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How to get 4 mic inputs cheap?


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  • How to get 4 mic inputs cheap?

    Right now I've got a PC with a Soundblaster Live! and Nvidia onboard sound. With that I can use the mic-ins from each soundcard for 2 overhead microphones to record my drumset. I'd like to have two more mic-ins to record the bass and snare...and I want to be able to record all four microphones independently. Is there a way to do this for less than $50? How about less than $100? I already own Cool Edit Pro multitrack recording software.

    Obviously I could go to the PC store and buy a $15 soundcard and then I'd have 3 mic-ins, or $30 for two sound cards to have 4 mic-ins...but 4 sound cards on one PC sounds like a bit much (probably have port or driver problems and etc.). Though that would be super cheap.

    I don't care about sound quality. If I found a sound card with STEREO mic-ins I'd only need 2 mic-ins I guess. Currenlty, I just change "record devices" in Cool Edit Pro to choose which sound card I want the current track to record from. If I bought one of those more expensive sound cards with multiple inputs, would Cool Edit Pro allow me to record them independently? After all, Cool Edit Pro doesn't allow me to choose between "line-in" and "mic-in" on my SBLive!, so why would it allow me to choose between "mic-in 1" and "mic-in 2" on a more expensive sound card?*

    *such that I can use both at the exact same time to record two independent tracks

    Thanks in advance for your input!

  • #2
    * Multiple soundcard rarely work together correctly.

    * YES, you DO care about sound quality.

    You need to pony up the cash and buy a soundcard with multiple inputs. Just do it (mow some yards, get a part-time job, sweep some floors....)
    Tim O'Brien


    • #3
      Yeah, I was afraid there'd be problems with multiple sound cards. Maybe I just got lucky with the Nvidia and SBLive! working together well, I don't know. Still, if anyone knows of any cheap products with multiple mic-ins I'd still love to know.

      I should clarify, I do care about sound quality, as anyone does to an extent, but I have a $15 sound card on my secondary PC and its sound is sufficient...so I'd be surprised if there were any products with multiple mic-ins that sounded inferior to my $15 card. Also, if I can't find a solution for less than $100, it ain't gonna happen. (I'm not paying more than $100 just so I can record extra bass and snare channels!) ...I just figured "I dont' care about sound quality" was a quicker way of getting that idea across without having to write a paragraph explanation like I just did.

      I'm also still not sure if it matters how many mic-ins I have. I could have 100 mic-ins and it wouldn't matter if my sound card or Cool Edit Pro only lets me record one indepentent stereo track. I've got a mixer, so I can already record a drumset with 4 mics, I just can't eqaulize, compress, etc. all four of them independently on my PC.


      • #4
        you could try a delta 44 for 140 dollars that will give you 4 inputs and possibly still use your soundcard for 1 or 2 more inputs if it will sync up to the 44.


        • #5
          Thanks for the suggestion. I might keep my eye on it for somethime in the future.


          • #6
            That's bull**************** about not be able to use different sound cards I have 8 ins and 16 outs with 3 sound cards but it's a real pain in the ass to sync. them up, but it does work. And I using Cool Edit but the downside I'm recording at a 32bit float by 48 thats as high as I can go. Ive been using this set up for the past 5 yrs with no problems.


            • #7
              Interesting. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be any middle ground to make the multiple sound card thing work for me. Although I only want 4 mic-ins (and I don't want to have to pre-amp anything...the mixer I said I have isn't technically mine), I don't know of any cheap sound card solutions that have 2 or 3 mic-ins. Buying 4 super-cheap sound cards to get 4 mic-ins would take up too many PCI slots and would be a hassle so oh well. But thanks for the extra info. I'll keep it in mind.


              • #8
                Go on e-bay by yourself a used sound card chunk the cheap ass soundblaster card and don't cheap out you can by used sound cards with many different options 2 in 8 out 4 in 8 out your never going to get enough with those soundblaster cards1 in 2 out. you'll hog up to many IRQ's with them plus PCI slots . Just get 1 card and be done. And yes you can use mutiple sounds cards but you have to rebuild you PC and that involes alot of tech. work.


                • #9
                  Well, I have one soundcard and record two tracks by feeding each mic to the mixer and panning one right, the other left. Then in my recording software (n-track), I set it to record each side to an independent track.

                  So, you could get two mixers (Behringer has a $35 5-track mixer, two for $70). Two mics to one mixer, two mics to second mixer. Output of each mixer to each soundcard, you should be able to get 4 tracks.

                  If you can get your hands on a mixer, you can try it to see if the software will do it.