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Author Topic: More home recording advice please  (Read 2414 times)
BenF
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« on: November 29, 2009, 09:39:21 PM »

I thank you all for the advice received to date on similar topics, but I need (hopefully) one more bit of advice.

Due to the unfortunate times, I am having to sell some things, but am trying to avoid selling any guitars.  I have arranged to sell my zoom recorder because it is less important than my Larrivees.  I am hopeful that this is a short term problem, and intend to invest in some decent mics in due course.

I am set on the trusted Shure SM58 and SM57 mics for vocals and guitar, can't really go wrong with that choice I suspect.

I have also salvaged an old PC which has some issues, but runs fine, has multiple USB sockets on the front, a very large monitor, and a large hard drive - really all I need for recording I suspect.  This is connected to a decent Sony HiFi system, so the output is via some good headphones or quality speakers, all with controls within easy reach, so that part is all set.

I am at a loss for an interface to go between the mics and the PC.  Most of the affordable options seem to be very much aimed at the electric guitar market.  Is there anything specific for the acoustic guitarist/singer out there.  I guess I need something with two mic inputs and phantom power that connects via USB, right?  There are a few out there, for example the line 6 POD Studio UX2 that has guitar and 2 mic inputs, and also software for editing and mastering.  It seems to be primarily for electric instruments though.  Everything else I find is along the same lines.

Does this kind of kit really do just as good a job for acoustic recording, or is there something else that I should be considering altogether?? Indeed, is there something much simpler that can operate with Audacity in the short term until I can afford some decent software?

thanks in advance guys

Ben
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Ben
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2009, 10:37:59 PM »

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Is there anything specific for the acoustic guitarist/singer out there.  I guess I need something with two mic inputs and phantom power that connects via USB, right?

An Edirol UA-25 would do what you need. Connects to your PC via USB and will provide phantom power for mics.  I picked one up on ebay for about £50 (I was lucky, the new price is about the same as your Zoom recorder was !).

http://www.roland.com/products/en/UA-25/

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until I can afford some decent software?

I can recommend Reaper www.reaper.fm which has an unrestricted free trial download (full functionality and not time restricted) and is as capable as most of the competition and is pretty easy to use. I found I hit the buffers with Audacity in terms of functionality very quickly once I wanted to overlay a few tracks.

Pete
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BenF
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2009, 11:22:38 PM »

Thanks pete, very very useful advice. That looks like exactly the piece of kit I am after. Simplicity but high quality is my aim, so I think you have hit the nail on the head with this suggestion.


I will check out the software as soon as possible. I have now officially sold my zoom, so it's good to know what I am aiming to do.

Ben
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Ben
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Michael T
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« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2009, 10:36:37 AM »

Ben, I found for a couple extra beans my M-Audio Fast Track Ultra really does the trick for a mid price range interface that has individual pre-amps so you can use Dynamic or condenser mics, super easy to use and comes with cake walk pyro that can be upgraded if you want all the cabinets etc that the line 6 offers (which I have too and never use, spend more time tweaking knobs than playing). Most of the tracks in my signature were done with 2 mics in a bedroom/office.

http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackUltra.html

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BenF
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« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2009, 10:46:38 AM »

Thanks Michael, that also looks great.  Would the Fast Track Pro not do the same thing, with two mic inputs? Forgive my ignorance, but are the other sockets at the front of the Fast Track Ultra MIDI inputs?  What would that be used for?  Keyboard etc?  I am very new to this recording thing.  My daughter is keen to learn piano/keyboard, so having that might not be a bad thing at all.

They are both reasonably priced here, and certainly contenders.  I like the fact that it is designed specifically for USB 2.0, and not a USB version of a Firewire product.

I also found while looking them up that the Edirol mentioned by Pete is banded as 'Cakewalk' here.  Exactly the same kit, with a different brand name on it.  Probably just Roland's worldwide marketing thing.
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Ben
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Queequeg
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« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2009, 10:49:05 AM »

I thank you all for the advice received to date on similar topics, but I need (hopefully) one more bit of advice.

I am set on the trusted Shure SM58 and SM57 mics for vocals and guitar, can't really go wrong with that choice I suspect.

Ben
Ben-
While these old standards are pretty good for live performance, recording really calls for a condenser microphone.
Wasnt clear to me when you said you are "set" whether your mind is set on these mics or or that you already have them.
If in fact you already have the Shure SM 57 & SM 58, well, then I guess you are "set".
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BenF
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« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2009, 10:53:43 AM »

Ben-
While these old standards are pretty good for live performance, recording really calls for a condenser microphone.
Wasnt clear to me when you said you are "set" whether your mind is set on these mics or or that you already have them.
If in fact you already have the Shure SM 57 & SM 58, well, then I guess you are "set".

No Mark, I have nothing at all at present.  I just assumed these were the safest option in their price category.  I am really trying to build something here that will cost less than the price of a new guitar, otherwise I will just buy a new guitar, ha ha!

I reckon I am gonna be the best part of £200 for a decent USB interface, maybe £25 for a couple of decent mic stands, £30 for a set of decent headphones (I have some, but they are a bit iffy due to my 8 year old wearing them constantly to block out his sisters), so around £100 each ($160) for mics is my budget.  The Shure's are both around that price range.  My set up is also within range of small children, so it needs to have an element of robustness about it.

Should I be looking at something else?

This could get complicated AND expensive, ha ha!
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Ben
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Michael T
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2009, 12:28:28 PM »

Ben, the price diff is nominal with the Ultra over the 2 channel and I believe the extra inputs are worth it, plus the have 4 state of the art pre-amps on the ultra "octane" I believe the call them. This little interface can handle full ensemble work, "X" style recording and add ins for accompaniments when needed, and it's small too. I did a lot of spec crunching and for the dollars and rep, they are an outstanding value and top line piece of equipment.
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BenF
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2009, 12:38:19 PM »

Thanks again Michael. Noted gratefully.

Out of interest, what mics do you use?
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Ben
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Michael T
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« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2009, 12:46:15 PM »

I have a Shure 58 and a beta as well as a pencil condenser and a fully matched vocal condenser (MXL's). You can also hook up the i-pod or tape to play along or dub with if you wish.
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08 Larrivee L05-12
02 Larrivee DV-09
73 Granada Custom
Kids got the others  :)

http://www.soundclick.com/bands/default.cfm?bandID=797065

BenF
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« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2009, 12:54:14 PM »

I have a Shure 58 and a beta as well as a pencil condenser and a fully matched vocal condenser (MXL's). You can also hook up the i-pod or tape to play along or dub with if you wish.

Thanks Michael, this has been really helpful.  I am not sure I understand it all yet, but I have been looking up everything recommended, and it all makes a bit more sense to me now.  I am quite taken with the m-audio interface you have recommended. 

Mics seem to be a whole new can of worms, with different ones available at almost every price you can imagine.

Bear in mind that I am progressing from a Zoom H2 recorder to a decent set up, so figure the interface is the right bit to get correct at this stage, as mics can be upgraded in due course.  That was part of my reasoning to go with the Shure SM58 and SM57, because I know they are good, and once I get a better understanding of recording, maybe I can start to look at what might be 'better' than good. 

Thanks again everyone.

 
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Ben
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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2009, 02:18:14 PM »

Ben, the price diff is nominal with the Ultra over the 2 channel and I believe the extra inputs are worth it, plus the have 4 state of the art pre-amps on the ultra "octane" I believe the call them. This little interface can handle full ensemble work, "X" style recording and add ins for accompaniments when needed, and it's small too. I did a lot of spec crunching and for the dollars and rep, they are an outstanding value and top line piece of equipment.
I sold my SM57 and now have a MXL V63M Studio Condenser Microphone which was actually less money than the Shure.
But honestly, I am using the Zoom H2 and I'm happy enough with that, that I don't often go to the big board any more. I recorded this over the weekend with the Zoom on my little Larrivee P-03 Parlor guitar.
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BenF
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« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2009, 02:38:35 PM »

I recorded this over the weekend with the Zoom on my little Larrivee P-03 Parlor guitar.


  nice!
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Ben
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Ron N
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« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2009, 04:23:53 PM »

I am pleased with my Tascam US-122.  It has two inputs and can accommodate phantom power.   You may want to check out the clip I put up for my Larrivee OM-60.  It will give you an idea of what is possible just straight plugged in.  I am sure that a cople of great mikes would give an even better result, but that will have to wait for a bit for me....

Life is like that... good luck...

Ron N
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BenF
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« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2009, 04:38:07 PM »

Thanks Ron, that looks good also.  Very similar to some of the other suggestions, and a good deal cheaper too.  There is a used one on UK ebay right now for a stupid price, so I'll keep an eye on it.  This is a long term investment (i.e. I can't afford it just now) so I have plenty time to keep an eye on potential steals on ebay.

Thanks for the advice.  It sounds good on your sounclick page!

I have learned a lot today - thank you all for your input here.
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Ben
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« Reply #15 on: November 30, 2009, 07:02:39 PM »

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I recorded this over the weekend with the Zoom on my little Larrivee P-03 Parlor guitar.

Nice one Queequeg    ...a bit of Jefferson Airplane to brighten up a cold winter's day 

BenF on subject of mics I've always heard good things about Rode NT1 condenser mic.  Are a just wee bit more than the Shure mics you are considering but I think more suited to your purpose short & long term and often come up on evil-bay too.

Pete
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BenF
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« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2009, 07:08:15 PM »

I'll check that out too Pete. Will I need a different type of mic for guitar and vocals? With the shures it is obvious that the SM58 is for vocals, and the SM57 for guitar, but the condenser mica seem to all be advertised as suitable for guitar and/or vocals. Are different types more suited to each task?

Thank you again.
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Ben
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« Reply #17 on: November 30, 2009, 08:15:24 PM »

The Shure SM57 and 58 are really best suited for stage performance use.  "Dynamic" mics like these will take the beating of being knocked about setting up gigs and in transport.... "condenser" mics are less robust.  The Rode NT1 is a "studio" condenser mic that is much more sensitive and will pick up more of the nuances of acoustic instruments.  For a simple set up with one mic just place the mic about 6" from your mouth (with the mic upside down) and it should pick up the guitar in a pretty balanced way.

Pete
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« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2009, 08:20:47 PM »

Cool, thanks Pete. Sounds like a good starting place for me.

Would the set up ultimately have one mic for each? I often see YouTube clips etc of artists with a mic for each, so I just assumed. If so would they be different?  Last question, I promise. I reckon between this and my last thread, I have this straight enough to go shopping when I am a bit less broke.
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Ben
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« Reply #19 on: November 30, 2009, 08:28:37 PM »

I'll check that out too Pete. Will I need a different type of mic for guitar and vocals? With the shures it is obvious that the SM58 is for vocals, and the SM57 for guitar, but the condenser mica seem to all be advertised as suitable for guitar and/or vocals. Are different types more suited to each task?

Thank you again.
I believe that the SM57 and 58 are the same mic except for the snowball. The ball holding the pop filter for vocals. The core [the electronics] are identical.
Can someone verify this for me?
Pete?
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