1. Register NOW and become part of this fantastic knowledge base forum! This message will go away once you have registered.

Help voice recording

Discussion in 'Recording' started by hervelam, Nov 20, 2007.

  1. hervelam

    hervelam Guest


    I am trying to record my voice into my PC. I've got a Shure SM58 microphone, and a standard SoundBlaster Live soundcard.

    I tried 2 different ways:

    1. I plugged directly the microphone with a jack into the microphone plug of the soundcard, and got nothing. Indeed a very small buzz (which goes off when I set the microphone volume to 'mute' using control panel, of course.)

    2. I plugged the microphone to my multi-effect pedal box, and then this box into the the line-input plug of the soundcard. Then I can hear the sound from the microphone, but very very very weak (although the gain is at maximum rate in the box).
    Naturally I can then maximize the wave file with some software, but the sound is dirty. What's the use of a good microphone for a dirty recording?

    I checked somewhere else that the microphone in itself, works properly.

    Could anybody help me please?

    Good night.
  2. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Your microphone has a balanced output

    Your sound card has an unbalanced input

    I assume you have the correct adapter to go from balanced to unbalanced?

    Nominal microphone output for an SM58 is about -55 dBU.

    The reason it would not work with your pedal was that the pedal is designed to work with levels in the -20 dBU range and does not have any amplification to bring it up to line level input which is usually -10 dBU. You were approximately 35 dBU shy of what you needed.

    Go by the correct adapter or get someone who knows what they are doing to make you one and you should be fine.
  3. hervelam

    hervelam Guest

    Thanks for your answer.

    I don't understand what you mean with "balanced" and "unbalanced": what do I need to do? Modify settings?

    You speak of an adapter. What is it? Is it software, or is it an object to plug between microphone and soundcard? Why that? Isn't a microphone supposed to be able to be plugged directly on the microphone input of the soundcard?

    What is the meaning of "dBU" compared to "dB"?

    By the way, my pedal box works well (brings the correct amplification) when I am recording my guitars.

  4. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Check out this recent post, it should help answer your questions:

    (Dead Link Removed)

    At the bottom we get into what a balanced interconnect is...
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Well-Known Member

    hervelam, when you indicate you have a standard Sound Blaster card, this tells me you're on a very limited budget. The microphone input on that particular card is not worth the toilet paper you wipe your ass with (provided you are familiar with that technique?)

    But the line level input, the green Jack, is miserably adequate but needs to be fed from a quality microphone preamp. Quality can be a dubious description as anything above a Sound Blaster microphone input, could be considered quality even if you only pay 50 bucks the microphone preamp. And that's what I suggest for you. If you go to Guitar Center, Best Bye or CircumCity, you can find a more professional USB or FireWire audio interface that will have the proper balance microphone input connectors. And since it is a for real microphone preamp, you'll have a much more professional sound from your SM58. These type of interfaces are available starting at about $150 on up. Assuming you want to do multitrack overdubbing, you'll want a sound card that features direct or low latency input monitoring. But that Sound Blaster card line input, when coupled with a mixer or outboard microphone preamp, in combination with the above mentioned external USB and/or FireWire audio interface may be able to provide you with up to 4 or more simultaneous tracks of recording capability, when you track drums. So you can use multiple different sound input devices, internally or externally. For instance, I have a $80 Edirol USB external line level device. I also have an M-Audio Transit USB external line level device that cost about $80. I can also use, if needed, the onboard laptop soundcard input, with just a dedicated microphone preamp. With this simple crappie set up, I can record five to six simultaneous tracks that don't sound like crap.

    Of course this is a lot of stuff in comparison to something like a Presonus, MOTU or other such devices that frequently offer up to 8 balanced microphone inputs to a FireWire output.

    Don't have a FireWire input on your laptop? $40 will get you from 2 to 3 FireWire 6 pin ports on a PCM/CIA plug-in card for your laptop. Very handy to have.

    Using a Blasted soundcard when I have to. Those Blasturds!
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  6. hervelam

    hervelam Guest

    Hi RemyRAD,

    Thanks for your answer.

    First thing, no I am not on a very limited budget. The fact is that I've got a very old soundcard. It was rather good, and not that cheap, when I bought it years ago.
    Second thing, I am totally amateur, I don't record very often, and so I don't want to spend hundreds of $ in recording material (even though I may have enough money).

    I went to my music store yesterday, and he said I needed a preamp/external soundcard, 160 € the cheapest.
    I would like to study other solutions if possible. You speak of $80 or $40. Looks OK to me. But I didn't understand everything. What do you recommend? Is FireWire an alternative to USB? By the way, I don't need to record several tracks simultaneaously, only one. Then I mix with Audacity (or Cakewalk if I ever manage again).

    Good night.
  7. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    From reading your replies it would seem that you already have your mind made up as to what you want to do. RemyRAD had some excellent suggestions, as usual, but you are choosing to ignore them. Why ask for advice if you already know what you want to do.

    Suggestion. Do some reading on the WWW about balanced versus unbalanced and about dBs. No one has to be a a graduate audio engineer to do recording but you should at least understand something about what you are trying to do.

    Best of Luck :wink:

Share This Page