Hip Hop vocals on the cheap

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by JLa, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. JLa

    JLa Guest

    So I'm brand new to recording and I don't have much recording stuff yet. Since I'm the kind of person who likes to know what they're going to do in advance I've spent several hours yesterday researching my options. That plus I'd like to make the switch to free software for reasons of price and ideology. And I'm getting a new (or used) computer with recording in mind. All I want to do is record hip hop vocals and mix them with other people's beats.

    So far what I've been able to glean from this and other recording related forums is that I should probably get a mic, a mixer/preamp, enclosed headphones and probably a USB interface of some kind. My budget, minus the computer, is about $300 - 350 US.

    The name that I've noticed being suggested for a cheap but decent mixer is the Behringer UB808 because it has phantom power and built in mic preamps. For interfaces I've noticed people suggesting the griffin Imic and the Behringer UCA202. Opinions on mics seem to vary a lot more but I understand that it's a matter of personal preference, budget and purpose. Based on what I've been reading though I've been leaning toward large diaphram condenser mics in the $200 or less price range. I keep reading that the mic and preamp are the most important pieces in the recording chain (for vocals.) On the other hand I've read that it's pointless to get a really nice mic if other components in the recording chain won't be able to keep up. So here are my questions thus far:

    1. Am I on the right track here? What's your opinion of using the UB808 with the UCA202 and say a Behringer C1? If you think I might want a better mic are the other pieces of hardware acceptable? Should I use a tube preamp? Does the interface replace the internal soundcard of the computer? If I have a mic jack should I use it instead of the USB interface (directly from the mixer and/ or preamp)?

    2. Right now I'm planning on using Audacity. What is your opinion on using it for my purpose?

    3. What are some realistic specs for the computer (laptop) I'm going to buy? (RAM, processor, speed etc.) I'm planning on having only one input at a time.

    4. So I'm hoping to have the beats mixed with the vocals in my headphones while I record. So latency might be a problem. How big of a problem do you think it will be? Should I spend more for a firewire interface and a computer with a firewire jack? Since they're rap vocals and I can't sing anyway can I get away with not mixing the vocals in the headphones and just go by what I hear through my skull / trial and error? What headphones should I get to ensure that the sound won't leak out and be picked up by the mic?

    Thanks so much for any help.
  2. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    "Audacity. What is your opinion on using it"
    It sucks.

    "Behringer UB808, ... What is your opinion on using it"
    It also sucks more ass that is believable.

    "Audacity. What is your opinion on using it for my purpose?"
    Probably OK. I still reckon you should look into Kristal however that's only free for non-commercial usage.

    If you want a mic in the sub $200 range, you will want an SM58.
    Don't ask, just trust that SM58s (and their counterpart the SM57) are used on over 60% of guitar amps, snare drums, and singers. $100 for an all round wonder mic.

    Put that extra $100 into a real interface (Behringer make unreliable rubbish which is noisy).

    As for latency, you're always going to have latency with a PC.
    An external mixer will eliminate it if you were do a couple of things, and if the software you choose will handle the necessary offset.
    Oh, an interface will probably allow you to monitor the incoming signals through the headphones along with a stream of audio from your software too - as a rule of thumb, anyway.
  3. rockstardave

    rockstardave Active Member

    Mar 3, 2006
    but you'll also need a mic cable, a mic stand, headphones, and probably a pop screen. dont forget to budget that stuff in. but dont get an SM58. if you're going to go with a handheld dynamic mic then do yourself a favor (if working with hiphop) and get a Sennheiser e835.

    have fun!
  4. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Forget about the mixer. You don't need it. Get the interface, a mic, cable and stand and you're good to go. Pick an interface with a good software package. Emu seems to have one of the more robust packages for very cheap. Presonus also has a good package but their interfaces are slightly more expensive(though worth it imho).

Share This Page