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Recording Recording on the cheap

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
529
Ive been wanting to experiment with recording for a while now, but have always been very unstatisfied with my cell phone recordings (even my teacher thinks it sounds little like I actually do).
However, I only have fifty digital US dollars to spend, which is miniscule compared to what this particular site recomends as even a minimum for a home studio. I don't need much, as in not too worried about crazy speakers for mixing or headphones for recording, and the reason for the low budget (besides not actulally having a credit card) is that I have a 50 dollar prepaid visa card I want to spend.
Think I could get away with an okay USB microphone to dabble with, or is an audio interface really a necessity? Is there any cheap equipment that you think would work good enough in my case?
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
Subscriber
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1,827
Blue Snowball usb mic is less than $50 and Audacity software is free.
 
OP
Ne0Wolf7

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
529
The snowball looks promising, and I want to see what colin will say, too :p
 

specs

New Member
Messages
16
As Halfers said - Audacity is free, runs on most platforms and is streets ahead of many "paid for" apps. Widely used in university departments where they need low cost/ free and relatively high performance software.
The microphone in your chosen platform (Windows/Apple/Linux) will probably work tolerably well for monitoring your own performance. Low cost headphones (~$2) or mob phone earpiece ($0) would be useful for simutaneous playback (think backing track) when recording self.
To have/make a "home studio" would involve relatively heavy expense in sound deadening/insulating material. Most people practicing stay simple. Buying a high performance item in any of those areas is a total waste of time (and money) unless you're advancing on all fronts !
 

Veggie Dave

Sax Worker
Messages
3,066
USB mic, Reaper DAW. That will leave you a few dollars for wine to drink as you spend hours discovering a whole new world of audio possibilities.
 

specs

New Member
Messages
16
Don't forget that what YOU hear is not what you sound like by a long shot; wishful thinking apart. Your own unfaithfully adaptive hearing screws around with things drastically - depending how loud you are.

Your audience will hear musical sounds in the range 100 to 900 hz (depends on your instrument). You want that together with the sqeaks and overtones (much lower power) up to about 2000Hz. Key clatter and reed buzz is around 6000/8000 Hz which you'll hear but your audience won't. So no point in trying to capture that. The snag is that cymbals and drums do it around there too - so much depends on whether you want faithful/rough rendition of backing tracks.

A cheap crystal mic as used in many computers (and hobby karaoke gear) will do all that at very low cost.

The microphone in your 'phone is particularly unsuitable for two reasons: it is optimised for speech not music but also the trickery in a phone prevents the mic and speaker from talking to each other instead of you. It is effectively crippled for what you want. You do not need fancy gear to give vastly better results !
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,669
For speakers, I use an old hi fi from the earphone socket on the laptop. I use audacity, which isn't the best, but it's free and I'm used to it. Headphones plug into the hi fi. They help keeping the noise down while mixing but the final mix is best through the speakers I find. So not really necessary.

As far as mic's go, it's a case of diminishing returns. You can start out with a skype mic in the mic socket for less than £5, and as you move up the price scale, you get a 1 or 2% increase in quality for 100% price increase. The best mic for home recording I have, was one I bought for the case to put another one in. It's the only usb mic I own, so the improvement in quality may be down to going through the usb. I'm no expert.

The BM800 will work through the mic socket on a laptop and comes with everything apart from a stand.

BM800 Pro Studio Condenser Microphone Mic Audio Sound Recording Shock Mount H0B8 | eBay

They do a usb version but I haven't tried it.

I started out with one of these

Mini 3.5mm Noise Canceling Flexible Microphone Mic For PC Laptop Notebook Skype | eBay

So, to get going it'll cost you £2.

Just a little warning. You'll be surprised how bad you play. Don't get upset. Just practice out the problems. ;)
 

OldNotGrey

Member
Messages
112
Just a little warning. You'll be surprised how bad you play. Don't get upset. Just practice out the problems. ;)
And I thought it was just me that experienced this !! I like the sound & tone I hear when I play normally but recordings are truly disappointing :(.
 

s.mundi

Member
Messages
546
I consider obtaining recording equipment and the process of recording to be very stressful, These folks have given great direction on the electronic part, so I will give my personal choice for a home studio (it also helps with the voices in me head). .
"THICK" sheets are cheap, simple, and work like a bucket of ice cream.

 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,767
And I thought it was just me that experienced this !! I like the sound & tone I hear when I play normally but recordings are truly disappointing :(.
The difference between what you hear and the reality is like the 'shock' of hearing a recording of your own voice for the first time, I've never got used to hearing mine.
 
OP
Ne0Wolf7

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
529
I decided to get a BM800 for sixteen dollars that came with a stand and pop filter, whatever that does. (turns out its for vocalists- hides the puff of air from words starting with p and the likes) It's ought to arrive in 2-3 days. I got it instead of the really cheap one because it looks cooler
 

OldNotGrey

Member
Messages
112
The difference between what you hear and the reality is like the 'shock' of hearing a recording of your own voice for the first time, I've never got used to hearing mine.
Too true, I insist my wife recorded the message on our answerphone as I didn't like hearing mine
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,518
I have a Blue Snowball ICE microphone - it works on an iPad via the USB adapter!
 
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