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TheSylentType

Should I buy a microphone

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Hello everyone,

 

I was looking around on the forums for a while, but didn't find any topic related to my question.

So I recently really got into creating music.

It's a lot of fun and it helps passing time, but when I want to record any of my songs I got to use my pc microphone which is very bad of course.

I don't intend to produce any songs, make any albums or such. It's merely for pleasure and maybe showing my friends.

My question is now, is it worth buying a new microphone? If so what costs a decent microphone for what I want to do with it?

 

Thanks! 

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chumpy    59

Hiya!

 

I think it'd be totally worth it to buy a decent microphone. It would be a huge step up in terms of quality from the mic on your computer for not very much money.  A good first microphone for folks just getting into recording is a Shure SM57. This microphone is a classic, and has been used professionally for many years both for recording instruments and voices. The microphone itself costs around $100 US, but you'll need an audio to USB interface to use it with your computer, which is another $100 that you'll need to spend. I recommend a Mackie Onyx Blackjack, because it sounds great and has a rugged metal design that I find aesthetically pleasing. This is what is known as a 2x2 interface, because it has two inputs and two outputs. The input jacks are "combo jacks" can accept either an XLR cable (like you would use with a microphone) or a 1/4 inch instrument cable like you'd use with a guitar.

 

Good luck, and I look forward to hearing your songs!

 

Edited by chumpy

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Appreciate the quick response!

So even if you're just going to record voice you need that Macky Onyx Blackjack? (I can't play any instruments)

 

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chumpy    59

That's right. Unless you buy a mic that is designed for plugging into a computer (like a Blue Snowball or a Blue Yeti) you'll need an interface. If you'd like to save some money, you can go that route. For example a Blue Snowball mic is only $50 and you can plug it right into your computer. I like the SM57 + Interface setup because it gives you a lot of options, if ever in the future you want a more complicated setup that involves a guitar or bass or something.

 

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Richard Tracey    289

SilentType, for what you need a USB microphone would do and you could use Audacity for getting your vocals onto the computer. Audacity is a free program mainly for vocals. If you are wanting to create beats etc, you will probably need a DAW (digital audio workstation) and you can use loops, make your own loops and lay down your vocals on that. There are many DAW's out there at varying prices. If you are into beats and rap, look at something like Abelton Intro... it is fairly cheap for what you get and might suit your circumstances. Search YouTube to have a look.

If you then decide you want to go further, then I would advise going the interface route. Most members on here have one and I think a lot of us have a Focusrite 2i2. With Focusrite gear you sometimes get Abelton Live free, which is like Intro, but you wouldn't have to pay. Novation do reasonable priced gear and well worth a look if you decide to go with a DAW and loops. Again, a lot of the time you get Abelton Live free with them. You just have to look to see which gear comes with the extras.

 

If you are serious about making music, you will enevitably have to go the DAW route. There are lots of posts on this site, where members have discussed the DAW's they use. May be worth a look and read. Good luck.

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chumpy    59

With a USB mic and Audacity you can do quite a lot, it's a good place to start. You can grab some beats in either mp3 or wav format, load them into an Audacity track, and then rap on top of them with your USB mic. Because Audacity is also a great wave editor, you can chop up beats and samples however you see fit.

 

 

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Dr KeyBaG    0

I agree with all of the good advices here!! Just a thought: Maybe buy a cheaper condenser microphone instead of the SM57, or go for the Blue Snowball that Chumpy is suggesting!

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chumpy    59

I'd think twice before discounting the SM57. There are reasons it's one of the best selling microphones in the world and has been a staple of professional recording studios since its introduction in 1965. It's reliable, nearly indestructible and sounds good. It's incredibly flexible, and can be used for things that generate a lot of sound, like drums and guitar amps. It also does a pretty solid job on vocals. For $100 you can't get a better all round mic.

 

Here is a song recorded using 2 SM57 mics on drums, guitar, vocals, and tambourine. It rocks and sounds great.

 

 

 

Edited by chumpy
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Leo    44

Got me one of those a few month back and I intend to record acoustic guitar and vocals with it.

Edited by Leo

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MonoStone    915

If you're on a tight budget, look at usb mics by Samson or Behringer.  You'll get what you need for under £50. Check Amazon reviews and youtube reviews to help make your choice.

 

 

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chumpy    59

I just rewatched that SM57 video again, and I noticed something interesting. A commenter asked the band what preamp/converter they used for the song and they responded:

 

"Portico mic preamp, LA2a compressor, and Lynx II converters, mixed in a treated room using Cubase 7.5"

 

So for those of you playing along at home, that's a $100 mic with with a $1,700 preamp, a $3,500 hardware compressor, and a $1,000 PCI audio card. I'm thinking that video as an argument for how great the SM57 sounds may have just had some of the wind knocked out of it.

 

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Thanks for all the great answers, will keep all the comments in mind!

For this moment I don't feel like I really have too buy a mic as I am just playing around and enjoy the writing lyrics more.

 

Thanks to all you great peeps and when I buy one I'll let you know!

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starise    403

I think you have some great answers here. I would  be in the usb mic camp since you're simply playing around. I picked up a Blue yeti used for a steal not long ago. I used it in a few podcasts, seems a nice mic for basic things. You seem to want better quality in your recordings. This is ok depending on what you want to do.

 

I have an SM57 that's been dropped and kicked around. It still works. Not my first choice anymore, but a good mic. Mostly used in pro studios  to mic guitar cabinets. There are a few less expensive SM57/58 spin offs and copies that sound as good or even much better. I picked up a Electrovoice CO4 Cobalt for a good deal. I would put it up against the SM57 for half the money.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/electro-voice-co4-cobalt-dynamic-mic?cntry=us&source=3WWRWXGP&gclid=CjwKEAiArvTFBRCLq5-7-MSJ0jMSJABHBvp0FbtLwT1zFoRPLZDDHLbElNUW54lEOQBIcZB7v8QyURoCqqrw_wcB&kwid=productads-adid^156717928496-device^c-plaid^140837544261-sku^270071000000000@ADL4MF-adType^PLA

 

 

I don't usually like anything Behringer, however they have really made some improvements to their product line and they came out with a mic that some call the SM58 killer- the  Behringer XM8500. I can personally say these sound good and are built well since I've used them. I think they sound better than the SM57. I bought a half dozen of them for a church.

 

This is for the benefit of others who might be more serious about a home studio microphone.. I'll share some of my experiences. These mics need phantom power.

 

Hands down my best all around home studio mic is the Shure KSM44a.

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/KSM44A?product_id=KSM44A&adpos=1o1&creative=173874031892&device=c&matchtype=&network=s&gclid=CjwKEAiArvTFBRCLq5-7-MSJ0jMSJABHBvp0rTsgow7Qt62yNhFX4Gp1pDB2HXeQbJ376y_dxggHghoClSvw_wcB

You really can't beat it. I have a bunch of mid level mics and it shines head and shoulders above them all.

They aren't inexpensive. You might be surprised how many show up on ebay. I got one in excellent shape for less than half of the new retail price. Comes with a nice box and holder.

 

Second on my list would be my AKG 4033a.

 

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AT4033CL?product_id=AT4033CL&adpos=1o1&creative=173874031892&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiArvTFBRCLq5-7-MSJ0jMSJABHBvp0lPuYNm84PL--q2LYn1p6Gd_aTzwSlvj4HDau-cTA0BoCtsLw_wcB

 

Not as sensitive as the KSM44a, it has a nice frequency response with a slight bump in the mid range. Flatters most vocals. A step or two up from the AT2020 that's usually sold to beginners.

Both mics have polar pattern and bass roll off switches. I wouldn't get any low end AKG like the AT2020 because it'll likely leave you wanting more.

 

Some others I have with a few quick comments on them.

 

AKG C3000B- This mic isn't a good all around home studio mic. Works well is some situations. Mainly because the frequency curve and response isn't the best. Probably best for micing guitar cabinets.

 

Electrovoice NDym 767a- Dedicated vocal mic. Doesn't need phantom power. A little better than the SM57. This mic is a great match for male singers.

http://www.electrovoice.com/product.php?id=85

 

Sterling ST51 condenser- I was surprised at how good this mic sounded for the price especially since I stole it on ebay for about 30.00 US. Sterling is a brand from Guitar center/Musicians friend. I'm sure they're Chinese made. What isn't now? Great all round' condenser mic though. Nice clean pickup. Phantom power. No polar pattern switches.

 

MXL- I have the 990 and one of their pencil mics. MXL probably has the largest selection of different mics I've ever seen. Chinese manufacture. There are mod companies out there that will modify the electronics in some of these mics to make them sound like Neumans. The 990 is a common mic. It's meh. With that modification though, no telling what it could do. I've heard good things about the V67 mics.Some of my friends have them.MXL make some decent usb mics for basic stuff.

 

Golden Age Project R1 MK3- This is a ribbon Mic I bought to record violin. It has a lot of self noise. In my recording space it doesn't do any better than the KSM44a. Nice to have a ribbon around though. Ribbons are excellent mics for recording material that has too much mid.

https://reverb.com/item/363768-golden-age-project-r1-mk3-active-ribbon-microphone?gclid=CjwKEAiArvTFBRCLq5-7-MSJ0jMSJABHBvp0pLlh_alSf7DKJBPidYlLmZ9f5-kyHqYZpQ5PKXF2NxoCpjTw_wcB&pla=1

 

Edited by starise
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