Condenser Mics, Preamps, and Macs... oh my!

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by qpawn, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. qpawn macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2003

    I've been looking all over the internet trying to understand this, so I wouldn't have to bug you nice folks. :p

    Can I plug an MXL 990 Cardioid Condenser Mic into an ART Tube MP preamp and then into my G5 to record a vocal track into GarageBand?

    It would appear all I would need is a lil' adapter to get from 1/4" to 1/8". Seems simple enough, right? :rolleyes:

    I am looking for a cheap way to get a decent sounding vocal track. My singing voice isn't worth more than a $120 total for mic and preamp. I was just curious if this even works.

    I suppose I could always wait for Apple to roll out their "Jam Box" and splurge.

    Thanks, people! :)
  2. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Your only problem is that you're then depending on the Mac's A to D converters for the sound quality.

    What you describe will work, but it's a better proposition to either replace the pre-amp with one that has onboard D/A converters and passes the audio to the Mac via USB or FireWire. Check out M-audio's range, the FW410 is good.

    Apple's rumoured box (asteroid) may or may not appear, and it'll include mic amps, but there's no telling what they'll sound like.

    If you already have the mic amp, then just get the converter to the 1/8" minijack and learn your recording technique, you can always get an interface later and plug the tube amp into it.
  3. ChrisWB macrumors 6502

    Dec 28, 2004
    Hi there,

    Don't insult your singing voice! It will improve the more you use it. If you sing a lot with proper technique, your voice will develop wonderfully. You just have to keep at it. Your voice is priceless.

    In answer to your question; yes it will work, but it may not sound good. Your amp isn't known to be very accurate at high levels and the sound card in macs isn't terribly sensitive, so you may have a distorted or soft sound. I'm looking for a solution similar to yours (I have a 8-mic setup) and one thing I'm considering is this . It's inexpensive, and it has 4 built in a/d converters. Used it should be even less expensive. Just a thought. Check around at Musicians Friend, 8thstreet, etc. Price-match between them and you'll knock 10% off. :)
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The Delta 44 may not be G5 compatible if it is old stock; check first that it is the 3.3V version

    It has 4 mic orline level inputs, on 1/4" only, and does not supply phantom power for condensor mics that require it.

    So don't throw out the ART TubeMP yet... although it's not the quietest pre in the world, it is still useful.
  5. qpawn thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2003

    Well, I haven't actually purchased (or own) any of the mentioned audio equipment. It's just me and my G5 for now... oh, and a USB mic from the PS2 game Karaoke Revolution! :D

    How about this little scenario:

    $120 M-Audio MobilePre USB
    $60 MXL 990 Condenser Mic
    $180 (plus shipping/tax whatever)

    Now I know the MobilePre is only 16bit/48k or something, but with that MXL 990 Mic, it's gotta sound better than my petty $20 Logitech USA mic. Right? I've never had any experience with digital audio recording. Just foolin' around in GarageBand.

    Right now, when I record a vocal track, my voice sounds like it has been slapped on top of the music. Now with some tweaking and duplicating of layers, along with filters, I can make it sound a little better. But I've heard some people say that a good mic really puts your voice inside the music. Whatever that means... :rolleyes:

    I think I can handle a sub-$200 experiment to try to get decent audio into GarageBand for my amusement. I'd also use it for voiceovers and narration in videos.

    Am I talking to myself? I guess I'm brainstorming... am I making sense? :p
  6. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    Yup that sounds like a good beginning setup for the money. Make sure you have a shockmount for the microphone, a mic stand (it's not a handheld model) and a pop filter. You can make the pop filter yourself out of a coat hanger and a nylon stocking.
  7. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816


    Jan 25, 2005
    What about the Samson USB Mic?

    Providing you dont already own a microphone or dont intend to record more than 1 track at a time, this usb mic sounds like a great idea. I second the vote for a shockmount and mic stand. Its really not worth buying a popsheild, when you can make one for less than £1. But using one is essential.
  8. qpawn thread starter macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2003
    USB Condenser Mic, eh...

    Nice! $79.00 sounds good to me. ;)

    The online store site says "It features a 19mm internal shock mounted diaphragm with a cardioid pick up pattern ensuring pristine studio quality recordings." Is this similar to an external shock mount? I'm not going for anything of super high quality. I just don't want bumps and thuds to be heard from anything other than my voice. (I don't jump around a lot when I sing :p )

    I found a shock mount for the non-USB version of this mic for about $40. Will this work? Is it even necessary? :confused:

    Plus a cheap desktop mic stand will be about $12. So...

    $80 for the USB Condenser Mic
    $40 for the Shock Mount
    $12 for the Mic Stand
    $132 Total

    Stealing a pair of an old woman's pantyhose to sing into... priceless. :p

    Anybody have any experience with this microphone? I appreciate all that's been said so far. Thanks. :)
  9. jimjiminyjim macrumors 6502


    Feb 24, 2003
    Just wondering if you did end up buying this microphone, and if so, how you (or anyone else who happens to read this post) like it. I'm considering buying one myself.

  10. macbodock macrumors member

    Oct 12, 2005
    Mostly Harmless
    USB Microphone

    I bought a USB Microphone from BLUE called the Snowball for $139.00 at GC it is a great studio microphone and it is a lot cheaper than buying a M-aduio moblie pre and then a microphone. Some point of interest are:

    The Snowball has a 3-way switch on the back that engages the 2-microphone capsule (Cardioids and Omni) that are on board. This switch gives you total control of the microphone. Here is the breakdown:
    1) Position 1 engages the Cardioid Capsule.
    2) Position 2 engages the Cardioid Capsule with a –10db pad. (loud situations or screamers)
    3) Position 3 engages the Omni Capsule.
    It is like having 3 microphones in 1.

    Also the Snowball works great with GB. I was looking at the C0U1 from Samson and it has a nice price ($80)(Macintouch review), but what really sold me was the 2 microphone capsules and the 3 way switch. Hope this helps.

    Warmest Regards,

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