Microphone recommendations & interfacing with mac

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by joshuajestelle, Feb 12, 2004.

  1. joshuajestelle macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    Hi everyone,

    I'm quite a beginner in the area of audio recording and mixing etc but I'm psyched about GarageBand.

    I've got a MIDI keyboard and an electric guitar and I'd like to purchase a microphone as well as a device to allow both my MIDI keyboard and guitar interface with GarageBand.

    So the advice I'm looking for is:

    1. what is a good basic microphone of descent quality but not too expensive, mainly for recording voice?

    2. what kind of device to I need so that I can record from my MIDI keyboard, electric guitar, and microphone? Is there a all-in-one device suitable for this? Or do I need multiple devices or some sort of mixer?

    Thanks so much.

    Josh Estelle
     
  2. Schroedinger macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #2
    I've been figuring a lot of this stuff out for myself, I'll let you know what I figured out and where I was coming from.

    I am by habit a guitar player, playing both electric and acoustic regularly. I bought the M-Audio PreUSB interface that is sold on apples site. It's around 150, and it has channels to take a 1/4" from your guitar, as well as XLR mics (and it can provide phantom power to these.) XLR mics, from what I've learned, are very good, but they need phantom power to run. I bought a mic that cost me 200, and for about 30 minutes I thought I was nuts. This was the cheapest Studio Condensor Mic I could find. But, after I plugged it in and recorded myself playing my acoustic, I was blown away by the results. It didn't sound like a recording, it sounded like I was inside the speakers. Good Stuff. Obviously, you'll need to feed your sound out through a stereo, but the interface will let you do this also.

    I'm of the school of thought that you should spend a little more in the beginning and get a good product that will last. Of course, if you don't have the money to spend (or waste depending on opinion), then you'll have to use your best judgement.

    This takes care of the Guitar and vocals. In regards to your Midi input, it depends on your keyboard. I purchased a keyboard with a USB out, so I plug that right into the computer. (By the way, the PreUSB is, well, USB, so that plugs right into one of the ports). If you have a keyboard that only has Midi out (no USB), then you will need devices I don't have any knowledge about.

    Let me know if you want any clarification.
     
  3. joshuajestelle thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #3
    Thanks a bunch.

    Your info seems helpful.

    What microphone did you end up buying? And is a studio condensor mic only useful for making studio recordings? or would it also be usable for live performaces?

    Thanks,
    Josh
     
  4. Schroedinger macrumors regular

    Schroedinger

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2004
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    #4
    The studio mic isn't for live performances, by which i assume you mean on stage in front of a crowd. The studio mic goes into a shock resistant mounting and has a different design than the types of mics you see on stage.
     
  5. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Where am I???
    #5
    Re: Microphone recommendations & interfacing with mac

    1. For studio work, get the Studio Projects B1 large diaphragm condenser mic. $99 gets you an INCREDIBLE mic for vocals, acoustic guitar, and even for guitar amps. It is a very versatile mic (much more so than something like a Shure SM57).

    2. Check out the M-Audio Firewire 410 audio interface (www.a-audio.com). Offers phantom power for the mic in part (1), as well as 4 total inputs, 10 total outputs, plus MIDI I/O. Reviews are generally positive and the unit isnt too expensive. Stay away from USB because you cant grow with the interface (i.e. its ok for small projects, but is limited). You wont need a mixer if you get the 410.

    Hope this helps. BTW, I've owned the B1, and I loved it. I havent owned the 410, but I've heard good things. I use the MOTU 828mkII (www.motu.com) and I love it, but it might be overkill for you.

    Mike
     
  6. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #6
  7. joshuajestelle thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #7
    Man this decision gets harder and harder...

    The M-Audio Firewire 410 looks great, but the cheapest price I can find is $400. The M-Audio Firewire Audiophile is a similar device, and can be found for $300. Maybe I would consider that.

    The USB units are a lot cheapers... you really think I should steer away from those?

    Josh
     
  8. tjwett macrumors 68000

    tjwett

    Joined:
    May 6, 2002
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NYC
    #8
    if you can afford FireWire then go for it. the only USB interface i ever liked was the emagic 2|6 and 6|2. low latency, great sound. the fact that it's all Apple/Emagic would ensure compatibility. i'd give it a look.
     
  9. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Where am I???
    #9
    The Audiophile is a nice unit too, but doesnt have mic preamps. If you go for the Audiophile, you'll need a mixer or an external mic pre of some kind. If you're only running line-level sources (e.g. keyboard), the Audiophile would do nicely. IMHO, its a bit too limited.

    I really wouldnt go for a USB interface. The reason, as I stated, is that while they are just fine for 2in/2out (i.e. stereo) recording, they dont have the capacity to accomodate more if your needs grow. You'll end up having to buy something else. USB bandwidth is just too limited. Also, with regards to USB's bandwidth, you will not be able to do SIMULTANEOUS 24bit/96kHz in AND out via USB. You'll be limited to 24/48 (not to say that's not acceptable...its just not ideal).

    There are a few other Firewire units in your (general) price range. Check out www.audiomidi.com and do a search for "Firewire".

    Mike
     
  10. joshuajestelle thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #10
    Ok so I've almost convinced myself to buy the M-Audio Firewire 410, but unfortunately now I've found all these reviews saying that it doesn't work well with the Mac. In particular that MIDI doesn't work with the Mac at all!

    So.... I'm not sure if this is the device for me. =/

    Any other ideas?

    Josh
     
  11. Edge100 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2002
    Location:
    Where am I???
    #11
    Check out the new drivers from M-Audio. They have supposedly improved things a lot.

    For a little bit of extra $$, check out the Edirol FW-101. Offers more analog i/o than the FW410, but it costs about $150 or so more.

    The FW410 really hits a price range that is hard to beat. There are some other units from EgoSys (HEXAfire, if I recall) that seem quite nice as well.

    As I said, you could also go with an old stock MOTU 828 or 828mkII, though that might be overkill. But I'll be rock-solid stable and work perfectly.

    Mike
     
  12. overman2000 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    #12
    About mics (and stuff)

    I just want to jump on that Studio Projects bandwagon. I own a C1 that I think is spectacular. It's made recording vocals and acoustic guitar a pleasure. Just a really nice piece of equipment. For the money, they're hard to beat.

    As for interfaces, if you can afford firewire, certainly do that. If you pretty darn sure that you won't do more than 2 in 2 out, you can get away with USB. But as others have posted here, you may outgrow it. It's great to have that room for growth, but we don't want to bust your budget either. ;)

    Hope that helps...
     

Share This Page