usb condensor mics

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by nickjalder, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. nickjalder macrumors newbie

    nickjalder

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2006
    #1
    hey all

    i'm looking to record my acoustic guitar and vocals on my mac.

    i'm not going super professional but i'm looking for better results than simply plugging my guitar direct into garageband.

    now i've been told that a usb condensor mic would be suitable for what i'm looking to do, has anyone else used one and agrees? can you recommend one?

    if not is there another way that i am missing. ideally i dont want to have to use external sound cards and mics, but if this is my only option then feel free to let me know.

    thanks guys
    nick
     
  2. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #2
    Condenser mics are good for recording acoustic, but many of them require an external power source/phantom power. Also you'll most likely need some kind of recording interface to hook it up to your computer. I'm no professional or anything but I've read that using two condenser mics simultaneously is the key to getting the best recording quality out of an acoustic guitar.
     
  3. Killyp macrumors 68040

    Killyp

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2006
    #3
    You'll get by fine with one mic. The Blue Snowball is the best option on the market for you :)
     
  4. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #4
    USB mics take care of all that. not that i've ever heard a USB mic track i've liked, but that's another story.

    well, i don't know about *that*, but you do bring up a good point about lack of flexibility when using a USB mic: when you want to record two mics, now you've wasted your entire "investment".
     
  5. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #6
    i'm issuing the USB mic challenge: someone please post or direct me to something recorded w/ a USB that will pass my "goodness" test (whatever the heck *that* test is).

    as i mentioned above, i've yet to hear a USB mic track that i thought was good. now, i have unfavorable opinions of them both because of that, AND i don't think it's possible to offer a good solution at that price.

    of course, maybe everything i've heard wasn't good because of, for lack of a better term, user error, or bad room or whatever. maybe in the hands of a great engineer, with the room and talent all sorted, the samson and snowball and whatever else would shine.

    so someone change my mind. ideally, i'd like to hear the track solo'ed and in the mix.
     
  6. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    #7
    i have the Samson USB mic and it pretty much sucks.

    But, it cost 60 bucks...so it's what I expected. i didn't buy it to make a pristine recording.

    For what you want just get a Fast Track or something. rent a mic or get a used standard XLR mic
     
  7. odinsride macrumors 65816

    odinsride

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2007
    #8
    Sorry, I missed the USB part in the thread title :p

    I've never used a USB mic but I suppose if you're just looking for something better than a line-in recording, a USB mic would fit the bill without costing too much.
     
  8. JobsRules macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #9
    I have a small home studio, which I'm now whittling down to a streamlined 'all in the box' solution. As well as my music (hobby/semi-pro) my wife records teaching materials. As she's not really that comfrotable with all the studio gubbins and 95% of the time just wants to record speech at high quality I got an SE Electronics USB2200a, which is USB and XLR that she can use with her MacBook anywhere. Not the cheapest option but worth having as a mic in its own right, while I've heard the cheap Samson USBs can be a little noisy.
     
  9. chriswheat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    #10
  10. chriswheat macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    #11
    To the OP, if you really want to just get a USB mic, you must be willing to sacrifice quality. There is just too much involved in connecting a condenser microphone to your computer for it to be done using a mic with built-in preamp and a USB cable.

    I would recommend investing in a good USB 2-channel preamp. Then you can connect anything you want, be it a guitar, a condenser mic, a dynamic mic, whatever. Check out this device: Edirol UA-25. I've used it before. I won't say it's perfect, but it's darn good for basic recording. The jacks on the front are combination 1/4" and XLR so you can use either of the two channels for plugging in a guitar or connecting mics. It does have phantom power, so you'll have no problem with using condenser mics.

    Then I'd recommend finding a good all-around condenser mic.

    Then all you'd need to do is buy an XLR cable and connect the two. This would give you a great quality setup, plus you'd have a lot more flexibility over just buying a USB condenser which inevitably you'll grow tired off quickly.
     
  11. JobsRules macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2006
    #12
    yes, that's good advice if you're starting out. However, the SE USB2200a is a mic worth having in its own right. In terms of character it's somewhere between my Rode NT1 and NT2000. It's also XLR for standard use so it's not 'wasted' if you go for a more elaborate set-up later.

    It's been hugely liberating to take just a laptop and the USB2200 to musicians to provide vocal, trumpet stabs guitar parts and the like to a high standard.
     
  12. am1971 macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    Location:
    Barcelona...
    #13
    For a USB mic I thought it was pretty good.

    If you want good quality then don't use USB.
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #14
    which other USB mics have you used?
     
  14. quigleybc macrumors 68030

    quigleybc

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2005
    Location:
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    #15
    do they make firewire mics?

    if not, they should...they could make some sweet sounding high quality mics that way
     
  15. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #16
    Just to make sure - you are joking, right?

    - Martin
     
  16. andyshrestha macrumors newbie

    andyshrestha

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2010
    #17
    USB option..

    here are some USB mics that are good enough for most of us (doesn't include PROs)

    Audio Technica AT2020 USB
    Samson CO1U.

    regards,
     
  17. Fishrrman macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #18
    "i'm looking to record my acoustic guitar and vocals on my mac.
    i'm not going super professional but i'm looking for better results than simply plugging my guitar direct into garageband.
    now i've been told that a usb condensor mic would be suitable for what i'm looking to do, has anyone else used one and agrees? can you recommend one?"

    I don't think you're going to be satisfied by the results you get from a single USB mic. Not long after that, you're going to be wanting "more".

    I think you have 3 "ways to go" here:

    FIRST WAY:
    Get an audio interface and one (or more) condenser mics. This will be the most expensive in the long run, but give you results that will please you.

    Expect to spend about $300 for the interface and whatever your budget will bear on the mic(s).

    For a good mic that isn't overpriced, but will yield good results, you might consider a Shure SM 27 (or also the model it replaces which was called the KSM 27). I also would recommend a CAD M-179 (very nice multi-pattern medium-diameter condenser). Or, look for a CAD e300-2 (can be found on ebay in the $230 price range).

    Most interfaces come "bundled" with recording software, which you may or may not like. GarageBand is ok, but lacks some useful tools for post-processing your audio. If you can get ahold of Cubase LE4, I think you'll like it. If you're a student, you can get the "next step up" called Cubase Essentials for $99.

    SECOND WAY:
    Get a standalone handheld-type recorder with built-in mics that records to a flash card, like the ZOOM H2 or H4n. These can record in WAV format which you can then transfer to the Mac (and GarageBand) with a card reader or via the SD slot if your Mac has one. These have the GREAT advantage of being easily moved within a room (or from one room to the next) to find the location that gives you the best "sound".

    THIRD WAY:
    Get a standalone recorder/mixer. A couple that come to mind are the TASCAM "DP-004 Pocket Studio", and its big brother, the TASCAM DP-008. The former has 2 built-in stereo mics. The latter also has 2 built-in mics _and_ XLR inputs to plug in regular mics.
     
  18. Xavier macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2006
    Location:
    Columbus
    #19
    Bingo. I believe that that Audio Technica AT2020 is probably about as good as its going to get using a USB mic. Plus I have tried it. Not too bad.
     
  19. ADAADW macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 5, 2009
    #20
    Possible look into the Apogee ONE, that is what i am currently looking at and it will probably do the job and then some!
     
  20. RHELF macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2010
    #21

    I agree. I still have yet to hear a USB mic that "wows" me. I also find it interesting that true condenser microphones require 48V phantom power, but USB only passes 5V. If I had to choose one or two that were decent at least, it would be the Samson G-Track and the Blue Yeti(both around $150).
     
  21. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #22
    i see that i wrote that 3 years ago (to the day, oddly enough) and i still don't have a favorable opinion. but i'm still willing to have my mind changed.
     

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