Microphones for recording at home (and software)

half diminished

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I'm keen to get a decent mic so that I can record myself properly at home. Obviously I don't need proper studio quality but I'd like it to be 'good enough' to do the job properly. Recommendations please.

How much do I need to spend and what other kit do I need?

Also, I use a Mac, what software should I use for recording?

Something like this perhaps?

 
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Mamos

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For microphones, software and home recording stuff and information check out http://www.musiconmypc.co.uk

mamos
 
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Sloth

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Now posted in the right thread!

I recorded myself recently to ask a question on the SOTW forum, here's my recording - http://rapidshare.com/files/205815432/saxblueCbit.mp3

- just click 'save as' or 'open in new..' as I'm a member and you won't have to wait for the file- it'll give you an idea of a large diaphragm condenser mic's quality. I don't have a studio or anything fancy, I just set the mic up and recorded.

It's a model made by Stagg which is a bit of a jack of all trades make, but this mic gives great quality and was under £100 when I got it about 5 years ago.

You may find a USB mic better as you can skip the special lead (I forgot the name), the mixing desk required to provide power to the active mic and all that, although a more tradition mic and the associated gear would be more useful and versatile. You can get a small/4-6 channel mixing desk for £20 2nd hand and a lead will only be a few quid, on top of any soundcard upgrade you may feel is necessary.

As for software, it depends what you want to do, if you want to just record yourself on your own, there are free programs out there.
 
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Chris98

Senior Member
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1,076
I'm keen to get a decent mic so that I can record myself properly at home. Obviously I don't need proper studio quality but I'd like it to be 'good enough' to do the job properly. Recommendations please.

How much do I need to spend and what other kit do I need?

Also, I use a Mac, what software should I use for recording?

Something like this perhaps?
Hi Ian,

The mic in your link requires phantom power so you'll need either a mixer or USB/Firewire interface with 48v Phantom power.

There are so many good mics at ridiculously good prices these days that it's hard to make a decision, I've had good success with a Rode NT2a although it's possibly a little more than you were thinking.

SE Mics are also worth a look and if you fancy something a little harder wearing for stage use you could always go with the industry standard Shure 57a or Beta 57, or the cheaper PG57.

All of these mics require some sort of mixer or interface box to work with your computer but, there are also USB models now available that should make the whole process just that bit easier. Something like this perhaps:SE USB1000A I haven't tried one so can't comment on the quality.

As Pete says, Garage Band is a great program to start on and if you find you eventually need more, Logic or Logic express will keep you entertained for years.

All the best,

Chris
 
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Pete Thomas

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What is your total budget?

For something really straightforward tried and tested through the ages, a Shure SM58 is still good.

As Chris pointed out that mic will need phantom power.
 

AlanB

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old git

Tremendous Bore
Back Pete all the way and as he is too modest to admit, he has some excellent patches for use in GarageBand. The brass and woodwind are best used with a breath controller or EWI.
Getting old with no top end, just an excuse for no altissimo, and at times, wishing I was deaf, still use a Sony ECM929LT that was bought around twenty years ago with a Walkman Pro Series 6, a Maplin's Shure copy and a Z2. A total no hoper like me can get by reasonably well with this lot.

Now if you want Studio Quality........................................
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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Hi Ian,

The mic in your link requires phantom power so you'll need either a mixer or USB/Firewire interface with 48v Phantom power.

There are so many good mics at ridiculously good prices these days that it's hard to make a decision, I've had good success with a Rode NT2a although it's possibly a little more than you were thinking.

SE Mics are also worth a look and if you fancy something a little harder wearing for stage use you could always go with the industry standard Shure 57a or Beta 57, or the cheaper PG57.

All of these mics require some sort of mixer or interface box to work with your computer but, there are also USB models now available that should make the whole process just that bit easier. Something like this perhaps:SE USB1000A I haven't tried one so can't comment on the quality.

As Pete says, Garage Band is a great program to start on and if you find you eventually need more, Logic or Logic express will keep you entertained for years.

All the best,

Chris
What is your total budget?

For something really straightforward tried and tested through the ages, a Shure SM58 is still good.

As Chris pointed out that mic will need phantom power.
Back Pete all the way and as he is too modest to admit, he has some excellent patches for use in GarageBand. The brass and woodwind are best used with a breath controller or EWI.
Getting old with no top end, just an excuse for no altissimo, and at times, wishing I was deaf, still use a Sony ECM929LT that was bought around twenty years ago with a Walkman Pro Series 6, a Maplin's Shure copy and a Z2. A total no hoper like me can get by reasonably well with this lot.

Now if you want Studio Quality........................................
Thanks all.

I guess I don't have a budget as such - as always, I need to achieve the right level and cost is second to that. If I can keep it to below £50 ideally or below £100 I would be pleased but I need to record well enough to get a good feel for how my sound really is. I want to hear my playing 'as other people do' and maybe share a file or two with you lot. :D

Have found this - Samson C03U which looks OK at around £90 and there is a cheaper version that I've seen around £50 (Samson C01U). Thoughts on these?

 
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jonf

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Samson USB Microphones

Ian

I've got a Samson C01U USB mike. Really good, nice sound quality, and you can just plug it into your computer and away you go. They're normally a bit more than £50, usually about £65, but brilliant value as you really don't need to buy anything else to start to record at home.

I am, though, probably going to sell mine as I need to record in a different room to where my computer is, so I'm going to get a Zoom H2. Let me know by PM if you'rter interested in buying it.

Jon
 

Andrew Sanders

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Ilkley West Yorkshire
Hi Ian

I picked up an AKG Perception 400 from Thomann in Germany for only £80 and it seems to do a good job for me. It's a large diaphram condenser mic and comes in a sexy box too. Again it needs phantom power which I get from a teeny mixer
Eurorack UB802 from Behringer.
I don't know how it compares to others but I'm very pleased with it and it is within your budget.
My two pen'orth for what it's worth....
Andy
 

DaveW

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163
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Stockport, Cheshire
Crazydaisydoo did a video on YouTube explaining his setup Ian, may be of interest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RgnY5aw-Qmk
 
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Moz

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North of Liskeard, Cornwall,UK
I use the Shure SM57. 84 quid plus xlr lead (extra). Unidirectional, quality and bloody excellent. Sm58 is a vocal mike SM57 is an instrument mike. I have had occasion to try both at my band practice and there is a world of difference.

Moz
 

Sloth

Member
Messages
102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
I've just ordered a binaural mic which sits in your ears, and you can listen back on headphones to replicate the stereo image really well (your head acts as a baffle between mics just like in reality).

Only £20 and great fun (you can record yourself eating biscuits)
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Sloth,
You are aware that if you record using binaural techniques, the best form of playback is headphones, as you lose a lot of the effect with speakers including the in front, middle and back of the head effect.
Takes me back to those HiFi shows and plastic heads with binaural systems on them.
Must be getting old.
 

Sloth

Member
Messages
102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
Oh yes I'm aware, I already have a pair but in the old 'over the head' headphone style which look out of place these days. Maybe I should tippex the wire and the earphones for that IPod look..
 

TonyMoroney

Member
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94
Location
Richmond, VA, USA
Just my tuppence ha'penny on the subject since I haven't chimed in yet, but here it is anyway. You very much get what you pay for, and there are some great value mics at the budget end of the scale. One of the mics I get the most use out of doubles as an MP3/WAV recorder (the Zoom H4 which has since been superceded), because I use it to record my lessons and when I play with others that don't have studio gear with Phantom Power and XLR inputs required for "normal" studio mics. It's not the best sounding nor the worst, but it's very flexible indeed. But for the same money you could get an SE2200a or a Rode NT2a.

It's always a tradeoff, you just have to do the research and go for what you feel is right.

Cheers

T.
 
OP
half diminished

half diminished

Senior Member
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Buckinghamshire
Well it's arrived and a big thanks to Jonf - I am now the proud owner of a Samson C01U. Watch this space as I just know I won't be able to get this up and running! :confused:

 

chris_curtis

New Member
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9
Location
near Gatwick
I'd echo the views about Samson usb mics. Very high quality vs price ratio and easy to use. Very little noise too so you can get a clean recording without having to have it too close to your sax.
 
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