Recording Help

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by LostJohn, Nov 7, 2013.

  1. LostJohn macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    I just got a CAD E100s microphone for recording singer/songwriter stuff at home, and was wondering what I'll need to get up and running.

    From what little I understand, I'm going to need a 48 phantom power supply, and probably a cable to hook the mic up to my macbook. Could anyone recommend the proper accessories? Also, what's a good program to use to get a pro sound on a budget? Thanks!

    This is the mic I got, btw:
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    What you need is an audio interface, along with some DAW (digital audio workstation) recording software.

    Do you have firewire on the MacBook, or only USB?

    With interfaces, you usually have to choose between USB or firewire.

    There is a "sticky" topic regarding interfaces in this forum (top of the message list) you should have a look at.

    You can find a USB-based interface easily in the $150-250 price range, less if you're willing to pick up a used one.

    I happen to prefer firewire, but that's my preference only. If you want firewire, you might consider keeping an eye out for a used Echo AudioFire4....

    For DAW software, Reaper might be a place to start. You can also use GarageBand.

    I like Cubase. If you do some hunting, you might be able to find a copy of Cubase AI5, which can be registered for free at Steinberg...
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    You need:

    A microphone stand
    A XLR microphone cable. Look for one with real Neutrik brand connectors.

    Likely a "pop filter" if you are recording vocals. I have two and this cheap one works as well as the more expensive one

    You have a big mic. Don't let it fall on the floor. I like to sand bag the microphone stand. It makes it way-stable. People in the video industry do this routinely.

    An audio interface with built-in preamplifiers and Phantom power. Here are a few that could work for you

    Some people prefer a standalone preamplifier but the one built into either of the three above interfaces are good enough to get you started. You can always add one later. It depends on who or what you are recording. So will make you want to get a compressor/limiter Prices are all over the map $30 to $2,000. Just wait on this.

    Some headphones to plug into the above interface or if you prefer studio monitors. But if the vocalist needs to hear music while singing a pair of "closed back" headphones are required. I can't imagine not needing BOTH headphones and monitor speakers

    Some place what you can record and control the reflections off the wall. (At home I happen to have a good walk-in closet with clothing racks on three walls.)

    You will need software for the Mac. Garage Band is a good place to start.

    How did you select that exact microphone? It is a little expensive for a beginner and then you had nothing to plug it into.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Mine is FireWire too. But I'm not recommending this to people buying new equipment. Apple is phasing FW out. If you are only dealing with 2 or 4 audio tracks even USB 1.1 is fast enough. But they all use USB 2.0 which is 10X faster then you need.

    Firewire is required if you get into large numbers of tracks. But I would not recommend anyone buy new FW equipment

    One thing I might add to the list of required gear. This OP has asked a very basic question so a book would be good. Don't be insulted by the title. It is a good beginner level book. It certainly answers the question posed here in better detail
  5. LostJohn thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    Thanks for the help guys!

    To answer a couple of direct questions, I arrived at the CAD E100s because sound quality is the most important thing to me, based on my experience with headphones. The source is what counts, so I figured I'd invest in that first. I've also used really cheap equipment to record stuff for my entire life, so I thought I'd see how I sounded with nicer equipment.

    Also, I have a newer MBP with Thunderbolt and USB, if that helps. I'll most likely using Garageband, since it's free.
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Just wondered how you ended up with that mic and not some other brand. You know there is no "best" microphone only what is a best match.

    Just get one of those three audio interfaces I suggested. The links I use go to Sweetwater and that is a good place to buy. Call them, don't order on-line, use the phone and ask for some advice on which one you'd like. Their sales guys all use this stuff themselves. They will also price match if you ask, another reason to phone, not click. Think about little things like the placement of the controls, I needed all front facing knobs but you might like the forward facing type. Mackie, MOTU, Presonus are all top brands, just stat away from the low-end brands and you'll be OK.

    One thing you really do need is a good space. That mic will pick up conversations in the house next door (almost) and certainly the refrigerator running two rooms away through multiple closed doors. All large diaphragm condenser mice are very sensitive. So acoustic treatments of the recording space should come up high on your list.
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    The CAD is a good mic, I have an e3002 that is very nice.

    If you're going to be sitting and recording, you need a decent mic stand setup.

    I would suggest this for a boom:

    ... and this for a stand:

    The stand is more expensive than some others, BUT -- you'll note that it can be set to quite low as well as high -- very useful for sitting and mic'ing guitar, vocals, etc.

    Also be aware that for $30 you can buy Apple's Thunderbolt-to-Firewire adapter, which should work with any firewire-based interface you buy.

    But the suggestions for USB interfaces above are good ones.

    For a mic cable, check
  8. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Do you shock mount that mic. I have two large condenser mice and one of them, the Rode NT1A came with a shock mount. it works well. I can move around in the hardwood floor and not transmit ound up the stand to the mic. My other one is an AKG with a hard mount. I have to be more car full. They both work but given the option I'd go for a shock mount for both.

    Please don't take what I wrote as criticism of that mic. I was just surprised that a beginner with no equipment at all would buy anything that costs over $100. When you have nothing and need to buy everything all at once the costs add up fast.

    Also why only one microphone? You will not be able to record both vocals and an acoustic instrument at the same time. So maybe you have a MIDI keyboard that does not need a mic or electric guitar? But otherwise you might need more then one mic.
  9. LostJohn thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 21, 2011
    Well, you're assuming that I'm a beginner in all senses, rather than just in recording with a proper mic. I've been playing/singing for over 15 years, and I've always recorded with cheap stuff; internal mics in portable players, laptops, etc. Never anything that would be worth distributing as proper music. So, the whole point of me getting a recording setup is to increase the quality of the recording. I know I've gotten a good mic based on reviews (I read through lots) and just needed to figure out a way to get everything to work, for the least amount of money. Make sense?
  10. bwhli macrumors 6502a


    Jan 9, 2012
    Boston, MA
    I agree that USB 2.0 is perfectly fine in terms of bandwidth. I don't agree with the FireWire statement though. Plenty of audio guys still prefer FW over USB. I think the recent exclusion of FW on laptops is more of a compromise and not phasing out. The connector is simply to big for the slimmer MacBooks coming out now.

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