needing a home studio critique

Discussion in 'Microphones (live or studio)' started by awcastellano, May 20, 2011.

  1. awcastellano

    awcastellano Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    Hi everyone, this is my first post. I tried to start recording maybe a year ago then got real busy with school and put it aside. With summer coming I'm trying to get back into it. I bought some gear on a whim last year after some quick research and now that I'm coming back to it I thought it would be good to ask you guys to review my gear. I'm recording mainly acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and vocals. Eventually I want a keyboard as well. I don't mind spending some money if there are necessary changes to be made.

    mic - audio-technica AT2020
    interface (?) - alesis multimix 8 usb
    computer - macbook pro 2gb ram
    software - garageband '08

    I realize I also need a dynamic mic for the electric guitar, should I just go with the Shure SM-57?

    Let me know if I've been to vague. Thanks
  2. awcastellano

    awcastellano Active Member

    May 16, 2011
    My studio vocabulary is narrow, I welcome correction.
  3. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Apr 19, 2006
    Home Page:
    No, you're fine.

    You don't say whether you aim to record guitar and vocals at the same time or whether you will "track" them, putting the guitar track down first and the vocal on top later. If you are just recording the guitar, I would use both mics if you have them at the same time, and maybe also take a direct track from a pickup via a DI box, at least on the acoustic guitar. This gives you more flexibility when it comes to mixing the track. You don't have to use all the tracks you record, but at least you have the option.

    Don't try to record with the amp too loud. If it's necessary to have your amp loud to get the tone you want, consider borrowing a low-power "recording" amp that give you tone at relatively low acoustic levels.

    The big unknown that comes into this is the acoustic of the room where you will be recording. It's difficult to get a feel for how much this affects the recorded tracks until you have done many guitars in different acoustics, but it is a major factor.

    For the electric guitar, don't just put the amp on the floor and the mic in front, as you will likely pick up the direct sound plus the delayed and modified sound reflected from the floor. Try standing the amp on a chair, angled slightly upwards, and then experiment with moving the mic (or mics) around in front. I would start with the SM57 an inch or so away from the front of the speaker grille, about half way between the centre of the speaker cone and the edge but pointing towards the centre. Use the AT mic a little further back to collect the more distant sound plus the room acoustic.

    Good luck, and tell us how you got on!
  4. Lavaxtris

    Lavaxtris Active Member

    Apr 1, 2011
    id go get an sm57. sooner or later you will want to use one. and as for the keyboards, i would rather get a midi keyboard and try to use downloaded midi sounds to get what i want. i bought a $600 keyboard from a music store a long time ago and boy, was i ever disappointed at the lack of sounds i could get out of it for such a big thing to lug around. theres no room to keep it by my computer! at least it has a midi out i can use.
  5. aaronwaudio

    aaronwaudio Active Member

    May 25, 2011
    St. Paul, MN
    Home Page:
    SM57 is great for its versatility. You can use it on drums, vocals (usually just live, but you could try it in studio too), and guitar cabs and make it sound great. If you want a great guitar cab mic that isn't too expensive, check out the Sennheiser e609. Sounds really great. It just wouldn't be as versatile as the 57.

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