parts, work on vocal lines, splice jams together in to full songs, etc. I figure that will require a mic for guitar, 3 for the drums, and mic or DI for the bass.

What I'm missing is the piece of hardware that sits between the mics and my computer. What do I need there? How do I evaluate different options? What affects sound quality? Do I need a built in mic pre-amp to mic up an amp? What am I not asking because I'm a recording n00b?

Also, I'd like to do this on a budget. We're not trying to cut a demo, but what are the trade offs associated with price? We're all good musicians with good ears, what should we avoid skimping on so that we don't just end up getting frustrated?

I cross posted to AV, as I wasn't sure where this really belonged.

share|improve this question
Or does this question really live on audio.SE? – yossarian Nov 15 '11 at 18:58
since you haven't mentioned any, I guess you're also missing the piece of software. – slim Nov 16 '11 at 9:14
@slim, I have reaper and audacity. I also see that a lot of these interfaces come with a DAW, so I wasn't really worried about that aspect. – yossarian Nov 16 '11 at 15:40
Not every DAW allows simultaneous recording from multiple inputs. I don't know which ones do -- it would be nice to know. – slim Nov 16 '11 at 15:42
@slim, really? Any that I've ever used do. Both Audacity and Reaper certainly support it. Maybe that's a restriction that companies put on their entry level DAWs? – yossarian Nov 16 '11 at 16:05

I think this would belong more on the audio site. However, what you're looking for is an audio interface. You can get them ranging from 1 to maybe 10 inputs, possibly more. As the number of inputs go up, so does the price, in a big way. Also, with mic's, you may get some bleed of other instruments into the mics unless you've got a really nice setup with a way to separate the musicians. I would imagine you would get more useful and specific advice to your situation on the though. Good luck!

share|improve this answer
This is a practice question so I think it does belong here. – JPM Jan 9 '12 at 18:13

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.