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Recording music has always been a bit of a mystery to me—like many musicians, I have some experience with TASCAM four-tracks, but I never warmed to the process of bouncing tracks and such. Eventually my four-track found its way into the bottom of my hall closet, a move that had unfortunate results. Not having even the simplest means of recording guitar riffs and snippets of vocal melodies meant that ideas that sounded great on a Saturday afternoon were usually forgotten by Thursday. That led me to a very simple microphone that worked with my Apple iPod—the XtremeMac IPV-MIC-00 MicroMemo, which recorded WAV files. Although it was easy to use, its limited functionality soon had me looking for something with more flexibility (but that also wouldn’t break the bank).

After a fairly exhaustive search, I discovered M-Audio’s MobilePre preamp and audio interface. Priced at an affordable $160, the interface comes with two mic inputs and two high-impedance instrument inputs and a copy of Ableton Live Lite recording software. Although this unit is not meant for complex home recording, it’s perfect for songwriters looking to record demos directly into their computer. Setup out of the box took a mere five minutes, and I was soon laying tracks down using my iMac’s Garageband software. Perfect!

Got a home recording setup of your own? I’d like to hear about it. Happy recording!

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Comment by ROB ENGLISH on May 2, 2009 at 8:13am
Hey the M audio gear is great, I recently upgraded a Boss Roland BR8 with a zip drive that allows up to 2 hours of recording time I have owned this unit almost ten years and it has taken me that long to use it properly I think the learning curve on most of this equipment is steep and you get to making edits instead of making music however it is easier now than ever I grew up with analog audio and wide format tape I worked in the first 16 track studio in florida and now I have recording gear in my laptop that has over sixty tracks all the early four track cassette format worked well however even those forced you to engineer and then be a musician second to the operation however I still use my old gear for inspiration and I aquired a Korg recorder four track with built in speakers and the best effects I have ever heard including a rotating leslie speaker emulator and I dont use it enough as the whole digital thing has overwhelmed me I could count on one hand how many recording studios were available in Florida in the seventies now I am sure there are hundreds in my county alone and who knows how many home studios so musicians need to make music and find a like minded friend or spouse or someone you trust to push the buttons and get the sound you hear into whatever form you recorded it in I love all the new products I just wish we had more time to devote to using them properly
Comment by Charlie Evans on May 1, 2009 at 11:37pm
I know what you mean about the four track. I have one myself that I recently dug out of my closet after many years. I tried recording on it again but the recordings sound like absolute crap!! I probably really don't know what I'm doing though. Pretty pathetic I know. And that other stuff you're talking about sounds really complicated. But then again, I'm just a complete dunce when it comes to most kinds of technology. My dream is to someday get to record in a professional studio where someone else can worry about all the technical aspects of it and I can just focus on the music itself.

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