in need of a mic

buffalo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 5, 2005
1,082
1
Colorado Springs / Ohio
audio noob here,

i play the cello and would like to play around with garage band. what would i need to get started? i'd like to spend as little cash as possible. this is just something to experiment with so i can get a little more out of iLife
 

howesey

macrumors 6502a
Dec 3, 2005
535
0
First off, you'll need a preamp. Some to think about are: Mackie Spike, Focusrite Sapphire, Presonus Firepod or Digidesign Mbox (older version 1 has a better preamps than version 2). Google them to read up on them. They are all good to get you going.

Next you'll need a mic. I'll go and find you some good mics for a Cello.
 

howesey

macrumors 6502a
Dec 3, 2005
535
0
I have asked someone with experience in recording Cellos, their advice...

"The DPA instrument mic is the daddy when it comes to cellos, but it
costs a grand! After that pretty much anything- akg414 all good, small
mics such as Neumann KM184, AKG 451, CK91 also excellent."
 

beatsme

macrumors 65816
Oct 6, 2005
1,204
1
well...

you might try getting a Shure SM57 mic. They're reasonably inexpensive (around $90 USD) and very well made. To make it work, you'd need a converter with an XLR mic input, which you can find below...

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/240868/

or

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=home/search/detail/base_pid/701364/

personally, I use an SM57 mic through a Mackie DFX6 mixer via the MAudio 2496 soundcard. Works very well for me, though all that is probably more than you'd like to spend.

this might be an option for you, as well...

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/g=rec/search/detail/base_pid/703609/

hope this helps...
 

faintember

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,363
0
the ruins of the Cherokee nation
as beatsme said, an shure57 will be the cheapest way to get a good sound. Make sure to buy a mic stand (duh!) and try to place the mic either near one of the f holes or under the bridge (towards the tailpiece). I have used both of these methods. If you go with the sure, you might want to look at something like the iMic from griffin to get the mic into your computer. (Note, this requires converting xlr to 1/8", as the iMic only accepts 1/8" inputs. This is also the cheapest way in that i can think of that will get at least decent results.)

Shure also makes an USB mic, as well does Blue (called the "snowball"). These would not require the iMic. I think the Snowball is about $140 US.

Other options would be a contact mic (akg makes some nice ones, but i cant remember the model number...). This type of mic makes contact with your cello, and really does get a nice sound, but may be overkill for your needs (although it is a great mic).

Typically, i like using a contact mic and a condenser mic, then mixing the two together (but thats me being an anal musician!).
 

macbodock

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2005
53
0
Mostly Harmless
faintember said:
Shure also makes an USB mic, as well does Blue (called the "snowball"). These would not require the iMic. I think the Snowball is about $140 US.
faintember,
The USB microphone is a good solution. I dont think that "Shure" makes a USB Microphone, you might have meant "Samson". You can check out the CO1U from Samson and there is always the SnowBall from B.L.U.E.. Hope that this helps.

Kindest Regards,
 

macbodock

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2005
53
0
Mostly Harmless
faintember said:
Yep you are right. That will teach me to post an message at almost 4am my time! Thanks for the correction macbodock!
faintember,
NP...We together got it right and that is all that matters!

Kindest Regards,
 

adk

macrumors 68000
Nov 11, 2005
1,937
21
Stuck in the middle with you
If you don't want to spend a lot of money starting out and you have an audio in jack, You can buy I karaoke mic. I'm not sure if they have mics with 1/8" prongs, but they for sure have 1/4" ones and you can easily buy an adapter.
 

faintember

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,363
0
the ruins of the Cherokee nation
adk said:
If you don't want to spend a lot of money starting out and you have an audio in jack, You can buy I karaoke mic. I'm not sure if they have mics with 1/8" prongs, but they for sure have 1/4" ones and you can easily buy an adapter.
Except it is an Line in jack, not an Audio in jack. Line in requires Line level signal to yield proper results.
 

buffalo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 5, 2005
1,082
1
Colorado Springs / Ohio
I'm thinking that this Samson mic is what I want. It's about how much I wanted to spend, since I this is just for fun.


I'm using an iMac G5 (17" 2.0 GHz w/ superdrive). Any other recommendations or suggestions?


Thanks again.
 

faintember

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,363
0
the ruins of the Cherokee nation
Sounds good. Here are two reviews from the Amazon site that you might want to check out:

Looking at the other reviews on Amazon, it seems that there are two distinct camps: delighted Windows users, and unhappy Mac users.

Sadly, I'm in the latter group. The Mac driver software (which is not included with the mic, but is a free download at Samson's website) simply won't work on my G4 running OS X 10.2.8. The control slider appears for a second, then vanishes - leaving behind an error message.

The microphone itself seems to be good quality for the money - sensitive, clean, and quiet. However, when using the mic with Garageband, there is an annoying latency problem which Samson says is unavoidable - but seems to be worse than other USB mic combinations I've tried.

If Samson retools their Mac driver to get the bugs out, then this could be a heckuva package. Until then, I can't recommend this mic for Mac users (and am still debating whether I'll keep mine or not).

UPDATED: I updated to OS X 10.3.9 and found that the Samson driver worked much better (though their materials didn't indicate that this version of the OS was needed). As such, I'm adding another star to my review (I'm not sure it'll show up - but I now give it "3 stars" - a satisfactory rating for the price)
and

I use the Samson on a PowerBook running 10.4.4 and on a PowerMac G4 running 10.3.9, both feeding into GarageBand and this mic truly was Plug and Play. It shows up in the Sound section of System Preferences and it shows up in the input section of GB. I didn't need to install ANY drivers, it just worked.

I wasn't expecting it to sound as good as it does either, given the $80 price tag. My only complaint is that there are some latency issues. A relaunch of GarageBand usually fixes them, though.

This is a fine USB microphone that will surely get better once Samson and Apple get on the same page and iron out some USB issues.
So it seems as long as you are running 10.4.4 you should be ok, however latency (the time b/t when you sing and the computer records you singing) is fairly common with USB audio devices, but some treat latency better than others. It should not be that much of a problem if you are just recording your self playing, and not, for example, trying to sync you playing to pre-recorded playing of others. The other option (the Blue "Snowball") is around $140, so the Samson is def. cheaper, but IMHO Blue is a great mic company. So for a budget, Samson, if you budget is flexible, then the Snowball.

Good luck!
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,390
9
toronto
buffalo said:
I'm thinking that this Samson mic is what I want. It's about how much I wanted to spend
for cello, you're right to want to go with a condenser mic. instead of the samson, though, you may want to look at audio-technica. i've used their 4040 mics ($300) with good results; they also make a $100 2020 model. i've not used it, but i would grab it before the samson.

i have used the studio projects B1, which is also $100. like pretty much every other cheap LDC, its high-end is somewhat brittle, but you basically get what you pay for. if i had it and the 2020 at my disposal, i'd reach for the 2020 first, fwiw.

the sm57 is a great all around mic, but for a delicate instrument like the cello, it's not going to do the job.

btw, for mic placement, find a spot in the room where the cello sounds good and put the mic back at least a few feet, if not more. you want the sound of the air around the cello, not the sound of the bow hitting the strings. all imo, of course.
 

macbodock

macrumors member
Oct 12, 2005
53
0
Mostly Harmless
buffalo said:
I'm thinking that this Samson mic is what I want. It's about how much I wanted to spend, since I this is just for fun.


I'm using an iMac G5 (17" 2.0 GHz w/ superdrive). Any other recommendations or suggestions?


Thanks again.
buffalo,
If this is just for fun then the Samson CO1U will serve you well for the $80 bucks that you put into it. If your like me you dont want to put lots of $$$ into it just to try something. Perhaps if you really get in to it, you can upgrade your "Rig" later.

Kindest Regards,
 

Soulivar

macrumors newbie
Nov 14, 2005
8
0
vancuba, baby
mic suggestion

Go with a condenser mic if you're getting into recording. I suggest something from Apex (http://www.apexelectronics.com), they have cheap, great sounding mics for the price. personally, I use a Neumann TLM-103 which is model'd after the Neumann U-87, but for the money, go with Apex, they have great sounding mics for the price, you can't beat the value. Worth checking out, they even come with a preamp i think...
 

faintember

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,363
0
the ruins of the Cherokee nation
Remember what the OP said???

buffalo said:
i'd like to spend as little cash as possible. this is just something to experiment with so i can get a little more out of iLife
keep this in mind before we start recommending condenser microphones. Some great mics have been mentioned, but we are starting to move up in price range rather quickly.
 

buffalo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 5, 2005
1,082
1
Colorado Springs / Ohio
again, thanks for the replies and advice.

i'm only 15, so i don't have lots of $$ to spend on an experiment. i'm want to do this so i can play around with GB (get a little more out of iLife), and if it worked, maybe send some clips to relatives.

so... please think about that when giving me advice.


looking at Soulivar's suggestion,
Go with a condenser mic if you're getting into recording. I suggest something from Apex (http://www.apexelectronics.com), they have cheap, great sounding mics for the price. personally, I use a Neumann TLM-103 which is model'd after the Neumann U-87, but for the money, go with Apex, they have great sounding mics for the price, you can't beat the value. Worth checking out, they even come with a preamp i think...

i'm looking at the APEX415. I've found it for $120, which is a price i'm willing to pay, but is there anything else i would need to buy?


thanks for the help so far. keep your advice comming!
 

faintember

macrumors 65816
Jun 6, 2005
1,363
0
the ruins of the Cherokee nation
buffalo said:
i'm looking at the APEX415. I've found it for $120, which is a price i'm willing to pay, but is there anything else i would need to buy?


thanks for the help so far. keep your advice comming!
The Apex mic that you are looking at is a condenser mic, which means that it needs phantom power to operate, which means, you need a mic preamp for that mic. If you want to spend $120, go ahead and kick in another $20 and get the Blue Snowball, which is a nice USB mic. The Customer Review on the site that i linked to may be helpful to you as well.
 

buffalo

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Jun 5, 2005
1,082
1
Colorado Springs / Ohio
price of a preamp?

what would a preamp cost? if the apex requires one, i guess i'll pass on it unless it wouldn't be much more.

i do like the idea of the snowball or the samson usb idea since i could just plug it in. quick question though... the mic doesn't need to be hooked into the mac at the time of recording, correct?


keep your help coming,

thanks a bunch



(EDIT: for an accidental button push, which posted before i was finished)
 

zimv20

macrumors 601
Jul 18, 2002
4,390
9
toronto
buffalo said:
what would a preamp cost? if the apex requires one
all mics need a preamp. any mic w/ a USB port has one built-in, along with an analog/digital converter. check the stickied preamp thread for some good, moderately-priced pre's.

but if you're sweating $20 on a mic, you're going to be hard pressed to find anything in your budget that's above bare bones.
 

yippy

macrumors 68020
Mar 14, 2004
2,087
3
Chicago, IL
When I first read the post I was thinking something more like this. If you don't plan on making a cd to give out it should be good enough to mess around on to see what garage band can do. And I got it for $20 on Amazon.

My friend made a recording with it that sounds ok.

I will probably get flamed by the serious recording artists for suggesting it though.
 

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