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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Mic for simple recording.


Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link: http://www.banjohangout.org/archive/359588

doryman - Posted - 12/17/2019:  15:23:13


I'm looking for some advice about a mic to buy. The short story is that my two kids (middle school aged) and I now play enough bluegrass instruments (Bass, fiddle, banjo, guitar) to play songs together (yes, this is very fun). We would like to mess around with recording ourselves, just for fun, and maybe even lay down some tracks. So I'm looking for some suggestions for a simple mic that I could plug into a Mac computer to do this. Yes, we could just use the mic on the computer, but we're looking for something that might sound a little better than the built in mic. I'm willing to spend up to about $150; less would be great, more would be considered but I'd need some convincing. To be clear, we are looking for one mic, we're not interested in putting a pic-up on each instrument. Also please let me know if there is some piece of equipment that I'll need that I'm missing. Thank you.

kwl - Posted - 12/17/2019:  16:19:54


While I have not tried it with my banjo, I use an MXL 990 microphone run through a Focusrite audio interface in to my MacBook Pro. You also need something to supply phantom power to the microphone. This is a little bit more than your budget. The microphone is currently on sale at Musician's Friend for $60. Phantom power will run you another $40-50. The interface I use has two inputs, but Focusrite has a Solo model for around $110. You'll need a microphone stand and cables if you do not already have them.

Eric A - Posted - 12/17/2019:  16:33:54


I asked a very similar question just a few days ago, and here are the answers I got:



banjohangout.org/topic/359519

 

thisoldman - Posted - 12/17/2019:  16:43:46


Thought of an alternative. A audio recorder (like a Tascam, less than $100, for portability) and using Audacity (free). Or maybe a Snowball directly into your Mac, and use Audacity to record, mix and tweak.

rickhayes - Posted - 12/17/2019:  16:49:44


I have a Behringer Xm8500 Dynamic Microphone. It's in the $20-25 range. I think it works well and is comparible to a Shure 57 for a lot less. It has a male XLR connection so you would have to get a cable with a female XLR at one end and whatever connection you can make to the Mac at the other.

crowfielder - Posted - 12/17/2019:  17:40:54


I’ll put in a strong vote for the Audio Technical AT2020 USB mic. I did tons of research before buying and for the buck I think it’s pretty unbeatable. You should do some research but it’s an affordable and clean sounding option that lends well to layman mastering on stock computer programs. The comparable and more popular Blue Yeti has a ton more room noise and adds bass in a way that seems designed to compensate for it being a little cheap. There’s a lot of good YouTube videos comparing the options, but after a lot of research the pros and cons and trying to balance price and quality, I’m really happy with my choice.

To give you an idea here’s a track I did with it just in my short bus one bored day. All I did to the sound was adjust the bass and treble I believe. I usually add just a little reverb because I feel like it helps blend everything and take the edge off if fumble in my playing, but I can’t tell whether I did that here. If you want to hear what banjo and voice sound like my take of “Treasures Untold “ from Mr. Jimmie Rodgers is on my SoundCloud as well. (Yes I love cheesy waltzes and no I can’t really sing ha.)

Just some thoughts, sounds like it’s up your alley!

m.soundcloud.com/user-71064455...bow-waltz

rudy - Posted - 12/17/2019:  19:53:23


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

I'm looking for some advice about a mic to buy. The short story is that my two kids (middle school aged) and I now play enough bluegrass instruments (Bass, fiddle, banjo, guitar) to play songs together (yes, this is very fun). We would like to mess around with recording ourselves, just for fun, and maybe even lay down some tracks. So I'm looking for some suggestions for a simple mic that I could plug into a Mac computer to do this. Yes, we could just use the mic on the computer, but we're looking for something that might sound a little better than the built in mic. I'm willing to spend up to about $150; less would be great, more would be considered but I'd need some convincing. To be clear, we are looking for one mic, we're not interested in putting a pic-up on each instrument. Also please let me know if there is some piece of equipment that I'll need that I'm missing. Thank you.






I recommend you purchase a Tascam DR-05X and a good mic stand with a boom.



musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/...sQAvD_BwE



The DR-05X will give you pretty fair stereo capsules in a omni pattern, so all you have to do is experiment a bit to find where everyone needs to be in relation to each other and where you need to place the recorder to pick everyone up equally.  The Tascam also can be used as a stereo usb mic for your Mac and as a usb interface when you want to use Garageband or to mix your tracks.  With the computer it's dead easy to top and tail your tracks to eliminate dead space leading into and after you've finished playing.



The other thing that you need is a decent set of monitors so you can hear what you have recorded.  I prefer to use GOOD headphones (Beyerdynamic DT770 phones...) but that's a personal choice.  If you want powered monitors the bare minimum I'd recommend would be 5" cones, I have Presonus Eris 5's that I like, but there are others at that size / price point.



That's the bare minimum for quality recording, and that obviously places some limitations on what you can ultimately do, but that's what you are asking for.



The portable recorder has a lot to offer; you can record where it sounds the best and you don't need to use a computer.  It's pretty easy to port WAV files over via usb to use them in a DAW.


Edited by - rudy on 12/17/2019 20:01:21

kmwaters - Posted - 12/18/2019:  07:44:53


Blue Snowball has a usb cable. Easy peasy. Just have to gather round. Audacity makes it easy with a little red dot to start recording.

steveh_2o - Posted - 12/18/2019:  08:12:10


You probably want something nicer, but I use a Logitec usb mic and Audacity (free) to multi-track. Sounds clean to me.

I got mine from Goodwill for a buck or so. They come with "Rockband" video games and the like.


Edited by - steveh_2o on 12/18/2019 08:12:51

doryman - Posted - 12/20/2019:  08:56:43


Thank you all for you suggestions and thoughts on this matter. Thank you especially to Steve for the THE VERY LARGE PICTURE of your mic!

steveh_2o - Posted - 12/26/2019:  07:16:10


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

Thank you all for you suggestions and thoughts on this matter. Thank you especially to Steve for the THE VERY LARGE PICTURE of your mic!






LOL i just linked to a pic of one like mine on the internet.  I resized that thing twice and it was about the size of a business card on my screen in preview.   It kept growing back on the thread.  I gave up after a couple tries and left it. laugh

mikehalloran - Posted - 12/26/2019:  09:47:50


There is a new class of USB 2 interfaces that have been shipping since October. These have ultra low latency and a blend/mix control if you wish to overdub. Most of them are desktop boxes of 2–6 channels but there are some interesting uses of these new ICs such as Mackie's new ProFx3 mixers.



One interesting use of this new technology is the AKG Lyra. It is a 4 capsule, selectable multi-pattern mic with one of these new, near-zero recording interfaces built in. 



akg.com/Microphones/Condenser%...-USB.html



This is not a Blue Yeti style USB mic but far more advanced. The pictures show a desktop stand but it will mount to a regular or boom stand as well. Musicians Friend and other big resellers show Shipping soon but it can be ordered from AKG directly now.



You're on a Mac. GarageBand is free and built into the OS. No reason to use anything else for now.



 



New products with this tech have recently been announced by Focusrite, Behringer, MOTU, Presonus, Mackie, Native Instruments, M-Audio and other companies. AKG is the only microphone so far. I'm expecting more companies to announce at Winter NAMM.



I've already bought a new 12 channel Mackie ProFx3 mixer and am really liking the flexibility and sound. It and a MacBook Pro are my new remote recording rig. The 6 channel ProFx3 mixer takes too much space on my desk so I will likely buy a MOTU M4 or Scarlett Gen 3 4i4... unless something else blows me away at NAMM. 


Edited by - mikehalloran on 12/26/2019 09:48:54

banjoak - Posted - 12/30/2019:  06:01:11


quote:

Originally posted by doryman

I'm looking for some advice about a mic to buy. The short story is that my two kids (middle school aged) and I now play enough bluegrass instruments (Bass, fiddle, banjo, guitar) to play songs together (yes, this is very fun). We would like to mess around with recording ourselves, just for fun, and maybe even lay down some tracks. So I'm looking for some suggestions for a simple mic that I could plug into a Mac computer to do this. Yes, we could just use the mic on the computer, but we're looking for something that might sound a little better than the built in mic. I'm willing to spend up to about $150; less would be great, more would be considered but I'd need some convincing. To be clear, we are looking for one mic, we're not interested in putting a pic-up on each instrument. Also please let me know if there is some piece of equipment that I'll need that I'm missing. Thank you.






There are quite a bit of inexpensive options, in the price range mentioned, or even less, that can do a reasonable job (better than  the built-in computer mic).



Two initial choices. 1. USB mic 2. Separate Interface using XLR mics.



a simple mic that I could plug into a Mac computer



Buying a separate interface and XLR mics has lots of other advantages - But of course a USB mic will be the easiest to set up and use for novices (esp who don't want to get into techy stuff); so serve many users needs just fine; simplicity to just plug it in, reasonable acceptable results. 



Many good choices under price range that will do the job... if you look at the reviews/specs for most of the popular mics, it's a bit subjective, but they all seem to get good general results for the simple home recording.  There are a few common extra features that might want consider.



Polar pattern (cardiod, hypercardiod, omni, figure 8, or even XY stereo). Aspects related to pattern, how you would setup and use the mic for what application. The most common useful pattern is cardioid, but other patterns have their use as well. For single mic with multiple instruments at distance, pattern affects in how you might gather around the mic.  Should keep in mind that many  mics pattern (and other specs) are designed to sound best used as close mics for single instrument/vocal on axis (besides isolation/rejection, there is a tone/frequency and SPL aspects). Some can start to suffer from distance or off-axis, proximity effect, uneven frequency response; esp in low end getting thin. Not necessarily designed for group or distance. Some are designed wider and/or smoother, better for group.



IMO omni is perhaps the easiest for novice to set-up and forgiving for simple informal small group. As well omni pattern typically  has less proximity effect, so curve is typically flatter and smoother.  Not that other patterns couldn't be used to get reasonable results... just might require more experimenting and require more finicky tweaking.



A fairly common feature of some mics are "multi-pattern" to which you can choose different pattern for different uses, set-ups; for many might be worth the extra.



maybe even lay down some tracks.



This would be where having multi-pattern is useful.



As well, in laying down individual tracks or overdubbing... monitoring comes into play. Many USB mics have headphone feature easy way to allow you to hear the sound of the mic-in with the previous tracks with zero or near zero latency. This built-in monitoring is nice feature, but you can still multi-track or overdub without it.



A recent feature on some USB mics is additional ability to plug into ipad/iphone.



---------



The USB works fine as is the simplest, but just to give another thing to consider, and another option. Many players plan to play out somewhere, and useful to own small sound equip; so investing in mic(s) that can be used both (so needs to have XLR) is better investment on budget. XLR only versions are less expensive. As well, many very small inexpensive mixers now have function so can serve as an interface to plug into computer; and offer some extra functions/options. Mixer and mic(s) can serve both recording and small gigs (just need to add a powered speaker); might be better budget choice. 



Just throw out one more consideration, that middle school aged musicians "might" be a little more interested in sound equipment and technology.


Edited by - banjoak on 12/30/2019 06:11:34

Disco Kid - Posted - 01/16/2020:  18:07:27


We have a bunch of mics. A Samson Go Mic Portable USB Condenser Microphone is connected to the PC full time for quick tracks without pulling out all the kit. It's very small and does a real good job with several selectable patterns. Cheap too.

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