Hi, I'm new to computer recording.

I recently bought a Digitech effects pedal for my guitar. It came with Cubase 5 LE. I finally got around to hooking up the software and am really enjoying recording tracks onto my computer.
I’d like to expand little by little(this whole technology is completely new to me-most of the features on my software version are locked out, but that’s good because I have no idea what they are or mean.)
I guess my question is: what’s a good interface to upgrade to so that I can still run my guitar through and perhaps a synthesiser? I need to keep it basic still.
Thanks alot!


I am using the CI1 audio interface with Cubase Essential 5. It is wicked easy and fun to record with. Any of the CI series were made with Cubase in mind, making them simple to hook up and all that. If you decided to go that route, you could hook up a guitar, but probably not a synth. Another one to look at may be the Tascam US-200 which would allow you to use both guitar and synth. However you must keep in mind that these are of course not the only interfaces out there, so a little Googling could really come in handy. You won’t go wrong with the CIs or the Tascam, cause these are some of the best simple hardware on the market. If you were hoping for like 16 inputs and outputs and expensive preamps, well, that’s a different story. :wink:

As far as a “synthesizer” goes, the easiest way to get started with that type of thing might be to get a cheap MIDI controller keyboard (no built in sounds) with a USB MIDI connection and use the HALionOne sounds included with LE5. Some good free VST instruments available to play around with, too. Check out the TAL stuff for example …


The selection of audio interfaces is almost limitless. Figure out what you need for in/outs. Do some research. Read some reviews. You can spend under a hundred or over a thousand.

Also, there is a dedicated LE/AI forum if you need specific software help as well as a Computer/Studio Hardware & Setup forum for general topics.

Good luck!

Thanks for your replies. I’ll check out that Tascam interface for starters. I’m intuitively leaning towards simply recording an instrument, rather than the instrument being built into the recording system. I like how the Cubase records my guitar through the Digitech pedal. I guess I will be updating Cubase soon. I need something that can lay down percussion and some synth sounds along with the guitar.(maybe a condenser mic too later.)
One of my biggest blind spots is knowing what is compatible with what. Chords, inputs etc.
Maybe I will check out the Midi controllers…
Thanks again guys, please if you have the time, I’ll take any advice or suggestions you have-really!

So, it looks like you’re needing to record synths, drums, and a guitar. In this case, instead of getting an audio interface and then a MIDI interface, you should get it all in one as an audio/MIDI interface such as that Tascam. Cubase will recognize just about any interface on the market. Of course, you’ll need to make sure that your computer meets the device’s system requirements and that you’re synth will connect to a MIDI interface.

Like Scab Pickens said, there are virtually unlimited models of interfaces on the market, so the most important thing to do is choose one with enough inputs. And, if I were in your situation, I would strongly consider getting an audio/MIDI interface, killing two birds with one stone. After all, who wants to record a synth with microphones? Of course, there are so many things to consider while shopping for an interface such as sample rates, bit depth, preamps, and so on, but as long as you confirm that you have enough inputs/outputs, you’re in good shape.

I guess maybe I’ll go that route. Also I tried that TAL website and downloaded the virtual synthesiser.(the first one that shows up on the page-keyboardless.) Do I still need a controller for that VST download? I couldn’t locate it in my Cubebase device set-up menus or activation menus. I figured it was virtual synth that I could completely control from within my computer. Is it because I have only Cubase 5 LE?
I’ll check that Tascam out.
Thanks again.

You don’t need a controller for any VSTi, really. You can enter notes in the MIDI Editors or even via the Virtual Keyboard. Look up those terms in the Index of the Operations Manual, if needed.

Do some reading on the key/drum editors. Create an Instrument Track and you should have an option of what instrument to use (HALionOne, that TAL synth, etc.). For the track input “All MIDI” should work. Output should be to the selected instrument. Set your locators and double click in the open area of that track to create an event. Double click on the event to open the editor. You should then be able to start drawing in notes/hits.

If that synth doesn’t show up, either move the .dll to the folder Cubase is already using or add a path to tell Cubase where to look for it.

HALionOne should have some drum kits you can use also, as well as numerous other sounds.

Edit: mitten snaked me!

Yes there’s alot out there in the way of options. I reckon I got some reading to do. I think I’m going to stick with external instruments and run them through the interface.
I’ll catch up with you guys in a few. I also need to explore the other areas of this Forum.
Thanks alot, very helpful!

I had a friend in similar situation with similar needs, so at first I turned him to my past dorm room budget recording experience and recomended him the M-AUDIO Audio Buddy, but when I turned him over to my sales rep at Sweetwater, he switched him to the Lexicon Lambda. It has everything you’d probably need; just make sure you download the latest drivers. It comes with an awesome reverb VST. After all Lexicon is known for its reverb units.

The Lexicons and M-audio series are fine interfaces too. I have heard, however that there has been alot of trouble configuring the Lexicons with Cubase. Maybe they’re just n00b magnets. :laughing: The M-audios are pretty nice, but I think for the price you could purchase alot more impressive interface.

BTW, he already purchased the Tascam. I think it will get him where he’s trying to go. Thanks for posting, cause I’m pretty impressed at the Lexicon’s reverb units.

I have a new H4n Zoom portable recorder. I am having trouble with the program download. It keeps telling me that the USB connection is not accepted. Does anyone have any suggestions? I have tried this at least 10 times with the same result. I have defragged my Windows XP computer, also.

Tom, I’d try to follow the owner’s manual to the “T” with extra emphasis on

  • when they tell you to plug-in/unplug the USB device
  • when to power it on/off
  • when to reboot
  • when to load the driver

Doing this out of sequence make it fail to work correctly.

Also, you may want to make sure that you always use the same USB port because sometimes the OS will not know that an already previously install driver is intended for all USB ports, in which case you’ll have to go through part of the installation process again.

If this fails, Zoom’s forum, if they have one, would probably have more knowledge members on this topic than this forum does.

Thanks. I found out the problem. I had not ‘unzipped’ the program after downloading. That got me further, but I still have a long way to go with using the program with the H4n unit. I have a better idea of the ‘basics’. I will reach out again if any more problems.

Yeah, I got that little Tascam US200. It’s working great for me so far. Waiting to hook up my monitor speakers(still waiting for xlr cords to run from subwoofer to speakers.) Is there any downside to monitoring with the RCA cables?
I got a MicroKorg and am really happy with how easily everything connects. I’m kind of surprised everything is going so smoothly actually. Waiting to try recording acoustic guitar with condenser mic next. But as I only record one track at a time it is all smooth I guess.
My biggest hurdle is going to be figuring out how Cubase works. By that I mean all the stretching, dragging, hitpoints, MIDI, mixdowns etc. I’m just layering real time tracks down and being satisfied with the mix…so to speak.
Be seeing ya!

There’s not really a big disadvantage using RCA. The signal is unbalanced so it will pick up some more noise, but if you don’t notice any noise from the speakers you won’t be hearing much difference with balanced cabling.