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I am new to recording and I have some questions:

Discussion in 'Recording' started by caprice, Apr 29, 2009.

  1. caprice

    caprice Active Member

    I use a Powerbook G4 12 inch with OS 10.4, I'll be using Garage Band for my recording as of now.
    I want to record my guitar and vocals through a better microphone than whats built in the Powerbook.
    I bought a cheap microphone from Radioshack to mess around, brought it home and plugged it into the "mic in" hole on my Powerbook but could not pick up any sound to record.
    I researched some on the internet and found that I need a preamp to plug the microphone into to boost the signal so my computer can record it.
    I just can't decide which preamp to get. There is so much information out there that I'm a bit overwhelmed when all I want is some simple answers.

    Do I plug the preamp into my "mic in" hole when I get it?

    I have seen some preamps have USB slots so one can plug the preamp into the computer via USB, but are these really worth it?

    I am not looking to spend more than $100.


    Thanks for any input,

    Caprice
     
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    You should definitely get a computer interface for any type of recording that you plan on doing. Also don't get your audio gear at Radio Shack. But that's up to you.

    For the budget direction you are going currently: link removed

    What I recommend: link removed
     
  3. caprice

    caprice Active Member

    thanks Guitarfreak. What is a computer interface?
     
  4. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    A box containing DACs (Digital Analog Converters) and a connection to the PC.

    Basically allows you to get audio signals onto the PC.
    Most are equipped with preamps for mics and some have other such goodies as MIDI and S/PDIF connections which you probably don't need.

    In your case you can get a single/dual channel interface with preamps - this is the cheapest solution, on the whole.
    At some point you'll want to get a better mic too.
     
  5. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Basically it converts the analog sound waves into something the computer understands (digital). Also called an analog to digital converter. I linked you to two of them. The first one is one that my friend uses, I have used it and have been disappointed. The FireBox is something that I own, and I'd rate it a 9.5/10. Really a quality line of products PreSonus has going there.

    They both have built in preamps, so you most likely wouldn't want to spend the money right now on a dedicated preamp. The preamps on the FireBox are extremely good for the money, it can drive the signal very hard before you get feedback or hiss and the tone quality is amazing for the price. With the FireBox you also get Cubase LE, which I don't use but many people around here do, and it's better than GarageBand.

    The M-Audio piece is a USB interface, and the FireBox is a FireWire interface. The benefits of Firewire are great and I'll list a few of them. You don't need a wall adapter because the FW cable also transfers power. Firewire communicates better and faster than USB in both directions. Ways you will see this is zero latency monitoring, ability to re-amp effectively, and higher possible sample rates (I think).

    You also are probably going to want to upgrade your mic, but that's already been said. I mean think about it, if you have bad quality at the first stage of production, then it won't translate well to later stages. Crap in = Crap out. One of the big dogs around here can check my facts, but other than that I'm pretty sure I've covered everything.

    Comes down to budget, knowledge, and choice, and the choice is yours buddy.
     
  6. caprice

    caprice Active Member

    Thank you all for your input, I think I am going to go with the Firebox, it seems like a very solid piece of equipment that can last me awhile.

    My next question is:
    What is a good, basic, industry standard mic to record with? One that everyone should have in their collection as a good backup mic if anything. I was looking at something less than $100.
    I don't like a very clear sound much but I assume it would be best to record a very clear signal and then later change the sound through the editing software? But I guess most musicians have their own methods to achieving the sound that they want.
     
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    SM57 SM58. Industry standards, and probably the best launching pad mics out there. Very versatile and will last your entire career if you decide to move on from here.

    link removed

    link removed
     
  8. caprice

    caprice Active Member

    Well I have the Firebox and it is paired with the Shure SM57. I did some recording yesterday and noticed that there is a hiss when recording my acoustic guitar. A friend told me that it could be the cable I'm using (the cable is a cheap one from Radioshack, the one that came with the Radioshack Dynamic Microphone).

    I'm going to study more today on whatever tips I can find on recording acoustic guitar. In the meantime, does anyone have any ideas?
     
  9. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    It's not the cable. According to the specs, the Firebox gives 55dB of gain. However, its unity-gain SNR of 105dB only leaves a 55dB noise floor at maximum gain, which in practice will produce an audible hiss.

    If the hiss troubles you, you will have to find a closer compromise position for the microphone that give you acceptable sound coupled with enough output not to have to run at high gain on the pre-amp.
     
  10. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Man, 55dB.

    Mine is typically 54dB and it's comprised of radio interference, a grounding problem AND hissing.
     

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