8 mics in -- 8 tracks out

Looking for multichannel hardware

I’m looking for the simplest, cheapest way to get 8 tracks into my computer simultaneously from 8 mics. My band wants to record “live” in the studio — not 1 track at a time like we’ve done before. Each track can be mono, but needs to be high quality, since we’re all acoustic. I’m shopped around but haven’t landed on anything that explains it the way I want to hear it.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

Presonus FirePOD has 8 mic pre’s and connects via Firewire. Sound is excellent. If you want expandability, the FireSTUDIO has 8 pre’s and two ADAT lightpipe connections. Those would be recommendation for budget interfaces with mic preamps onboard.


I’ve never used one, but isn’t that what the M-Audio Delta’s do? In this case, it would have to be the 1010 (10 in/10 out). This way has always been too pricey for me (actually, too pricey for my wife). Around $200, I think.


So the Presonus would actually serve as a mixing board and soundcard all in one? 'Course I would also have to buy a FireWire card for my 'puter.

What if I bought another Behringer mixer with 4 XLRs to the two smaller ones (two XLRs each) I have, for a total of 8 – then getting the cheaper M-Audio soundcard. Kind of complicated, but it would be using stuff I already have.

Several brands make “all-in-one” 8 track cards - preamps and input card. Presonus and Echo audio are two of the best but many folk like the Mark of the Unicorn. Both firewire and usb2 are available. The forums seem to favor the firewire, but I believe good results can be had with the USB2 (Not USB 1)
I have a couple of Echoaudio Layla cards that record 8 tracks but require a preamp. I have a the Presonus preamp. The combonation is superior, and I record 8 tracks with no problem on my laptop and 16 or more on the desk computer.

i take it that you will only be using dynamic microphones ? -

Dr J

I’m very happy with my M-Audio Delta 1010LT. I picked it up for about $200. In fact, I just bought a second one to double my recording capability. The 1010LT two balance XLR inputs with phantom power and 6 additional unbalanced TR inputs. This will get you started, but if you have a lot of acoustic instruments requiring condenser mics, you’ll probablky need to pick up some additional pre-amps with phantom power.

I’m not sure how much you plan to invest in the hardware. The firewire/USB options previously mentioned cost a bit more to start ( $500 +) but will provide better signal-to-noise and usually more balanced inputs. Also, if you decide you want to record at a live gig, it’s much easier to transport a laptop and external firewire/USB system than lugging around a PC or a rack-mounted setup (like mine).

These days, there are many more options available at reasonable prices.


If I can help it, I will only be using 1-inch condenser mics. So phantom power is an issue. The Behringer boards I use have 48v phantom power.

You can always use an in line phantom box - rolls makes one for cheap.

I think I’ll look into the Delta 1010 – I looked at the manual at Musicians Friend and it looks like a workable solution for my very limited budget. Between that and getting one more mini-mixer, I think I’ll have what I need. I’ll post back here and let you know how it goes. If all goes well I’ll post some music as well.

I have a Delta 1010 with the outboard box. It has worked great. I also have a Mackie 1642 VLZ mixer and this combo was just fine until I could afford some nicer outboard preamps. If you go with another outboard mixer and the 1010 LT I think you will be quite happy. Another option is to look for a used 1010 with the outboard box on ebay.

Just be careful you don’t spend a couple hundred on a 1010 or 1010LT then drop a couple hundred more on mic preamps and what not… cause that will put you in the FirePOD price range which has everything you need in one box. A decent Firewire card is about 20 bux. The pre’s on the FirePOD sound really good IMO. Certainly better than a Berry mini-mixer preamp.

Good luck however you go and YES… please post some music!


Quote (bnesbitt @ Jan. 17 2007,14:48)
So the Presonus would actually serve as a mixing board and soundcard all in one? 'Course I would also have to buy a FireWire card for my 'puter.

What if I bought another Behringer mixer with 4 XLRs to the two smaller ones (two XLRs each) I have, for a total of 8 -- then getting the cheaper M-Audio soundcard. Kind of complicated, but it would be using stuff I already have.

Basically you don't need a mixing board. You need 8 mic pre's with pahantom power and 8 channel interface. Firepod is exactly this combined.

You mix it in DAW (=in box, with recording software llike N-track).

Another option (like is already said) is to buy 8 channel interface with line level inputs and 8 channels of separate pres (in form of separate preamps or mixing board that has direct outs in each channel). For example I record bands with M-Audio 1814 that has 2 mic pre amps. Additionaly I have RME quadmic preamp (4 more mic pres). For further 2 channels I use pre's of add hoc mixing boards, external preamps etc.)

You can use your Behringer boards, but the amount of how many of it's pre's you can use depends on the routing options in the mixer. What you need to do is route the signals going into mixers channels to the interface separately. If you're clever you may route a few of them by using main outs, panning, auxes etc. Direct outs and inserts are more handy thou.

The cheapest (albeit not the easiest) way of getting 8 tracks into a PC at once I have been able to find, is this combination (list prices from MusiciansFriend - YMMV)

$99: EMU 1212M PCI soundcard - it has only stereo ins/outs, but it has an ADAT interface - see below

$229: Behringer ADA8000 8 channel ADAT audio interface with XLR connectors and 48V phantom power

Total: about $330, plus the price of the odd cable and optical fibre-joint you might be needing.

Compare that to the $500 asking price for the 10-channel Presonus FirePod, or $600 for the Presonus DigiMAX FS 8-channel ADAT/S-MUX solution (list prices still from MusiciansFriend for comparability).

It’s actually remarkable that ADAT hasn’t become more of a de facto standard than it has - this rugged recording protocol dates back to about 1994! (SCSI, anyone?)

regards, Nils

I’ve always had excellent luck with my Behringer Eurorack mixer with two XLR ins. I’ve been doing that for one or two tracks at a time for about five years. I run RCAs out of the Tape Outs (panned all the way left and right for discrete mono signals) into the soundcard (EMU 0404) and get a clean sound, or at least it’s clean to my ear. I was involved with my first recording session in 1981 using 8-track tape and I thought that was clean, so maybe I’m not as discriminating as some.

Anyway, I think what I’m gonna do is get the Delta 1010 card for two hundred bucks from Musicians Friend, use the two Eurorack UB802 boards I already have, borrow another one for a total of six phantom powered XLRs, then use the two mic-level XLRs on the board with dynamic mics and see how it goes. That way I’m out nothing on mic preamps and I’ve got my 8 channels. Thanks to all for the input. :D

If you really wanted to go cheap, and were willing to take a chance, my Aardvark Q10 is still going strong, even though the company went out of business. I don’t plan on replacing it for a few years. They are going for less than 150 on Ebay. Example:

This one’s not mine, I’m keeping mine.