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Sound Blaster R3
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Average Customer Review:
( 40 customer reviews )
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9 of 11 found the following review helpful:
SoundBlaster R3 -- 24-Bit Stereo Recording USB Interface with Microphones and CablesAug 11, 2014
By Will R
This device is one of the fastest and easiest ways to get your music recorded and on the internet. The SoundBlaster R3 is a USB recording interface that allows stereo recording, and comes with a vocal microphone, an acoustic guitar microphone, cables and software so there's nothing else you need.
The software includes a sound editor and provides on-board effects such as EQ and reverb, among others. It's small, it's portable and it took me less than 10 minutes from opening the package to recorded music. The recording quality is fantastic (24-bit) and the interface is easy to use, even for someone just starting out in the world of digital recording.
You do not need a sound card for this device, you just need an open USB port on your desktop or laptop and the software takes about 5 minutes to install. The input jacks (for instrument and vocal) are 1/8" (3.5mm) and are the same kind of jacks that are on your MP3 or cell phone.
You also have an input for headphones so you can hear yourself or a music track play while you record, just like the way the pros do it in the recording industry. The two round knobs on top are for reverb and for volume. You can also listen to a music track in your headphones, while you sing your vocals on a separate track, which is also very easy to do with this recorder and software.
The software is very easy to use, even if you haven't used recording software. The interface is laid out in a manner that is easy to understand and comes with presets for karaoke (singing over music with friends) online chat (like Skype), broadcast (recording your own podcast) or studio recording (yourself, other people with or without instruments.)
For acoustic guitar players, you do not need an acoustic pickup in your guitar to record, since the R3 comes with a high-quality microphone that attaches via its own clip. So you just clip it on, plug into the R3 and you are ready to record--it's that simple.
Do you have an electric guitar? You can plug in your electric guitar (with a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, not included) and use the Instrument line-in on the R3 to record. You will need to set the "Mic Boost" setting in the software to +30 dB, and turn on the EQ and lower the high-band to cut out some of the static from your pickups, but it works! There's also a level boost on the EQ, so don't forget about that either.
Also, if you have a guitar effects pedal or board that supports a headphone out, you can also plug this in SoundBlaster R3 and record your amp and guitar effects, just remember to turn up the volume control on your effects board to get the full range of tones and effects. I have a Korg Pandora Stomp pedal and used the headphone out on it to record with the R3 - no amp necessary!
There is sound editing software (Creative Wave Studio 7) that comes with this is well if you want to use it for simple editing and multi-track recording. You can record from either the vocal mic, the instrument mic or record both at the same time.
The R3 also supports recording in 24-bit, in stereo, at the highest rate of 96 kHz, which is well above CD quality recording (44.1 kHz) so don't think it won't give you the same quality recording as some of the other more expensive USB recorders out there.
This is a another winner from Creative - It's a great all-in-one setup for someone looking to record pretty much anything they can think of. Like I said before, it comes with two microphones, the interface and cables. You might want to pick up a microphone stand if you don't have one already, since a mic stand is not included in this setup. However, they are some very low-cost mic stands on Amazon for 12-14 bucks so it's worth getting one if you want to record your vocals standing up while playing ;-)
Note: The R3 is compatible with Windows 8 and 8.1 (including 64-bit)
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Very basic I/O interface + 2 inexpensive MicsAug 20, 2014
By Marty Gillis
Let me cut to the chase right now. If you have no other digital audio interface for your computer then this product is a step up into the world of digital audio recording. In fact, there is no need for this unit UNLESS you have no other way to get audio into your computer and monitor it in full duplex mode. The reason I say this, is there are many fine units out there that offer way more than this set-up (albeit without the two included mics) and other choices will afford you more flexibility with your signal routing plus usually include some semi decent audio recording software as well. On the plus side of things, this Creative system gives you a very usable digital reverb that is adjustable and serves to enhance your finished product. It isn't the greatest, but compared to the old Alesis Midi-verb from the 1980's it is top quality!
But as it stands, this Creative R3 kit does give you everything you need to get sound into your computer, monitor the sound with speakers or headphones (any type of headphones will work since the interface does allow for various types of headphones) and with the aid of some recording software (not included) you can mix your project and put it out there on the web.
This is an inexpensive unit and build quality reflects that, however I do think it is a bit better than the price would suggest. The inclusion of all the cables is also a very welcome addition to this package.
All the hardware in included, but necessary software must be downloaded from Creative's web site. Also, you may encounter software/hardware conflicts between this unit and installed sound cards on your system. You may need to disabled one to make the other work, etc. Make sure you assign this unit as the default audio device in your system or you will get problems cropping up.
Everyone's system is different so your problems (if you have any) and/or solutions will vary. In many cases, this R3 unit should work without a hitch as indeed it was designed to do. This set-up does play nice with Garageband.
The microphone quality is also what you might expect for this price. It works, nothing more. Not horrible by any means, but just barely enough quality to not sound horrible. Actually, or the money, the included larger mic is not all that bad.
The small condenser mic for your acoustic guitar seems to have a problem staying clipped on in actual use, but perhaps I received a slightly faulty unit.
Sound quality is what you might expect. Passable, but nothing special. You just are not going to get high quality A/D converters at this price,. For basic use and needs though, it should suffice and honestly many people can't tell the difference between high end converters and el-cheapos anyway. Just bear in mind if top quality is what you want or need, you should look elsewhere.
Personally, I would direct a person towards something more like the Behringer 302USB and perhaps an inexpensive Shure mic or two. Unlike the Creative product, it includes some decent multi tracking software, albeit limited in nature. And it is less money. (more money after mic is purchased however)
Bottom Line: If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get audio into your computer, record your voice and a guitar or other acoustic instrument, plus balance the two and monitor the signals thru headphones or speakers, then this Creative R3 may fit the bill nicely. Yes it is cheap and yes you get what you pay for, but it DOES work and your final results may actually surprise you. You can get some pretty decent sounding recordings out of this thing, just nothing you would release on a major label.
If you are new to computer recording, this is a fine place to start and the pros outweigh the cons, especially when the purchase price is taken into consideration.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Creative Labs Does It Again! The Sound Blaster R3 is....A BlastAug 11, 2014
By B. Colonna
I ordered the creative Labs R3 with some reservation. These passed soon after I connected it and heard the results off the microphones played back on my PC. Overall, great and for the price - simply incredible. The microphones alone make it worthwhile.
Our family has a lot of musical instruments ranging from piano to drums to guitars (acoustic and electric) as well as saxes and violins. We use Garage Band to do some informal home recording, making use of the amps in our home plus a few random microphones.
I wanted something to do some more advanced home recording, and I didn't think any of Creative's software products would be any better than garage Band, I think overall the whole R3 package is awesome. Feature for feature, I don't think R3 is any better than GB, however, and it's a huge however, I can use R3 easily on any of my Windows PCs, and it connects simply with a USB. No FireWire, no propriety hardware or software. Of course, if I do want to use the R3 on my Mac, I can do that as well. What's more, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could use the R3 but still do my production in Garage Band. So basically, the R3 is "open" and you can use it how you want on a number of platforms.
So, what's in the box?
* The R3 console which has a very small footprint, the size of a paperback book, more or less.
* A very nice full size dynamic microphone, the Sound Blaster DM-1
* A smaller mic (Sound Blaster IM-1) on a small gooseneck with a built-in clip to attach it to your acoustic guitar hole.
* USB to micro-USB cable for connectivity.
* 4 Pole analog cable (mobile in). This is if you want to connect to a mobile device.
* Quick Start and Warranty leaflets.
What's not in the box? Software. You need to go to Creative Labs' website and download the appropriate Windows or Mac software: www.creative.com/support My user manual mentions an installation CD; there was none in my box. The website will provide various software that is necessary, or useful, with the R3. These include:
* Sound Blaster R3/A6U Control Panel
* Creative Smart Recorder
* Creative WaveStudio
* Creative Software AutoUpdate
* Creative System Information
* Creative Product Registration
The hardware specs for the product are fairly low: Windows Vista and up, Windows 7 or 8, 32 or 64 bit, and on the Mac side, OS X 10.6 or higher. You also need at least 1 GB of memory and more than 600 MB of free hard disk space. The product is NOT spec'd for XP, however I did connect it to my XP PC without any issue.
NOTE: Like most audio software, when you install this, it will attempt to make itself the default audio playback device. Unless that's your preference, override this by going back and changing your audio settings later.
I think you should read the software guides in order to gain an understanding of the control Panel and the software features. If you have used Garage Band or other home audio products, you will find many of the features intuitive.
Oh yes the two big knobs on the unit. One will de/increase reverb, and the other controls the volume.
You can also use headphones if desired. While the unit is simple in form and footprint, it is fairly versatile.
The microphone sound is excellent on both mics. I played around with the mics on my drum set, which is an older Ludwig kit with melodic tom toms. Anyone who has recorded drums at home understands that, on cheap mics, drums can sound like tin cans and boxes. This is especially true of melodic tom toms, as they lack a resonant bottom head. These mics actually allowed me to record the drums with improved audio quality. Is it like miking each drum individually, no. But the sound is fairly good off the dynamic mic, and you can toy with the control panel to really clean it up.
One final note: This is a HOME audio unit, more for entertainment than pro use. Yes, you can yield really nice results with it using the software or other products, but this is not a replacement for a mixing board or any other pro level equipment.
I would agree with other reviews. The product is nice, but the mic's make it. The software is very good, but others can do similar things. At this price point, for what this unit does, overall though...it is a great choice.
4 of 5 found the following review helpful:
I have always loved creative products because of their practicalityAug 01, 2014
By Larry Silveira
I have always loved creative products because of their practicality, ease of use, and software bundles.
The Sound Blaster R3 is a fantastic device for its targeted population. It is cheap and fun to use. If you are a user/lover of Karaoke, want to play music at your friend’s party and add a mic, or a newbie to recording yourself singing while playing guitar this device offers what you need at around $100. The sound quality is good and offers the versatility to complete several creative tasks. With 50% of the knobs (there are only two) devoted to a vocal effect called reverb it seems clear that one of the targeted populations are singers who want depth to their voice. Add their second included mic for attaching to a guitar and you have a device for any budding musician/singer/songwriter.
Before I get into the fun things about the R3 I’d like to take a more systematic approach to reviewing this device. So that you know, I am a computer tech, musician, and song writer with experience in both analog and digital multitrack recording. That being said, in my opinion this device while geared for the novice to intermediate person who just wants an easy way to record playing their guitar, playing their guitar while singing, or adding your voice (s) to prerecorded music from a variety of sources, is actually a pretty nifty mobile device for the “prosumer” as well.
Parts of the install process were confusing to me perhaps due to past install experiences. The enclosed guide (and that’s all it is), instructs the customer to go to www.creative.com/support to download the software and full User’s Guide. The user is directed via choosing “Sound Blaster” to locate the downloads for the R3 (dependent on one’s Windows or Mac operating system). So be now informed you may really need to download three files:
1. The bundled software containing a series of applications (which includes the R3 Panel, Creative Smart Recorder, and Creative Wave Studio 7,)
2. The firmware to make improvements to the R3 device itself
3. The User Guide.
The software will not install unless it first sees the device. So plug the R3 into a USB port first. Once I actually figured out the order, everything went smoothly. (1. Plug in device, 2. Install bundled software including registration, restarts may be required, 3. Install firmware (with device obviously plugged in) restarts usually required. So now you know what I know!
The R3 itself is…well, pretty. It is sleek, shiny, and black and red. The inputs/outputs are all 1/8 “mini plugs which are obviously geared for the entry level user but the two mics included (a handheld mic with an off/on switch and a guitar mic) comes with the appropriate cords. For the pro musician, get your adapters out and all is well. The included mics sound great. The hand held has very little “handling noise” which is one sign of a decent mic. The clip with the included guitar mic attaches to the sound hole on your guitar. It’s a little snug for my liking so be careful. You can position the guitar mic so it is not in the way of your strumming. Obviously if you use both mics as intended you will need to buy a mic stand clip and mic stand (with boom) to hold the hand held mic. For the pros, the great news is you can use any LoZ or HiZ mic that does not require phantom power like a Shure Beta 58A or 57A. I tried both and they sound great.
There is an included “4-pole” cord that attaches your “IPhone or IPad to the “Mobile In” input or a “3-pole” stereo “Line In” jack for other non-Apple mp3 players. (That cord is not included so you will need to supply your own male-to-male 1/8“stereo cord.) This is a cool feature that probably makes Karaoke enthusiasts pinch themselves to see if they died and went to heaven. As you may know some Karaoke devices remove the vocal tracks from music so one can sing with the rest of the music. I DO NOT THINK THIS DOES NOT REMOVE VOCAL TRACKS FROM SONGS. If you are such a singer you probably know you can buy Karaoke versions of many songs with vocals removed on Amazon or ITunes or other mp3 venders.
The real flagship software is the R3’s Control Panel. It lets the user adjust everything from inputs to outputs to types of reverb effects to Karaoke to recording settings and even funny voices changes (the last would be a great party pleaser.) The four modes: Karaoke, Chat, Broadcasting, and Recording really exemplify the diversity of this device.
The included editing/recording software is useful for basic recording only. You can record yourself singing and playing guitar or some other acoustic instrument. But note the software is not intended for you to do multi-track recording. For that you need to download either a free multitrack software like “Audacity” or buy software from several other venders and then multi-track recording is possible.
Finally, here are a few ways you can use the R3 from I’m certain a long list:
1. Record you and/or a friend singing and playing guitar
2. Using your laptop and mp3 player and either a stereo system or small PA you can DJ at yours or a friend’s party with the added ability to talk on a mic or open things up to Karaoke. You can add funny voices for laughs and record some of it for others to hear later. (Note that true DJing such as shifting tempo and easy transitions form one song to another is not possible with the included applications but playing one song after another is possible.)
3. With laptop and mic stand, record your friend at an open mic venue while you sit at a table near the performer.
4. Using your laptop and mp3 player you can record yourself singing to Christmas songs/ jazz standards/other music (Karaoke music) then create a CD (with a CD burning application not included) to give to friends and family for the holidays.
This is a straight forward device. The R3 is easy to use and works great with your laptop especially for portable events and recording.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Great little portable system for recording live musicSep 11, 2014
This unit is a great way for musicians and singers to make web-ready home recordings very quickly. Perhaps one of the neatest aspects of this system is how compact it is, with the recording device being smaller than the include microphone. This makes recording in close quarters very convenient. The sound quality is absolutely acceptable for this type of product, making it a great option for beginning performers who simply want a reliable way to record vocal, or a solo instrument, over a backing track (which can be added via mobile device). In other words, singer-guitarists are ideal, but I have used this to record horn solos over pre-existing backing tracks (i.e. practice play-along recordings). So don't make the mistake of thinking this for guitarists and/or vocalists only.
The software is a simple download and has a relatively easy-to-use interface. The interface will allow the user to tweak the EQ and such, while the "modes" allow for singing on-line karaoke, chatting, broadcasting online, or recording off-line. The hardware, as easily seen in the photo, basically consists of a reverb dial (on the left side) and a playback volume dial (on the right side). There are two mic inputs on the front of the unit, along with a headphone jack. On the back of the unit there are line-out, line-in, and mobile-in jacks, plus a USB port. The USB connects to your computer or laptop and that's about all there is to it. You don't have to use the included microphone if you have something better or preferable, but it's nice to have one in the package. Acoustic players will love the clip-on guitar mic that is included.
Note: DC power adapter is available separately.
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