Couple of questions...

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by pauloz, May 6, 2006.

  1. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    i posted this in another category before:

    Hey. New here...anyways i am looking to just start recording some audio with a microphone and i want to get a great sound but i have no idea what i need. Okay i dont want to do it with MIDI like a direct input from a guitar to my soundcard. I need to record acoustic drums which obviously dont have an input so thats why i need a mic.

    I have Cubase SX3 which is looking good, i have a great soundcard but i dont have anything else.

    Okay i know i need a good mic but this is my question...can i get a pro mic and just plug it in to my pc's pink mic input thingy?? or do i need a midi interface for that because i already have a pc mic but it aint good quality and i cant record in cubase with it anyway when i put it in the pink input thingy.

    Another question is...can i get a midi interface and then put a mic into that and then record with that in cubase??? i have seen the midi interfaces and i think i need the female XLR to go into the mic and then the male XLR to go into midi interface. Then i can record like that right??

    Please help me...thanx in advance for your help.

    then i got the answer:you want an audio interface to get the audio from your mic into your computer. this will function as your computer's soundcard.

    keep in mind what you want to record and how much you will need to record at once.
    for drums you will probably want to record more than one mic.

    and now i am saying:

    so i need an audio interface??? will i need a mic preamplifier?? do i get both or one or the other???
  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    pauloz, I think you're going to find that you will want to have more than just " a microphone", to record drums with. Generally I use about 8 microphones for a drum kit! Now please don't confuse MIDI with anything audio. MIDI doesn't do audio. MIDI only does data. It is simply an instruction code to instruct a black-and-white keyboard device or other sound modules to play sounds generated within those sound modules.

    I think what would best serve your purposes would be to purchase one of those new " FireWire" equipped mixers such as the Mackie Onyx series, Phonic and others, since those mixers are both microphone preamplifier's with equalizers built-in and analog to digital converters onboard with a convenient single wire FireWire output that plugs directly into a computer with a FireWire port. This negates the need to purchase any kind of sound card device. You indicated you already had " a great sound card" but did not specify what you had? I don't think you have a great sound card because your great sound card has one of those " pink microphone input thingy". There is no decent soundcard manufactured that utilizes those 1/8" mini stereo phone plug microphone inputs! Those are all crap! Those microphone preamplifiers are not worth the circuit board material they are built on!

    Obviously what you actually need is a mixer with numerous microphone preamplifiers built-in and a soundcard that does not have those " pink microphone input thingies"! And no, DO NOT plug in a pro microphone into those horrible pink thingy microphone inputs since they all have direct current on those jacks for crappie multimedia microphone's. That direct current can actually damage your microphone and/or microphone transformer. Generally, MIDI interfaces DO NOT PROVIDE MICROPHONE INPUTS!

    I might suggest that you purchase a bag full of Shure SM58s and something like a Mackie 1642 Onyx. Now you're cooking with gas! That mixer has everything built-in that you might need to start recording into your computer into cubase. I'm not sure why you couldn't record your crappy multimedia microphone, unless your sound card mixer did not have the microphone input selected for recording purposes? Your PC under Windows has a built in supplied software mixer that allows you to select playback or record mixers. Both of which can be displayed simultaneously on your screen if you go to your start menu, program's, accessories, mixer. Do that twice and you will be displaying 2 playback/monitor mixers. Take one of those mixers, go up to "options" drop-down menu and select "properties" and select record. You will then be displaying both the recording mixer and your playback/monitor mixer simultaneously on your desktop. Very handy to have open while you are recording and tracking since you will need to occasionally adjust recording input level than playback levels.

    Informative books on recording and PA are available at your local music store and you should go find some.

    Audio is simple
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  3. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    okay i know i need more microphones now. umm..i have an nvidia soundcard thats not installed in my computer. I dont think i can afford a mixer...why do i need one anyway?? isnt there a more affordable way to get a good recording going??

    cant i just get an audio interface that goes into my soundcard??? and then plug mic into the audio interface?? or do i need a mic preamp or something??
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    pauloz, I'm not sure that the nvidia is any better than a generic SoundBlaster type card? Maybe it is?

    In order to make good recordings you absolutely must have good microphone preamplifiers. There is just no other way to get good sound from decent mediocre microphones. What I'm going to suggest is that your computers resident sound card with that lovely little pink thingy microphone input only be used for its line input. That's usually the little blue thingy input. The green thingy is your output thingy. So what I suggest is that you purchase yourself either an outboard inexpensive microphone preamp that companies like ART, Beringer and others produce for around 60 to $200. But for that money, you can also purchase an entire small inexpensive mixer that companies like Beringer, Mackie, Soundcraft and many others have but also start at as little as $50! That would at least give you a device that would have more than a single function. They all have some kind of built in metering, equalization, effects sends and other niceties with their own board microphone preamplifiers, that I'm sure you will find that have the ability to produce a good and usable sound.

    Let's face it, a $15 soundcard will generally get you $15 quality, which ain't quality. Your crappy sound card does have a mediocre and adequate line input which would give you much better results with one of those inexpensive mixers.

    Remember good things come to those who weight.

    I weight too much!
    Ms. Fat Remy Ann David
  5. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    okay okay couple more questions...sorry...
    1 .if i get one of those mixers then i put it into my soundcard in the blue line in input and then i can use a mic with the mixer??

    2. do all mixers have preamps in them??

    3. last there a difference between a stereo mixer or a channel mixer and a mic mixer?? Will i need a mixer with XLR inputs or 1/4 inputs??

  6. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    pauloz, it seems like you are finally getting the hang of things?

    In answer to your question 1, you are exactly correct. You plug your microphone into the mixer and take the mixtures of line output to your sound card's line input into the blue thingy Jack. You'll probably need to get a patch cord from your local music store or from Radio Shaft that has a 1/8" stereo mini phone plug to 2 RCA male connectors. That's fine if your mixer has RCA outputs but if it has 1/4" outputs you will need to get a 1/4" plug to RCA jack adapter. If the mixer happens to have a XLR 3 pin balanced output, your little crappy soundcard will get overloaded from that kind of studio line level output from a mixer. That kind of professional studio output is featured on many mixers and is fine if you are plugging into another similar input source, not your crappy soundcard. You can use that output to feed your crappy soundcard but you should obtain a XLR in-line pad that will reduce the level by approximately 20 DB. Then you could plug that into your blue thingy on your crappy soundcard.

    With reference to your question 2, all mixers do not have preamps in them. Some are strictly lined level keyboard oriented mixers that have no microphone inputs whatsoever. You don't want one of those if you want to plug any microphones in because those have no microphone preamplifiers.

    Your last question 3 mixers are mixers and they are designed to mix numerous different sources. Some mixers have all sorts of inputs and outputs and some have more limited capabilities. Most reasonable semi-professional mixers generally have numerous balanced XLR microphone inputs as well as XLR or 1/4" line level inputs. Generally most semi-professional mixers will feature 1/4" line level inputs. Some features the 3 connection tip ring sleeve balanced inputs and outputs on those 1/4" stereotype jacks.

    Basically a good entry-level comprehensive mixer is something like the Mackie 1604 or its onyx cousin with FireWire connectivity. Those mixers do a lot of things quite well and make for excellent recording capabilities.

    Tell your parents I charge $500 a day for babysitting audio professionals.
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  7. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    THANX FOR YOUR HELP!!! Im set. thanks!

    Wait sorry just one more thing...what does an audio interface do...and will i need one??

    So If i am right this is what i do:

    Mic-->Preamp-->Mixer-->Soundcard line in input

    but if i i get a mixer with a preamp in it already then:

    Mic--->Mixer-->Soundcard line in

    Is that all i need??
  8. twon

    twon Guest

    your soundcard would function as the audio interface.

    and yep thats right

    happy recording

  9. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    ah i see..well thanx!! so there is no real point in getting an audio interface...sound quality wont be much different will it???

    Wait so an audio interface could just be some really good soundcard in your pc right?? because i was looking at pics of audio interfaces and some were just pc soundcards so yeh i spose that answer my question but wait LAST QUESTION!! Hehe one question always leads to another!!

    ...umm...i got it all under control except which cable i should get to go from the mixer to the soundcard line in input. This is the mixer i am getting....

    soooo i know i need a 1/8 for my soundcard input but

    1.which cable do i use to output from the mixer??

    2. and do i plug in my mic into those female XLRs in the top left corner??
  10. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    You will want a cable that has two 1/4" on one end and one 1/8" on the other. The 1/4" ends will have 2 conections on them and are comonly called TS(tip sleeve) and are the kind of thing you would plug into your guitar. The 1/8" end will have 3 connections and can be called TRS (tip ring sleeve) more like a headphone would use. So the 1/4" ends go into the left and right outs on the board, with the 1/8" one into the computer. You should be able to get that cable at a radio shack.

    And yes, plug the mics into the xlr.
  11. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    are you sure i need one with two 1/4" on one end?? because i cant find a cable like that...or do you mean 2 RCAs on one end becuse i can find them but where do i plug it into the mixer output??? There are like 3 different output spots with L and R.

    EDIT: Nah i found one of those plugs with 2 1/4" and then on the other end a 3.5 or 1/8 one.

    1. So if your saying i need one of those then that means i should plug it into the top right outputs that say main out??? Yes??

    2. LAST QUESTION EVA I PROMISE...i can also put input the microphone into the mixer with the 1/4" cable instead of the XLR right??? SO i have two options??
  12. Spase

    Spase Active Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    You could use the one with RCA ends on the tape out. You can use the 1/4" on the main out(its the one I meant) and (I think) the control room L/R as well. You could get the RCA ends with 1/4" adapters and have the choice of where to plug it in if you really want.

    You can use an XLR to 1/4" TRS(preferably) or even to TS(if you don't have the TRS) for your mic.
  13. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    k Thanx for all your help!!
  14. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    Just on the topic....ive found that my soundcard aint too good so will i need a better one?

    So yeh will it be a waste of money to get a better soundcard??
  15. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    pauloz, With the recent introduction of FireWire enabled mixers, when talking about computer multi-track recording, I think one of those FireWire enabled mixers is an unbelievably intelligent ticket? Screw those stinking soundcard thingies! Get a decent computer with a FireWire port and a Mackie 1640 and you are in business! All you will then need is a bag full of Shure SM58 microphones and some reasonable software. You could even go with freeware like Audacity? How about that?!

    Then your mixer is your sound card, your sound card is your mixer your mixer is your PA your PA is your live multi-track recording facility! And the investment for that is so minuscule in comparison to the over $100,000 I spent to do the same thing 16 1/2 years ago is truly incredible!

    What makes the deal really sweet is...... You don't even have to use your brain with the help from the great folks of!

    Of course I could be the scarecrow? I haven't got a brain! Dah dah dah dadadada.
    Ms. Remy Brainless David

    Don't pay any attention to that recording engineer behind this post!
  16. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    so yeh i dont think you anwered my question but getting a good enough mixer and i wont need a really really good soundcard if i am only using the line in of my current soundcard. Yes / no???
  17. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    First off you can use your cheap soundcard line input, as long as you don't dump +4db studio line level into it. You gotta' keep your input levels down around .3 volts or "-10db" Teac style level. OK 4 lernin' stuff with. Not good for quality work.

    And yeah..... you'de have better audio with a better "quality" sound card.

    Na' you don't need no stinkin' $1,000.00 sound card. That $15 card should sound as good....... should sound as good 1971 Radio Shaft battery operated cassette recorder with it's worn out head and atrofied pinch roller? Shouldn't it???

    Now plug the stuff in and get to work 'cuz I'm hungry!
    Ms. Remy
  18. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    Do you have any suggestions as to what soundcard i could get??

    It needs ASIO Support doesnt it??

    AND it would be good to get RCA inputs... Yes??

    Would i have to worry about all of that dumping dBs crap if i get a proper soundcard with RCA inputs?? Coz dont RCA inputs allow more or something like that i think you said before??
  19. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    I would look into the Presonus or M-Audio sound card products? I think you'll find that they are quite good, rugged and all around good buy.

    I think you missed what I was trying to convey to you about RCA inputs? Generally RCA inputs are mostly for consumer oriented equipment and generally operate at lower volume levels of around .3 volts, or -10 DB. You'll find that most professionally oriented equipment will most likely utilize either XLR 3 pin balanced connectors or a 1/4" tip and sleeve, unbalanced or tip, ring, sleeve balance connectors.

    Now you can frequently interface a consumer piece of equipment that has RCA connectors on it with a piece of professional equipment with an additional patch cord/adapter to 1/4" or XLR. The console you are using can always boost the consumer signal to proper levels. But it's not good to overload those consumer devices with the hotter studio level, commonly referred to as + 4 DB, which equals 1.25 volts at 1kHz sinewave, from those consoles which have professional studio level outputs. Should the console feature RCA record outputs, there you go, low level line consumer outputs. That you can plug in to your inexpensive line input soundcard.

    I hope to make some wonderful recordings since I get the impression this is a first attempt?

    Always listening, always board
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  20. pauloz

    pauloz Guest

    Okay thanx for the reply...

    umm wait so what type of input in to the soundcard should i be looking for?? Because i see most have RCA like the Audiophile 2496 by M-Audio??

    Is this a good soundcard because i am thinking of getting it???

    oh yeh and this is a first attempt

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