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Old Oct 29, 2005, 09:23 AM   #1
silverback66
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New to Music recording

I've been a filmmaker for several years now and what I'm wanting to do it be able to score my movies from the computer along with doing any other musically related projects. I have an imac G5 but what would I need and what would you recommend in terms of getting this up and running? Most of the scoring will be orchestral work, but chances are I way be using this to cut some tracks that my friends have too which are heavy on the vocals. thanks!
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 09:30 AM   #2
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I assume you are on Mac. GarageBand should then be your good friends, if not the best
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 09:47 AM   #3
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what about in terms of microphones and keyboarda and what not? I was reading a bit about the Shure SM57 and 58 in anoher thread. would those be a good investment for this kind of work?
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 11:40 AM   #4
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57 and 58s, whilst good mics, aren't your best choices for acoustic recording of the kind you describe.

I'd look at the Neumann TLM103 if you have a good budget, otherwise, Rode, SE, AKG etc. all make good budget mics.

You'll meed a condenser (sometimes called a capacitor) mic, which requires 48v power (phantom power it's called), and that is available on all decent interfaces.
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 01:49 PM   #5
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That looks like a great Mic, but that may be something I'll buy a bit further down the road. The mic that I use for my films (Sennheiser ME66K) was only 500.00 I believe when I bought it so if I had the money to throw around on a mic I'd probably upgrade that one first.
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 02:38 PM   #6
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Apple Soundtrack or Logic are probably your best bets for software.

You'll need an audio interface for any live recordings
and should probably consider a midi controller keyboard.

You're best bet is to go to M-Audio's website
and see what you can afford.

A good condenser mike is essential for both instruments and vocals.
Most audio interfaces include the phantom power and mike pre-amps you need to get your sounds
into your computer.


Musiciansfriend.com has great prices on everything and discounts ProTools, M-Audio, Logic and all the other gear you'll need.

My experience with their service has been excellent.
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 02:53 PM   #7
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Here is a forum you should join
http://www.macmusic.org/home/?lang=EN
It's all about Macs and music. Theres a lot of discussion about just these questions.

You need to study on this a while before you make decisions.

I recommend that you bone up on some of the basics with books and magazines. Hit the library and read anything written by Craig Anderton. Good magazines to read are:
Sound on Sound, Recording, Electronic Musician, Keyboard, Future Music, Computer Music, Mix.
They often have articles on how to record acoustic instruments, and microphone selection.

What are you planning to use to input your microphone signal into the Mac?

Condenser mikes: Large diaphragm condenser mics are used predominantly for recording vocals because the design tends to flatter voices: smooth bass and articulate highs. They are available in wide variety, each with particular features and "sound colour". Small diaphragm condensers are mostly used as instrument mics where accuracy, esp. in the high end, is desired.

Note: For accuracy sake, the cheap and nasty mics that come with cassette recorders and answering machines are electret condensers, so when we talk about condenser mics in the musical sense, we're referring to a small or large diaphragm condenser, not an electret condenser.

Condenser mics require power to charge the capacitative plates of the transducer. This power is sometimes provided by a battery, occasionally by a dedicated power pack specific to the mic, or more often by "phantom power", which is nominally 48V (but can be as low as 9V) that is provided by the preamplifier to the mic "up" the microphone cable.

This is a problem for Mac recording, because no Mac provides phantom power (or a 3-pin XLR jack). Neither do the least expensive microphone interfaces.

You would be looking at a Firewire or USB audio interface from Edirol, M-Audio, Focusrite or Presonus (to name some popular brands) that have both a preamplifier and phantom power. These type of interfaces with two to 4 mic inputs will run $150 - $600 (more elaborate ones will go up to $2500)

Alternatively, you could get an inexpensive mixer (Behringer, Alesis, Tapco/Mackie) which provides mic preamps and phantom power, and just run a line level signal to the Mac or a less expensive interface like the Griffin iMic.

Large diaphragm condenser mics of acceptable quality have come down dramatically in price, due to mass production in China. The microphone you can get for $90-$120 today blows away an "entry level" $400 mic from 10 years ago. Brands to look for are Behringer, Studio Projects, Marshall/MXL, Red, and many others who rebrand these Chinese mics.

Rode, the Australian mic manufacturer, started out selling mics made in China to their designs, but several years ago switched back to producing in-house. So what you get if you are buying used depends on how old the mic is. There are many models and revisions of Rode mics, so don't be taken in by sellers claiming to sell a $800 mic for $400. Some comparable to Rode in this mid-price level are Studio Electronics (SE), Blue (innovative mics from Latvia) and Audio Technica (their 30xx series and the lower end of their 40xx series).

As opposed to handheld "performance" mics, large diaphragm condensers are almost always mounted on a stand, with a shock-absorbing mount and a shield or pop-filter in between them and the performer's lips.

I should mention that there are some other mics in the market: Ribbon mics use a different technology, and can also be very nice on voice and instruments. They have also come down some in price (but not as far) and they do tend to be more fragile - prone to being damaged by blasts of wind or too-high sound levels. Royer and AEA are two manufacturers.

Dynamic mics like the Shures you mentioned are mostly used in performance, and for high impact sound sources like drums and guitar amps. Shure, Beyer, Electo-Voice, Peavey, Sennheiser, Audio-Technica and AKG are some makers. However they can be used for recording as well. Not all handheld mics are dynamics though - there are some condensers and even one or two ribbon mics made for performance use.



Thanks
Trevor
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 07:31 PM   #8
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Wow, a lot of good info there. Thanks CanadaRam!
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 10:44 PM   #9
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my friend has a motu firewire - it accepts a heck of a lot of audio inputs via one firewire jack. he uses digital performa which seems to be a pretty decent package. i'm sure logic will probably be equal or more powerful
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 11:00 PM   #10
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I found a USB mic from Blue called the Snowball. What's the general consensus about this one. it seems they have great mics and I'd also like to support the company since I'm half Latvian myself.
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 11:06 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback66
I found a USB mic from Blue called the Snowball. What's the general consensus about this one. it seems they have great mics and I'd also like to support the company since I'm half Latvian myself.
The reviews are complimentary -- however you have to know when you go with a USB mic instead of an analog microphone plus analog/digital interface, you are limiting yourself to one microphone only as the input -- you can't have multiple mics, you can't choose a different microphone for a different sound or purpose, you can't input keyboards or other line level sources (unless you go back to the built-in 1/8" jack input of the Mac), you can't put the USB mic through a mixer or any effects outboard of the computers, and you can't use the USB mic with any other recording equipment.
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Old Oct 29, 2005, 11:14 PM   #12
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To be honest I'm not quite sure what all of that means but if I use this particular mic just for dialogue replacement and voiceovers would it be a worthy investment do you think? I found out a friend of mine who studied audio engineering has all of the higher end studio type equipment and he's going to be my sound guy on my next film so really I suppose I'm just looking for something that I can mess around with as a music hobbyist/filmmaker.
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 07:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverback66
I found a USB mic from Blue called the Snowball. What's the general consensus about this one. it seems they have great mics and I'd also like to support the company since I'm half Latvian myself.
silverback66,
There are 2 studio quality USB Microphones on the market as of today. The Samson C0U1 and the B.L.U.E. SnowBall. Here are some links that you might find usefull:

Official Websites:
Samson C0U1 Website make sure to check out the FAQ link.
B.L.U.E. SnowBall Website again make sure to check out that FAQ.

From Macintouch:
A great source for Macintosh Audio.
Review of the Samson C0U1!
Review of the B.L.U.E. SnowBall!

An artist by the name of Robert Andrews has recorded the song "Stay Away Woman" with the SnowBall and you can hear it here. At any time pop onto my website and check out the SnowBall in action, I have posted some voice over demos. You can hear them by clicking here. I hope this helps you. If you have any questions for me please ask.

Warmest Regards,
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 07:49 AM   #14
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Wow, I'm really impressed with the sound quality on that song! That would definatley meet my needs. I'm curious though, I'm running on an imac G5...would the fan sound be an issue when recording?
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 07:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by silverback66
Wow, I'm really impressed with the sound quality on that song! That would definatley meet my needs. I'm curious though, I'm running on an imac G5...would the fan sound be an issue when recording?
silverback66,
Should not be a problem at all. Just make sure that the microphone faces you and not the fan. If you are going to get a SnowBall, you'll need a microphone stand and a USB Cable(These are not in the box and never are with high end microphones) Also you may need a "Pop" filter, if you dont have the $$$ right now and old wire hanger and panty hose should do the trick!

Warmest Regards,
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 09:27 AM   #16
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Great! Thanks Macbodoc! I'll probably order one within the next couple weeks when I get back to Colorado.
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 09:38 AM   #17
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Great! Thanks Macbodoc! I'll probably order one within the next couple weeks when I get back to Colorado.
silverback66,
NP you are very welcome......
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 01:37 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by macbodock
silverback66,
Should not be a problem at all. Just make sure that the microphone faces you and not the fan. If you are going to get a SnowBall, you'll need a microphone stand and a USB Cable(These are not in the box and never are with high end microphones) Also you may need a "Pop" filter, if you dont have the $$$ right now and old wire hanger and panty hose should do the trick!

Warmest Regards,
That's so funny, I recorded a 16 song demo doing just that and finally
broke down last week and bought a real pop filter for less than $20.00
at Musiciansfriend.com

You may want to think twice about USB and audio.
The latency issues can be a problem so you're probably better off
with a F/W interface.

You may also need a midi worldclock unit to help keep your soundtrack
in sinc.
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Old Oct 30, 2005, 05:56 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by FFTT
That's so funny, I recorded a 16 song demo doing just that and finally broke down last week and bought a real pop filter for less than $20.00 at Musiciansfriend.com

You may want to think twice about USB and audio. The latency issues can be a problem so you're probably better off with a F/W interface. You may also need a midi worldclock unit to help keep your soundtrackin sinc.
FFTT,
Looks as if you are moving up in the world from a panty hose pop screen to a store bought pop screen. Using a USB Microphone is a new way of thinking when it comes to recording and being an early adopter does have it disadvantages. Yes there is some latency issues which I can overcome, not everyone will. For me it was a cost factor, I did not have the $$$ to invest in the entire setp. You have to crawl before you walk jog and run, so I choose to put the most of my money in a good studio microphone which was the B.L.U.E. SnowBall. I am only doing voiceovers and the SnowBall will work great for this. Did you hear the song recorded by Robert Andrews, if not please check it out at MacIdol the song is "Stay Away Woman". After you hear the quality of the SnowBall you may just want one.

Warmest Regards,
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Old Oct 31, 2005, 10:09 AM   #20
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I understand the budget issues clearly.

If the snowball will get the job done for you and you're satisfied with the quality, then by all means it's better than not doing anything at all.

Best of luck on your project!
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