Cheapest/Best Mic Preamp for Macbook Pro?

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by maf2k8, Apr 28, 2010.

  1. maf2k8 macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #1
    Ok so i am looking to use my SM57 mic to mic up my speaker cab and record my guitar playing into Garageband.

    I am looking for a cheap but GOOD mic preamp, just something really simple, but also something that works well so i could record my playing ( mic my cab )

    Anything out there?
     
  2. Gakboi macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2010
    #2
    I'm guessing you don't have a break out box sound card?

    if so just use the mic in with a mini jack converter.... Hardly worth investing in a preamp before a soundcard.... and if you buy a soundcard get one with internal preamps... presonus and m-audio do cheap ones... not sure about the quality tho... you can try searching the www.gearslutz.com forum for more info
     
  3. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #3
    There are plenty of good USB/Firewire I/O devices, many of which also have mic preamps. I think a lot depends on which features you need. Do you only want a single input, or will you ever want to record more than one track at a time? Will you ever need MIDI in/out?

    I've got a Presonus Firebox that has four analog inputs (2 with mic preamps and phantom power) and MIDI. It does a very nice job and I've got no complaints. If you don't need MIDI, they make a less expensive version.

    If you really only want a single channel, you might want to consider a dedicated USB mic. I'd recommend taking a look at the Blue Snowball and Snowflake USB mics. These are pretty affordable and will probably give you sound quality as good as or better than an SM57. (I've got the Snowflake and it does a very nice job.)
     
  4. maf2k8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #4
    I just want a real simple setup, 1 mic and no other ins or outs needed.

    Those Blue mics your speaking of, They are priced good! and they will sound the same or better then my SM57?

    As i said, i am only micing my guitar speaker cabinet.

    If i could go with one of those mics, i think i would just sell off my sm57 and go with one of those.
     
  5. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    #5
    The Blue USB mics are condenser mics which (IMO) are better for recording than dynamic mics like the SM57. For home recording (IMO again) they will sound as good as or better than the SM57. Furthermore, you can plug in the USB mics and record right into Garageband with no setup required. Could not get easier.

    The SM57 is, however, a good mic to own. It can be a great live vocal or instrument mic. I wouldn't be in a hurry to get rid of it.
     
  6. maf2k8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #6
    Thanks SOO much for your help! You saved me money! I am going to go with either the Blue Snowball or Yeti.

    Do you know if there is any difference in the 2? ( besides style ofcourse )

    Selling off my SM57, stand and cable as we speak! lol, ( i didnt even get to use it either! ) lol

    Thanks again!
     
  7. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    I hadn't seen the Yeti before; must be a new model. From looking at their website, it looks like it has a lot more features, like a mute button, zero latency headphone jack, volume control and more. I'd be pretty tempted to go with the Yeti, but it does cost a bit more. If you want to keep it as simple as possible, go with the Snowball. If you want some extra features and don't mind spending a little more, go with the Yeti.
     
  8. Gakboi macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2010
    #8
    Before you sell your sm57 I would reconsider. Like mchalebek said above sm57s are good mics. I owned a Blue Kiwi $2000 mic and wasn't very impressed with it. So much so that I got rid of it.... I have a range of high end condenser mics and still end up using the sm57 for close micing guitars because it is that good. Get yourself this cable

    http://www.audiospares.com/product.php?productid=1380

    and plug her straight into the mic in. Another thing you could consider if all you want to do is record guitar is get a decent analog pedal like a sans amp or big muff and DI that straight into the laptop.

    From personal experience I think the Blue would be a waste of cash if you already have a 57

    just my 2c
     
  9. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #9
    Does the MBP have a mic in that will work with passive mics? I was under the impression it could only handle active mics. In other words, I'm not sure that cable will work with a passive mic like the SM57. (I've got a MacPro and I'm pretty sure you can't plug a passive mic directly into it; don't know about the MBP.)
     
  10. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    #10
  11. maf2k8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #11
    My plan in the very beginning was to use a cable just like that and plug straight in, but from what i have read, it cant be done and if it can, It sounds horrible. That i would need something in-between ( preamp/soundcard/etc ) that i could not plug the sm57 directly into the mic input on the MBP
     
  12. maf2k8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #12

    Yeah i seen cables like that ( blue also makes a USB adapter i seen ) but that just adds to more cables, more connections. I like the simple setup of the blue ( plug it into USB port and i am good to go) People have said that the Blue USB mics pick right up in Windows and Macs, So they seem really simple.
     
  13. Gakboi macrumors regular

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    Feb 15, 2010
    #13
    Ye. You're right. It's a line in. My bad... the usb cable you posted is probably the easiest so....
     
  14. maf2k8 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Jul 14, 2009
    #14
    I have a question about the Blue Snowball or any USB mic for that matter.

    Ok so say i am in Garage band, I lay down 1 single guitar track, I then go and playback the guitar track thru my headphones as i record track 2. Will the 2 tracks match up? ( sound ) or is this what they refer to as latency?

    I was reading that USB mics have latency issues sometimes. I normally lay down 3-4 tracks ( guitar ) and i am just curious that when i am recording them, there IN SYNC, but come playback time, there will be lag? or latency? am i getting this right here?
     
  15. mchalebk macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #15
    Depending on which hardware you use, there can be some latency. I've never noticed enough with my Firebox that I felt the need to fix it, but that's easy enough to do if it should ever be a problem (simply grab the track that is latent and slide it forward or backward until it lines up).

    There can sometimes be an issue with latency in real-time monitoring (listening to the track you're recording while you're recording it) especially if you're applying any effects. I would advise to record with no software effects (like reverb); you can always apply them later.

    On that Yeti mic, I noticed it has a "latency free" headphone jack. If that's doing what I think it's doing, it should allow you to monitor the input while recording overdubs.
     

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