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Home recording: perfect topic to spend a lot of time with techniques, enthusiasts and fools like me. After some research I ended up with a lot of information but without a clue.

We will use 6 microphones (3x vocal, 2x guitar and 1x cajon).

What will be a good set to produce a good record quality? I strongly believe that microphones with a flat frequency response should be chosen.

What is a good audio interface?

Mixer... some music studios use software mixer - is this a good and a useful issue, or is it better to use a hardware mixer?

How to connect microphone, interface and mixer?

If I have done the recording, how can I connect the mixer with the audio interface, because if I play the record on the PC I should can change the sound by the hardware mixer.

Microphone 1 --|
Microphone n --|--(each Mic. separate)--> Mixer--(each Mic. separate or FireWire or USB)--> Interface--(FireWire or USB)--> Computer/Software
Microphone 6 --|



Microphone 1 --|
Microphone n --|--(each Mic. separate)--> Interface--(one wire)--> Mixer--(FireWire or USB)--> Computer/Software
Microphone 6 --|


Which combination will be a better choice?

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    Ideally, you want to be able to record all 6 mikes as separate audio tracks, and then mix them later as required. Any "digital audio workstation" software will do the mixing part once you have the 6 channels recorded, so you might as well start with some free software like Reaper. You need an audio interface to record all 6 channels at once - but advice on specific products (mikes as we;; as an interface) is off topic on this forum. I don't see much advantage in an external mixer compared with an interface, unless you plan to work without a PC - e.g. live performance. – user19146 Jul 23 '17 at 0:34
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    The interface would never go between the microphones and the mixer like in the second setup. In fact, you don't need both a mixer and an interface. Either the mixer is an interface also, or the interface is also a mixer. Personally I go with an interface that can also do some basic mixing. The software handles all the mixing done after the recording process is over. Also, "what is a good audio interface?" is off-topic here. – Todd Wilcox Jul 23 '17 at 1:32
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For home recording (at a reasonable price) I personally would go with recording onto your computer into a piece of digital audio workstation (DAW) software via a sound card. The choice of DAW and sound card are entirely your choice and largely down to taste, but a good starting point might be Ardour (DAW, open source) and a focusrite sound card as they are popular. The soundc ard will connect to the computer and communicate with the DAW via USB, or similar. You can plug the microphones into the sound card directly, generally speaking, but some microphones may require an additional preamplifier.

The DAW will allow you to record in layers so you will not need 6 microphones all at once if the musicians can play separately while still sounding natural: Record percussion first, followed by guitars, then vocals. This will minimize both the number of microphones you need and the cost of the soundcard, as they often become more expensive when you have more XLR inputs. If you would rather capture the musicians playing together then you can still use the computer/DAW approach, but you will need more mics.

After recoding, you can do the mixing in the DAW software without the need for additional and expensive electronics. There are a lot of different versions of each effect/equalization that you might want to choose, so try lots of them and see which you prefer.

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Good recording equipment tends to be on the expensive side... Your question title talks about 4 microphones, your body about 6. Usually the most you get in one reasonable piece of equipment are 8 microphone inputs.

Now there are basically 2 approaches for recording in one take: have equipment useful for creating live mixes, or not. Equipment useful for live mixes is either an analog mixer or a soundcard with internal mixer which you control with a digital controller. The latter has the advantage that you can record the live mix settings as a starting setup and then do your final studio mix based on it. The former has the advantage that it's without monitoring delay, more reliable live and hands-on. Also, it's cheaper.

For 8channels+, only quite new USB equipment will work sensibly, and that's expensive. I lean more towards using good "vintage" equipment (in connection with computers, hardware ages a lot faster than studio stuff in general) where you tend to be better off with Firewire. Stuff like an Alesis iO|26 is mostly an audio interface (with some internal mixing) and you can connect D/A converters with ADAT output to it in order to get more input channels.

Driver situation is icky for discontinued products like this for Windows/MacOSX, and internal mixer support for Linux-supported devices tends to be spotty at most.

So my own version for multi-channel recording is a Mackie 1620 with Firewire interface. It has 8 mic and 8 line inputs and is not extensible. Driver situation with both newer MacOSX and Windows versions seems to have more or less collapsed, making it a reasonably affordable option under Linux (where it works well). There is no internal mixer, and playback options are limited (basically, just a two-channel mix). I use it with Ardour under Ubuntu Studio. It records with good quality right after the preamps, so the recording and the live mix are completely independent and you'll do the latter using a DAW.

In a typical band setting, you'll probably arrive soon in the situation that you'll use a submixer for getting the drummer enough mics.

So there are a lots of forwards and backs. Consider looking at Ubuntu Studio or other GNU/Linux distributions and some "vintage" equipment if you want good as well as cheap, and expect to be coursing the forums before and after buying in order to get it working well.

And check out Ardour. There is really no alternative when going the Linux route for serious multitrack recording so you probably should see whether you can get friendly with that first before choosing that path.

  • Definitely recommend the Ubuntu and ardour route. Excellent combination and just works. Not looked into Ubuntu studio myself but may have some 'bloatware' if you just need it for recording. Ardour is also available from the standard repositories now too :-) – user40739 Jul 23 '17 at 16:22

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