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Hi, I'm very interested in getting the Apogee 96k mic to use when using my new 128 g iPad mini, however I would like to know what other options are out there that may work for me. I've already got an Apogee One which has a guitar input as well as a XLR mic input which will allow me to use a non USB microphone with my iPad so I've been considering purchasing an audio technics AT 2035 as a more affordable option as well. I also have a ZOOM Q2HD handy cam with a nice built in mic and this little unit can be used as a USB mic for recording. So, alas, I guess my biggest question is this: I can afford the MIC96k, I've got a few other pieces of gear already, I'm going to be recording acoustic guitars and vocals into garage band on my 128 g iPad mini and I want the best sound quality and simplest set up possible. What would you folks do? Buy an Apogeemic 96k, buy an Audio-Technica at2035 or something similar to use with my Apogeeone, or simply use my zoom q2HD as a usb mic? Thank you, Darcy


pcrecord Wed, 08/19/2015 - 14:21

Hi Darcy !
If you are aiming for the minimum setup with a usb mic, the only thing that should direct your choice is how the mics actually sound.
My best approach would be to go to a store and try them. The only thing I find limiting about the options you propose is that you would only record mono tracks.
I say that because an acoustic guitar sounds good in stereo. So having a stereo mic setup is a valuable thing for me...

An other option could be to go with a Handy recorder like this :
A stereo mic and 2 more mic inputs. so you could record the guitar in stereo and the vocal at the same time..

You say you want to record guitar and vocal but not what the best sound quality meens to you. You want to record demos, or just use this as a creation setup ? record an album ?? Be more specific.. I bet my expectations are alot higher than yours ;)

If you have a laptop or a desktop, going with an audio interface and a mic instead of a usb mic will give you more power and growing possibilities..

PS, Dans quel coin est Blanc Sablon ?
Salutations from another Quebec Fellow ;)

Darcy Chubbs Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:00

Salut mon ami j'habite en la basse côté nord...forgive me my friend if my French isn't the best, I live right on the quebec/Labrador border and that should account for my poor French

I tell you my friend, I'm aiming for the sound of a good quality demo really. I will be based out of the Muskrat falls job site in Labrador and living in a campsite for 3 weeks at a time and I am simply looking for a half decent portable recording rig to play with in the nighttime to keep myself occupied in my off hours to keep from going stir crazy my little recording rig at home consists of a near-ancient Yamaha aw1600 multitrack recorder, a golden age pre 73 microphone preamp, and a Shure sm7 broadcasting dynamic microphone, with a pair of Krk rockit 6 powered studio monitors. At 24 but recording quality when recording up to 8 tracks with a CD burner built in besides, combined with the sm7 and the pre 73 as well as a few sm57 and sm58 microphones, and those Krk monitors, my little system cuts it for me and does what I ask it to relatively hassle free. I record mostly acoustic music with some bass guitar and various percussion mixed in when I am at home.

I suppose a more fitting question to ask would be this: What would you recommend as a great all around condenser mic that is portable as well as suited to acoustic guitars as well as vocals for less than $300? I don't currently own a condenser at all, even in my home recording rig, and at $250-300, which happens to be the price range of an apogee mic, I'm curious as to what my options are. If I were to go with a straight ahead condenser instead of a USB mic, I could still use it with my iPad mini by running it through the apogee one and I could also use it at home by running it through my pre 73 into my aw1600. Any thoughts my friend? Suggestions? Really curious about that audio technica at2035 or some else that compares favourably or surpasses it. Thank you, Darcy

pcrecord Wed, 08/19/2015 - 17:59

I get your situation. Working up north with a lot of time to kill would be something odd for anybody.

The first thing you should know is that USB mics are really trios ; mic, preamp, audio interface. At those low price, I wouldn't expect high quality but for your purpose they might still be the best solution.
Second, if you go with a condenser mic, you will be capturing more ambiance sounds comming from the room, noises and room reverb.
I could put a list of reasons not to buy a usb mic, but for your needs and considering it will more of a writing tool than production tool, I'd go for it.
So I go back with my initial tip, go and try some. Our voices are all unique and a mic that fits one could be very bad on others.. ;)

Darcy Chubbs Wed, 08/19/2015 - 19:31

Thanks for your thoughts pc, I am much obliged :) The only issue is that living where I am I wont have any occasion or opportunity to try anything in person hands on and in person before I buy. Because there aren't any music stores within 300 miles of where I live I am resigned to purchasing online sight unseen. Such is life out in the sticks eh...

DonnyThompson Thu, 08/20/2015 - 01:33

Darcy Chubbs, post: 431743, member: 49402 wrote: there aren't any music stores within 300 miles of where I live I am resigned to purchasing online sight unseen

At that point, you're kind of stuck with reviews, or with speaking with someone who has one and can tell you what to expect. Not that either of these things is bad, it's just that our voices are so individual and so unique, that what sounds really good on one person might nor sound as good on you, which is why it's always best to be able to actually try them. But, the situation being what it is, this is the route you'll have to take. Check search engines for the mic model followed by the word "review". There are some review sources out there that I have found to be more trustworthy than others - SOS is a good one, so is Tape Op, (although I'm dubious that you'd find a review for a USB mic in TapeOp, but it's possible). When reading personal reviews, this is where you have to be a bit more cautious, because many times, the reviewer is very new to the craft, and everything can impress them. LOL.

I did your first search for you. SOS has done a review on it, here's an excerpt:

Apogee pitches the MiC’s capsule as ‘studio quality’, but users shouldn’t get too excited about this claim. It sounds perfectly fine for acoustic guitar and other instruments, but gives a slight nasal quality to the mid-range of male vocals that requires EQ attention; something not always easily accomplished on mobile apps such as GarageBand. The polar pattern seems to be more like a wide cardioid, picking up greater ambience than expected. Close up, room sound is reduced, with flattering proximity on voices, but popping is prevalent. I can’t help feeling that Apogee could have placed some foam around the capsule or provided a pop shield. Nevertheless, it’s simple to get up and running and does a decent enough job, aside from the issue outlined above (plus a little inevitable latency). I’d recommend trying out the MiC before buying to see how it performs on your particular voice.

-Barry Watson, March 2015 SOS

kmetal Thu, 08/20/2015 - 02:19

For the cost of the apogee you could get 2-audio technica 3035s which are the best budget LDCs available from audio technica. Or you could get one of those and an sm 57 and you'll have a good acoustic and vocal mic, where each mic can be used in both roles. I dunno I think those are 'real' mics, and very affordable. Pro quality, beginner price.

DonnyThompson Thu, 08/20/2015 - 04:04

I really don't have experience with USB mics, so I can't comment - other than to say that I think that this all hinges on your level of quality "expectation". If what you want to do doesn't really require a "pro studio sound", then I don't see a problem in using a mic like this; it seems to be a convenient option, and alleviates the possible inconvenience of having to carry around an external pre and i-o, but... you need to determine what quality you'll be happy with, and often, when we opt for convenience, we end up sacrificing quality. That being said, "quality" is a relative term. What you might consider to be of a "good quality" might not be what others here would, but it might fit your needs just fine. Only you can determine what's best for you, what you'll be satisfied with.

Personally, I never really liked purchasing gear that was of the "make-do" variety, or purchasing with the intent of something being a "temporary" solution; any time I purchase gear, I like to know that in 5, or even 10 years from now, I'll still be satisfied with what I've purchased, and that it will still be useful to me in some way. While that's difficult to do in this digital age - when obsolescence seems to occur almost monthly - it's not the same with microphones. There are engineers here ( myself included) who are still using 57's and 58's that they've had for years ... I'm still using mics that I've had since the 80's, some even since the 70's.

As Kyle mentioned, in your situation, getting into a couple of "real" mics would benefit you in several ways... one of the benefits is that they would last throughout your future growth, as someone who enjoys recording.
In terms of mic technique, if you had a few cardioids ( dynamics or condensers) and a condenser with a Fig 8, you could do more creative multi-mic arrays, such as MS, X-Y, etc.
It's true that going this route would require a multi channel pre/i-o, but both Focusrite and Presonus make 2 channel USB interfaces with good quality preamps and converters, and of which are no bigger than a cigar box, and weigh less than a pound, and for not a mountain of money, either.

$199 ( U.S.)

10 years from now, an SM57/58 (or an AT 4033) will still be useful to you. And while you may upgrade to other nicer mics along the way, those 57's, 58's ad 4033's won't ever become obsolete.
They will be just as functional and useful to you 10 years from now, as they are right now.

I wonder if the same thing could be said for that Apogee USB mic? I suppose only time will tell... ;)



kmetal Thu, 08/20/2015 - 06:52

Considering then Op already has a zoom which functions as the 'quick and dirty' USB mic (although those sound nice), a decent couple of xlr based mics, would add a substantial amount of versatility for short money.

A note on taste, I co worker of mine says 'I wouldn't record a fart w a 414' but it's one of my favorite mics, I own a newer one and D has the holy grail model of the 414. We are in a subjective art after all.

Boswell Thu, 08/20/2015 - 08:12

@Darcy Chubbs: I would avoid USB microphones and, if you can, also aim higher than the AT 20xx series. The mics in the AT 40xx range are far superior products. However, you should bear in mind the advice given by others about considering a dynamic microphone (e.g. Shure SM57) rather than a condenser.

kmetal, post: 431752, member: 37533 wrote: A note on taste, I co worker of mine says 'I wouldn't record a fart w a 414' but it's one of my favorite mics, I own a newer one and D has the holy grail model of the 414. We are in a subjective art after all.

kmetal, I'm worried by your reference to taste.