Best microphone for GarageBand?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by eswank, Feb 21, 2008.

  1. eswank macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    NorCal
    #1
    Hello all. I'm trying to record some songs for a choir group that I'm in. We're actually using a keyboard connected to my iMac via MIDI to USB. But the mic that we're using is the internal mic on the iMac. After playing the track, there's too much background noise being picked up and you could hardly hear the vocals even though we're right in front of the iMac.

    Without spending too much money, is there a USB mic out there that can eliminate background nosies decently and get good quality on playback? I'm in need of the mic ASAP so I would really appreciate any advice. Thanks!
     
  2. djearlybird macrumors regular

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    Jul 3, 2007
  3. JNB macrumors 604

    JNB

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    In a Hell predominately of my own making
    #3
    Both the Blue and the Samson's are good bang for the buck choices.
     
  4. JSchwage macrumors 6502a

    JSchwage

    Joined:
    May 5, 2006
    Location:
    Rochester, NY
    #4
    I've heard nothing but good about the Blue Snowball. I'd give that a go if I were you. I myself use a Sennheiser USB headset and it works great. Sennheiser makes some really nice mics too. You might look into some of their stuff.
     
  5. Mugs macrumors regular

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    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    Walton-on-Thames, UK
    #5
    hey what would you guys ay is better, the samson g track or blue snowball? its for some vocals and guitar. Thanks
     
  6. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Holocene Epoch
    #6
    Blue's Snowball is very good for what it is: a condenser mic with a built-in USB interface.

    Some general background. There are three basic types of microphones:
    • Dynamic mics are really the equivalent of a tiny speaker that is used in reverse (sound goes in and voltage goes out, which is the opposite of how speakers are used). They can be useful in high-decibel environments but they can pick up a LOT of ambient noise (esp. where the input level isn't great). I have a handful of these (20 year-old SM57s, damned near indestructible) that are useful with a live band, but there are MUCH better dynamic mics out there now.
    • Condensor mics are the next step up, these are actually a type of capacitor and that means they require a voltage (e.g. "phantom powered"). These usually have XLR connectors instead of 1/4" jacks, in part to power the mic. Some have a very focused sound field (cardioid), some have a wide sound field (omnidirectional), some have two condensors that allow you to switch between the two.
    • Ribbon mics are amazing studio tools, they can cost a small fortune. I know a guy with a studio that has a pair ribbon mics that cost as much as a car. They tend to be delicate, too much sound pressure can actually ruin the ribbon. As I said, they are tools for specialists and require too much special handling for a hobbyist.

    The built-in laptop mic you were using is almost certainly a cheap dynamic mic, and having it built into the laptop doesn't give you much in the way of options for getting an ideal sound field. So you don't have a wide sound field (i.e. its pathologically cardioid), you don't get much fidelity, and you get a lot of background noise to boot. And the built in A/D (analog to digital) converter is certainly not the best for recording a vocal group, its designed more for a spoken voice directly in front of the laptop.

    The Snowball has a some features that would be great for you and a few drawbacks. It has an adjustable field (cardiod, omnidirectional), it has a decent A/D converter built-in (and is powered by the USB connector so phantom power or a battery isn't needed), and it turns out to be very good at recording vocals, spoken word (i.e. podcasting), acoustic instruments like a guitar, that sort of thing. You can also record individual vocals in separate tracks very easily in Garageband, to mix the individual track volumes and even harmonize virtually with yourself. The downsides are the price (about a benjamin), optional goodies like a shockmount or a pop filter cost extra, and the fact that this doesn't have an analog (1/4" or XLR) output, only digital. Nice for recording into a computer, but to record into a regular sound system you'd need a different (analog) mic. If that's the case (and it doesn't sound like it) you can get a regular analog mic and a USB audio interface. The Snowball is an all-in-one. It sounds really good for what it is, you could easily spend double that for a decent condensor mic and USB interface. You can spend less, but IMO that's the entry point for quality vocal group recording into your Mac.

    Good luck! :)
     
  7. anirban macrumors 6502a

    anirban

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    #7
    Agreed.
     
  8. Galapp macrumors regular

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    Jan 27, 2008
    Location:
    Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    #8
    the Snowball rocks... it is really really good...
     
  9. eswank thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2006
    Location:
    NorCal
    #9
    Thanks for everyone's feedback. Now I have to look at what the SnowBall prices are. The Samson prices aren't that bad right now.
     
  10. kfordham281 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    #10
    $90 on Amazon right now for the Snowball. I've been looking at that mic for a while and from reading these comments I think I'm going to give it a try.
     
  11. John.B macrumors 601

    John.B

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    Holocene Epoch
    #11
    LOL, FWIW feedback is technically the last thing you'd want with a microphone. ;)
     

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