Cheap Audio Recording Interfaces

Cheap Audio Interfaces for your Recording Studio. In this over view Jim of Slick Audio reviews a few “Cheap Interfaces” or as we should be saying affordable audio interfaces. There are a bunch and Jim gives some insight into some of the best for the $$$$ money and his thoughts on how a solid interface can make your recording awesome but it doesn’t have to break the bank to do it.


Best Cheap Microphones – Good Microphone

Recording Studio Mics the Good/Cheap/Best

Hello everybody this Jim from slick audio. Today we are going to discuss inexpensive microphones. And I was gonna use the term Cheap Microphones, but since cheap infers the poor quality. That is absolutely not the case here so I will use the term inexpensive microphones. However you use whatever word you feel is appropriate for you.

Slick Audio

What’s the best cheap mic?

So anyways let’s just dive right in shall we? We had this request by the way from a gentleman on social media and he asked if we’d cover for this as the subject. So I’m gonna start I’ve got four of them on my desk right now. The first one that I want to show is from Sterling Audio. It comes in a nice little case here, and this is the ST159 microphone. This is a beautiful what you would call multi pattern condenser mic. It does cardioid omni-directional and figure eight. It’s got a -10 DB pad on it for those who wish I first heard of these guys from Pete Thorn. If y’all haven’t checked Pete Thorns YouTube channel yet or website you really need to use the guitarist right now for miss Melissa Etheridge. But he is one of the coolest cats around. And as far as knowing gear and playing guitar and anyways he did a demo, and you could check that out on his site. Just look up Pete Thorn on YouTube or his website. Pete did a fantastic demo of these microphones. So back to the mics it comes with a shock mount and everything. The best part about it is that mics about $200.00 bucks you know $199.99 you can’t beat that with a stick.

So that is is a great microphone for general use recording. Another Sterling Audio mic that actually is on the same video that he did because a ribbon mic and I actually bought a pair of these. Because they actually do sell them as a pair.  This beautiful ribbon this is the Sterling ST170. And so they are.  I’m looking at my cheat sheets guys so you know you gotta bear with the old man here and but they are I believe they are like $200.00 a piece or a pair something like $350.00 ($50.00 off) for a pair of them. (Why would you want to buy 2)?  You always want to buy two so we’re gonna do stereo recording. You know do the old XY thing, so but anyways I’ll tell you what for the price. And these come with a shock mount as well. So and again right so okay so you know not shabby for for the price that we’re dealing with there.  You know it’s just a great deal at that price.


There are others Rhode microphones they make. Some decent ones I just have personally heard these (Sterling Audio mics). And of course I own them they’re they’re phenomenal.   Very good especially for the price you can’t beat it with a stick.  So let’s go on and talk about the next little “Anna Mule”(animal)that I wanted to discuss . Let’s discuss and that is from a company called Blue. Baltic Latvian Universal Electronics so I know they’ve gotten bought out a couple of times. But the model called the Baby Bottle now. They make a pile of mics like Yeti.  I’ve got a Yeti here on my desk that’s more of a podcast mic that sort of thing. So I’m talking about studio mics so don’t look at like the snowball the Yeti that kind of stuff they’re more podcast related you know.  So I’m not counting that kind of stuff in even though they are condenser so the Baby Bottle. To me are now it’s called the Baby Bottle SL so this is the older one this is the original.

Sorry mine’s old, but you know ice little wooden case here. That they they put it in this microphone, was actually the first mic that I bought for my studio. It actually does have a shock mount I just don’t here with me it’s it’s it’s like back over there.
I’ll tell you what this thing kicks holy but it’s unbelievable the quality that comes out of this mic got like $400.00 bucks man. I’ll tell right now for the price absolutely untouchable microphone. The Sterling’s are very good for what they do. This thing takes it to another level. So I can imagine the SLS is a monster as well. Now they’ve got a bunch of other mics and I asked several myself my one of my favorite actually all-time vocal mics. And his really doesn’t fall under the inexpensive category of the Blueberry is $1000.00 bucks. My god that is one of the best vocal mics you’ll ever,ever sing through. The Neumann u87, in my opinion is so close to that anyway.   You know there’s gonna be people out there going to say “BS” you know look you know your ears tell you what your ears tell you. My ears tell me what my ears tell me I think the Blueberry sounds better personally.

Ultimate Audio Computer

Best Microphone – Neumann U87

But hey whatever you want to be snow balled by some other companies, then have a time. Quite honestly it’s picked a teal I’m 103 before I pick you Neumann u87 and and a 149 for sure. For sure over any of them but if you got$5000.00 or $6000.00 grand to spend on the 149 so you know there’s a lot of great mics. Blue makes a fantastic microphone. They have some others,the baby bottle was just one that came to mind.

Cactus they have some funky names and some of them look pretty strange. But good company work with Audio Technica has some great microphones at very, very, very, good price. What they call the 2000 series is they start at $200.00 bucks my son actually has a
I’m a probably that’s wrong 2020 and I think it was like $100.00 and my god you know again for the price $100.00. You can’t beat it with a stick. I think they make a model 2040 that’s like$150.00 or $200.00 bucks and don’t don’t quote me. On the under the 2040 or 2030 thing I’m not sure that’s 20/20 I know is right because NDS but that’s you know Audio Technica makes a great microphones at some very, very good prices.  The 2000 series they start at $200.00 the 3000 series is kind of a notch up so now you’re in the $400.00, $450.00-$500.00 dollar range.

So you’re kind of in the but that baby bottle range phenomenal. Like 4033 the 4040 if they still make it the 4050 fantastic mic. The 4060 one of my favorites. I’ve got one back there but now you’re into like $1,500 range. It’s a tube mic that things warm as warm could be. Incredible  factor Zuka record.   From Here to Where that we did back in 2000 that was we did all the vocals. Actually on the 4060 and my god just warm as warm could be.   We had it that we actually recorded Anthony (Zuka lead singer) recorded vocals on our lead singer. And we did all these background tracks and, all these other mics and all of a sudden. It was like you know he bought this the 4060 and it was right before I bought mine, and he plugs this thing in and he started singing through it. And I was just like I just stopped where I was doing, and I went into the control room.  I’m like what you know what the hell are you singing on? And he goes I just picked this thing up and so anyways I know that’s not actually in the inexpensive category. But for the quality quite honestly in my opinion that mic rival rivals $4,000 microphones.
For you know $1500.00 one could say that’s inexpensive for the type of mic.

Virtual Microphone Systems

I want to cover one more and this is kind of an oddball.  It’s certainly some different and unique technology so if you’ve never heard of Steven Slate before.  Steven is quite an amazing engineer, and in his own right and his gotten and is involved in the Ravens, which are the touch control surfaces I’m not a huge fan of that because this I want I want a fader. But I mean it’s cool they’re nice they work well they’ve got a lot of neat stuff you just have to learn the hand gestures and all that kind of stuff but you know once you learn it I mean it’s incredibly fast. Incredibly easy to use

So but anyways this is actually a slate the VMSML1. So “VMS” standing for virtual microphone system and what I mean by that is is this actually runs through it does connect through normal preamp like you typically would.  But this emulates other microphones, it has a special plugin that the microphone is supposed to go through. And it emulates a pile of shall we say vintage and very respectable microphones. At seven hundred bucks not on sale.  I’m here to fricking tell you or is it eight hundred $800.00 bucks. It’s eight hundred bucks it’s and I think it’s on sale.  In my opinion very, very, very inexpensive. Because you’re actually getting you know virtual microphones that are you know from a thousand to four thousand dollars.  And that would be several of them so it’s like buying a whole mic locker full of mics and you’re only buying one microphone.

So that to me is an extremely wise investment. You know and again look purists we’re gonna sit there and bash this kind of stuff. You can bash it all day long.  But I’m here to tell you, I would HIGHLY advise that you that you at least.  You never bust on virtual mic like that or something you know the technology’s come so close. Come on even with the guitar processors I’ve got you know the ten twelve tube amps.  Sitting over there in my studio but at the end of the day. Most of the tracks that I’m recording anymore are you know through the Kemper or the Axe-fx 3 you know. Or the virtual you know plugin it’s just it’s amazing what they’re what they’re doing the quality and how quiet they are enough to screw around. You just pretty much do everything on the screen and in the box and you know.  I don’t like that quite as much you tweak a little thing here and there after the fact so it falls into the mix a lot easier.  A lot better and again once it’s in the mix.  You know I’ll be honest you really can’t tell I mean I’ve seen tons of videos where people have gone back and forth with virtual instruments and you know whether guitar plug-in or microphones.

Quite honestly in the blind test people can’t tell a freaking difference it’s just true every once in a while you know you’ll get a bat. That’ll you know as in the flying thing (kidding) that I can hear that (the difference in sound).  Good luck the point is that both have relevance guys so you know look the real tube amps are awesome. I love I wouldn’t have them if I didn’t like them but at the end of the day. There’s that there’s a reason for both and so we’re talking about inexpensive microphones here.   So you know the slate microphone you know being a deal at $700.00 bucks or even bought yourself you know $10,000 worth of $15,000 worth of microphones right out of the gate and I believe you can add more on. I haven’t even registered mine yet, but I did hear it before I obviously bought the thing but you know. Absolutely amazing microphone.

So again just to recap.  Sterling Audio great company to go with. Rode Microphones very good company to go with. Audio Technica makes some phenomenal microphones at very low price points and mid-range price points. Blue makes some phenomenal microphones at you know at reasonable price points and very high price points too. Norman actually is now starting to make out of Germany they’re actually starting to make some very inexpensive FET microphones that are fat field effect transistor. Just in case you want to know that that are in my opinion reasonably priced and you know and you’re getting the quality of anointment. It’s just some good stuff and of course then you have you know the the slate digital here and there’s some other few other microphones that are doing the modeling thing right now as well.

Quite honestly I believe you can get I think it’s waves that I have and don’t hold me to this but I’m pretty sure it was waves as a plugin it’s called microphone modeler. Or no Antares I’m sorry Antares it’s theirs. So yeah you can’t whole be that once I know I have I’d have the damn thing I just forgot who made it aunt iris makes microphone modeler. Basically what you do is you tell it what microphone that you have going in and then it emulates some of the vintage mics. You don’t need necessarily a special mic for,but it needs to know a lot about the microphone that’s going in. So there’s a particular range of microphones that it wants to work with, and I believe the 2020 is one of them. So at $200.00 bucks you know so that’s an inexpensive way into it but again the slate ones. Like really cool that’s just a different animal altogether so I hope that helps and gives you a good start.

We are a re-seller for most of these guys.  Definitely Blue we are not for Slate, at least out at this moment. Not for Sterling Audio at least not at this moment,but we are for Audio Technica. I did say Blue, we are for Neumann and several other brands as well Mojave actually that’s when I left out Mojave. My god what a killer microphone that is they make FET versions and tube versions. I have one of their tubes the 300 it’s it’s just breathtaking, breathtaking microphone for the price.  So you know they have some very inexpensive mics and we are now dealer for those guys. So as you can see I’m not trying to push the Slick Audio you know buy it from us you know hey you want to buy it from us. I’ll give you a great deal on a machine, if you’re the more you buy from us the better of the deal I’m gonna give you it.

Just is what it is that’s sales right so that about does it for microphones inexpensive microphones or reasonably priced microphones. Did I say so I hope that helps. We will be at Summer NAMM 2019 this year. I don’t know that booth yet we’ll find out I believe next week sometime. We will be at a AES this year at Jacob Jabits Center In October (16th,17th, and 18th 2019) don’t know the dates so don’t ask the NAMM show by the way Summer NAMM I believe is the 18th, 19th and 20th yeah 18, 19, 20 at in Nashville.

If you’ve never been to that show it’s a far smaller show than the one in LA, but any time but man it’s a beautiful show. Nashville’s a beautiful city the folks are just wonderful down there very friendly. A lot of good barbecue if you like barbecue, but it’s just just good stuff. It’s it’s an enjoyable trip it’s relaxing. You get to see everything so anyways Nashville great show.

AES we’re doing that and we will be of course at Winter NAMM again (JANUARY 16-19, 2020). I had the same booth we were last year and don’t ask you what the bloody booth this at the moment it’s I can’t think of it and neither can Chris. He’s looking at me all kinds of squirrely so as we’re both laughing sitting here going yeah hey be good by the way.

We have another being in the in the office now. Steve yell over and say hi so there you go that’s our VP of Finance and he joined us. He’s you know he’s going to be speaking the audio language here with us very shortly. But we’re he’s in deep training so anyways hey be good everybody have a wonderful and safe and happy and healthy weekend. I will talk to you for sure next week be good

Weather Near Me – Snow and Music

How Snow Can Help Your Music

Weather Near Me - Slick Audio

Weather forecasts are something of a hot topic when the “snow” word gets thrown about.   Since the groundhog saw his shadow just a few days ago.   It seems that the early spring and warm weather might not be here for many of us in the United States.  California, Florida and some other spots in America don’t have to worry about snow or the cold temperatures that many in the midwest, and northeastern parts of America experience.

However, what we give up in the sun, beach time, and enjoying the outdoors doesn’t mean that we don’t get a few benefits like “Snow Days”.  I don’t necessarily mean no school, and sleeping late with a day of Netflix in your PJ’s.   I mean that as a musician or someone interested in the creation of audio it can be tough finding time to make music let alone record the music.  Many musicians use nights, weekends and personal time to create their musical passions.

Weather and Music - Slick Audio

So this week many of us in the snow belt brace for another storm that’s dropping lots of the white stuff and outside of the shoveling, and the cold extremities that don’t warm up until June.  I think a few musicians out there are excited by the prospect of maybe a snow day or two.  We can hear guitar strings calling to us to change them.  Drums that need some quality time with their owners, and a few vocal tracks that are sure to be recorded.  So remember even if the groundhog’s predictions didn’t come true with some early warm weather.  It just means some more time honing your craft before the spring and summer music festivals we all are looking forward to.


The Question of the Day:

Is anyone else out there happy to get a snow day to practice your music or create something musically?  


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Hackintosh Build 2019

Is Hackintosh Worth IT?

Hackintosh Slick Audio

The Windows vs MAC thing is old and tired. Here at Slick Audio, we are moving full time pro musicians, producers, engineers, that need professional tools to record audio and make money with audio creation. Over to Slick Audio computers running Windows 10 every day. Where is the proof?  The DAW manufacturers Cubase, ProTools, Studio One, and most all the others run on PC. Why? Because it works.

MAC’s are computers just like Windows computers running similar if not the same hardware in many cases. Apple in the past made computers that creative people used because the hardware was powerful, but they no longer build those computers. It’s just a fact.

MAC’s are Magic

Magic of Music

We need to dispell a myth out there that turning on a MAC for recording that it somehow it turns crappy music into Top 10 hits is just crazy.  Things change people use to used oil lamps to light their homes, and horses to get where they were going. I don’t think anyone out there is using a horse to get to work instead of their SUV.  So just stop the comparisons.

Today Windows 10 PC like the ones from Slick Audio is designed to run the software, plugins, Virtual Instruments that virtually every recording studio uses in a computer that is designed to record audio, for professionals or home studios.

Why Not Use Hackintosh?

We get this question often from MAC users scared to move to Windows believing that it will be difficult, it won’t work.   Or that only Pro Musicians use MAC.  Well, other than that being utter nonsense this myth is just taking money away from you the musician or a pro engineer trying to make a living with your musical talent.

Why lies beneath the surface?


What we tell anyone that asks is NO we don’t do that.  Just imagine if your music makes top 10 or you do the studio work for another artist that becomes successful.  Then the dreams start to become reality more gigs, more money, and fame.  Skys the limit right?    Maybe, but what could happen is that your new found success and wealth might in fact just be what the lawyers are looking for.  To make an example of someone who illegally loaded an APPLE OS to a PC.  We all know how this ends right, the lawyers like sharks at a feeding frenzy rip you, your company, your reputation, and your bank account apart.  Leaving you broke wondering what went wrong.  So just don’t do it is our advice.

Just remember you spend all your creative time in the DAW software of your choice anyway making music if you need to learn a new DAW or operating system like Windows, it’s far easier and less painful than letting the lawyers get your hard earned money.


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NAMM 2019 Day 4

Friends at NAMM

Today is the last day of the NAMM Show for 2019.  Slick Audio was exhibiting its custom audio recording computers and a few friends stopped by our booth and we took some pictures and video.  Here is a quick peek at some of some good friends having fun at NAMM.

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Free Audio Recording Computer


A winner has been chosen and now has a happy new home.


Live From NAMM 2019

Slick Audio, came out strong with another great exhibit at this years NAMM Show in Anaheim, California.  The makers of Windows Based audio recording computers in Laptops, Desktop, Rack, and other forms made another announcement that this year at NAMM.  They were giving away a new recording computer.  To enter the contest go to and click on the image of the FREE DAW COMPUTER.

New Artist Endorsees

Jim Slick President & CEO of Slick Audio also announced that two artists from the band IceFish Virgil Dona (drummer), and Alex Argento (keyboard) are now endorsees.   Both of them running Slick Audio Computers in their own studios.  Slick Audio continues to bring innovation and best in class computers for recording audio.

Visit Slick Audio for all your Audio Computer Needs.


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Customer Testimonials

Loving the Slick Audio Laptop

Slick Audio Computer Customer Review

Recent testimonials from satisfied customers, that purchased Slick Audio Computer.

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Runs perfectly

  • “Loving the Slick laptop thus far. Runs perfectly and I don’t have to think about it. I dove right into an album mix project on it, and so far, not once, have I had to think about the computer. I can’t imagine any higher praise than that. :-)”



Slick audio has provided me the most hassle-free month

of audiogeekery thus far in my career!

Slick Audio Dream Audio Computer

Until recently, I’d always used cheap windows machines for audio production, making do with whatever I could afford at the time. I did my best to keep them tweaked out and operational for audio production. Finally, after a simple hard drive failure with a new gaming-style laptop from one of the large computer companies caused me 4 months of downtime, something snapped.

For the first time in my life, I considered buying an Apple machine. I was always a bit envious of the limited architecture of the Macintosh world since it was easier to make specialized audio gear Just Work with the platform. But from what I can tell, Mac-using audiogeeks are less happy now with that platform than at any time in my memory, so I was wary.

But then I found Slick Audio. These are premium machines, costing much less than a similar performance from the Mac world, and are already tweaked out and dedicated to audio. It was more than I’d ever spent on a laptop, but I bit the bullet, braced for impact, and ordered one.

The first night I had it, I installed the audio software I needed (drivers for my interface & control surface, the two DAWs I use, and the plugins I like). I copied over some data that I work with onto the new machine.

And then I got back to work.

I never got a hiccup

I just finished mixing the first record on this machine, and through the entire process, I didn’t have to think about anything computer-related at all. Not once. Everything — both primary DAWs, all of my plugins, the audio drivers — just worked, I never got a hiccup, a glitch in playback while the computer catches up, I never had to reboot in the middle of the session because the computer’s “acting weird.” There were no interruptions to the workflow to fight with technology. It was just about the music, every moment, from initial balancing to see what I have in each song to the final renders (which took less time than ever….. did I mention this machine is fast?).

I can’t imagine any higher praise than this. If you have the option to invest in quality tools for audiogeek jobs, Slick audio has provided me the most hassle-free month of audiogeekery thus far in my career. I expect this machine to last me years. Highly recommended.


James L



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Unstoppable PCs for Music Production | Slick Audio

Slick Audio is featured in the December issue of Music Trades

Music Trades

Music Trades recently did a feature with Slick Audio.  The topic Slick Audio Computer specialist optimizes unstoppable PCs for music production.

Based in White Haven, Pennsylvania, between Allentown and Scranton, Slick Audio offers a selection of laptop, mini, tower, and rack-mounted PCs for setups large and small. At the affordable end of the spectrum are it’s 2100/2200 Series desktop/rack models.   Including a series of minicomputers, and a series of laptops.  And at the high end, there are the 4100 Series towers and racks which are designed for any pro needs.

The Slick Audio PC’s are custom designed computers with the needs of musicians, creative individuals at the heart of the products they make.  Slick Audio knows music and the creative process as musicians they know how to make the best computer for your musical needs.

The full feature describes more about Slick Audio, the computers we make and why Slick Audio, makes the best computers for audio creation.

For the full article please go to Music Trades or download the article here.


If you are into recording audio, you know gear can really take up a bunch of room.   Do any Drummers out there know what I am talking about?  So if you have a bunch of instruments then you can dedicate a lot of space to your instruments  Like the whole basement of your house or Even your garage.  But what is a someone in an apartment, condo, or touring musician to do when they are limited on space?  Want to know more?  Click here.




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Latency in Recording Music – What is it and How Do I Fix IT?


Latency in Recording

What is Latency? – The time it takes the sound to transmit through air. ( Usually measured in milliseconds when recording audio). Latency in recording audio is described as the delay generated when a signal is routed through a digital audio workstation and connected peripherals.

How does Latency Affect Recording Audio?   An example would be if a MIDI note generated on your keyboard leaves it is sent to the computers CPU processor.   The corresponding sound from your software instrument is then generated by your CPU.   The signal is then sent back to your interface and converted and sent out as an analog signal to your speakers for example.

Jim Slick of Slick Audio, reviews Latency, what it is and how to fix it when recording audio in a computer.



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