Help Picking Out a Good DAI Starter Bundle

Hello All,

I’ve read through the “What’s Your DAI (Digital Audio Interface)?” thread a few times now and I’m a little overwhelmed. I need a little help deciding on a decent studio bundle to start recording into my laptop so I can post a few covers on the forum. I’m looking at the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio Bundle (4th Gen) and the PreSonus AudioBox Studio Ultimate Bundle 25th Anniversary Edition but I know there are other bundles (Steinberg, Zoom, Behringer, etc.).

I’ve got a Schecter active bass that I play into my Fender Rumble 800. I don’t have any pedals. I’m looking to be able to plug into my amp (or just plug the bass into the DAI; I don’t know which way is up) and run it into my computer (it’s a gaming laptop so it’s got some horse power).

I’m looking for something that is a good entry point where I can open the box and it’s got the right cables and has decent DAW sofware to get me started right away. I’d like to sing (not well) and play or play with my brother so I think I need at least two inputs. Ideally, I would also like a perpetual license so I don’t have to keep paying a subscription for the DAW but I would be open to upgrading my DAW down the road when I’ve got my bass recording legs a little more under me.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. When it comes to computers I’m a bit of a rock so anything would be helpful. I’m also open to DAW recommendations (any freeware that is decent?) that work with the different DAI’s. My price range is around $300 to $500 (for the whole starter bundle). Also, I do have ToneLib Jam on my computer. I don’t know if that’s compatible with anything. I’ve been using it for the song files to jam out to.

Thanks for any help,


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I have the third Gen focusrite 2i2, it works. I don’t really have any strong feelings about it.

For DAWs basically all of them have free trials. For amp and cab sim purposes the free amplitube was fine for me, other people use different free plug-in solutions but there are many.

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Reaper is a very good DAW and only $60 after the generous free trial.

And I’m selling a behringer UM2 if youre looking to dip your toes in without spending much. Info about UM2 Otherwise, any of the DAIs that you mentioned will work well for ya…

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I miss the part if you disclosed Mac or window?

Check out the Focusrite factory store on Reberb the discount is pretty awesome.

I’m super cautious about software bundle with the Scarlett. Put it on my MacBook and somehow it got stuck with either driver or something from autotune, and what whole host of stuffs and I couldn’t chase it down. I ended up having to factory reset my laptop. Not fun.

Now, I’m sticking with Logic Pro and GarageBand. They are all good, and because they are all good. I don’t need to venture out of the comfort of my ecosystem, :joy:


All of the stuff I record, plus the videos, is done on an iPhone. For the interface, I either use a Scarlett Solo (super-easy to use, once you’ve done it once) or one of my pedals, that also acts as an interface.

For the DAW, I just use GarageBand, which comes free with the iPhone.

My only initial set-up cost was a second hand Scarlett Solo and the couple of wires.

For the videos, they are recorded on an iPhone, then the video sync’ed with the audio in iMovie, again free on the iPhone.

I do think that we live in amazing times; the phone in the pocket is also a recording studio!! It’s simply amazing!!


Oh, sorry. That would be a requisite for talking computer. I’ve got a PC. It looks like Focusrite comes with Ableton Lite which is more common and well regarded than the StudioOne Artist that comes with the PreSonus (from what I’ve read; I have no personal experience). If the Reaper DAW is only $60, I don’t mind upgrading software down the road. Thanks for the Reverb recommendation; I can save a good chunk of money. Ideally, I’m looking to plug the DAI into my amp (the line out looks like an XLR cable) and then the DAI into the laptop. Do I need a MIDI input on the DAI to do that? i.e. An XLR to MIDI cable from my amp line out to the DAI. Or do I even need an MIDI input in the DAI? That’s where I’m clueless. What cables connect to what and what ports do I need on the DAI. The only thing I know is that I’ve got USB ports on my computer so I need a USB DAI. I saw that @Mark_UK posted a diagram on the “Regarding Hardware Beginner Setup” thread regarding connections for the Focusrite. It looks like an XLR cable should be fine to go into the DAI from the amp (XLR to XLR) but I’m not sure. That’s why I’m on the fence in regards to the PreSonus vs. Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (or 4i4 maybe). The PreSonus has MIDI inputs while the Focusrite 2i2 does not.

@sunDog, I’ve got a basic Kyocera phone (the one that grandparents get when they’re forced to modernize) so I think the phone route is a no go. I’ve always eschewed the modern phone; I only upgraded my flip phone because it was no longer supported. Side note: The guy at the music store I go to says he uses GarageBand on his Mac and likes it. He was also talking about Cubase being good software for Mac.

For the video component of the audio/visual requirements for posting a cover I’m hoping to be able to use my laptop camera and video software on my PC.

@skydvr, thanks for the Reaper recommendation. I didn’t know it was that cheap. I’ve asked around and heard good things about that software so that’s definitely an option. In regards to the DAI, I think I’m leaning towards the Focusrite Scarlett. I just don’t know if I need the 2i2 vs. the 4i4 on account of the latter having MIDI inputs.

Again, I appreciate you guys weighing in. I’m hoping to join you guys in posting some covers in the next few weeks when I get my gear all sorted and figure out how to use it.



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This is so true. I edit all my video on my M1 iPad Pro using both iMovie and Final Cut Pro iPad. Could have done it on my iphone but my eyes won’t cooperate :joy:. I’m just too lazy to use my iPhone camera if not the video quality would have been even better.

Edit: I also found that the GarageBand is plenty powerful to get the job done with what I want to do. I have Logic Pro X but it’s definitely an overkill.

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Hello Jacob,

I have the 2i2 3rd gen, though i haven’t gotten around to recording myself yet. You shouldn’t need a midi connection for your use case, unless you are planning to connect a keyboard or other digital instrument in the future. The 2i2 3rd gen has combo ports on the front, they’ll take either XLR or an instrument cable. The 2i2 4th gen has the same but they split the combo and put the XLR on the back. Though there are physically four ports, on the 4th gen, you can only use 2 at a time.

You can connect your amp’s XLR to an input on the 2i2, if your amp’s XLR is post eq and you want your amp’s sound recorded. Or you can just plug your bass directly to the 2i2 via an instrument cable and do the eq in software. When the 2i2 is connected to the PC it will take over as the soundcard. So you can still hear other system sounds or background audio through the headphones or external speakers connected to the 2i2.

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Perfect. Thanks for the info, @Wes. Time to see a man about a DAI.

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