I am i need of advice.
At some point in the future I will be purchasing an audio interface for a home recording studio. I will be recording guitars (both acoustic and electric) and will most likely also be recording vocals. I currently have no gear for home recording--no mics, interfaces, monitors, software aside from Audacity, or any other equipment necessary for a studio (if I missed something vital in that list, please let me know).
I am going for quality on a budget. I currently have my eyes on a Shure SM57 or a Shure PG58 for primary guitar recording. I will need a condenser mic for vocals/guitar-room-mic. I would prefer monitor headphones over regular monitors, due to the fact that I live in an apartment, and the neighbors may not appreciate me mixing rock music at 4 in the morning. And of course, I will need an interface and software.
I have researched, and come to two primary contenders that seem to fit my needs well. They are:
Focusrite Scarlett Studio:
(Anderton's review of the interface alone--no microphone or headphones):
Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6:
As far as I can see, the point-by-point comparison as they apply to my needs are:
at $249.99 new, the studio pack is more expensive than the Native's $229.99. However, this includes Focusrite's condenser microphone and monitor headphones, negating the need to buy those separately, and so overall the Focusrite will be easily cheaper--so long as they are good quality. I don't need pro gear, but if I can have a competent mic and headphones (i'd guesstimate $200 if I hunted for them individually) for the $20 difference, that would be golden.
If the interface itself and accompanying software (CUBASE LE6) can match the Native for my purposes, and if the mic and 'phones are solid, I'm definitely going with the Focusrite.
It seems to me (keep in mind i don't have experience with audio interfaces) that the Native interface itself is neither inferior nor superior to the Focusrite. It has additional inputs and outputs, yes, but I believe I will only ever need the two inputs and outputs offered on the Focusrite (one for cab mic and one for the room mic simultaneously)--the extras on the Native will be appreciated if I ever need them, but for the forseeable future are unnecessary. If I am incorrect in my assumption, and the Native is significantly better or worse than the Focusrite, please let me know so that I may weigh that factor in.
I am considering the Native primarily for the included software--guitar effects/modeling, synthesizers, virtual instruments, and MIDI compatibility. I'm assuming the guitar effects include amp models? If any of those are good for rock music, I would strongly consider mixiing them with microphone recorded guitars for a bigger, multi-dimensional sound. Additionally, while I do not use synthesizers in my music at the present time, I may like to in the future. IF the Native software package would eliminate my need to buy a physical keyboard in the future, that would go a long way into swinging me to buying the Native over the Focursite--specifically, if the total cost of Native+CondenserMic+MonitorHeadphones < Focusrite+Keyboard+Anything-Else-I-Would-Need-To-Record-Keyboards.
I thiiiiiink that's everything that's currently on my mind.... Any comments, advice, facts, alternate products, and personal opinions are very much appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read and help me out.