I started recording with Cubase LE two years ago using a Focusrite 2i2 and I had no idea about mixing and just used headphones. I liked Cubase so much I purchased the Pro edition. Here’s what I finally ended up with – a zero latency home studio with great monitoring and mixes:
That’s it – very simple. I had done shootouts on all of the sub $500 interfaces and tried all of the decent microphones in the $500 ish or less class, and these won hands down.
Mike Seniors Mixing Secrets for Small Studios was the major breakthrough. Once I carefully read his book my home studio went from schmoe to pro.
The SSL2+ is quite a bit better than the UA Volt 276 that I have. While I like the Volt 276 ergonomics better, the SSL2+ preamps are the cleanest out of all of the budget interfaces. The MOTU M2 is pretty nice too, but even though the SSL2+ has a few things I feel they could have done better, nothing came close to it’s clean sound.
I finally settled on using the SSL2+ on the Fender GTX-50 Mustang amp with the Royer R10 and d booster and SM-57 and for vocals the SE Electronics Voodoo plus Rode NT-1 through the UA 276. Because with Cubase I can switch between interfaces in the software, I have Bern using this set up now for 8 months and love it.
Bottom line – experiment a LOT!