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View Full Version : Looking to buy: XLR Cable to USB Conversion Adapter




rsherid
Aug 12, 2009, 07:22 PM
I'm looking for an XLR Cable to USB Conversion Adapter such as the Blue Icicle or Mic Mate. Honestly, any would do as long as it works.

Looking to pay around $30 for it.



ChrisA
Aug 13, 2009, 12:15 AM
I'm looking for an XLR Cable to USB Conversion Adapter such as the Blue Icicle or Mic Mate. Honestly, any would do as long as it works.

Looking to pay around $30 for it. Please PM me.

Do this things have a way to adjust the gain? Do they have an LED or some other way to know if they are clipping. Without at least these features I don't know how useful the device would be. You have the think about monitoring too and if you need to drive headphones with zero latency.

I think you'd have to explain your intended usage before anyone could offer any informed advice. It could work OK for some very simple use cases.

rsherid
Aug 13, 2009, 12:30 AM
Do this things have a way to adjust the gain? Do they have an LED or some other way to know if they are clipping. Without at least these features I don't know how useful the device would be. You have the think about monitoring too and if you need to drive headphones with zero latency.

I think you'd have to explain your intended usage before anyone could offer any informed advice. It could work OK for some very simple use cases.

All I need is something that allows me to use an XLR mic (AT2020 model) with my MacBook and GarageBand. I'll be recording acoustic guitar and vocals with it.

ChrisA
Aug 14, 2009, 12:51 AM
All I need is something that allows me to use an XLR mic (AT2020 model) with my MacBook and GarageBand. I'll be recording acoustic guitar and vocals with it.

You mean one mic on the vocals and another on the guitar. Or You will try to position the mic so one mic can pick up both at the same time. Or You will either sing or play guitar but never both on the same song or You record one track and then record a second track and later mix them together.

I don't think there is much in your price range. Both of the two products you listed cost more then the price you were looking for. $50 to $70 would be a better budget.

If you are going to play guitar and sing at the same time and want to record both at the same time you will find that you need two mics.

Dale Campbell
Aug 15, 2009, 07:36 AM
A quick google turned this up -

MXL Mic Mate (http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MXL-Mic-Mate-XLR-to-USB-Mic-Interface-WPhantom-Power?sku=270707&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=82068294)

which should fit the bill.

FYI it is possible to get good results using just 1 mic, the room will probably be a big factor in this if you can record in a nice sounding space at bit of a distance from the mic you should be able to get good results.

Close micing allows you to control the level between voice and guitar as well as change the tone with eq and add effects with some independence.

But for total separation you need to run 2 takes.

PreacherKane
Aug 15, 2009, 09:08 AM
A quick google turned this up -

MXL Mic Mate (http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MXL-Mic-Mate-XLR-to-USB-Mic-Interface-WPhantom-Power?sku=270707&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=82068294)

which should fit the bill.

FYI it is possible to get good results using just 1 mic, the room will probably be a big factor in this if you can record in a nice sounding space at bit of a distance from the mic you should be able to get good results.

Close micing allows you to control the level between voice and guitar as well as change the tone with eq and add effects with some independence.

But for total separation you need to run 2 takes.

Hello there, rsherid
here is something found at Maplins in the Uk but you should find it anywhere. I recently bought one and after changing some settings on Logic Express, it works fine. Take heed to the previous post and have fun.

rsherid
Aug 15, 2009, 12:10 PM
A quick google turned this up -

MXL Mic Mate (http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/MXL-Mic-Mate-XLR-to-USB-Mic-Interface-WPhantom-Power?sku=270707&src=3WFRWXX&ZYXSEM=0&CAWELAID=82068294)

which should fit the bill.

FYI it is possible to get good results using just 1 mic, the room will probably be a big factor in this if you can record in a nice sounding space at bit of a distance from the mic you should be able to get good results.

Close micing allows you to control the level between voice and guitar as well as change the tone with eq and add effects with some independence.

But for total separation you need to run 2 takes.

I actually went with the Mic Mate and it's great. However, how can I adjust the mic's EQs in GarageBand?

Dale Campbell
Aug 15, 2009, 03:23 PM
To add eq or any effects you can click the " I " button in the bottom right hand corner which will open the editing pane. then just click on the eq.
See the pictures below if your unsure.

Though the sound engineer in me would gently suggest that if it is a simple mix (i.e. just guitar and voice) you could try mic placing the mic in a different position to get the tonal balance you want.
For guitar aiming at the 12th fret is a good starting point but by no means the only way.
For vocals if you don't have a pop shield position the microphone so the bottom is at a level with you eyebrows, move it about 1 foot away from you and angle it down to point at your mouth. You should the sing straight ahead, not "up" to towards the mic. This can help with siblence and reduces "plosives" ( P sounds for example).

Of course all of that is for close micing : )

rsherid
Aug 15, 2009, 05:36 PM
Ok, I just messed with the Compressor and got it sounding a little beefier. I have a general question about mixing, though. Try and stick with me:

My end goal is to put together an EP or short album of all the GB recording sessions I've made. However, in order to keep all the sound levels the same on each song, I keep the acoustic guitar at -3.1dB, drums at -2.4dB, and so on. I run into this problem, though, where even after I set those default instruments, once new instruments like handclaps/various percussion are introduced: I need to change those default instruments to sound good with the new ones and prevent that little meter from going into the red.

Won't that sound crappy on the album when you're listening to it, expecting the acoustic to be at a certain level, and then it fluctuates from song to song?

zimv20
Aug 15, 2009, 08:06 PM
prevent that little meter from going into the red.

digital isn't analog -- you don't need to worry about "using all the bits". i get much better results when i shoot for average levels between -18 and -36: WAY lower than what you'd expect. but when tracks are mixed together, it makes everything come together much more easily.

btw, DAW meters tend to be a little slow. intrasample peaks can be much, much higher than what it looks like (e.g. at those levels above, i'll still see intrasample peaks [using the meter from smassey] close to zero). when people try to stay "just out of red", their actual peaks can be well over zero.

rsherid
Aug 16, 2009, 12:34 AM
How do you feel about this current mixing process: Adjust all individual tracks so they don't go into the red and then finish the mix off by turning the post-gain up to about 3.51dB using the AUMultibandCompressor for the Master Volume. This last part really beefs up the volume for MP3 compression.

What if I just recorded all the individual tracks how I want, i.e. letting them go into the red, and then just adjust it all in the end with the AUMultibandCompressor, setting this so it doesn't go in the red? Would that work?

Dale Campbell
Aug 16, 2009, 04:10 AM
OK a number of things need addressing here.

First, garage band uses 24 bit recording, without going into to much detail you have plenty of headroom and will have a fairly low noise floor (somewhat mic & pre dependent but way better than in the 60's!)

So when you record as has been stated above don't aim to be within a hairs breath of the red. also when you mix the main stereo out put should remain at 0
Then adjust your tracks to that so that it doesn't go into the red, this can mean having the levels on each track turned down quite a lot sometimes esp. on loud sources that need to be quieter in the context of the mix.

Finally there is actually another stage in producing a finished recording.
This is called "mastering" basically when you 'bounce" down your final mix it will sound quiet compared to commercial recordings.
The reason is you have left plenty of headroom when mixing down so that you don't get any "clipping".

So in Mastering the highest peaks in your recording are brought up to 0 (or just below as is my preference -0.1) also a Mastering engineer, (there are specialized studios and engineers that just do this) will probably add some overall compression and EQ to get the most from the mix.
This is all done in the context of your other tracks so that they sound like they are of a similar level and tonal character, they would also set the fade in and fade outs to suitable lengths between tracks.

If you wanted to have a go at this yourself you could just put a "limiter" on the master track in Garage band.

But I would recommend importing your final mix into a program like Audacity where you can do everything I stated above, I would suggest doing this a day or 2 after your mixing so you have fresh ears and can better judge what needs doing.

rsherid
Aug 16, 2009, 11:29 AM
Good advice. I actually do keep the Master Volume at 0, as recommended by someone else. So, basically I need to keep everything relatively quiet until the mastering stage?

Where can I find the "limiter"?

Also, is Audacity strictly for mastering? Is it easy to use like GB?

Thanks for all your help.

rsherid
Aug 18, 2009, 05:56 PM
Bump? (Sorry)

ChrisA
Aug 19, 2009, 10:43 PM
..
Also, is Audacity strictly for mastering? Is it easy to use like GB?
.

Audacity is a general purpose audio editor. It is a bit less complex than Garage Band. It's free so you have nothing to lose but a few hours to look at it. Google will find it for you

BTW I think you are actually doing what I would recommend, starting out with the simplest possable setup and actually makig recordings, then you will likely add to your setup as required. You'd be surprized how many peole want to start out with 8 mics and a large interface, way-steep learning curve that way. and also a large risk of bying the wrong equipment

rsherid
Aug 23, 2009, 08:36 PM
It's been a few days since I first tried the mic out. At that time, the thing sounded like Heaven right out of the box. Probably because I was used to Apple's built-in mic's.

Then today I accidentally knocked it off my desk. It fell about 2 ft. onto a carpeted floor. It looked OK from the outside. Afterwards, I tried recording some vocals. The thing now sounds shrill, too trebly, and just way too much like a radio podcast -- like a guy at his desk recording an amateur sports show or something. I want it to sound like I'm a real singer -- to match the professional quality of the background music I've already recorded.

In Garageband, I've turned the gain up and messed with the visual EQ's, but it's still really bothering me. Any suggestions?