Guitar/Vocal/drum home recording mic setup

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by thenewguy, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. thenewguy macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    Hi all,

    So I'd like to do some home recording - nothing fancy at all, just the ability to lay down vocals, accoustic guitar, and hand drumming into either Garage Band or a more serious music editing program (I used to use Cool Edit Pro a while back).

    I have no idea what mic to get, and what setup is necessary. It seems that the easiest thing would be to have a USB mic, right? That way I don't need an interface between the mic and the computer? Or can a normal mic plug just fine into the line-in jack?

    Any suggestions? $100 range?

  2. claimed4all macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2008
    Can't help much with equipment, but why not record into the included Garage Band? Watch the online tutorials provided by apple, pretty easy.
  3. eviltobz macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2007
    the problem with getting into recording is that there is all kinds of shiny kit out there to tempt you and make you part with all your hard earned cash :)

    there are different types of microphone out there which are more suitable to some tasks rather than others. for recording acoustic guitar a condenser mic is going to be your best bet as dynamic mics just don't work well on them. typical recording setups will use 2 mics on an acoustic, 1 to pick up sound from the body, and another to get it from the neck, and these signals will generally be placed with a bit of stereo spread between em. condensers also need to be powered, so generally will require that you plug them into an XLR socket that can supply phantom power, common on audio interfaces, but you won't be able to plug one straight in. as you mentioned, usb based condenser mics will deal with their power requirements themselves, but you'll only get a limited selection of mics that way, and i'm not sure how well they work with getting multiple mics set up, although the core audio aggregate device stuff should deal with that in theory.

    depending on the voice and the type of music, some people prefer dynamic mics to condensers for vocals, but a condenser will always give a workable sound so would be fairly versatile for the rest of your recording needs.

    i've owned some relatively fancy audio interfaces, so i've never looked into usb mics, but you should be able to find reviews of those that are available out there somewhere. try to find a few reviews of each and see what people think. pay attention to what they are recording with em in tests, no point getting a mic that is excellent for recording bassoon, but poor at vocals for what you want ;)
  4. foxx0775 macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    Hey Newguy,

    A USB mic is a great start. I'm not totally sure of all your needs but a USB microphone (SAMSON C01U) is neat because it includes the interface, pre-amp and phantom power in one unit. Its a condenser so great for vocals, guitars etc. Will be too delicate for loud, metal guitar and drumkits mind.. Good for track-by-track recording ~ $80

    Alternatively, grab yourself an M-Audio Fast Track or Griffin iMic. They both connect up using USB. The Fast Track includes everything you need, mainly the pre-amps which bring your guitars, mics up to line-level - otherwise your signal will be virtually inaudible. Electric guitars on their own need a pre-amp and can't go straight into the mac, but electro-acoustics have a small pre-amp in them and can go straight in if you so wish. But for a normal mic, you will need a pre-amp. ~ $90

    Get an SM57 as your recording mic. This is for your singing, drumming, everything. If budget is an issue, it would be better to get an 57, and get the Griffin iMic, I've been getting good results from it lately. You might notice delay (latency) though, when playing through the mac - especially if you have lots of programs running alongside GB. Better interfaces and/or more RAM will help. Its really annoying.

    Just to let you know, just because you may have two USB ports, it doesn't work connecting your acoustic guitar in your mac input say, then having the iMic acting as a second input for your microphone. They work from different drivers and, in GB anyway, it works from one driver at a time. That's if you wanted to record singing and playing at the same time. I fell for it that's all!

    Keep the music up. x
  5. sycho macrumors 6502a


    Oct 7, 2006
    Audio MIDI Setup > Audio > Aggregate Device Editor
  6. thenewguy thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
    Foxx - would the SAMSON C01U you mentioned work without any additional equipment? I could just plug it in and start recording?

    I had an SM57 at one point, years ago, and while it did great with vocals and guitar, it never could do hand drums, they always sounded high and tinny - no bass pickup.

    For simplicity's sake it seems like USB mics could be the way to go - are there any others I should consider?

    My main concern is hiss - I can't stand recording and having lots of background hiss. Especially since I'll be doing multiple tracks, and 4 tracks of hissy noise adds up fast.
  7. foxx0775 macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    i can only speak from experience with the samson but there are quite a few. It depends on your budget, as you will get what you pay for.

    Audio-Technica AT2020 ~ $90 (most likely quite similar)

    S.E electronics 2200a is the nicest. It has great reviews. Not sure about price though.

    I haven't used the samson extensively because I already have a motu interface +mixer set up but from what I heard with it, there was minimal hiss. but maybe try a gate on it if you did get any. see what other reviews say.

    (and thanks sycho, that helps big time for portable recording!)
  8. thenewguy thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
  9. thenewguy thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 25, 2006
  10. foxx0775 macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2009
    no comment on the snowball.. looks kinda gimmicky though.

    i think you know what you need now, just weigh up the pros/cons.
  11. Vg12th macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2009
    Bumping an old thread.

    I am wondering if there are any recent recommendable new microphones released, specifically for recording vocals.
  12. nanofrog macrumors G4

    May 6, 2008
    You might find what you need here:

    Hope it helps. :)
  13. Vg12th macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2009
    I've set my eyes on Blue microphones Snowball and Yeti. I've read that they're great for their price however I'm not sure how much of an upgrade the Yeti is. Anyone experienced them yet?
  14. swingerofbirch macrumors 68040

    Oct 24, 2003
    The Amalgamated States of Central North America
    CNET has a review of the Yeti and on the second page of the article there are audio samples:;lst

    I am considering the Yeti as a first time mic buyer wanting to get into podcasting (and wanting to interview people).

    I was originally looking at the Audio Tecnica AT2020 USB. However, I believe it's only intended to be used directly facing the microphone, whereas with the Yeti it seems you have a number of options, either recording omnidirectional, bidirectional (opposite sides of the mic), and two different recording styles for head-on recording. I really don't understand a lot of this stuff, but I do think the bidirectional and omnidirectional recording options would be good for recording interviews. However, I do like the asthetics of the AT2020 more and I'm also a sucker for the fact that Amazon lists it as having been retail 249 and it's now 94, whereas with the Yeti it's a newer product retail 149, yet I can't find it very much discounted anywhere. Psychologically I like to think I'm getting a deal.

    I'm asking for this as my Christmas present. Anyone with any recommendations for the quality of AT2020? Like I said, I like the omnidirectional and bidirectional recording of the Yeti, but I also am curious to know whether the overall quality of the AT2020 is better.

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