Recording Rant: Take 1

First installment in what may be a recurring series of moans from me. (Some of this has previously been posted on Facebook)

This is a technology rant.
I’ve been experimenting with home recording, set up a hovel at the back of the garage that I wryly refer to as my “studio”, and acquired some equipment. Now, I work in IT. I’m used to having to persuade different bits of tech to talk to each other, but this business of getting audio kit to talk to a PC is a whole different level of pish. (And before anyone says it, ” I use a Mac, completely painless ” will just earn you a punch up the throat next time I see you. )
The specific problems range from horrific latency (time lag) … And yes I am using ASIO…. to recorded content that sounded OK in the monitor when I put it down, but goes: SNRGHHHHZZ KRKRKLFFFF when I listen to the playback.
So for now, I’m recording into a portable Digital recorder ( Boss BR600) and then have to take the memory card and read the files of that, convert them to WAV, and mix on the PC. What a faff. Everything I read tells me it should be so easy. But it’s bloody not.
The “direct to PC” route is what I’m aiming for, as it just makes more sense. While the Boss recorder is excellent, editing the waveform, or applying effects chains, or working with more than half a dozen tracks, really need to happen on the PC. I use Audacity http://audacityteam.org/ for any direct track/take level file editing, if required. I’m working my way through Reaper http://www.reaper.fm/ as my mixing, editing, mastering tool set. Lots to learn, but looks like it’ll do what I want.

Getting live audio *into* the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation i.e Reaper) is where the painful bit begins. Have now tried using two different USB interfaces –

Defendant A: Lexicon Alpha interface box – has 1 XLR, I instrument jack, plus phono for line in/out.
Defendant B: Alesis Multix 4 USB, which is more of your mini mixer with 2 XLR/jack and jack input for channels 3/4.

Each of these devices has caused me no end of fun.

I’m comfortable with using the Boss recorder, and I have the relevant tools to export/move files to and from the PC. Just seems like it introduces a barrier to the process when I know other folk who can do this without much problem. I like using the Boss, because it is literally as easy as: switch on, make new song file – go. That’s what I want on the PC, but it’s beginning to look like that might be unrealistic.

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