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Rap Vocals and Setup?

Hey everyone -- me and my friend record rap music, and for the past year or so we've been currently using the Samsung C01U USB Studio Condenser Mic. An enormous improvement over the built-in microphones on his computer! Just plug in to the USB port, and it's ready to record.

But we're looking to upgrade. We're almost 100% positive that we'll be purchasing a Shure SM7b, but seeing that we've been using USB microphones for the past year, we have no idea on how to go about setting up a professional microphone.

From what I understand, the Shure SM7b is a dynamic mic so it doesn't need any 'phantom power' -- correct me if i'm wrong. Will we just be good with something like the M-AUDIO Fast Track USB (, or should we get a soundcard like the E-MU 0404 Digital Audio System Pro Soundcard (

In other words, besides the microphone, what else would we need for a good setup for a crisp, professional sound? Keep in mind that we don't know exactly what it is we need -- we're just looking for a good setup! Budget doesn't matter at the moment, but we're not ones who are ready to spend thousands on equipment either.

Thanks! :D


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 06/27/2007 - 18:31
Look into the Presonus Firebox it has good mic premps, MIDI I/O, and Inst.inputs. If you need Phono input the Presounus Inspire has that as well as the mic pres and inputs but no MIDI. You can always add a USB to MIDI interface. EMU also has some good interfaces. You also need a keyboard contoller. There is a lot to pick from some even have the finger pads like the Akai groove boxes. Maudio, Edirol, Korg, Novation, CME... or if you have a keyboard with midi you can connect it up. The main thing is to do everything in the computer. You should just have to add your vocals. A good program to use for sequence loop oriented music is Ableton Live. If you can get a demo from the website I would give it a try. Some of these interfaces will come with a Lite version of this.

Its best if your interface has everything built in and you use firewire or USB its a lot easier to deal with. Make sure to get a decent pair of headphones (like sennheiser HD280). Latter you can invest into studio monitors to run your mixes through.