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Advice for Live Reording (Hardware Related)


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Before I spend a lot of money on recording equipment, I'd like to get some advice from more experienced folk.

I'm looking for equipment to record my electric guitar with, and and equipment with which to record vocals.

As for the guitar, I've been looking at the M-Audio Fast Track w/ Session (Link). It looks good to me, but could someone give me some feedback?

As for the vocals, are there any (cheap-ish) high-quality mic's that would be usable with the above-mentioned equipment?

Thanks a ton!

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i record everything through m-audio's mobilepre usb-based preamp. it's fantastic. assuming that you've got something like guitar rig on your system to do the effects, it's your best choice. if you don't have a software-based amp modeler, you're going to have to talk to someone else - i don't know much about hardware in the guitar department.

as for microphones, you just want a condenser mic. since the preamp supports phantom power (required for condensers), just get a mic with good reviews. i use a cheapie i bought from zzounds for about 70$, but you can find other good deals too. avoid the mics that plug directly into your usb port, since you can't upgrade down the line.

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as for microphones, you just want a condenser mic. since the preamp supports phantom power (required for condensers), just get a mic with good reviews. i use a cheapie i bought from zzounds for about 70$, but you can find other good deals too. avoid the mics that plug directly into your usb port, since you can't upgrade down the line.

The Fast Track works great, I have the Fast Track Pro and don't regret it. :-)

A condenser works great for both vocals and guitar generally, but.... getting an SM57 or a like knockoff is often better for micing electric guitar amps, becuase its directional. There's something about the sonic qualities of a dynamic that works best for guitar cab micing, don't ask what, I'm not completely sure.

However, if you don't have the money for both, just stick with the condensor, they work great. Just make sure whatever you get, as Prophet said, has phantom power. Good luck!

EDIT: Get the pro, you'll need it for a condenser, and I always recommend spending a little bit more now so that you can do more in the future. Just some food for thought.

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i was specifically talking about vocals. condensers are hit or miss with electric guitars. i don't play electric, so take my statements there with a grain of salt

of course, a two-condenser setup is how i mic my acoustic - one over the fretboard and one over the tonehole.

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Thanks for the tips, guys.

I went ahead and bought these two items, due to time and money constraints:

M-Audio Fast Track with GT-Player Express

M-Audio SoundCheck Dynamic Microphone

According to my limited knowledge on this type of hardware, the two are perfectly compatible, and the GT-Player is apparently really good, but what's the significance of the phantom power that this product seems to lack?

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phantom power means you can't use almost all condenser mikes. condensers are generally used for vocals. therefore, having no phantom power means that you can't use pretty much every condenser that's any good and therefore can't really record clean vocals.

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If all you care about is clean vocals, a dynamic mic will be fine. Plenty of people use them with for vocals to great effect. The SM58 has a cult following in the world of vocal mics and BGC has recommended the Audix OM2 as a low budget dynamic vocal mic which outperforms the SM58.

Condenser mics generally have a flatter frequency response meaning that they record the sounds more accurately without adding or dropping certain frequencies. So that's one reason why they're good for picking up the subtleties of a vocal performance. However, they are generally more sensitive than dynamic mics which means that unless you have a quiet recording space, the condenser can pick up the garbage truck outside, your a/c turning on, the hum of the mini fridge by your bed and everything that you don't want, leaving you with a noisy recording. Plus, if you're going for some edgy loud vocals, you really can't yell into your condenser because loud sounds can easily overload the circuitry and ruin the recording.

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Plus, if you're going for some edgy loud vocals, you really can't yell into your condenser because loud sounds can easily overload the circuitry and ruin the recording.

Uhmmm... I use a condensor for my metal vocals, screaming growling and yelling....

I don't seem to have any problem with it, I just make sure the gain isn't super high.

That's my only thing that I disagre with, otherwise a dynamic mic will work fine. I used one for a long time, but I definately like how intimate my vocals sound now with the nuance capturing condensor!

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I suppose I should have said compared to dynamics, condensers typically have a much lower max SPL which means it's easier to push the condensers too far in terms of input loudness. As I understand it, gain doesn't affect the max SPL because it is applied after the sound has been captured by the capacitor.

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Yeah, that does make sense, but I don't think that yelling really actually has nearly the amount of SPLs necessary to kill a good condenser. Now, if you were recording a kick drum, then that may be a problem ;-)

Annnnyyyway, yea.

Those seem like alright choices to get you started, I mean, I recorded my vocals on a dynamic mic for a long time before I got anything like a condenser so. yea.

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Okay, another problem:

I got the stuff in the mail. I read the manual, and installed the Fast Track and the GT Player Express software according to the instructions. However, when I tried to actually record my guitar, it didn't work. I'm really at a loss of how to work this thing; the documentation sucks.

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step one: restart after installing any audio drivers. no matter what.

step two: make sure your recording software - audacity, or whatever - is recording that input.

step three: make sure you're plugged into the right thing. sounds dumb, but there's a difference between mic and line, make sure you're on the right setting.

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