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Mic Recommendations

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Hey everyone, I've been working on a few projects that I'd like to finally get around to recording... So I need to invest in two microphones and I was wondering if you guys could help point me in the right direction.

 

- They will be used for voice recording only.

- I'd prefer just being able to plug them into the USB slots and record.

- I'd like to spend in the neighborhood of $100 per mic.

- I'm using an old macbook pro if that matters.

- Obviously sound quality is important, but I'm on a budget.

 

Any tips? Recommendations?

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For $100 a piece, you really can't go wrong with a classic Shure SM-58. It's a mic that you'll see people using on stage about 75% of the time, and a lot on TV. For singing, people usually use more expensive condenser mics, but the SM-58 is a really versatile mic that can be used in many situations.

 

There are USB mics but for your price range, they are garbage. Most good microphones, you can't just plug it into a USB port. Mics need a preamp, for which you'd usually get a mixer which includes at a minimum some basic level control, L-R panning, and hopefully some EQ. (I see that Earwolf uses a Soundcraft, which is a pretty sturdy and good sounding board used in a lot of recording studios). Then you need something which provides digital audio conversion for the computer.

 

There's some relatively inexpensive USB D/A converters with decent mic preamps built in, like the Focusrite series, but they just have a basic gain/level knob; all the EQ and stereo panning would be done in software. I'm a hardware guy so I like having knobs, and when recording I think it's really important to start with good sound quality rather than fixing it in software. If I was looking for an inexpensive setup like you, I'd get a couple of SM-58s and a cheap mixer with built-in D/A conversion like one of the Behringer Xenyx boards. A lot of people will talk shit about that brand (and they're mostly correct) but it's got the basics and is a good place to start; you can always upgrade.

 

Sorry, more information than you wanted probably.

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Appreciate it man. That info definitely points me in a good direction for some more research. I'll probably throw out a few more questions in the next few weeks.

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Okay, after scrounging around my dad's old music stuff I found three mics:

 

2 - Realistic 33-985B Omnidirectional 600 Ohm

1 - Calrad 10-10 Super Cardioid Shotgun

 

Based on the brief research, the Realistic ones seem to be kind of like off brand SM-57s. As far as I know these are all in working condition. Do you think those would probably be sufficient for just recording voice?

 

That would bring it down to only needing a mixer, and saving me a few hundred bucks.

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Alright so heres what i would do, given the same equipment:

 

The Realistic is an omnidirectional mic, meaning that it picks up sound from all directions, not just the direction in which it is pointed. So if you were to acousticly treat a nice, quiet room with some heavy blankets, you could probably get away with recording multiple voices on that one mic. And with a little EQ to get rid of any hum or hiss in the air, you could have a decent and clear recording.

 

The Calrad, however, is a shotgun mic, these are the kinds of mics you see on the ends of booms or on cameras. They are incredibly directional and are used mainly in television and movies where you need the direct sound of something like a voice, but can't be in frame. I wouldn't necessarily reach for a mic like this for recording voice, but its totally doable and it will sound just fine if you get the distance and levels right.

 

As for a mixer, C&B is right, go with something cheap that has the basics that you need to get the audio from a mic to your computer. When it comes to recording voice, the front end (mic type, room type, ambient noise levels) is where you need to focus your attention.

 

Bottom line: Recording is and always has been trial and error. Just use your ears!

 

 

 

P.S. Im curious as to what software you plan on using to actually record and what kind of computer/operating system you're using

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P.S. Im curious as to what software you plan on using to actually record and what kind of computer/operating system you're using

 

Thanks for your post man, I was actually going to bump this one more time today because I've settled on the Behringer Xenyx Q1202USB: http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/behringer-xenyx-q1202usb-mixer

 

I'd be good with the one C&B linked, but am going up a notch so I could get up to four mics if necessary.

 

Basically I have a sound room set up. There's a cedar closet in my basement that is freestanding on all sides but the floor, and obviously there's nothing under the basement. The walls are easily draped with old blankets and quilts. The room is enough to get a decent table, the equipment and maybe 3 people in it depending on the set up. So it should be pretty solid contamination-wise.

 

I'm currently using a 6 year old Macbook Pro, updated with Snowleopard (or whatever was the 2010 update).

 

I hadn't really thought much about program choices yet, but I've got Adobe CS5, Audacity, and Garageband.

 

The Behringer that I'm going to order has some software:

Behringer has put together a massive software download that includes Audacity (the most popular open source audio editor), Podifier, Juice, Podnova and Golden Ear (a great selection of podcasting software). You’re ready to go live on your PC or Mac right out of the box! You also get more than 100 virtual instruments and 50 FX plug-ins, turning your computer into a complete home-based or mobile recording studio.

 

I figure some program will catch my fancy and I'll use that. I mean I know at least a few big name podcasts just use garageband.

 

Plus I think I might be able to borrow a mic or two from a friend that just had a kid. Doubt he's playing any music any time soon.

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I know you've been given some advice, but I'll throw my two cents in as well.

 

I personally have all the cast members in my podcast use Blue Yetis. You can get them for about $90 on Amazon right now. They have several settings to use, depending on how many people you'll be recording, the environment you're recording in, etc. I personally like them because plugged into a MacBook Pro, it just kinda works. You don't have to fuss with mixers, and the macbook actually recognizes it as an output itself, so it gives you latency free monitoring with an on-board headphone jack.

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I got my Behringer mixer about a week and a half ago, my mics won't work because they're 1/4" instead of XLR. So I need to either order adapters or borrow some mics.

 

Short term I borrowed a couple of Peaveys from my buddy (whom I'd mentioned in a previous post). So right now I have his mics/stands plus my mixer and laptop. After fucking around for a few hours I finally got everything working, thanks for no manual Behringer!

 

I'll probably be recording something this week, and will start editing soon after. I'll probably post it somewhere around here if I'm happy with how it turns out.

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You don't need a sound mixer. If you just use two mics, get a Focusrite Scarlett. It has much better preamps than a cheap shitty mixer. You can do all sound tweaking on the computer (GarageBand or whatever) and sound just fine. Especially for podcasts, as long as the recording is coming in clean, you do not need fancy hardware at all.

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