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Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by StarterStrings, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. StarterStrings

    StarterStrings Member

    Sep 4, 2012
    Hello all, I am interested in building a small studio for myself. I have a Macbook Pro and recently i bought USB Microphone (Snowball) But i was not that impressed with it. You see, i would like to start a youtube channel, to post mostly covers, renditions, and original music. I has seen some cool setups on youtube but people dont really go into how they built it. I am only going to be using my guitar (Martin cxe000) and my voice so i would like a decent beginners MIC. Unfortunately i lack the knowledge required to know what equipment i need to plug in anything that isnt a USB MIC.

    To make things a bit shorter i need:

    A decent MIC
    And the equipment required to plug it into my macbook
    I also have my guitar, which would need to be plugged in somehow as well.

    ALSO When i was using the USB MIC to record i had a problem where my guitar playing was bleeding into my vocal track. (i was using a usb cable to plug the guitar in i got a guitar center) For amateur videos this isnt ideal because both actions need to be happening at the same time (playing and singing). If anyone could shed light on this it would be great.

    Anyway i look forward to hearing from anyone who can help a bit.

  2. havana

    havana Active Member

    Jun 20, 2007
    Fiji Islands.

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    Why don't you do two takes? First take guitar and second take vocals. Ooooopss...facepalm You're doing video as well so no 2 takes possible. Just experiment with your mics gain settings so it doesn't pick up the guitar. Option 2: Use a gate.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    I've had to record the sound for several different singer-guitarist video shoots in a variety of settings and acoustics. Surprisingly, I find the live setting the easiest, not least because the audience acoustic allows you to work with the bleed between vocal and guitar mics and build it in to the sound you want to achieve. There is also much more acceptance that a live performer is going to have a microphone in his face, and the video people have less clout in saying how it should look.

    In the studio, everything is expected to be pristine with little bleed, and also it's normally the video guys who call the shots (so to speak), meaning that the shoot has to be done in a video studio, inevitably with poor acoustics. The other factor is the usual video director's insistence on positioning microphones so that the performer's face is not obscured; this point has to be negotiated.

    I often end up deciding to use a stereo ribbon microphone positioned horizontally and angled so that the guitar is in the null of the vocal fig-8 lobe and vice versa. Having the guitar pickup output recorded via a DI and on a separate track is a useful addition, even if it is not used in the mix. If you do use the DI, you must be prepared to delay the track by a couple of milliseconds at mixdown so that it's the acoustic sound that leads, not the pickup.

    You are going to struggle to get good separation between the guitar and vocal when using condenser mics in standard positioning. You would be better off trying hypercardioid dynamic mics (e.g. Shure Beta 57A/58A) and angling them up towards the face and down towards the guitar. The nulls of these mics are at 120 degrees to the front, so you can use that to help reduce bleed.

    All this implies three tracks of recording, so you should be looking at an audio interface that has at least 4 channels. If you are not considering using ribbon mics, then you do not need particularly high gain in the mic pre-amps, so almost all the commercially-available 4-channel units come within the realms of possibility.

    Perhaps you could tell us what sort of money you are prepared to spend on this problem, and we can make some specific recommendations.
  4. gehauser

    gehauser Active Member

    Nov 1, 2008
    SE USA
    Get a multi-pattern mic for the vocal, set it to figure 8, then point the null of the mic (side of it) toward the guitar with the front toward your vocal. This will help isolate the vocal from guitar bleed.

    You sound like you are recording the guitar using DI, so there won't be vocal bleed into the guitar track, but if you want to use a mic on the guitar for better quality, you can also use another fig 8 mic on the guitar, with the null pointed at the voice.

    This technique produces excellent isolation of guitar and vocal in a simultaneously recorded performance, although there is still some minor bleed.
  5. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    Home Page:
    Gain changes will have zero effect on the ratio between the direct signal and the bleed.
  6. Joe1871

    Joe1871 Active Member

    Sep 23, 2012
    SF Bay CA
    Hey Starter,

    Everything everyone above said is great advice, and you may be digging in already. I am guessing though that you need a little more simplistic answer.

    What are you using to shoot the video? The USB camera on your Mac? I am not a Mac guy, so maybe someone here can jump in. Does GarageBand have a video component? If not, there are likely many inexpensive recording apps that will let you tie in audio input to your video.

    One you have a recording application, you should look for either a USB or FireWire interface like the mentioned Presonus Firestudio. That is a very good, although somewhat expensive option. There are several others that are still great quality and may be more affordable. A good mic should be your biggest investment, but it sounds like you know that. I would maybe shy away from USB mics and lean toward either a good large diaphragm condenser, or as many here have suggested, a good ribbon mic. It's not a hard fact, but for the most part you get what you pay for with mics. Just remember that many mics require phantom power - they are sent power down the mic cable from the pre-amp. Most interfaces do this, even USB bus powered interfaces can supply 48 volt phantom power. Magic!! :)

    One mic to cover both the guitar and vocals may be a very workable solution for you. The very learned folks on this board can suggest some mic brands. AKG makes some nice affordable stuff, and as mentioned, a good dynamic mic like a Shure Beta 57 or 58 may do the trick. Trying to isolate vox and guitar while performing is tough - try the alternate approach and mic your performance with a room mic or something designed to be used from a bit of a distance. Might be a solution. BTW - I am a believer in acoustic mic'ing of an acoustic guitar, and leaving the pickups for live sound. I have several acoustic guitars and have yet to hear an on board system sounds like a guitar. YMMV. Just my opinion.

    Either way, have fun. That's what this is all about.


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