HOME RECORDING (a few questions) - HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by Unregistered, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. Unregistered

    Unregistered Guest

    I am thinking of self recording in my home. I just dont know what mic to buy and what equipment to go with it?

    I've had a look at the package called 'avid vocal studio'. It's an m-audio producer usb microphone that I would plug it into my laptop.
    One problem...
    My laptop isn't loud enough so would i need to buy speakers? If so what type? And i'd like to have headphones but where would i plug them into?

    It would be kind for your help(ASAP), thank you.
  2. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
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    You will have to say a bit more about what you mean by "self recording". Are you a singer, a pianist, a guitarist or what? Is it just one solo track or is there accompaniment at the same time? Do you need to play a backing track from the computer while recording yourself? What's the purpose of the recording - archive, CD release, Youtube footage...? Where are you planning to do the recording?

    Some of the all-in-one USB mics such as the M-Audio Producer have a headphone socket, so you could plug your headphones in there.
  3. DrGonz

    DrGonz Active Member

    Jun 24, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Well before anyone gives any feedback here I think it is really important that you answer a few questions first...

    1.) What type of recordings are you planning on making? Guitar, Bass, Drums, keys... sampling? Or just vocals all by themselves?
    2.) Do you have any DAW software to use?
    3.) What is the music that your making in general terms?

    Look to Reaper as a great DAW to use for free if you will. As far as hardware a mic that just plugs in with a USB interface is not the best first choice IMHO. I think spending money on a type of audio interface like a M-Audio Mobile Pre that will help you input your mic XLR connections. Also, to point that you will need to invest in some type of studio monitoring system. You will need powered monitors in most cases to make it portable w/ a laptop type of system. Microphones are subjective but an SM58 is easily found for most vocal application.

    Edit: Looks like boswell beat me and we had an almost double posting at this time. But both posts ask the OP more questions than any answers here... lol
  4. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    Anyone thinking that 1 inch speakers on a laptop should be loud, has probably had too much to drink? LOL. Let's get real here dude. Do you ever see any rock bands on stage, being amplified through a half dozen laptops? Of course not. Just because you're new at this doesn't mean you are supposed to be stupid also. You've got eyes and you got ears, right? And you know that laptops don't include 4-6-8-10 or 15 inch woofers, right? Right. So to make your laptop " louder ", you have to amplify it. So you plug the output of your laptop (the headphone output. You know what the headphone output is, right?), into your headphones or, into a pair of self powered control room monitor speakers. Conversely, if you feel the headphone output does not provide for adequate level for your headphones, you'll either need a separate headphone amplifier or, your stereo hi-fi amplifier that's plugged into your passive speakers, to plug your headphones into the hi-fi amplifier. And everybody who made it through the sixth grade, should know this already. I mean even your 9 inch portable black-and-white television has a 3 inch speaker in it which is three times larger than your laptop speaker. After all the output jack on your laptop does not have a little speaker icon. It has a headphone icon. And headphones don't need as much power as speakers. And of course, you don't want to ruin your hearing in the process. So it's really not about the loudness level coming out of your laptop. You already know that a four-cylinder VW beetle will not go as fast as a V-8 stingray, right? And why do you think that is? This is a trick question. And I'm sure that you can arrive at your conclusion through a simple mathematical equation? Right? Good. And that's why laptops are not designed to be loud. I mean how big are the speakers inside your desktop computer? Right. Really not much larger than the laptop has. What's that tell you? It should tell you that none of these devices are designed as " POWER AMPLIFIERS ". Notice that word POWER. It actually denotes something of an algebraic equation. Meaning that a + b = C. Where a, is the laptop and, b, is the power amplifier which feeds into, c, which are large speakers not laptop speakers. And then you have a loud laptop, C, I mean see.

    Sorry, I didn't know you were only in the fifth grade?
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  5. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    Sep 26, 2005
    One thing I forgot to mention... if you use a " USB Microphone ", you will not be able to monitor that microphone or, your recording, through the computer onboard soundcard. USB microphones are actually bidirectional devices and you plug your headphones or self powered monitor speakers into the headphone socket/jack, of the USB microphone. That's because computers and the way they handle audio, is not like that in the analog world. So you cannot record from the microphone while monitoring from the computer soundcard itself. USB microphones require that you monitor through the microphone headphone jack. Because that's how computers work with audio devices. Computers are stupid. Dumber than an even newbie like yourself. So ya can't expect the computer to think that it is an analog studio control room. It's not but it is inside the box, inside the software. Where routing is different in the digital world than it is in the analog world. And that confuses a lot of people and not just beginners like yourself.

    So actually I believe more in USB computer audio interface devices than I do USB microphones. And those give you a whole lot more versatility. And where you can pick and choose different kinds of microphones, to suit your recordings. Or the ability to feed multiple microphones into a mixer and the mixer feeding the line level inputs of the USB computer audio interface when you need more than two microphones to record. Like putting eight microphones on a drum kit. So those eight microphones would go into a mixer, the mixer would generate a stereo mix, whose two channels would then feed your USB audio interface devices line level 1/4 inch XLR combo inputs. Unfortunately, that will also limit what you're drum mix will sound like when you cannot record those eight microphones on the drums to eight separate tracks in your software timeline. That would require one of those FireWire or, USB 2.0, 8 input, computer audio interface devices such as a PreSonus Fire Studio, Mackie Onyx, MOTU and similar units from other manufacturers. And that will increase your level of capabilities and professionalism well over just two inputs. But those devices alone, start around $500, not including any microphones. Thankfully though, they are all bundled with incredible multi-track audio and MIDI software packages. And software that generally costs around 400-$500, alone.

    Bottom line is, the audio device included inside the laptop, it is certainly not appropriate for any kind of high fidelity or studio style recording. It's barely good enough as a simple playback device, feeding powered control room monitor speakers. Though it's adequate for that playback purpose, pretty much, only. But when you have a USB audio interface, it generally includes a fairly healthy headphone amplifier while some also include additional line level outputs, to feed a loudspeaker amplifier or, powered monitors with. In this sense, the USB audio interface becomes a little console, with many of the necessary items such as input gain control and a pad, input versus playback mix control, headphone volume control, control room speaker volume control, etc.. And that puts you more in a professional league then playing with toy USB microphones and wondering why your laptop is not loud enough.

    Go to websites like Guitar Center, Musicians Friend, Sweetwater and you'll see all of these devices in which I am talking about. The PreSonus Audio Box USB 2.0 device will set you back about $250 with only two inputs for microphones or line level sources. Then you spend $100 on a SHURE SM58 or two and you'll be good to go. The PreSonus Audio Box came in a USB 1.1 version costing only about $150, which is every bit as good as the USB 2.0 Audio Box, but because it's USB 2.0, offers up a whole slew of extra capabilities because of the much greater bidirectional data rate of USB 2.0 over USB 1.1. So if your budget is really tight, get the USB 1.1 device for $100 less. The only real capabilities you will be losing, is the ability to utilize real-time effects, while overdubbing. Which for some people, limits their creative delivery and performance when they don't hear all of the compression, limiting, equalization and time delay echo and reverb effects processing. With a USB 1.1 device, you get all of that stuff, only on mix down not during overdubbing. BFD! If you're a good professional, that should be no problem. If you're a wuss, it'll be a problem.

    PreSonus microphone preamps are high-voltage and Class A, devices. Hard to beat without spending thousands of extra dollars. Check them out.

    You really didn't want to have a savings account did you? Of course not. You wanna make recordings that sound good.
    Mx. Remy Ann David

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