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What microphone should I buy?


Kriko
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Ok, so there is a sticky thread about advices on good mixing Headphones. That is great. I think it would be appreciated if some people with experience could give some advice on microphones. :)

I'm about to get a better studio recording microphone and from what I've seen there is plenty of mices to choose from. What do i look for in the datasheet when i pick a mice? Do i want an condender or dynamic mice? How cheap can they go and still withstand quality, and what are some good brands?

I know NEUMANN is good and AKG and SENNHEISER aswell. I also noticed my local dealer had a couple of ADK and SHURE mices. What's up with these?

And also what equipment do i need to record to my PC? Do i need a separate microphonepreamplifier/mixer, or do i need to upgrade from my built-in soundcard to get better quality/reduce noise?

I would love to hear what you guys have to say about this and hope that we could put together a little FAQ or something that helps people that are about to buy microphones for studio recording.

Thanks you! :)

// Kriko

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Hi, thanks for your replies :)

Tricky question since I'm not really familiar with the priceranges but I'd say about 100$. I'm mostly looking for some allaround mic-setup for the amateur homestudio (for vocals, live instruments like piano, guitar etc). Basically i just want to record from live stuff and not loose quality and get hum and noise.

Hmm my studio setup... What i've got is my PC with a built-in soundcard :D

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Ah yes that's what I expected.

A few questions:

-What is the main difference between Voice and instruments mices?

-The SM57 wasn't very expensive? (~120$)

-Yeah i know a built in soundcard isn't much to hang in the tree.. would a SB Live be something? Remember, Im not investing in a super-duper highfidelity recording set. Just for some homerecording. But still want some quality and don't wanna waste a fortune.

Basically I'm just checking out what it would cost to get a decent setup.

Again, thanks for your time.

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SM57 is a tool of wonders. You can usually buy one for around $100 USD. They're pretty quiet too. Unforunately your onboard sound card is not.

And HELL NO to SB Live. HELL. NO. Those cards are shit.

A good place to start as far as sound cards go is the EMU 0404 or possibly an Audiophile 2496.

In either case, you'll also need a preamp.

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I used an SB live for the longest time and it was extremely easy to use and provided decent results for me. I only recently upgraded to an Audiophile 192, and I actually miss my SB live.

If you buy only one microphone, I'd make it the SM58.

I would reccomend the SM 57 if its just one mic. You can easily use the 57 for vocal work, far easier than using a 58 for instrument stuff.

Get a 57. Its not OMG WOW at anything, but it will give you fine results for everything. Especially on your budget. And really, unless you have a studio with sound dampening and all that jazz, you wont get much of an increase in quality in going above a 57.

As for all the other stuff: You will NEED a preamp - the mic won't function without one. Whether the preamp is just a preamp, or part of a mixer, or whatever, doesn't matter so much, as long as you have a preamp. Unless your onboard solution is awesome, you are going to need a good soundcard if you want quality results. If money is a problem, get the mic and preamp first, then save up for the soundcard later. You will be able to record using your onboard, it just won't sound too good. But at least you will get used to whatever program you are using to record, and whatnot. Then, when you get your new, shiny soundcard, you are all ready to go.

Oh, and when you get a new soundcard, foget about any sort of consumer product. You need the pro stuff now. Thankfully, the pro stuff is quite cheap these days. You can grab the aforementioned EMU 0404 or an audiophile 2496 for just under US$100.

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Hey all!

That UB502 was a sweet little thing, and wasn't very expensive (~60$). Eventually I will need a simple mixer and I need a preamp to get this mice thing working so it seems like a good alternative.

The EMU0404 looks like a robust card and i know it's very popular. Is it the high bit/sample rate that does the magic when recording? I would also assume that it doesn't introduce noise and hum when recording.

And the Shure SM57 looks like a good alternative here too i see. Any opinios on the ADK a51? They were the same price :o

And why is it so that almost everybody hates the Soundblaster Live so much? :D

Anyway, thank you all for you inputs here. It's been helpful for me.

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I agree with suzumebachi 100%. I've just recently got myself an emu404 after having used a Soundblaster Audigy for a few years. The difference is astounding, I didn't know what I was missing. :D

As for mics, I would say go for the ADK A51 if you're gonna do vocals, I've got one and it sounds a lot better for vocals than the SM58 I was using before. Comparing the two, the A51 gives the vocals a high end sheen and a smoothness on the higher frequencies that the SM58 couldn't capture - no need to eq. I've yet to record a full song with my new soundcard, but wow, it really sounds excellent and makes my mic shine! The weakest link in the chain can spoil everything.

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worst A/D convertors ever made...

Ah i see. Then a 0404 it is when it comes to soundcard.

Intresting that you Malcos had a ADK a51. Noticed that it needs phantom powersuppy, then I'll have to step up to UB802 mixer. Have you any experience from recording instruments with the a51?

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Intresting that you Malcos had a ADK a51. Noticed that it needs phantom powersuppy, then I'll have to step up to UB802 mixer. Have you any experience from recording instruments with the a51?

Nah, I haven't used it to record any instruments. UB802 mixer? Might add quite a bit of noise to the signal. Perhaps a dedicated mic preamp, depends on your needs. Another thing about getting a good soundcard - much less noise!

The reason why I got the ADK A51 is that I heard a lot of good things about it, also heard it was great value. I definitely needed a condenser mic to capture more detail on vocals - it's perfect for that.

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Does the 0404 really have so high internal gain so it doesn't need a preamp to work with a dynamic microphone? Sounds doubtful to me.. and still it might be a problem getting a XLR->1/8" cable, plus it's always fun to have a few knobs and buttons to mess around with :).

The Behringer mixers/preamp we're talking about here are said to be low noise stuff. I dont know. But of course a dedicated micpreamp is always better that just a mixer with a built-in micpreamp.

But i think they're decent and there is probarly weaker parts in the chain.

Thanks all very much for your replies =)

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What I have right now are two Audio Technica AT3035s and an M-MobilePre.

This small setup has treated me pretty well. The mics are pretty great for the price, although They're could be (and probably are) better ones for the same price.

The mobilepre seems to be responsible for most of the noise. However, I would recommend it for something to begin with since it's pretty much a sound card and mic preamp in one.

I'd say that these mics, right now, are suiting my needs well.

While we're on the subject, could anyone recommend some mic amps below $300 and a compressor below $150?

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An internal preamp probably isn't a good idea because it's next to 2 or more fans, and some other electronics.

I'm sure this is the main reason why all the +20 db signal boosts built into the Soundblasters [maybe it's a universal Windows thing? I have no idea] suck so much.

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