Tapco mixer or M-Audio preamp for recording into PC? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

All Things Audio
Everything Audio, from acquisition to postproduction.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old March 8th, 2004, 10:05 AM   #1
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
Tapco mixer or M-Audio preamp for recording into PC?

Finally, after well over a year of scratching my head, I've finally (knock on wood) got all the audio inputs on my Creative SB Audigy Platinum to work properly (I simply took everything apart and put it back together again, which seems to be the PC equivalent of whacking the top of your TV to improve the picture...)

Now I need a phantom-powered input device for my mics (and possibly guitars, etc).

My local shop is letting me try out a Tapco 6306 mixer for a couple of days. It seems OK for the price ($120), but it might be overkill. I found this MAudio Audio Buddy Dual Mic Preamp at zzounds.com for $40 less -- it has the basics that I need: phantom-powered XLRs, 1/4-in. inputs, gain control, 1/4-in. outputs. And it's smaller than the Tapco.

What I like about the Tapco, though, is: the EQ controls, headphone jack (though the Audigy has this, too), and RCA outputs (which I like because the Audigy's front 1/4-inch input has a frustrating volume knob that is easily knocked out of place -- one more thing to have to worry about...)

Any suggestions from the peanut gallery about these two products? Is there a possible thrid or fourth product I'm overlooking? The main use will probably be for recording voiceovers, but I'll probably record the odd song here and there (either for an ad, or just for fun).

I'm also considering purchasing Adobe's Audition (mostly because of latency problems with Audacity and Goldwave re: multitrack recording), so any money saved on the hardware end would be helpful....
John Britt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 8th, 2004, 03:37 PM   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
The M-Audio and Tapco both are pretty good. The Tapco will have slightly more noise, the M-Audio has less. If you want to use the Audigy in the chain, you want as little noise as possible. You can do EQ and everything else in post...
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 8th, 2004, 07:05 PM   #3
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
DSE --

A question about the Tapco 6306, if I may: I am running my new Rode NT1-A mic through the Tapco and it seems like I have to almost max out the Gain and line outputs to hit 0dB. Is this typical? The weird thing is that when I plug the mic straight into my Panny DVC80, I actually have to *drop* the volume levels to avoid the red. Is the DVC80 better at handling this mic than the Tapco, or is it just my perception?
John Britt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 8th, 2004, 09:49 PM   #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
Yes, this is normal. The Tapco has analog meters, the camera has digital meters.
If you log on to http://www.vasst.com/training_resources.htm (you'll need to register) you can find in the tutorials section, an article I wrote on the differences between metering the two.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2004, 09:07 PM   #5
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
Ow. That article made my head hurt. I'm reading Jay's book as well, and I'm just not sure I'm keeping up...

Does Audition use a digital meter? That's what I was checking, and it seemed like I had to have everything nearly cranked to hit 0dB. Or do I even want to hit 0dB?

And now I'm starting to think that something's wrong with the NT1-A -- when I first got it, I did some test recordings through the DVC80 and it sounded rich and deep and clean. I didn't have a chance to use it again for a few days, and now that I'm using it again, I swear it sounds different. I'm even starting to question whether it sounds better than my cheap Midnight Blues mic. I think I must be going insane...
John Britt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2004, 09:17 PM   #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
Audition, like most computer apps, are digital meters. You can get software that emulates analog though.
here's a freebie...
http://www.pspaudioware.com/plugins/vmeter.html;
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2004, 09:24 PM   #7
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
Well, what I meant was that it seemed like I was pushing everything up on the Tapco and only hitting -6dBs max on the Audition meter. I'm not particularly partial to using either analog or digital meters, it just seemed strange that it was so hard to get near 0dbs. Or am I confused? Do I not need to hit digital 0dBs as an optimal level? Is -6dBs typical normal sound?

Sorry if I'm a bit out of it; I've been completing a project a night for the past few nights with very little time to focus on working with the Tapco, which I have to return tomorrow. I'll be able to get some rest after tomorrow...
John Britt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 9th, 2004, 09:55 PM   #8
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
-6 is just fine for an optimal recording level. It's always nice to have a little more gain, with processing, etc, it's nice but not critical to have those extra bits. It may also be that the Panny is calibrated to -12, many cameras are, even though that is not in line with ATSC spec. No harm done either way. Zero dB is the fear factor, the only harm you can do below that is have too little information, and you can always pull that back up, albeit with a little noise attached in most cases.
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2004, 02:28 PM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
DSE, if you are around... (or if anyone else has an opinion)

I've got about an hour to decide: since my music store can't get the AudioBuddy without a hassle (getting set up as a dealer, etc), the owner is willing to cut me a deal on the Tapco -- it would still be a little more than the AudioBuddy, but not much more.

How much cleaner is the AudioBuddy than the Tapco? You said both were "pretty good," but added that I'd want a cleaner sound if recording to computer (which I assume meant, "buy the AudioBuddy")

The Tapco has the benefit of now being a little cheaper than I was expecting and also being in hand. I can save about $10 on the AudioBuddy, but is it really worth it?

I hate having to make a snap decision (though I guess I could still get the Tapco after I take it back today)
John Britt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2004, 03:14 PM   #10
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Stockton, UT
Posts: 5,648
John,
I'd say they're close enough to make it a moot point....Never have heard them side by side....
__________________
Douglas Spotted Eagle/Spot
Author, producer, composer
Certified Sony Vegas Trainer
http://www.vasst.com
Douglas Spotted Eagle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 11th, 2004, 03:18 PM   #11
Major Player
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 621
Douglas -- you rock with the fast response! Thank you very much. From what I have read of yours, I know that your opinion is very valuable. I was concerned about the Tapco mainly because of a member of the dv.com forums thought very little of the 6306 (not in response to my questions, but simply in the threads I researched.) In addition, Jay Rose said that he'd used Tapco before, but that they really weren't considered "up to snuff" anymore.

Not to imply that you've given a rousing endorsement of the Tapco, but if it's comparible to the AudioBuddy, then I'd rather have the bird in hand, so to speak...

Thanks again
John Britt is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > All Things Audio

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:40 AM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network