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I just joined these forums, so asking a question like this probably won't start me off on the right foot, but here goes:

I am currently using an AT2020 USB microphone. Now I am attempting to dive a little deeper into the recording world, so my first task was going to be purchasing a new microphone. I read countless reviews on many different mics, and I have come to the conclusion that the AT4050 fits my criteria perfectly. Now brace yourselves, because here comes the pathetic question.

I have only the smallest idea of how to approach the task of connecting the AT4050 to my computer. I have read a lot about preamps and mixers, but the more I read, the more confused I become. Basically, what I'm asking is, what is a good mode of connecting the microphone to my Toshiba laptop? I would appreciate all answers to be written in the simplest possible form. Please and thank you to everyone.


Codemonkey Mon, 01/11/2010 - 17:38

Mixer = thing which mixes, normally has a bunch of preamps.

A preamp is another thing that could be standalone (or in a group of standalone like an OctoPre which is 8 preamps in one box) or could be part of another thing. Preamps bring voltage from the mic UP a hell of a lot.

Aside from preamps, you also need an ADC which converts the voltages into digital, and a means of getting that into the PC.

Fortunately, you can get an interface - these are ADCs and a USB/firewire/PCI connection all in one, and most of them have a pair of preamps as well. So what you want is not a mixer (unless you're trying to plug forty six instruments and mics into a single stereo input) you really need an interface.

Interfaces also provide phantom power, some standalone preamps do this. You need PP for condenser mics like your AT4050 (the AT2020 uses it too, but gets it from the USB).

BobRogers Mon, 01/11/2010 - 17:48

This can definitely be confusing, so don't feel too bad. What you are looking for is an[[url=http://[/URL]="http://www.sweetwat…"] "audio interface"[/]="http://www.sweetwat…"] "audio interface"[/]. This combines the functions of a DI box, preamp, mixer, analog to digital and digital to analog converters. It connects to the computer via USB, firewire, or PCI. Look in the archives for threads on choosing an interface.

If you want more specific advice, tell us more about budget, type of music, type of musical instruments, choice of recording software.

anonymous Tue, 01/12/2010 - 14:03

I'm mostly recording acoustic guitar and vocals. All I play is acoustic music. I own an electric guitar and an amp, but I literally NEVER play it. I am looking to spend about 250 (give or take a little bit), and I am trying to get THE best interface possible for that price. I am using Magix Sequoia, but I plan on upgrading. Maybe you can recommend a good program to get as well? My laptop is pretty nice, so I can run any program that you recommend.

And I also have another ridiculous question: Will there be a very noticeable difference now that I'm switching from USB to an actual microphone setup?

anonymous Tue, 01/12/2010 - 18:56

I most likely need an interface with 3 or 4 inputs, because I'm starting a little band with my friend, and I will be buying another microphone soon to record her playing the piano in our songs, along with a few other microphones for some of my other friends and some more instruments. Any recommendations for a good interface for about that price with about that many inputs?

BobRogers Wed, 01/13/2010 - 04:27

You need to rethink your plan a bit here. To do what you describe you need
(1) an interface (probably at least four microphone inputs)
(2) DAW software
(3) microphones for vocals, guitar, and piano
(4) cables to connect all of this
(5) a computer that is up to the job of real time recording.

All of this is significantly more than your budget.

So you either need to save more money or try something else. For instance, you can buy a self contained flash recorder like the zoom h4n, do a stereo recording of your group and then edit the resulting recording on your laptop.

anonymous Wed, 01/13/2010 - 10:15

Sorry, my mistake for not making things clear. When I said that I'd like to spend around 450, I meant that I'd be willing to spend that much for the interface. Money isn't too much of a problem, and I would definitely be willing to spend more money. I already have a fairly nice laptop, with 3gb of RAM, and a dual-core processor. But like I said, I'd be willing to spend more than just 450 dollars. I was simply referring to the price of the interface. Would you be able to recommend any of those things that you mentioned? IE: A good DAW program, some nice microphones, and a nice interface? I'm willing to spend around 2000 dollars on it all. Please and thank you.


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