Breaking into the music industry is very different today when compared to just 15 years ago. Now, starting on YouTube seems as much as a necessity as playing live at your local club. The trouble is that a lot of recording equipment can price many talented artists out of the market.
Enter the Sound Blaster R3 from Creative pitched as a one stop solution for inexpensive home recording. If you’re just looking to get into YouTube Music production or have a home solution, it might just be worth the money for this entry-level solution. Let’s take a look at what comes in the box:
In the Box:
- Sound Blaster R3 Device with Reverb and Volume Wheel Sliders
- Quick Start and Warranty Leaflets
- 2 Microphones including a Dynamic Vocal and Clip Mic for Guitar
- 4-Pole Analog Cable
- Micro USb Cable
With the cost of this device and everything that comes in the box I was a bit skeptical about the performance. Clearly everything you need is all there, but if it lacked quality it’d probably be worth it to go a step up.
Microphone Quality – Better than Expected
First let’s look at the microphones. It’s nice that the R3 comes with a clip-on instrument microphone. This can be attached to just about any instrument you’d like. The sound itself wasn’t at a professional recording level. That being said for the money, I was very satisfied with the clarity overall of not only this microphone, but the included vocal microphone as well. In other words, if you don’t have big money to start, you’ll still be able to make waves in the industry with the R3.
When I first received the R3 the first thing I wanted to test was the R3’s ability to do real-time hardware monitoring. This is something that I could use right away with my YouTube channel or podcasts in the future. Because everything is handled right through the R3 you do, in fact, hear your voice back in real time. This is nice especially when you’re making adjustments to FX, pitch, the reverb wheel, and more.
As I mentioned above it also comes with two microphone inputs. This allows you to easily record from two points at once. With line-in compatibility you can also plug in sources of music from your MP3 player to add to the recording. The line-out connection allows you to then take your new masterpiece and play it out through your speakers.
In addition to the dual mic and line-in compatibility the R3 is an amplifier. This means you can use 600 Ohm studio-grade headphones to monitor what you’re recording.
Software – Overall Easy-to-Use
The software includes an equalizer panel, a mixer, the SBX Pro Studio and options for Karaoke, Chat, Broadcast, and Recording. It also includes some fun settings for pitch shift, and modifying your voice into one of 18 options including everything from an alien brute, to an old man, or even an elf. In terms of ease-of-operation I was able to download the software from the creative site, install it, and get it up and going within 5 minutes.
While it was easy enough to figure out the recording parts I also had fun with my kids trying out the various voice options available.
Overall it’s a valuable piece of software in its own right and certainly adds to the overall value of the device.
Clearly the Creative team wants this to be an all-in-one solution for budding musicians. With a starting price as low as $79.99 you’re ready to record from more than one source at once. While this may not be a long-term solution for those who go pro in the industry the appeal is there for startups.
Those who already have a nice microphone and equipment might like this as a portable solution, but may not quite find the quality that they’re used to. Either way, the software and R3 is fun and useful in many situations because of its portability and flexibility as a device.