Help choosing microphone for beginner

Discussion in 'Microphones' started by davidpower, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. davidpower

    davidpower Guest


    I have been playing several woodwind instruments for a few years now and I have become increasingly interested in recording them to my computer, the idea of recording multiple parts and putting it all together fascinates me the problem is I don't have a microphone that will do it justice (currently using a desktop pc mic which sounds terrible) I'd love to get a better mic that captured the sound of my instruments with less noise. I don't want to buy anything expensive as this may be an interest that could only last a few months and if that's not the case then I will invest in a more expensive microphone,

    Could you recommend a microphone I could use with my PC to get the best sound possible for between 50 to 100 Euro

    Thanks for you help.
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Scotland, UK
    I guess the simplest way is to get a USB mic. Samson make a few, along with others.

    Or you could make a foolproof investment that you're guaranteed to want to keep, or if you don't wanna get knee-deep in recording, you could probably sell for the bulk of the price:
    1 x SM58
    1 x USB powered interface with 1 preamp.

    (or, 1 USB mic with a view to get the SM58 if you decide to stick with it)

    Software? Audacity or Kristal
  3. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Remember that you not only have to get a microphone but you also have to amplify it.

    Mic + Preamp = sound

    Then you have to take your source signal (sound) and convert it to digital so that your computer can play them.

    Then you must consider which software you will use to multitrack with your pc.

    So, there is more that meets the eye. If you are on that tight a budget then you will have to consider your options.

    Codemonkey's suggestion of a USB mic could be an option.

    Just keep in mind that USB devices are typically slower than that of a firewire device and introduce latency due to the buffer needed for data to stream into the computer.

    For example, after you have recorded a track and are listening to it while recording the second you will notice a delay from when you play your instrument to when you hear it in your headphones.

    Also the preamp in USB mics is usually lacking in musicality. There may be good USB mics out there, I have no experience with them. Any professional would try to convince you to spend the money on the wise investment, that is a good preamp which is not cheap.

    I do know that emu makes a USB device that is very good and has had many positive comments on the forum:

    Check it out, I hope you have lots of fun!
  4. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    If you want an inexpensive way to record simply and be able to upload to a computer you could consider using any of the small recorders like the zoom.
    This has four track capability, decent (not great) built in mics, will accept external mics, uploads easily to computer, comes with Cubase LE (an excellent software program.) With the addition of a set of headphones you could escape the latency issue while overtracking. I don't know what the exchange rate is but these are $200-250 US.
    There are other similar products Tascam, Marantz, etc. The Zoom is the only one I have had first hand experience with. My other thought is that these units are good for field recording, live gigs, concerts, practices, etc. due to their small size they can go anywhere. If you decide to jump in the pool with recording whole hog, mics, preamps, interfaces, this type of device would still be handy.
  5. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    This E-MU 0404 look interesting, I saw that It comes as a PCI card too with all the interfaces coming off the card, If I were to buy this would an XLR interface mic work correctly. I've read that some mic's need " phantom power" Will the 0404 provide this?

    This is the E-MU 0404 as a PCI card

    Thanks for your suggestions

    P.S. This morning I found the mic to a Olympus digital voice recorder, its giving me a better sound that my desktop mic and now I'm hungry for better sound. I would love to be able to hear the key work of my flute move as I played.....
  6. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    I am using mixcraft 4.5 and I really like it, I am currently on a 15 day trial. The SM58 is $99 on and the 0404 PCI is also $99, If I had the two of these devices I imagine I would get fairly nice sound quality.... I just need to find $198 now...... (this has turned out to be a much more expensive investment that I first imagined)
  7. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    The 0404 does not supply phantom power, so you would not be able to use a condenser mic. It will not accept USB input directly, your computer would but the latency issue would still likely be a problem.
    If you want to have phantom power (condensers require this) then you probably do need an interface like this
    So for about $30.00 more you have more options. All of these interfaces come with some type of software free, so if you are considering buying Mixcraft you may want to wait until you purchase whatever your final choice is.
  8. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    jg I think you got it mixed up a bit, remember 0404 does not power through the USB cable, you have to use its power supply to power it. 0404 does clearly have phantom power. No worries about condensers, just laptops where you want a self powered device.

    I think all the positive feedback on the 0404 does make it one of the best interfaces for the money.
  9. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    Are you talking about the 0404 USB or 0404 PCI? the 0404 USB is $200 ouch.
  10. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    My bad :shock: jg , you got that right

    Yeah, looks great! You still need a Mic Pre however. :)
  11. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    What's a mic pre? preamp?

    As much as I'd like to record my own music I think I'll have to wait, all this equipment is starting to cost allot.
  12. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Don't get into this thinking its cheap by any stretch of the imagination.
    It's the worst drug there is. And more expensive then a lot of the other ones you might be thinking of.

    Off to laugh maniacally at myself for having no money since I just bought some more gear this week.
  13. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Well, on the surface it looks like all you need is a good mic to record. Now you are learning what more is involved.

    In the ideal world Microphone Preamps, or mic pres are analog circuitry specifically designed to minimize noise and maximize musicality.

    Often times one hears a great sounding song and thinks its easy to make because they see whats on the outside. But little is known about the circuitry and expertise used to get the end result.

    So, if you just want to make simple recordings I urge you to start searching feedback on Google on the various USB microphones and just start there.

    Leave the expensive world of home recording while you can, because it will cost you much more that you anticipate it ever could!
  14. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    If I got this and this could I start recording my own music onto my pc ?

    From what I've read above a USB mic is no good because it would introduce a latency, I like writing backing tracks to music so recording while listening to one through headphones would cause the finished product to sound out of time, No?[/url]
  15. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    These were the best search results I found for USB mics:

    Rode Podcaster


    Blue Snowball
  16. jammster

    jammster Active Member

    Remember you get what you pay for, and you may regret this down the road. Based on what users are saying 0404 is a huge step up from 0202. Use google and do some digging on your own. Think about it for a week before you lay down the dough!

    Thats the best advice I can give, now I ought to be preparing for my friends coming over for my party!
    I hope you have fun recording soon!
  17. iamfrobs

    iamfrobs Guest

    Owning an AT2020, and using Snowballs at school, I would honestly say try the Rode.
  18. jg49

    jg49 Well-Known Member

    A little confused here. I went to the link that the OP provided, which is a PCI card. This accepts two 1/4"(unbalanced?) analog inputs, it would require I believe a mixer or preamp. It does not provide phantom power. If there is a stand alone USB E-MU with the same number then I was not aware of that and furthermore the mfg. ought to reconsider the way they number or name products as this could easily cause confusion among potential end users.

    I think the cheapest way out is the Icicle, though I have absolutely no first hand knowledge of its performance or suitability other than the published specs.

    The icicle @ $50.00 (above link) and a Shure SM57
    with a free 25' cable @ $99.00 is a total of $150.00.

    Though this accomplishes recording with the ability to multitrack inside the computer, you would still need a decent set of closed back headphones so you could listen to previous tracks (almost silently) while recording additional tracks.
  19. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    I like the AT2020USB mic, I watched a review on youtube and the sound good better than what I'm used to.

    Am I going to have a latency problem using this mic while recording to multiple tracks because its usb?
  20. davidpower

    davidpower Guest

    So your saying USB Icicle and Shure SM57 Mic, I'll look into that.

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