it’s all about audio

UPDATED APRIL 8, 2012 – (original post date: Aug 25, 2010)

Well, what can i say that’s where i‘m coming from … 13 years ago ( or even more ) i started in radio broadcast / radio production … and did lots of things with sound … i don’t want to talk about that work now … i want to talk about some essential gear you need to work with your sound.

Audio Software

First of all its the software you are using for post. well there is ProTools a really great tool i really love … but its a bit more expensive but u get a great application … and the LE systems are not up to date (with just about 48 tracks working at the same time … ) [update: with ProTool9 that changed a bit … now u don’t need AVID hardware and LE has more tracks and whatnot]

Nuendo is the most advanced Native System but its expensive too … but if you want all the option AND you have the money (or a windows machine) go with that … cubase is good too, but more Music oriented… but it should work too (especially if you have an windows machine)

I use LogicPro (version 9 is quite good) cuz it’s the best solution for the money … and you get tones and tones of samples, loops, and sound-fx to work with (great stuff … we us  them all the time)… its great for starters.  [update: we switched to ProTool9 hat works native with the RME audio interfaces we have … we use still LogicPro 9 for our Music creation though]

A good option especaily for audio editing and “cleaning up” is Audtion CS5.5… we use that now quite often for that very task  simple audio editing and “cleaning up” … i hope to show some stuff on this blog in the near future.

Well we got that covered …  now i could go thru all the fancy stuff i like or would like to own … but the reason for this is to let you know the essentials of necessary things you have to have…

So here is the cost-effective Version of stuff i know and or work with (so i can recommend it 😉


At first you need an Audio-Interface that also enables you to record something with an mic … that even could work both – in a studio-like-envoierment for some kind of Voiceover or Podcast-recording and on Set as well as an on Location to Notebook recorder.

On thing you have to keep in mind with this „audio-interfaces“ the digital inside is almost the same … you get good quality with all new Interfaces … only thing  that different is the built quality, noise level and quality of the Mic-Pre-Amp and the driver for your computer. In the end you have to consider how professional your interests are …  you can get good results even with the cheaper stuff.


there seems to be a common issue with USB audio interfaces (lately) even so  with more “expensive” ones … especially on Notebooks (MacBookPro’s) and older Windows Machines …. i’ll look into that … for now Firewire might be a better way to go! … stay tuned!

super cheap:

Tascam US-100 USB 2.0 Computer Audio Interface

Tascam US-122MKII – USB 2.0 Computer Audio Interface

Mackie Onyx Blackjack

Tascam iU2

Presonus AudioBox USB

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2

quite good:

PreSonus AudioBox USB – Audio Recording Interface

tc electronic Desktop Konnekt 6 – FireWire Audio Interface

Focusrite Saffire 6 USB

Focusrite Scarlett 8i6 – USB Audio Interfacea

if you  need something for 5.1 surround u only have M-Audio Fast Track Ultra 8R or Focusrite Saffire Pro 24

more pro‘ish:

Tascam US-800 – 8 Input, 4 Output USB 2.0 Audio/MIDI Interface

Tascam US-1641 – USB 2.0 Recording Interface

Steinberg UR28M

RME Babyface

All are good & workable … i don‘t recommend M-Audio or Behringer … not that good of a quality and you will run in some software / driver problems (i had them …a pain … really)

On thing you can use the Zoom H4n as an Audio interface via USB you can even use the XLR inputs  but it’s not made for that in the first place … so you don’t have that much of options & quality to monitor (just a headphone jack . not that good for connecting Audio Monitors)

next part – i make it quick:

Microphones (for Voice-Over)

Quite good for voice over recording in a Studio environment  or Podcasting is a Large-Diaphragm-Condensers (you need phantom power which all the interfaces on top have even the H4n)

i like, use & recommend

Rode NT1-A or even Rode NT2-A
Great sound for male Voiceovers, very powerful but a lil explosive sensitive so make sure you haven an pop-killer.

AudioTechnica AT3035
Very open and nice clean sound … pretty much an all-round mic even for female voices not that intense & powerful (AT4033 might a better solution)

quite ok too are:

MXL Mics (like the MXL 2006)

Studio Projects or SE Electronics

Don’t go for Behringer or Samson or even the cheaper AKG you be not happy with those!

Oh and BTW for all our Video shootings we use a RODE NTG-1 or we rent RODE NTG3 or a Sennheiser Shotgun as needed)

Ok last thing you have to have and quite important as well:

Audio Monitors / Speakers

… make sure you don’t get the cheapest option …. they most likely sound like that … and if you mix some soundtrack, voice or music you son’t want that. so in the end you have to know your speakers (so listen to you favorite music, movies and stuff to get familiar with them in your environment and if you have the chance even test some speakers with your favorite Tracks before you buy them … you always should consider powered version (with amp built-in, cuz the amps are 50% of making the “sound” of an Speaker

i would recommend:

Fostex PM0.4 as an budget- / cheapest version

KRK RoKit 5 G2 for smaller rooms
KRK RoKit 6 G2 for normal usage

both KRK’s are very clean & powerful … very universal to use

maybe even M-Audio Studiophile BX5a or BX8a

i don’t like the very cheap M-Audio or Edirol stuff you won’t have any “fun” with them… believe me.

You might want to have even some headphones … but don’t make your master mix with them … most likely its to “powerful” (loudness) when you listen with them and you will get disappointed when you hear it on speakers 😉

so i would recommend Sennheiser HD 201 they are quite inexpensive and good sounding for the money (not that cheap of a midrange sound cheap headphones have) and they are quit comfortable to wear over a longer period of time. (see my Headphone test for more insides)

So that’s it …we got the essentials covered …. in the end its a matter of taste and money and experience… you can make work everything 😉

Oh one more thing

My “high-end” version … if you have some money to spend … try this: (but i let you know, there even some more expensive options)

RME Fireface 800 or 400 (we use them)

Neumann TLM 103 or U87
Rode Classic II
AudioTechnica AT4033 or AT4050

(studios we rent have them)

Dynaudio Acoustics BM6A
or Yamaha MSP7
or KRK Expose E8B

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro or KRK KNS 6400 (i use)
(studios we rent have them)
or Beyerdynamic DT 250
or Sony MDR-7509HD

BTW for all my European fellows great vendor i recommend:

3 Responses to “it’s all about audio”


  1. some updates « …a FinalCutPro user's Blog - 25/08/2010

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    […] it’s all about audio […]

  3. UPDATE: it’s all about audio « …a NonLinearEditor's Blog - 08/04/2012

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