Justin Guitar Community

Tools of the Trade => Microphones => Topic started by: Hollywood on December 10, 2014, 03:40:18 am

Title: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 10, 2014, 03:40:18 am
So... do I get a USB mic or a mic with a cheap(ish) interface?  Tight budget + 15% off coupon for Guitar Center.  The cheaper the better, obviously, but still a decent quality.  Right now I'm mostly just recording myself, but I do plan to do live gigs eventually.  if I need to get a different mic when I get to that point, that's fine.

Which one is better for my current needs?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 10, 2014, 04:25:06 am
Did you read through the first post of that link I sent you in your other thread? I think that post made some decent points, and at the end of the day it's really a personal decision.

You might get better advice if you give some options that you're looking at. It's easier to answer a "here are my needs, do I buy X or Y?" type of question when X and Y are specific options within your budget. Right now it all depends on what constitutes 'cheap,' what you would define as 'decent' quality, etc.

Not trying to be mean, but with the wording of your post I don't think you'll get any better answers than have been given previously.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 10, 2014, 04:30:41 am
There is nothing cheap. Even the bottom on the line interface... I think it a Scarlet Solo or something similar is $99 then you need a mic.


This is good price on this one... which is abetter Interface. It's used... it must be a demo or something but it's from Sam Ash.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Audio-Interface-Mint-original-pkg-1-year-warranty-/191335220214?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item2c8c77c3f6

You have to realize that interfaces for run of the mill good stuff can cost anywhere from $750 - $2000 and they can get way more expensive.


In the same light the entry level stuff with a mic for the most basic stuff is going to run you near $250 to $350.

So now a USB mic may be $50 and you can plug it in roll if you have a PC. Is it great... no. Can you work with it, yes. Is it an upgrade path, no. Resale value, no.

Now you buy a regular mic and you will probably keep it forever. You buy something like that 2i2 Interface and you will sell it of stick it on a spare computer and you will buy a more expensive interface with more inputs and outputs.

There is no right answer and no magic bullet. I don't know what you were recording into for that JBJ song, but I'm wondering if a USB mic is going to sound any different. .... and to be honest... I've heard much worse from people with real mics and interface.

the biggest hurdle for home settings is the room. You have to treat the room or no matter what you use will never really sound good.

Stage you kinda need a regular mic unless you use a laptop... you don't find too many people on a stage with a USB mic.

There are only so many bases you can cover. Do you really even need anything else yet? Maybe not.

Either Sam Ash or Guitar Center was having some recording package specials the other day. Mic, Interface, stand, cable, etc...   several different ones.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 10, 2014, 04:55:46 am
I use the Scarlett 2i2 and I would recommend it. I think I paid around $120 on Amazon. I've also picked up the MXL 990/991 package on sale a while back for $70 or so. Don't really use the 991, but the 990 does a decent job.

But once you figure in a stand, pop filter, XLR cable etc. you're looking at $250-300 minimum to get going if you buy things on sale.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 10, 2014, 05:15:53 am
Even a $40 USB condenser mic will sound much better than a laptop or phone camera mic, even in an untreated room, with proper mic placement.

You can either spend a big pile of money on something you aren't sure you need and don't yet know what you want, or you can spend a small amount on a USB condenser mic that will sound ten times better than what you have.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Drubbing on December 10, 2014, 05:22:11 am
Even a $40 USB condenser mic will sound much better than a laptop or phone camera mic, even in an untreated room, with proper mic placement.

You can either spend a big pile of money on something you aren't sure you need and don't yet know what you want, or you can spend a small amount on a USB condenser mic that will sound ten times better than what you have.



This. ^

Unless you want to get into audio editing and something that will provide real polish - much of which is probably done post recording anyway. Going on your vid, a condenser or portable recorder will be a a simple and immediate improvement
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 10, 2014, 09:55:03 pm
That video was recorded with a Nikon D3100 camera.  So it sounds like I'd be best getting a USB mic.  I think having a regular mic would look cooler in videos  ::)  but that alone isn't enough of a reason, obviously.  I would probably want to record some demos on my own once I start getting some of my own songs written, at least to get some experience recording my own stuff. 

$250 isn't too bad... Obviously $50 is better than $250, but if I start regularly doing videos, I want whatever would be best for that without spending too much - I think $250 or $300 is probably the absolute most I'd consider spending on this stuff right now.  But, if I can make my own demo of some nice recordings on my own and am able to sell some of those, then it might be fine to spend a little more as needed to be able to do that.

My guitar is an electric acoustic, but right now I don't think I have any way of recording it directly through the amp. 

If the camera is a good enough recorder and I really just need a better recording area, then that's fine, too.  The only issue is that I can't use a pick without a mic because it drowns out my voice.

The biggest problem, really, is that I know I need some way of making better recordings and videos, but I really don't know much of anything about recording equipment, so I don't even know what to ask or what to look for.


Edit:  This is the one USB mic I'd been looking at.  If I get a USB mic, I guess I'd have to do the recording and the video separately, right?  So the video wouldn't be a "live" recording?
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Blue-Snowball-USB-Microphone-105642680-i1500770.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Blue-Snowball-USB-Microphone-105642680-i1500770.gc)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 10, 2014, 10:23:51 pm
Given your pm you may want interface adter all.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 11, 2014, 04:07:25 am
If I get a USB mic, I guess I'd have to do the recording and the video separately, right?  So the video wouldn't be a "live" recording?

You should be able to record the video and audio separately and then sync them up afterwards. I don't know exactly how to do this, but I believe Cue Zephyr has detailed his process in a post somewhere so you might try to either find that post or ask him about it.

In terms of usb vs. mic + interface, I think either should be an improvement over your current setup. If money is the main issue - and don't get me wrong, as a college student I understand $300 can be a lot of money to throw around - try the usb mic and see how it works. Even if you end up wanting to go the interface route, and you probably will at some point, you'll only be out an extra $50.

Also remember that an entry-level setup for $200-300 isn't going to get you studio-quality recordings. Your biggest issue at that point will probably be your room and recording skills, not the gear, but you could spend a grand and still be in the "decent quality" category, equipment-wise.

My advice (others may disagree): your main focus should be on the music and performance, because those will set you apart more than your gear and video. You should still strive for decent audio & video quality, but a killer song with an ok mic will be better than a mediocre song with an excellent one. I think the order of importance goes: songwriting & performance quality-->audio quality-->video quality
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 11, 2014, 01:42:54 pm
songwriting & performance quality-->audio quality-->video quality

Agree.... in that order.

She still will need to sell herself and the gear and skills that young people have these days is quite nice. If you had a partner to do some things or a group to help that's nice.. The other thing about video is... if she gets involved with video people they often want musicians so again it's good exposure ( see what I did there? )...

Community college to take music lessons... and maybe look for the video people or even take a video class to meet them. If you look at the most successful YT stuff, the production is usually pretty good and most people that get successful, upgrade their production. My only point is she has time now to learn it and by it's nature will put her in contact with music oriented people.

Lots of musicians end up in several bands at the same time. At least around here. The flexible musicians get the jobs. Lindy Fralin is a musician. He always played with the BopCats but you might see him playing with others and many of these guys would be playing with one band on Thursday and another on Friday. The "Bands that were going to Famous" often fell apart or cycled through the lineup and even the successful bands often fall apart.

If she applies herself now at age 20. By 25 she could learn to read music. Learn to arrange, learn to make a decent vido, learn more songs, meet way more people, learn some audio production skills, and in general be able to fit into a lot of musical situations..... OR... get better on guitar and hope that's all that is needed....    there sure are a lot of 'just guitar players' out there.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: close2u on December 11, 2014, 11:25:09 pm
If you want to hear a budget usb mic with  vocal and guitar search my YouTube for The Beatles I Will.
Just guitar voice Samson q1u Ian mic into laptop with reaper.
I would link it but am on iPhone and don't know how to copy paste yet
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 01:00:32 am
Everyone so far (on this thread and others where it has been mentioned that I need a mic) seems to be pretty split.  I checked your video, close2u, and some other suggested ones that came up that were mic comparisons.  The USB sounds pretty decent, I think. 

I checked out Guitar Centers site - first of all, what is a MiDi interface?  I would need an audio interface, correct?

Anyway, I looked at their page of audio interfaces (assuming that is what I would need) and there are several used ones for under $60.  https://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Interfaces-Recording.gc?o=1 (https://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Interfaces-Recording.gc?o=1)  Would that be a good route to go?  I checked the reviews on a couple of them, and they all seem to be all over the place and I wouldn't know how to choose a good one.  But that link has the ones I saw, if anyone has any experience with any of those or can recommend a good one.  If I went that route and got a used interface for $50, and then maybe this: http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc)

That would put me at about $100, assuming those are both decent quality and actually what I would need.  Otherwise, it's about $60 for the Blue Snowball USB Microphone I was looking at.

.... thoughts?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 01:38:35 am
MIDI is for musical instrument interfacing, usually used by keyboards, controllers (pad controllers, control surfaces with knobs and faders, etc) and synthesizers. Data going in can control software (digital audio workstations or DAWs) and data going out can trigger sounds or other events in outboard hardware. You probably don't need that, but it's often featured on interfaces. You indeed need an audio interface.

You could try looking for a Tascam US122, buddy of mine has one and it's cool. Avoid the E-MU 0404 USB, it's excellent on Windows XP but everything beyond is a nightmare.

For mics, an SM58 would be excellent, but I hav eno idea what they go for used.

I can't seem to open any of the links, running into dead ends it seems. :(

ETA: OK, I did some quick ebaying and if you hit some auctions you might be able to get both for $100 total.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 01:58:25 am
So if I can get the mic and interface stuff for under maybe $150, with the other option being a $60 USB mic, which would be better?  The mic and interface if I can get it at a good price?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 02:21:37 am
Definitely the mic and the interface.

Your guitar has a pickup in it, right? I saw you have a Takamine with a cutaway so I assumed it had one. With a dynamic mic you'll have to plug your guitar straight into the interface.

If you can't find an SM58 at that price, you might have more luck with a PG58 (also from Shure).

Why mic + interface (IMO)?
1) You can use the mic live.
2) You can add more mics but keep the interface (and I'm sure you will at some point)
3) Better quality than an USB mic
4) You could record bass into it if you wanted (like say, if you found somebody that plays bass).
5) $60 most likely buys a better non-USB mic
6) Direct monitoring (listening to what you're recording zero latency)

What did I do?
I saved a little more to skip the USB mic. I bought a two-channel interface and a mic not long thereafter. My guitar has a pickup too, but I wasn't really satisfied with that tone. I bought a second mic not long thereafter. Two channels is enough for one person and one mic goes a long way.

The only reason I bought another interface and more mics was because I wanted to be able to record more people at the same time. That or use more than two mics simultaneously - i have a stereo mic that already takes two channels so with more channels I actually have some room (on the interface) to use it as a room mic (lol). Haven't needed it to record more than one person often yet, but that might change in the future.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 02:28:00 am
Alright, I'll see what I can find.

What do I need to look for in an interface to make sure I get the right thing? 
Do they just plug into your computer then or what?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 12, 2014, 02:46:28 am
@TB

I agree with your points, however my main point was to make sure the music aspect doesn't get buried under everything else. Obviously recording and production skills can get you a long way, but none of that will matter if you can't play the music at a high level.

By all means, anyone looking to make music professionally and gain exposure through YouTube or other social media channels should take the time to study those things, but right now I think it's more important to build a foundation with guitar and music.

It's kind of like when a beginner comes to the forum and asks what lessons they need to watch to play "X" by Jimi Hendrix or whatever. We always suggest they build that foundation by completing the BC & IM courses first. In this case, the video, lighting and production is the long-term goal, but in order to make those worth something you need a strong foundation in songwriting, theory, and guitar playing.

I didn't mean to suggest that Hollywood should ignore your suggestions. I just wanted to make sure that those things don't become more of a focus than the actual music.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 03:25:55 am
Oh, I agree. the music is say 80-85% of the investment.  That's why I keep saying she should go to school.

The other 15% is adjunct skills. The other side benefit of the video aspect though is it's not really hard to improve from crap to pretty damn good looking..... unlike playing and singing which takes a while.

So as she sees her image improve, she gains confidence and it also causes one to want to build up the musical side to match it. So it's a motivational deal as well.

But either way.... I didn't think you were saying to ignore what I had mentioned. ... multimedia marketing is what the now and the future holds, so you either have to learn it or pay someone to do it for you. Stapling paper to the light pole just doesn't cut it these days.

.... and she already does photography so these lighting skills carry over to her other skill set.... in fact there is a very famous music industry person that was/is a photog as well. Or look at Little Steven from E Street... when he was asked did he want to be on a TV show he said, no... I'm not an actor.... they said yes you are, you just don't know it. Oh and even Stevie Nicks is releasing a book of her photography from when she was young.

The goal is to get her hooked up with people better than her so she can learn from/with them. Right now they don't believe in her experience level without even hearing what she can do. That is a marketing issue. Once you get the chance to perform... then it's a talent issue.... but even then.... there have been quite a few bands formed with people that couldn't play.

But yeah, I'm not saying making a good video makes your playing bet...... well...wait a second......there is that young lady named Taylor Swift.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 03:39:30 am
That is a marketing issue. Once you get the chance to perform... then it's a talent issue.... but even then.... there have been quite a few bands formed with people that couldn't play.

Yeah, that sounds about right... I'm apparently not so good with marketing.  I've been having a really hard time marketing my mom's books to help get her donations for her fundraiser.  So far most of the sales have been her selling them face-to-face, and my attempts at marketing them (online, mainly) have been unsuccessful.  :(  Ironic, as I've listened to a lot of top marketers in the past few years.


But yeah, I'm not saying making a good video makes your playing bet...... well...wait a second......there is that young lady named Taylor Swift.
;D
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 12, 2014, 03:55:22 am
All good points, TB. I agree.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 04:08:50 am
Yeah, that sounds about right... I'm apparently not so good with marketing.  I've been having a really hard time marketing my mom's books to help get her donations for her fundraiser.  So far most of the sales have been her selling them face-to-face, and my attempts at marketing them (online, mainly) have been unsuccessful.  :(  Ironic, as I've listened to a lot of top marketers in the past few years.

 ;D

The reason she sells them in person is because they meet her and most likely like her. You can only market the book and not her online...

After you learn some of this video lighting stuff. Put together a little segment with you interviewing her, or her talking about the book... maybe even read a little of it. You could even play a little background guitar for the intro and outro. then you can put that online and IF it is done well perhaps people will be able to connect with her on a personal basis and want to buy the book.

People like to like the other people they buy stuff from. It's like that recordingrevolution guy you see mentioned here often. He is not giving out any earth shattering recording advice but he's a nice guy, his room and gear is all clean and neat looking, he's pleasant to listen to and what he does present is good advice but it's the same advice that you can find in a hundred other places..... but he is likeable. He seems fair and trustworthy. ... and even though he does sell stuff he's not into the hard sell. He is polite, understandable and professional.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 04:41:09 am
Alright, I'll see what I can find.

What do I need to look for in an interface to make sure I get the right thing? 
Do they just plug into your computer then or what?

Make sure that your computer has the correct port for the interface. USB 2.0 and Firewire are common interfaces busses. For a decent starting interface, look at the Steinberg, Focusrite, and Presonus interfaces.
If you plan to use any external hardware processing, make sure it's capable of doing inserts. Otherwise you likely just need an interface with two mic/instrument inputs and phantom power.
The interface just plugs into your computer. Then you plug your mic/s or instrument into the interface. And of course you'll need some way to monitor. You can start with a decent pair of headphones and upgrade to studio monitors later. The interfaces often come bundled with DAW software. You can use other DAWS (like Reaper) with most interfaces. You will of course need microphone and/or instrument cables. And probably a mic stand. SM58 is a good mic for live, and is OK, but not ideal for recording vocals. If you want to record both vocal, and acoustic guitar, a large diaphragm condenser mic would probably be a better choice. If you plan to record electric guitar as well, you can either plug the guitar into the interface, and use Guitar Rig, or other modeling software, or mic your guitar cabinet with a SM57.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: close2u on December 12, 2014, 06:41:58 am
a few hours later on my laptop where I know how to copy / paste :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1XB82kqMF0


With a usb mic you do not need an audio interface... just Reaper or Audacity (which is free).

It would be a quick, low-cost working solution with decent results immediately.

You would then start to learn a little about mic placement, recording levels etc on a manageable learning curve.

A Shure SM58 is the industry standard live vocal microphone. Great quality.
Although I have worked with singers who don't like them ... they A/Bd several and picked different mics that suited their particular vocal sound better.
Long term, a different mic may suit your voice better.

I still vote for a usb as a start point.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 08:18:07 am

A Shure SM58 is the industry standard live vocal microphone. Great quality.

Keep in mind that it's a dynamic cardoid mic and is subject to proximity effect - which makes it less desirable for recording both acoustic and vocal at the same time. It also has a pop-filter screwed on over the capsule. They sound OK, but the reason they're preferred over better sounding studio mics for live vocals is that they have a directional (cardoid) pickup pattern (supercardoid on the Beta 58). The directional pattern helps eliminate feedback (which isn't an issue in the studio) and they're rugged. You can just about pound nails with them - so they hold up well on the road. Yes; a 58 is a good mic for live vocals. If you want to record both vocal and acoustic guitar, there are better choices.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: close2u on December 12, 2014, 10:07:25 am
Good clarification and additional info Scooter
:)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Drubbing on December 12, 2014, 11:13:20 am
So what would be the best lower-cost solution for guitar and vocal recording?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 11:57:51 am
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10152879282394494
Alright, I'll see what I can find.

What do I need to look for in an interface to make sure I get the right thing? 
Do they just plug into your computer then or what?

Plug and play, yep. Look for two channels with preamps, combo XLR/TRS (jack) inputs, USB (or FireWire if you have that) and of course direct monitoring, but most interfaces have that anyway I think.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 01:32:55 pm
A Shure SM58 is the industry standard live vocal microphone. Great quality.

This may be true in name only now days. Most people I know would pick something else.. especially something from Audix. SM57 used to be the only game in town, bu that's no longer true.

PROXIMITY EFFECT:  how sound changes with proximity effect. Notice she is using a Line6 microphone. When was the last time you heard someone recommend a Line6  mic?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iD4kgO1-gE

She has several good vocal lessons as well

I agree with Scooter.. the SM58 is "OK" .. and that's it... unless you need a hammer too. I personally have never like the way they sound.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 02:12:10 pm
I personally would opt for a different mic than the '58 as well, but that's not on the budget in this thread. I was gonna get a Beta 57A at some point, but to this day still haven't gotten one (other things to spend money on, lol).

I still think running the guitar on a lead and vocals on a mic would be a little more manageable since you get two tracks instead of one.

You could still choose to go with a single condenser after that, and still keep your vocal mic for live use - whichever one you choose, doesn't have to be a 58, that's just the only one I know of that is available on the used market staying inside your budget.

Getting the placement 'just right' and getting your playing 'just right' with one mic is a lot more difficult than it seems. Sure, it can be done, but it takes some fine tuning and some practice. Heck, some bands are fine with just one mic (bluegrass bands).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 02:36:00 pm
Agreed on above and the "58s" you see these days are often the Beta 58 which is 40% higher priced.

I would save up for an LCD..... Or watch for sales this month.... the stores usually have a package sale....

So maybe you get a stand, cable, mic, and decent interface.... maybe the mic is not the ideal.... use it, sell it, whatever,,,, you still got the deal on the other stuff and save your money for a nicer mic.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 02:43:45 pm
I've heard the Beta 58 (or 58A) is good for some (most?) female vocals as it flatters them in a different way than the SM58 does.

I haven't even thought of that, TB - package deals can be great to get started. The packages I've seen have a nice (for the price) mic, like an Audio Technica AT2020 or a Rode NT-1A, but the interface is xx--xx.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 03:03:19 pm
BTW ---

Blue Snowball - is 44.1/16bit 

Video Standard is 48K

Almost everyone mixes at 24bit these days and even the entry levels audio interfaces will run

44.1/48/96K at 16/24 bit... your choice of combinations..

Now you can drop a 44.1/16 file into a 48K/24 project in Reaper or whatever and it works fine. BUT... it still stays at that resolution.. it doesn't get better.

Sort of like pouring 12oz of water into a Liter bottle... you don't have a Liter of water.

Also the mode people seem to like most in that Snowball is Omni... which means it will pick up external sounds more easily.

None of that is a deal killer but it is what it is. Even a nice new Interface and Mic won't sound great unless you treat your room and learn how to use it.

and a LOT of things you hear have been processed AND done in a treated room.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nB5LaalYoSo

So don't think that a new microphone of any sort is going to suddenly change things for you... it can actually make some things worse... like picking up background noises.

It's a combination process.

What you can do now though... get a copy of REAPER and record just your guitar.. don't sing. Then save that. play that back and record just you singing. Save that... that process alone will help you to understand Interface vs no Interface type deal.



Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 12, 2014, 04:09:28 pm
BTW ---

Blue Snowball - is 44.1/16bit 

Video Standard is 48K

...

Now you can drop a 44.1/16 file into a 48K/24 project in Reaper or whatever and it works fine. BUT... it still stays at that resolution.. it doesn't get better.

It's an important point, and I would suggest that the Blue Snowball, in particular, is more of a podcaster's mic. It's very good and well regarded, but mainly in podcasting circles.

As a general rule, the upside of USB mics is they are cheap and good; most are probably good enough for general Youtube use.

However, most of them don't quite make the jump from "good" to "great", but if you are on a budget, you will always have compromises. And within the price-range, I would suggest that a USB mic is more likely to be better quality than a separate mic and audio interface at the same price.

The downsides of USB mics is that you cannot simultaneously record instruments on separate channels, and the resolution is usually quite limited (as TB-AV points out).

On the first point, it is possible, of course, to record the guitar and vocals as the same time, via the mic and onto the same channel. Getting the balance between voice and guitar is tricky and can be a bit hit and miss. In general, for recording, it's better if you can separate the voice and guitar onto different tracks so that you can adjust the relative levels, deal with audio compression, plugins, etc. individually. It also means you can place the microphone(s) more optimally to capture the instrument or voice.

With a USB mic you can do this, but only really by recording the guitar and voice separately, which does work fantastically, but may not be what you are trying to do.

Note that most USB mics tend to be omnidirectional.

And, of course, USB mics aren't really suitable for live use.

Ultimately, USB mics (or, similarly, "field recorders" like the Zoom) are a useful thing to have in your arsenal, and something that you may find uses for even if you get a separate mic and audio interface in the future, so I would suggest getting one wouldn't necessary be money wasted.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 07:59:04 pm
Make sure that your computer has the correct port for the interface. USB 2.0 and Firewire are common interfaces busses. For a decent starting interface, look at the Steinberg, Focusrite, and Presonus interfaces.

If you plan to use any external hardware processing, make sure it's capable of doing inserts.

I think she have a Mac... said she uses iMovie.

Inserts are unnecessary for a lot of them now. Like RME for instance. You can simulate inserts in software and the AD/DA is so clean through even multiple physical loopbacks that it makes no difference and automatically sets you up for recording a clean take and a processed take at same time.

The signal goes into mic pre/AD... then branches to output. That out goes to Ext hardware and back to a Line In. The delay is hardware ( which would be present anyway ) and maybe a fraction of a mSec...

That's how RME does it anyway... and I'm pretty sure others use a similar means. I don't think interfaces have Inserts like they used to because the chips and processors are so fast now.

Not that she can afford to do all that anyway, but just thought I would throw that out. The insert deal is doable even if the interface doesn't have them.... that again depends on how well the interface is built and the software it comes with..... and RME is pretty much top shelf in that regard. Their TotalMix software is fantastic. Great Drivers and Great quality hardware.... Of course you are looking at $$$$ to get in.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 08:57:07 pm
Yes, I have a Mac.  But beyond that... I have no idea what you just said.  ??? 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 09:05:27 pm
Inserts are unnecessary for a lot of them now. Like RME for instance. You can simulate inserts in software and the AD/DA is so clean through even multiple physical loopbacks that it makes no difference and automatically sets you up for recording a clean take and a processed take at same time.

The signal goes into mic pre/AD... then branches to output. That out goes to Ext hardware and back to a Line In. The delay is hardware ( which would be present anyway ) and maybe a fraction of a mSec...

Yes, I think latency can become an issue though. I wanted to mention it because the interface that I bought isn't capable of doing inserts and it definitely would have been a consideration for me when I was looking. I just overlooked it.

Hollywood: I think that the reasons that you're not getting a direct answer are that you first have to determine exactly what you want to achieve, and then  decide if in the future you want to expand. If you just want to get a bit better quality from your recordings than what you currently have, a USB Mic may be OK... but it could limit your flexibility and in the long run may be money wasted. I think that a lot of people after they begin digging into better recordings start to realize that there's no one best mic for all solutions. There are affordable mics that work well for recording acoustic guitar, and some that work well for recording vocal, and some that work reasonably well for recording both at the same time. But usually specific mics work well for one specific task in a recording. If you just want a quick and reasonably inexpensive way to improve the audio quality on your videos, a decent USB mic would work. But if you want to take it to the next level; an interface would be the better choice. You'll likely find though that after you get an interface you'll want studio monitors and additional mics, and plugins - and it can all get very expensive over time. Personally; unless I had an immediate need, I would start saving some money and doing some research on Gearslutz and other recording forums and would likely buy a good interface, good monitors, and at least one good large diaphragm condenser mic for recording both your vocal and acoustic guitar.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 09:42:22 pm
That's a good point.  I guess at this stage I need something to make videos nicer, but I also would like to be able to get some nicer sounding recordings of some covers and of my own songs as I start writing them.  I feel like practicing singing into a real mic while standing and playing my guitar with a pick and strap, so as close to a real stage environment as I could create, would be good practice just for stage presence and the general feeling of being on stage. 

I don't want to spend a lot of money, but I'm also looking at it this way:  Say I spend $60 or $70 on a USB mic.  In 4 months, I've got 20 songs written that I want to record.  In 6 months, I've got a few gigs lined up.  While a USB might be cheaper now, if I start doing gigs this year (like I'd like to), I'm going to need the real mic with an interface, right?  So going that route, in the longer term, might end up costing me more since I'd still have to buy a nicer mic eventually.  So I'm thinking, based on everything you guys have said so far, the better option might be to get a mic package and a used interface.  I think as long as I can stay under $200 or $250 for a nicer setup, I'd be alright. 

I've been thinking about selling a couple of my American Girl Dolls (they easily go for $100, especially this time of year).  Maybe this would be a good time to do that?  If I did, and got a good amount for them, I might be able to up the budget to $300 or $350.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 10:01:12 pm
In 6 months, I've got a few gigs lined up.  While a USB might be cheaper now, if I start doing gigs this year (like I'd like to), I'm going to need the real mic with an interface, right?

Not really - because a mic that would be ideal for recording would not be as ideal for live sound because of feedback issues. You could make the compromise on your recordings and select a 58 or Beta 58 for both. (the 58 would be good for live, but not ideal for recording.) Also, when you get to a live venue, there will likely be PA and to record you'd need to feed your interface from the mixing console instead of directly from the mic. 58s aren't real expensive. You could focus on the recording stuff first and use a better LDC for recording - and then get a 58 later, but you're going to find that because of the proximity effect that your mic techniques will be different on the 58 than on the LDC.  It might be best to go ahead and select a 58 for both your live, vocal and vocal recording mic, and also use a directional small diaphragm condenser mic (like an AKG 451) for your acoustic guitar. Those two mics would be suitable for both live, and recording. (unless you play your acoustic through an amp or run it direct)
Because of the proximity effect of a 58, a distance difference of only a centimeter or so can make a big difference in how the mic sounds. If doing live performances is your ultimate goal, it might be good to start getting used to a 58 now.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 10:11:58 pm
(unless you play your acoustic through an amp or run it direct)

My guitar has a pickup, so I would probably use an amp.  I just don't have any way to record directly from the amp right now - I assume the interface would fix that.

Because of the proximity effect of a 58, a distance difference of only a centimeter or so can make a big difference in how the mic sounds. If doing live performances is your ultimate goal, it might be good to start getting used to a 58 now.

That's my goal.   ANd I think if I'm going to get an actual mic, I'd want something that would work well enough for live shows and recordings that I could get away with using just one until I can afford to buy a nicer mic for one or the other use.  So I guess something that works well live but also does nice recordings - or at least better than I've got now.  Doesn't have to be studio quality yet, just nicer.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 10:15:56 pm
Just to be clear you won't use your interface in a live situation. They will plug you into a mixer connected to the PA.

Unless of course you are going to play back tracks from your PC.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 10:17:48 pm
You have an Amp?
What is it?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 10:20:17 pm
Line 6 Spider III.  It's got a record out jack (one, just for the guitar) but I can't plug into my computer any way. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 10:22:17 pm
My guitar has a pickup, so I would probably use an amp.  I just don't have any way to record directly from the amp right now - I assume the interface would fix that.

You have a couple options there. You could mic the amp with a 57, or you could record the guitar direct using the instrument input on your interface. The two will have very different sounds. If you use the amp now for your acoustic, and it's the sound you like, I would mic the amp with a 57. If you go direct, instead of micing the amp, you would also want a DI box later for doing live gigs. A 58 is basically a 57 with a pop filter that can be unscrewed. If you wanted to record your guitar amp and vocal track separately, you could unscrew the pop filter from the 58 and use it to record the guitar amp, and then record a separate vocal track using the pop filter. That would give you an option for just needing one mic to record. Then you could add a second mic when you start doing live shows.

Another recording option that you could use to take advantage of having only one mic -- but still record both acoustic guitar and vocal without having to do two separate tracking sessions (and record your video in real-time) would be to run a 58 into one interface input, and run the guitar (or your amp's direct out) directly into another interface input. If you prefer the sound of your acoustic guitar being amped, you can use an amp simulator plugin.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 10:23:13 pm
this what she sounds like on a 58... I'm pretty sure thats a 58

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJsLapi4ZfM

Quote
It's got a record out jack (one, just for the guitar) but I can't plug into my computer any way. 
Why not?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 12, 2014, 10:31:03 pm
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2-KKoAtP9Y


Lots of comparisons on YT

Now this is a cheap mic.... also check out his backdrop and lighting on it....
$20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj3Us76vK6E


these are also cheap
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_PdB-HbX_HA
wow,,, I think that guy is calling your name... check out the name of his web site

http://www.myhollywoodstar.com/



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_h7kGTpFYQ&list=UU3lQ2_Ups3PAAGhivtKyo1Q


Having heard some of those mics I'm thinking get an interface and a couple cheap mics and start learning how to position them and record.

You might be down to $175 now   $200max
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 10:33:12 pm
I think that pickup has a preamp (which model is your guitar?) and you can run that without an amp into the interface. It's about as hot as a magnetic pickup or hotter, meaning it'll be OK running straight into an interface - many are designed with that in mind. The two front side inputs on my Saffire interface for example are designed to also take instruments without a DI - it has instrument switches that toggle impedance.

With a preamp in your guitar, you can also run straight into the mixer. Done that with my Taylor and it's fine. Sucks if you're dependant on other band members or singers though, you can never quite hear yourself. I got me an amp for that reason.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 10:40:25 pm
With a preamp in your guitar, you can also run straight into the mixer.

Not really.. unless it's a very short distance. Ideally (in a live situation) you would want to run the guitar into a DI box so that you can run a balanced signal a longer distance (through the snake) without adding noise. She should be able to plug the guitar directly into the instrument input of an interface though.

Sucks if you're dependant on other band members or singers though, you can never quite hear yourself. I got me an amp for that reason.

Most acoustic guitar pickups are omnidirectional so you can't get a lot of gain out of them through the monitor wedge without getting feedback. That's why a directional condenser mic works better for mic'ing an acoustic guitar in live situations. (or plugging the guitar into an amp that isn't such a close proximity to the pickup) It's possible to run the guitar into a DI and then into the monitor and FOH system and EQ out the feedback, but it can be challenging and if there's a lot of stage volume it often doesn't work well. Of course; if the guitarist needs to be mobile, the pickup is the better option, but if the guitarist is in a static position the mic is a better choice.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 11:13:00 pm
I've got a Takamine EF341SC.  My only musical splurge so far.  :)  (And I LOVE it.)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 12, 2014, 11:25:13 pm
Cool guitar!

That thing sounds pretty darn good plugged in!

Bon Jovi guitar, right? ;)

Apparently Blake Shelton has one too. That's all the people I know with that guitar. :P

My girlfriend's brother just got one too and it's a nice guitar. I ran it through a few acoustic amps in the store while he was playing, both to hear how it sounds and because I want to sell my current acoustic amp (a Roland AC60) and get a different one (preferably a Fishman or a Schertler).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 11:30:45 pm
Cool guitar!

That thing sounds pretty darn good plugged in!

Bon Jovi guitar, right? ;)

Apparently Blake Shelton has one too. That's all the people I know with that guitar. :P

Haha thanks - yeah, it does!  :D  And yes, Jon [Bon Jovi] has the same one, and so does Bruce Springsteen.  I watched an acoustic video one day of Jon and Richie [Sambora] playing and I really loved the sound of the guitar, which is what led me to eventually finding it in the furthest back corner of a small music shop in Nashville while we were passing through.  No store anywhere near me had one. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 11:41:14 pm
I've got a Takamine EF341SC.  My only musical splurge so far.  :)  (And I LOVE it.)

That's a beautiful guitar!

With the pickup and pre on that guitar you should be able to get some good recordings plugging the guitar directly into the instrument input of an interface. I'd be tempted to start recording with a 58 and an interface, and just plug the guitar directly into the interface. Then when you start doing live stuff you can just add a DI, or mic your amp with a 57.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 12, 2014, 11:48:54 pm
Okay then.  I looked on Guitar Center's site and found these.  Would any of these be recommended?

1) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc)

2) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-SM58--Stand---Cable-Package-H91368-i2822109.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-SM58--Stand---Cable-Package-H91368-i2822109.gc)

3) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-PG48-LC---Stand---Cable-Package-H91371-i2822112.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-PG48-LC---Stand---Cable-Package-H91371-i2822112.gc)

4) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-PRO-31QTR-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone-108858226-i1126683.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-PRO-31QTR-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone-108858226-i1126683.gc)

Or something else?

I'm looking up videos for these now, but I personally have a hard time figuring out which one sounds the best.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 12, 2014, 11:53:15 pm
Okay then.  I looked on Guitar Center's site and found these.  Would any of these be recommended?

1) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Peavey-PV11-Microphone-with-Stand-and-Accessories-Pack-110334182-i3766885.gc)

2) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-SM58--Stand---Cable-Package-H91368-i2822109.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-SM58--Stand---Cable-Package-H91368-i2822109.gc)

3) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-PG48-LC---Stand---Cable-Package-H91371-i2822112.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Shure-PG48-LC---Stand---Cable-Package-H91371-i2822112.gc)

4) http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-PRO-31QTR-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone-108858226-i1126683.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-PRO-31QTR-Cardioid-Dynamic-Microphone-108858226-i1126683.gc)

Or something else?

I'm looking up videos for these now, but I personally have a hard time figuring out which one sounds the best.

I would avoid ANY microphone with an on/off switch, and definitely wouldn't buy a PeaVey microphone.
Of the four options, I would definitely go with the 58. (all the rest have on/off switches)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 12:51:44 am
http://www.ebay.com/itm/On-Stage-Stands-MS7701B-Euro-Boom-Microphone-Stand-/261686398919?pt=US_Stands_Mounts_Holders&hash=item3cedb98fc7

There is one on ebay used for $16 shipped. Sam Ash also sells them if you have any sort of coupon.  I have a couple of those. They are ok.

... and I'll tell you... after watching that guys comparisons I would buy that Behringer mic he uses.. the expensive one was $29.

So that's $60 for a mic and stand. Used interface for $120. $5 guitar cable,  Reaper

Here is my deal provided you are willing to buy used.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/On-Stage-Stands-MS7701B-Euro-Boom-Microphone-Stand-/261686398919?pt=US_Stands_Mounts_Holders&hash=item3cedb98fc7

http://www.reaper.fm/

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Audio-Interface-Mint-original-pkg-1-year-warranty-/191335220214?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item2c8c77c3f6

http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-Behringer-ULTRAVOICE-XM8500-Dynamic-Vocal-Cardioid-Microphone-Music-Karaoke-/231389995180?pt=US_Karaoke_Microphones&hash=item35dfeb20ac

So what are we up to
Mic - 28
Stand - 25
Interface - 120
DAW software - Free
Guitar cable - looks like the going price is $9 on ebay
Mic cables - 12
Extra one of those cheap mics for $12

$210 roughly --- all shipped to your door.

Or

$50 for Snowball

I wouldn't waste your money on an expensive mic yet. The only difference will be those mics can't be used as hammers. When you get ready to upgrade to something really nice put those on ebay for half price and get a few bucks back.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNPXCf8vSpM

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 01:04:20 am
Don't neglect to consider shipping costs. Personally I'd go with the Guitar center SM58 package and an interface.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 01:25:17 am
All had free shipping.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 01:37:50 am
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8kQjRjOM8c

I can hear the difference but I wonder if that is her technique. The guy didn't have that problem, but he didn't drive it like she did. Where it got saturated. Other than that, I really can't hear anything that would concern me. to get up and rolling with anyway.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ky7f9bz2ihA

not the greatest recording but...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gdiuq8dRQJc

Seems to work great with this vocal formant synth......
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWPCOT3tWrE

Here's a guts shot -- no transformer? -- or at least I didn't see one
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kC4s_89ENw
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 01:47:46 am
Well, the good news is, of the 2 in that video, I thought the SM58 sounded better.  THe other one had a few weird spots in the sample that I'm not sure how to describe.  Kind of static-y, maybe?

At least that will get me going, yes.  I can get a nicer one once I'm actually making money off of music and/or are really starting to get somewhere with it.  For now, $80 plus the interface is fine.  (THey have a $20 off promo right now as well as a $10 mail-in rebate, so actually it's $70.)


So, the other question now:  Which interface(s) do you guys recommend that is around or under $100?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 01:54:38 am
An SM58 for $70?  ... yes that is a good price..

Quote
THe other one had a few weird spots in the sample that I'm not sure how to describe.  Kind of static-y, maybe?
The girl? ... yes... I think she was driving it too hard... the SM58 did should better ... but it is a viable budget option if use properly.

But yeah. The SM58 is better.

GC has new arrival 2i2 used for $99. I don't know why that one is $99 and the other is $118 but ....

But that is decent one. The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2. You will just have a hard time finding one for $100.

You might can win this one... it looks clean and the seller has high sales count with over 99% feedback
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-Digital-Recording-Interface-/351248703550?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item51c80de03e

Actually ebay says they are trending at $105 and there are several in list. I think you get one for $100... watch the shipping though... should be able to get it $100 with shipping if you find the right one.
http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=scarlet+2i2&_from=R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR1.TRC0.A0.H0.Xfocusrite+scarlet+2i2&_nkw=focusrite+scarlet+2i2&_sacat=0
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:01:48 am
Guitar Center has a lot of used interfaces... are there any particular brands that are better?  Or any to avoid?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 02:05:47 am
So, the other question now:  Which interface(s) do you guys recommend that is around or under $100?

For a two input interface in that price range that would work for your recording needs I'd recommend a Steinberg UR22 or a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Drubbing on December 13, 2014, 02:09:47 am
Yes, I have a Mac.  But beyond that... I have no idea what you just said.  ??? 


I think you should all take note. Like Hollywood, I have zero idea of what most of you are on about, and was following this thread for some useful info. While you're trying to help, you all seem to be more having a discussion among yourselves than solve her issues.

She has a small budget and wants simple, not a full program on how to do audio recording. Once she's started I'm sure she'll pick stuff up. A lot of the gear and techniques you're talking about take time and practical experience in learning to do doing this.

Just get her started.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:15:16 am
We are giving her the exact things to buy and letting her make her own decisions. The inserts comment was basically between me and scooter and anyone else that may be listening that does know what it means.


this looks interesting... Scooter do you know those mics? Some MXLs are fine but i don;t know that number.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Recording-Interface-w-MXL-440-441-Mics-2-XLR-Cables-/371195110706?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item566cf3e532

Hollywood, that Scarlet 2i2 that both of us recommended is hard to beat. I think several people here have it as well.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:17:57 am
While you're trying to help, you all seem to be more having a discussion among yourselves than solve her issues.

You mean like when she clicks the links, hears the blind examples, picks the correct mic? You think that's a bad thing?



Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 02:21:45 am

Scooter do you know those mics? Some MXLs are fine but i don;t know that number.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Recording-Interface-w-MXL-440-441-Mics-2-XLR-Cables-/371195110706?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item566cf3e532


No. I have no first-hand experience with those particular mics.

I think you should all take note. Like Hollywood, I have zero idea of what most of you are on about, and was following this thread for some useful info. While you're trying to help, you all seem to be more having a discussion among yourselves than solve her issues.

She has a small budget and wants simple, not a full program on how to do audio recording. Once she's started I'm sure she'll pick stuff up. A lot of the gear and techniques you're talking about take time and practical experience in learning to do doing this.

Just get her started.

Personally I've tried very hard to determine what Hollywood's needs are and to help her decide what equipment would be most suitable. If I got off-track it was in an effort to clarify something or to help her avoid making a poor decision. Any elaboration was meant to explain the reasoning.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:23:25 am
I'd recommend a Steinberg UR22 or a Focusrite Scarlet 2i2.

Is Steinberg ok on a Mac? I get worried buying hardware with a software company name on it... especially when they compete with Logic on a Mac.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:25:07 am
I really appreciate all of your help so far, guys!  :)

Okay, that will probably work!  One question:  Is it bad to buy a used interface, or are they generally alright?  GC has a used Scarlet 2i2 for $90 at the moment.  Is it worth it to spend the extra and get it brand new, or is used a good way to go?

The other interface - the Steinberg - says it works on Mac 10.5.5 and 10.6.  I'm not sure whether or not that includes 10.6.8, which is what I have.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 02:27:01 am
Is Steinberg ok on a Mac? I get worried buying hardware with a software company name on it... especially when they compete with Logic on a Mac.

Yes, it's USB 2.0 and is compatible with all Common DAW software. I've heard very good things about the pre's in the UR22. http://www.steinberg.net/en/products/audio_interfaces/ur_serie/modelle/ur22.html
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:27:15 am
Personally I've tried very hard to determine what Hollywood's needs are and to help her decide what equipment would be most suitable. If I got off-track it was in an effort to clarify something or to help her avoid making a poor decision. Any elaboration was meant to explain the reasoning.

Agree, damn we are trying to cover every possible aspect from cash outlay, to future proof, to audio quality, to stage vs home, AND let her make the decision from a rather complicated but narrow list that works as well as it can under all those criteria.

That's not exactly an easy task.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:28:55 am
Steinberg is owned by Yamaha?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 02:31:23 am
Steinberg is owned by Yamaha?

I'm not sure if the companies are related, but the Steinberg interfaces use Yamaha preamps.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:32:01 am
Steinberg is owned by Yamaha?

Yes, I think Gibson bought Cakewalk and Yamaha bolught Steinberg( Cubase )... Yamaha is very very good at digital audio.

---- I was not familar with that box but that is probable a very good choice. I have a Yamaha digital mixer and their software control is great. Those preamps are probably even better than what is in my board. they were the first company to put out a MIDI keyboard the DX7

I would have no qualms buying that interface. Little harder to find at $100 but I'm sure there i sone out there.

Used vs New... GM / MusiciansFriend sesm to have good descriptions... Look at MusiciansFriend too. I bought a used acoustic guitar and it looks like new. Had a smudge on the back.

Electronics... I would stay away from the ones with no boxes, manuals, software, etc.. I bought a B-Stock laptop that aside from some rough finish is perfect and was way over a hundred almost 200 cheaper.

I have bought used off ebay and while everything worked good, one piece had a bent knob shaft that made it turn funny. It doesn't hurt to ask if it came from a smoke free environment... I had a hell of time getting the stench out of an eDrum.... oddly sunlight helps with that ...

GC, SamAsh, MusiciansFriend(same as GC) will give a warranty but you have to pay return. You can however talk to them on the phone and have them check it out... Turn the knobs, insert plugs, etc...

But MusiciansFriend ratings are conservative if anything I would call their VG pretty much near new.

It's usually cosmetic.  and to be honest for an interface there is little there to check. Two channels that should work exactly alike.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:33:37 am
So is it better to buy a new interface or is used okay?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 02:37:24 am
So is it better to buy a new interface or is used okay?

I think with an interface it would be best to buy new. The pots can wear out on them and you never know what kind of environment they came from. Even with a used gear warranty I would buy new. The price difference to me isn't worth the hassle of having to send something back and wait for it to be exchanged or repaired. And there are often shipping charges involved with repairs or exchanges.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:38:57 am
Awesome!  Alright, well, I think that's all of my questions at the moment.  Thanks a ton for your help, everyone!  I really appreciate it.  :)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 13, 2014, 02:49:58 am
I think I said it earlier, but I'll say it again: I use the Scarlett 2i2, and I would recommend it. I believe I paid around $120 new on Amazon. It's normally $150 but it seems they have price drops to the $120 range every so often. It's a good interface, and it should last you a while.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Drubbing on December 13, 2014, 02:50:54 am
Agree, damn we are trying to cover every possible aspect from cash outlay, to future proof, to audio quality, to stage vs home, AND let her make the decision from a rather complicated but narrow list that works as well as it can under all those criteria.

That's not exactly an easy task.


Well you lost her, she said that. You can't expect to teach everything you've learn in one hit. As for future proofing, that's really down to how someone finds the stuff they have. I dowlonaded a number of recommended DAWs a while back and most were too complicated to do even the simplest things. Probably because I wanted simple, and everyone recommended what they liked best….
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:53:30 am
http://www.ebay.com/itm/STEINBERG-UR-22-Compact-USB-2x2-Computer-Recording-Interface-UR22-Retail-Box-/131368669180?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item1e962ecffc

That's the cheapest I see with free shipping. from a high volume seller that is a music shop.

Whatever you do with it, that and SM58 is a decent setup. There is no reason you can't make a good recording with that. Those mic pres -should- help that mic out too.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 02:56:07 am
Well you lost her, she said that. You can't expect to teach everything you've learn in one hit. As for future proofing, that's really down to how someone finds the stuff they have. I dowlonaded a number of recommended DAWs a while back and most were too complicated to do even the simplest things. Probably because I wanted simple, and everyone recommended what they liked best….

No we did not lose her. She simply didn't understand one post, which makes no difference.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 02:59:41 am
Oh, one more question:  The stuff I'm looking at right now would be a mic, stand, mic cable, and an interface.  Is there anything else I will need?  Any other cables or anything?  I want to make sure I'm not missing anything when I'm ready to order.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 03:01:27 am
Oh, one more question:  The stuff I'm looking at right now would be a mic, stand, mic cable, and an interface.  Is there anything else I will need?  Any other cables or anything?  I want to make sure I'm not missing anything when I'm ready to order.

You will need a way to monitor your recordings. A good set of headphones will work until you can save up for some studio monitors. And then you will continue to use the headphones for tracking. Used might be your best option for decent affordable headphones.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 13, 2014, 03:03:42 am
Pop filter. There are a bunch of DIY options available, but you should be able to get a pretty decent one for $20 or so.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 03:05:33 am
Pop filter. There are a bunch of DIY options available, but you should be able to get a pretty decent one for $20 or so.

FWIW, if you've decided to go with an SM58, a pop filter screen might not be necessary as there's a pop filter built in.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 13, 2014, 03:07:32 am
Good point, Scooter. I didn't think of that. With the SM58 a pop filter shouldn't be needed, but if she decides on a condenser mic then it'll be important.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 03:11:35 am
Oh, one more question:  The stuff I'm looking at right now would be a mic, stand, mic cable, and an interface.  Is there anything else I will need?  Any other cables or anything?  I want to make sure I'm not missing anything when I'm ready to order.

I think you have pretty much run your budget out. Probably won't need a pop filter with that mic, it's built in.

IF you do, save yourself some money and just get a wire coat hanger. Shape it to a loop, and stretch a pair of panty hose over it. then just cut them and tie them off. Same thing and a whole lot cheaper.

Or..  a crochet loop instead of wire.

Directions on Youtube.

that might come in handy if you do the unscrew the head trick like scooter mentioned back a ways.


Oh.... btw... remember the girl doing the mic test.... take a look at her background... see how it hangs a little cleaner and is not over lit? Actually she over exposes it a bit up top... but it's still a pretty even mass altogether.

When you start looking for headphones this is a good set.
AT-M50 - they are somewhere around $100. They are very popular for recording.

IF you intend to listen to what you play through those earbuds you were using... you will need a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter or adapter cable.

The front of that interface uses a 1/4" Stereo jack and you have a 1/8" stereo plug on the end of the cable.

Another thing you can do is run the outputs on back which are also 1/4" to your Stereo if you have one. Then you need 1/4" to RCA plug... via cable or adapter. Some of that stuff can add up $5 here, $10 there.... if you buy this stuff and have a stereo or boombox or whatever, I might have some old cables and adapters around here I could send you. I got rid of a lot of that stuff but probably have enough left over for what you might need.... again thrift shops are good for that stuff too. You get a cable for $1 or go to radio shack and pay $7.50 for it. Don't be fooled by the fancy plugs and names. Unless the dog chewed it up it's probably fine.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 03:21:02 am
I have seen some videos on YouTube on making your own pop filter, as well as making a diy vocal booth and such.  I'll go back and watch some of those and see what I can come up with. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 13, 2014, 03:28:38 am
If you choose to remove the SM58 pop filter and make your own DIY version, just make sure it looks professional. The reason I suggested buying one is that there's been a lot of talk about recording professional looking videos and it seems like a coat hanger with pantyhose wrapped around it might take away from the professionalism of the final product.

But since you are going with the SM58 I wouldn't worry about the pop filter at the moment. I posted my comment before I realized that was the mic you were going to buy.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 03:37:04 am
The reason I suggested buying one is that there's been a lot of talk about recording professional looking videos and it seems like a coat hanger with pantyhose wrapped around it might take away from the professionalism of the final product.


Oh yeah! .. .don't put the panty hose deal in the video.. it's kind of a shame the mic and stand have to be in the video... but no easy way around that.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 03:42:20 am
By the way... what exactly are your plans for actually listening to what comes out of the interface?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 03:51:17 am
Well... right now I have pretty nice headphones.  Better than earbuds but certainly not the $100 noise-cancelling style.  Music sounds pretty good through them (a heck of a lot nicer than through my earbuds) so I would imagine they'll work fine for now.  Are there special headphones for this stuff or is it just nicer ones?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 04:10:23 am
Are there special headphones for this stuff or is it just nicer ones?

Both. When you mix, ideally you want to monitor on something that has good sensitivity and flat frequency response. Lots of consumer headphones hyped bass.

Unless you're in a noisy environment I'd recommend staying away from noise canceling headphones for tracking and mixing.

A good pair of closed back headphones should work fine. If you're already used to the way your headphones sound with other music, and the music sounds good on them, there's no reason you can't use them for tracking. And even though they might not be ideal for mixing, they can certainly be used until you get monitors.

You might want to find out what the impedance of your headphones is, and make sure they're compatible with the interface headphone output - but most interfaces will work with a variety of common headphone impedances.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 13, 2014, 03:04:05 pm
Word of warning, the Scarlett appears to suffer from hot inputs. I'm not sure if all of the units suffer from it, but a friend recently acquired an 18i20 and it makes the instrument inputs useless. Also, the drivers for Mac are reported to be buggy. These are not my words, I'm just playing reporter here.

I'm sure somebody can shed some light on this (excuse the pun).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 13, 2014, 03:17:45 pm
You have a couple options there. You could mic the amp with a 57, or you could record the guitar direct using the instrument input on your interface. The two will have very different sounds.

On that amp, perhaps not.

Bear in mind the actual amplifier and speakers/cabinet on the Line 6 amps are designed to be neutral, unlike a traditional guitar amp. All the tone is done using amp and cabinet modelling, so the output from the  recording output should be very similar to the output from the amp's own speaker.

Obviously, micing up the amp will introduce new colouration (due to the characteristics of the mic and the room itself, not to mention the positioning of the mic, etc.), but for this application such colouration is more likely to be detrimental than beneficial: if he likes a particular tone that the amp produces (to his ears) and wants to reproduce that in a recording as much as possible, that will be far easier with the record out into an interface on this type of amp.

IMO, amps like the Line 6 range are (in part) there to allow easy recording with good results without the hassle and expense of micing up.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 13, 2014, 03:42:39 pm
Not really - because a mic that would be ideal for recording would not be as ideal for live sound because of feedback issues. You could make the compromise on your recordings and select a 58 or Beta 58 for both. (the 58 would be good for live, but not ideal for recording.)

THIS!

You may want to consider getting a cheap stage mic and a portable field recorder, like one of the Zooms or the Boss BR-80, for general recording. Some of these (BR-80, Zoom H4N) even support an external mic and can be used as a USB recording interface. So you could plug something like the SM58 and record from this into a H4N or BR-80 either directly to the device's SD card or, plugged in via USB, into a computer.

Bear in mind these devices are relatively low resolution (typically 16-bit, 44.1kHz), but the quality from them is very good, and is totally adequate for Youtube use, and even for home recording.

(Google for reviews and even audio samples for these devices).

The BR-80 is, IMO the better of these two devices as it's a full standalone, portable multi-track recording system (including drum tracks and editing, onboard guitar and vocal fx and amp simulation) so you could record, mix, and edit without being near a PC, but it would break your budget to get this with the SM58 (total price around $350) although you could get the BR-80 first and add the external mic later when you can afford it, or get a cheaper mic.

The Zoom H4N plus mic would come in at around $250, although I don't think Guitar Center sells either this or the BR-80.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 04:20:29 pm
Word of warning, the Scarlett appears to suffer from hot inputs. I'm not sure if all of the units suffer from it, but a friend recently acquired an 18i20 and it makes the instrument inputs useless. Also, the drivers for Mac are reported to be buggy. These are not my words, I'm just playing reporter here.

I'm sure somebody can shed some light on this (excuse the pun).


Good to know.... I actually like that UR22 that Scooter mentioned. If I had to blindly choose one or the other I think now I would pick the Steinberg/Yamaha deal. I had never seen it before.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 04:21:17 pm
Thanks, Majik, I'll check it out!

I was searching GC and Amazon this morning and I came across this.  THe price is pretty good, I think, considering you get a lot more stuff with it.  But it's a condenser mic.  I think it comes with everything you need except for headphones, so I do wonder whether or not this would be good.  But I'm probably better off with a dynamic mic right now.

http://www.amazon.com/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-Interface-Recording/dp/B009DQF14C/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt (http://www.amazon.com/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-Interface-Recording/dp/B009DQF14C/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt)

Otherwise, I also saw these interfaces.  Are any of these good?

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Tascam-US-1200-USB-Audio-Interface-110007473-i3593053.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Tascam-US-1200-USB-Audio-Interface-110007473-i3593053.gc)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Presonus-AudioBox-iTwo-2x2-USB-iPad-Recording-System-110316445-i3746431.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Presonus-AudioBox-iTwo-2x2-USB-iPad-Recording-System-110316445-i3746431.gc)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pod-Studio-UX1-with-Pod-Farm-108419649-i1427097.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Line-6-Pod-Studio-UX1-with-Pod-Farm-108419649-i1427097.gc)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Presonus-AudioBox-USB-Limited-Edition-109564633-i3307494.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Presonus-AudioBox-USB-Limited-Edition-109564633-i3307494.gc)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/TSoundPro-duet-BREAKOUT-Interface-485418-i1516020.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/TSoundPro-duet-BREAKOUT-Interface-485418-i1516020.gc)

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Roland-TRI-CAPTURE--USB-Audio-Interface-107763641-i1835617.gc (http://www.guitarcenter.com/Roland-TRI-CAPTURE--USB-Audio-Interface-107763641-i1835617.gc)

The Line 6 has the most good reviews.  I also saw a Yamaha with good reviews but I'm not sure if it works with my computer.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 04:35:18 pm
Taht Breakout Box is not what you want at all.

The rest - would work -
The Line6 has a lot of Amp and FX modeling... mainly for electric guitar players. If you want that sort of thing there are free amp models that will work with any DAW software.

The others are just variations on a theme.

So far the best quality that gets you a stage mic, gets you recording, stays on low budget, has good industry rep is the UR22 + SM58

Some of that other stuff you are looking at is out of your budget... or the gold one more $ because they painted it gold. Roland stuff is good but it's not mainstream with drivers and all that for your computer. I've had Roland, it's fine... All of this stuff is fine....

The mics in the first one... Not for stage. Plus nobody knows just what the mics are. You would have to look for reviews and hopefully from someone that didn't just buy one because they will tell you it's good after having spent the money.

I gave you link to that UR22 for $117 .. that's not a bad price at all.... but in reality ANY interface will work provided they make Mac drivers for it. It's just that some names and some products stand out and may have an edge.

Your dilemma is not what will work. It's what will work for recording and stage and be inexpensive and high quality..... that's a tall order.

It's old story of you can have it "fast, good , cheap". Pick 2.  Studio and Stage use different things... it's easier as Scooter pointed out to adapt Stage to Studio... the reverse is not true.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 05:04:55 pm
I need to find out what kind of USB plugs I have - apparently that interface doesn't work on 3.0s.

If it doesn't work for my computer, what would be your second and third choices?



By the way - GC has a $20 off promo right now, which helps a little.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 05:19:04 pm
What is a 3.0s

Aren't the USB ports on a Mac the same as PC?

Don't you a flat rectangle usb port about a 1/2" wide?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 05:23:39 pm
I have no idea what the difference is.  But apparently that one doesn't work on 3.0 USB ports, whatever that means. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 05:34:51 pm
You can plug USB 2 into USB 3. You can't plug USB 3 into USB 2...

Well this is to say... USB is the faster. But plugging USB2 into USB3 still works... it just doesn't have that speed... although I think USB2 into USB3 can be a little faster in some situations... but not that big jump.

Plugging USB3 into USB2 would be a downgrade and might not function properly. It wouldn't function up to speed.


http://www.steinberg.net/en/support/downloads_hardware/downloads_ur22.html


Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 05:38:55 pm
Okay.

So if the UR22 is your first choice, what would be your second and third choices?  If I can get it down to 2 or 3 that you guys recommend the most I can do more research and comparisons on them all and it'll be easier to decide which of those will work best for me right now.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 05:53:56 pm
Well most people like the 2i2. the issue Cue mentions about Mac drives would concern me.

The hot inputs means the signal get's overloaded too easily. That is easily cured with a couple of resistors. You just have to make a little box known as a "PAD" ... it pads the signal down to a lower level.

You will always need little helper devices when recording. You make / buy them as needed and keep them at the ready...

So making the inputs useless is not correct... but I have seen people say they want to sell their 2i2 for a UR22 because it distorts too easily... they simply don't understand signal levels and how to remedy this everyday situation.

What they are saying is sort of like looking a drinking water fountain and saying the water comes out too fast or too slow to drink so the water is useless... Well in reality you simply need to adapt.

Worse case scenario it's a $10 fix. You can take an old guitar cable and pt the parts in the plug and simply label that cable. that way probably cost 10 cents.

Ideally you want the best Mic Preamps you can get. Yamaha makes good stuff in that regard. they have had lots of practice and have deep pockets.

Go to the bottom of this page... Click on the sound clips. Pick your top 3. Don't look at the answers

http://recordinghacks.com/2012/06/18/sm7b-audio-interface-shootout/

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 13, 2014, 05:59:49 pm
Maybe I don't know what to listen for? To me, they all sounded the same, except for number 5 sounded a little different. ALthough the writer of the article said the same thing, so I guess it's not just me.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 06:09:15 pm
That's the point... I actually picked Mackie and Apogee. Both known for their attention to quality. But... I like several of the others just as much and at points if you keep clicking around you can't tell one from the other.


SOoooooo... you shop "drivers", "reputation", "price", etc...

There really is no top 3. You would have to own them and live with them to really find any difference.

Now something like what I have made by RME... they have killer software that comes with it. They are also extremely precision oriented.... but you are way up the money scale then and expandability, connection to other gear, all that sort of stuff can come into play.

But almost all of these entry level devices are about the same. It's just that over time, the forums get hold of them and run tests on them, find little flaws, etc... and a couple seem to rise to the top as being "no problem" ... they can all be no problem though and they can all be fine for what your intended use.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 13, 2014, 06:47:29 pm

But almost all of these entry level devices are about the same. It's just that over time, the forums get hold of them and run tests on them, find little flaws, etc... and a couple seem to rise to the top as being "no problem" ... they can all be no problem though and they can all be fine for what your intended use.

Yes, as you said, the biggest problem (for audio interfaces) tends to be drivers.

Most vendors are OK, and I would count most BOSS/Roland or Yamaha in this because they don't deviate too far from the standards (I have contributed code to the Linux kernel to support Roland kit, so I have a little idea what I'm talking about).

The worst for drivers, in my experience, is MOTU, and I (personally) wouldn't recommend their kit at all. It's a shame as it's pretty functional and good quality hardware. It's let down by the drivers.

In my view and experience, there's very little out there these days which is "crap". Most stuff these days it easily good enough for home recording use. It boils down to what do you want to use it for, and what situations do you want to use it in. And then it's about ease of use, stability (drivers) and getting to learn how to use it.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 07:16:36 pm
Hollywood:

You should be able to find out which USB ports you have by clicking the Apple menu and then choosing "System Information" or "System Profiler" and then selecting "USB" in the left column.

The Presonus interfaces that you included in your list are decent interfaces. I own an eight input Presonus interface. They usually come bundled with some nice software. They work very well, but the pots on mine are crap and when I tried to buy replacement ones from Presonus I was less than happy with the support that I got from them. Also; I think the preamps likely sound better on the Steinberg and Focusrite interfaces.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 13, 2014, 07:31:46 pm
I can report that the Saffire (Focusrite) preamps are very flat, which is exactly what you want on a low-price interface. My Saffire (Pro40) has very little driver issues, but I'm on Win7 (x64).

I've gathered from the same person who purchased the Scarlett (that he'll send back, surely) that the Presonus driver support isn't ideal either. He owns a Tascam FireOne which works well for him, but they're discontinued and might be slightly beyond your budget.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 08:56:37 pm
Here's a review on that UR22

http://www.joelcarlo.net/steinberg-ur22-usb-audio-interface-review/
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 13, 2014, 09:35:17 pm
Apparently that UR22 has the same input gain problem as the Scarlett does.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 13, 2014, 09:41:40 pm
Hollywod's acoustic guitar preamp has a volume fader that would reduce the gain output to the interface. If it became an issue, a pad, or DI would resolve it.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 13, 2014, 10:05:41 pm
Yep, that input gain issue is not an issue. They can't design the thing for every possible situation...

Lack of gain would be worse than too much. Turn the Vol knob down and that solves the too much gain issue.

If it had not enough gain though... then you have a problem.

Here is an example of someone that totally over reacted to the "gain issue"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CI8XAcGSRe4

Drivers ... as mentioned .. now that's a really tough... got to  have good drivers.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 13, 2014, 11:32:39 pm
The issue with the Scarlett might be specific to the higher input/output count ones, you're most likely gonna be OK with the 2i2/2i4. The guy had an 18i20 and tried to track at 96k.

It surprises me though, most people buying these interfaces will want to record at least some instrument into them.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: katja on December 13, 2014, 11:54:24 pm
I didn't read the whole thread but I do record with a Scarlett 2i2 on a Mac. I've never had any drivers issues and I can record instruments straight into the Scarlett without any input gain issues. It works great.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 05:18:01 pm
Anyone know anything about this one?

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MIXF2RS/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687542&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00IMN8U72&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1E0AJQD2CGPFBPQG8R8Q (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MIXF2RS/ref=pd_lpo_sbs_dp_ss_2?pf_rd_p=1944687542&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00IMN8U72&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1E0AJQD2CGPFBPQG8R8Q)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 05:52:51 pm
The difference would be it has switches for Mic/Lin/Inst for each input meaning it switches it's gain structure and impedance to suit the input.

It will have of course Tascam mic pres and they too have been in the business a long time and make good stuff.

Drivers --- I don't know...... TASCAM used to have the best Sampler on the market GigaSampler... very expensive.. everybody used it... Then it got buggy and upgrades went bad and now they are not even in the game any longer.

So hardware wise... that is probably perfectly fine. The question is how are their Mac drivers.

++ALWAYS++ go the web site and download the manual and check for driver updates. Not only to see if they have a recent update but also to see how often do they update.

Again with RME as a reference... if something goes wrong with a piece of RME gear you will be speaking to large forum of users that has a highly knowledgable RME representative on the forum... probably even responding to you... So also look for TASCAM support groups.

Must haves
ITEM in consideration
Manual - read cover to cover
Driver check
Support group

These manuals are only about 10 pages. Each one will be similar but also each one might offer a little extra info. Some will publish specs in the back.


As an example... one interface might have 4 outputs. another might have 4 outputs. You think, ok, I can get sound out of 4 places at once or Two simultaneous  Stereo outs.

HOWEVER... you read the manual and one says ONLY TWO outputs can be used at once. Either / Or --- not both at same time... While the other says says sure... use all 4 at once.

Plus reading this stuff will help you understand how it works as they usually give examples... and like I say, you can read a manual in 15 minutes. So print them out and highlight notes or whatever.

Like the 2i2 has a little LED ring to show input levels. The others may have a single led... does that matter to you? Some come with better control software.. again.. maybe that's a deal for you or maybe not...

It would take you month to read the RME manual just for the software they include. Again you are looking at 10X to 30X the price... So there is no reason not to read the manuals up front.

BTW... the boss man called and said somebody missed the gig yesterday.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 06:01:12 pm
BTW... the boss man called and said somebody missed the gig yesterday.

That's 'cause I've spent the whole week looking at interfaces! ;)
But seriously... oops.  I will try to do it tomorrow morning.   :-[  I need to get my mic and interface though before the sale ends Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get it before Christmas.
I was on the other side of the state all day yesterday but that doesn't make missing it any better.


Now, how would I make sure that the pickups on my Tak are not "higher output"?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 06:33:05 pm
That's 'cause I've spent the whole week looking at interfaces! ;)
But seriously... oops.  I will try to do it tomorrow morning.   :-[  I need to get my mic and interface though before the sale ends Wednesday, so hopefully I'll get it before Christmas.
I was on the other side of the state all day yesterday but that doesn't make missing it any better.


Now, how would I make sure that the pickups on my Tak are not "higher output"?

You put a volt meter the cable end and play it... it will output a voltage.... Let's just say 1volt.

Hardest chord you can bang out plays out full Vol as 1 volt.

Now you look at your interface manual and read a couple things.
http://tascam.com/product/us-2x2/specifications/

Notice it says INST IN  Impedence 1M -- that's 1 Megaohm -- that is typical for instruments like guitar. so that's good.

Then it has MAX input ==== +10dBV(3.162vrms)

So they are saying 3 volts roughly make a +10dBV which is a hot signal...

So if your guitar put out 1V you would be ok and might even have to use the gain knob on the box to maybe take it up to 2v or so.

BUT .. what if your guitar output 4V -- that's 25% over the max allowed meaning it will distort. Now what?

Turn the volume down on your guitar and the voltage out will lower. Problem solved... or make a dedicated pad so you can run your guitar at full Vol if you like. Same thing either way.

Maybe--- your guitar had output specs but I doubt it. It all depends on how hard you hit the strings.

So again.... it really doesn't matter. the good thing is the Impedance is correct. The gain will probably be fine and if not it's easily cured by turning the volume down.

This again is why it's important to get the manuals and compare specs.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 06:41:43 pm
Okay... I think I get what you're saying.

I ask because I was looking at reviews on the Focusrite Scarlett and they're all good except for apparently it doesn't work very well with guitars with high-output pickups.  So if I were to get that one, and my guitar's output was too high, turning the volume down on the guitar itself would solve that?  ANd if you turn up the volume on the amp, does that affect it, too?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 06:55:50 pm
  ANd if you turn up the volume on the amp, does that affect it, too?

No... plus the guitar won;t be plugged into the amp.

Guitar >>>>>>> Interface
Vocal Mic >>>>> Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar>>>>Amp>>>>Mic>>>>>Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar>>>Amp>>>Line Out from Amp>>>>>>Interface

OR
Vocal Mic>>>>>>>Interface
Guitar Mic>>>>>>Interface

Each scenario uses two inputs of the Interface but only the first one is Guitar direct into Interface so that's the only place a hot signal would be a concern.

If you are concerned about the 2i2 just get a different one.
the TASCAM looks fine
The Steinberg
Other

Personally I would be worried about the input Impedance more than the gain structure but to be honest I don't even know if that will matter for an active pickup acoustic guitar..... Scooter may know.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 07:03:32 pm
I'm not really concerned about it, I just am very aware of how much I don't know when it comes to the recording side of music, and I want to make sure I get the right thing since most of them say non-returnable.  You guys have helped a ton so far, and I sort of know what I need, but it still kind of feels to me like trying to order something off a fancy restaurant menu in Italy when I really only know basic Italian. 

Anyone got an instant translator?  ;)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 07:14:43 pm
Yep, I know the feeling.

It really helps to make a chart of comparison


Model # | USB | INPUTS | OUTPUTS | SELECTOR SWITCHES | PHANTOM POWER | ETC....


Then take a look at things like Instrument Level / Mic Level / Line Input Level and Impedances.

The TASCAM breaks it all out. the 2i2 apparently treats Inst In and Line In very similar .. haven't looked...

Some specs are going to be very similar.... some can't be found... that's why I say read the manuals. It doesn't take long and you will soon say... wait a minute... the other one doesn't even mention that .... that's usually a flag.

Drivers really are king though.... you DO NOT want an interface that crashes randomly.


Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 14, 2014, 07:26:11 pm
Personally I would be worried about the input Impedance more than the gain structure but to be honest I don't even know if that will matter for an active pickup acoustic guitar..... Scooter may know.

The pickup is going into the guitar's pre-amp - so the guitar's preamp handles that.. Ideally everything should be at unity, and with more resistance on the load than the source (about 10 times more for most bridged impedance) It would be ideal to run the guitar pre output at 100% and attenuate with the interface, but if the guitar's pre is too hot, turning down the guitar's volume should work fine.

For playing with your amp while tracking you could get a DI and use the instrument/amp output of the DI to feed the amp, and then use the isolated DI output to the interface. If you're going to be playing live, a DI would be a good thing to have. I like the Countryman Type 85 DIs but I've heard good things about the Radial DIs. The Whirlwind DIs work OK and are more affordable. Keep in mind that you might not want to track vocals while playing through your amp. And if you want to use any amp effects it might be best to use the amp's line output. I'm not sure what the output level is from your amp's line output.. That method might also require a DI.

Re: Tascam. I don't know anything about the newer Tascam interfaces, but had some experience with some of their older equipment (multitrack tape machines, and cassette decks) and it was prosumer quality.. just a step above average consumer home electronics quality - mostly because of the features and not the audio quality.

One thing that you might want to also consider is that if you get a less common interface, it may be more difficult to get support. Since several people here and in other recording forums are familiar with the Focusrite interfaces, they may be able to help you. In your price range I still think that the Steinberg or Focusrite interfaces would be the best value.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 08:13:43 pm
Yep, I too had older TASCAM stuff and it was less than stellar. However I think they upped their game in that category now days.

My biggest concern would be driver support

INST INPUT MAX INPUT LEVEL

Stn - UR22 +5.8dBV 1M
TAS - US2x2 +10dBV 1M
Foc - 2i2 +4dBu ( +1.78dBV) input impedance not listed

Scooter am I doing that dBu to dBV conversion right.. if so that input is quite a bit lower

Steinberg/Yamaha == Tough act to follow any way you look at it
TASCAM == Software and support in question
Focusrite == Input impedance and gain level issue potential

That's what I am seeing... would any of that end up being an issue? Probably not.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 14, 2014, 08:34:41 pm
You have to use the volume on the guitar. But since it's a preamp, I'm sure it'll be fine. Now with an electric (bass) guitar with passive pickups, this might be different (volume pots affect tone, in some more than others).

Otherwise, you get this (listen when the gain is all the way down):





About DIs, I have had good results with the LR Baggs Para DI (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpqBWzHF8XM).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 08:47:38 pm
So if I do end up having any issues with it, it should be fixable just by messing with the different settings and such? 

Amazing how different that clip sounded just changing the gain (that's all he did, right?)

I don't understand the DI thing.  What is it and why would you need it?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 08:59:43 pm
Yes, and you don't want to do what he did. EVER... it's not a guitar amp that you can overdrive like that. Eventually it will burn up.

It may sound cool but it's not made to do that. You don;t want the red lights on. If you want distorted you get it outside the box and feed distorted sound to it while keeping the dial green. Or afterwards in the computer.

He is overloading the inputs.

Everything you plug into that box needs to stay green .. no clipping. If you want distortion it has to come from somewhere else. Otherwise you risk ruining lots of stuff.

DI correct impedance between devices and sets levels correctly.

It's like this... Let's say you have a Blue guitar and it works best plugged into a Blue box. But you have an Orange box

So you get a DI that converts Blue to Orange... It has a Blue input so the guitar likes what it sees and an Orange out so the Box likes what it sees.



Before
BG>>>>OB


AFTER
BG>>>>B-DI-O>>>>>OB





Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 09:03:53 pm
No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 09:12:50 pm
No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?

5pin Din MIDI is the THE standard for midi keyboards... So like if you found an old midi keyboard to play SoftSynths on your PC, it might very likely have those 5pin jacks. All the newer stuff has USB ... AND.. .they probably will have the 5pin as well for backward compatability on the higher end stuff. Having a keyboard is not a bad thing. Old drum machines, all that stuff which you can pick up cheap has 5pin MIDI to talk to each other.

Midi is digital like printing, or a mouse or whaterver... it's not audio... it's data.

Mp3 is audio so no, MIDI not required.

Stereo MP3 player >>>> ST2Mono Adapter>>>>> One input of your interface.
Looks like 1/8"ST>>>>>>>>>>>>1/4"mono plug into one of those jacks that your mic is not in.

If you need Guitar + Vocal+Mp3 then you are out of inputs. That's why people buy Interfaces with 4, 8 or more Inputs which = more $$$$

When you eventually get more crap than you know what to do with, some people buy a little Mixer... maybe it has 6 inputs... You plug all your junk into that and it has a Master Stereo Out ... that then goes to Interface Input 1 and 2.

http://www.amazon.com/Mackie-802VLZ4-8-channel-Compact-Quality/dp/B00EDHWLFI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1418591720&sr=8-2&keywords=mackie+vlz4


Go here .... download this... Look at the diagrams the y show for different scenarios...
When you see "Computer" just think ( INPUTS 1 and 2 )The Interface.
http://www.mackie.com/downloads/VLZ4/manuals/802VLZ4_OM.pdf
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 09:18:16 pm
So basically I don't need it, then? 

I have - I think it's a Yamaha keyboard that I would want to use for some songs.  Does it just plug in like the guitars and mics do? 

If I have a 2 input interface, can I record 3 or 4 different instruments but just do one or 2 at a time?  So like if I record a piano track and a drum track, for example, can I then record a vocal and guitar track over those onto the same file so all 4 instruments would be in the same song?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 14, 2014, 09:19:13 pm
It may sound cool but it's not made to do that.

I would be surprised if anyone thinks that sounds good, or "cool".

No, I mean it sounded better when it was green.  I thought it sounded terrible on the red.

Exactly. It's digital clipping and digital clipping sounds dreadful.

Quote
The Scarlett 2i2 apparently does not have a MIDI input.  Without that, what will I not be able to do?

You won't be able to connect MIDI devices, such as keyboard controllers, sequencers, etc. If you don't know what it's for, the chances are you won't need it.

Quote
I also saw something about how you can plug in an mp3 player to some interfaces.  Can you do that without a MIDI input?  And why would you need an mp3 hookup?

That's unlikely, and I think you are getting confused with amps or multi-fx pedals where they can act as a USB recording device, but can also be used for standalone performance use.

For example, I have a Digitech RP-355 which can be used as an audio interface, but it's main use is as a standalone guitar pedal for practice or performance use. In that case, you can plug an MP3 player into it so you can play along to songs, backing tracks, etc and the unit will mix the MP3 with your guitar. Many modern amps, modelling pedals, etc. do this these days.

But if you are connecting to a PC, you don't need that, because you can play the MP3 on the PC. So units that are designed primarily as PC audio interface don't have that capability.

Bear in mind, some audio interfaces do have multiple cinput channels, so you could (if you wanted to) connect an MPs player to it and record/playback at the same time, but It's a really tortured way of doing anything; there better ways of doing it (like playing the MP3 directly on the PC).

If it's a backing track, for instance, and you are using a DAW, you can load the backing track into the DAW to play along to.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 14, 2014, 09:21:40 pm
So basically I don't need it, then? 

I have - I think it's a Yamaha keyboard that I would want to use for some songs.  Does it just plug in like the guitars and mics do?

Yes

Quote
If I have a 2 input interface, can I record 3 or 4 different instruments but just do one or 2 at a time?  So like if I record a piano track and a drum track, for example, can I then record a vocal and guitar track over those onto the same file so all 4 instruments would be in the same song?

Exactly. You would need a DAW app like Reaper or Cubase on the PC to do this, but it's exactly how you would do it.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 09:24:20 pm
Alright.  And then with the headphones you hear everything you're recording as you're recording it? 

And if you're playing along to a backing track, do you also hear that through the headphones?

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 09:30:19 pm
I would be surprised if anyone thinks that sounds good, or "cool".

You'd be surprised. I can recall a guy who did that to a Neve clone that many of bought and even when told very politely that he was kinda off the mark by some very high level engineers,,, he still insisted he loved it.... and it sounded worse than that.

Never under estimate the power of the fuzz box. No matter what devastation may occur during the process.

I know someone that burned up a DIY talkbox with a MuffFuzz.... but I'm not mentioning any names.

So I wonder which one was the warmer sounding. the more analog... the 2i2 or the 2i4? I'll have to find his review.....





Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 09:31:29 pm
Alright.  And then with the headphones you hear everything you're recording as you're recording it? 

And if you're playing along to a backing track, do you also hear that through the headphones?

Correct


... and if it's not obvious... you can record as many tracks as your computer will take.
5 guitars, 4 vocals, 3 keys, drums....

You are not limited to one shot each if that's not clear to you.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 14, 2014, 09:31:33 pm
Alright.  And then with the headphones you hear everything you're recording as you're recording it? 

And if you're playing along to a backing track, do you also hear that through the headphones?

With most interfaces, yes.

An issue with PC interfaces can be "latency" (delay) and some interfaces have a capability called "local monitoring" where the monitoring output (for headphones, for example) is connected internally within the sound card which gives you no noticeable delay (known as "zero latency monitoring").

WIthout this you are relying on the PC to do monitoring, and that means the signal has to go through the interface, to the PC, through the DAW, and back out through the audio interface before you hear it and that can introduce noticeable delay.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 09:38:05 pm
Yes, that too is another reason people get a little mixer. If they can't cure latency for whatever reason, All the audio hits the mixer and you plug your headphones in there.

So the way that works is you press go the PC. Even if it took two seconds to get to mixer which it never would but even two seconds later since you are listening to mixer you will hear it and start playing. So you will be in time with music.

BUT ... hopefully those interfaces are fast enough. I think one said it was ZLM.

Actually I'm not sure they can do ZLM.... it seems to be PC dependent.  Again the really high priced stuff has more going on in the hardware.


here is what you would do.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JABZdLMl6ik



Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 14, 2014, 09:40:14 pm
There's basically two things going on - there's stuff going into the interface, to the computer, and there's stuff coming out of the computer, into the interface, into montioring systems like speakers or headphones.

So basically what that means is your recordings become the backing track. When you record something over that's already recorded, you're doing overdubs. That's exaclty what I did in the Dueling Banjos video that Stich posted in one of your other threads. ;)

Most interfaces (I know for sure the Steinberg has it) have an input/monitor mix that control how much of either you want to hear. I have to do that in a piece of software and it's a little cumbersme, I'd prefer an actual knob on the interface.

ETA: Zero-latency or direct monitoring might be annoying only if you're gonna track (record) electric guitar that you want to monitor after it's gone through amp/cab simulation (like Guitar Rig, Amplitube, etc). But you have a Spider, so you shouldn't run into that problem.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 10:42:26 pm
You know... I started watching one of this guys videos and thought, man what is this guy doing... then I went back and listened to him a bit.... He actually has really good ideas.

I'm pretty sure he just picks up stuff used and cheap but he gets a lot of flexibility and definitely zero latency.

This one is for if you don;t want to buy an interface-- which is not ideal.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Spk_ueuv-Tw&list=UUDzXKk1EBhPoxL0lGBi4APQ

These are where he uses two mixers to get zero latency and a ton of flexibility in monitoring and patching with inexpensive gear.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1kXkh4zZsE&list=UUDzXKk1EBhPoxL0lGBi4APQ&index=4

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnmgvSzlxhw&list=UUDzXKk1EBhPoxL0lGBi4APQ&index=6

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUNVmgZdehE&list=UUDzXKk1EBhPoxL0lGBi4APQ&index=5


Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 14, 2014, 11:00:29 pm
I'm wondering now if something like this would be better for her ultimate goal?

http://www.zzounds.com/item--MACPROFX8
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 14, 2014, 11:14:20 pm
Oooh, wow, that looks fancy!  I read through what I could understand of the description... it sounds like a mixer is an interface that does a lot more stuff?

So what would be best? 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 15, 2014, 04:54:52 am
watch this and click on links in description... to see diagrams.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l0BsPKpi-Y


Hey Scooter..... if she gets a SM58, why can't she just get a transformer and cable adapter and plug into her computer. $100 and done.

Set the camera up as it seems to record the guitar just fine and that's when she tries to play softly. So she plays normal and the camera gets the guitar and some vocal bleed.

Then go direct with Mic to Mac.

Drop video+guitar in the movie prog. Align audio track with that and you have a 2CH mix. Add other instruments through Mac interface as needed.

Then she can get used to using a mic and software while doing some more research. I swear I think the little mixer deal is the way to go. they even make them now with a USB interface built in.

But I don't see why she can't start using a mic with a Hi-Z transformer and 1/8th adapter right now.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hosa-XLR-Female-1-4-TS-Adapter-MIT-435-LoZ-Mic-HiZ-Line-Transformer-/321261328644?pt=US_Cables_Snakes_Interconnects&hash=item4accaad904

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 15, 2014, 06:52:45 am
Hey Scooter..... if she gets a SM58, why can't she just get a transformer and cable adapter and plug into her computer. $100 and done.

A Shure A85F and adapter cable (Female 1/4 - male 1/8") would cost about $30.00 or so. Of course it's possible, but she'd likely never use it again.. She has Christmas sales and a discount coupon?
I have no experience with the smaller Mackie mixers, but they're not exactly within the original budget.
Some of the interfaces have zero-latency direct monitoring, and if you want to track with a complex mix you can just print the mix and reduce the buffer size..

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 15, 2014, 02:44:27 pm
The Focusrite, Steinberg and Tascam all have zero-latency monitoring. I believe all interfaces of that size/budget and up have had that feature for a while now. In my experience, REAPER compensates well for latency - i.e. if you're recording with relatively high latency, but using the zero-latency monitoring, it will still track in the right place. No idea about Studio One, have only recorded from scratch with it so no complex mixes.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 15, 2014, 03:12:57 pm
A Shure A85F and adapter cable (Female 1/4 - male 1/8") would cost about $30.00 or so. Of course it's possible, but she'd likely never use it again.. She has Christmas sales and a discount coupon?
I have no experience with the smaller Mackie mixers, but they're not exactly within the original budget.
Some of the interfaces have zero-latency direct monitoring, and if you want to track with a complex mix you can just print the mix and reduce the buffer size..

True... I was thinking maybe there was a better long term situation. Her wanting to add mp3, and things.. I guess it does add up fast though in price.... and you are right ...I've still got the first transformer I ever bought and hardly ever used it.  Still works though so there's another tip of hat to Shure.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 08:36:59 pm
THe mixer you posted the link to earlier was only like $50 or $60 more than the interface I'm looking at, I believe.  So I guess it depends.  If it's something that will last me a little longer than a regular interface, I might be fine with spending a little bit more on it.  It's not that I only have $200 to spend, it's that I just don't want to spend much more than that on something that's not making me any money yet.  Looking at it this way:  It's probably better to spend $250 on something that will last me 3 or 4 years and get me further into recording than it is to spend $150 on something that will last me 2 years and only get me started on recording.  For example. 

What exactly would be the benefits of getting a mixer rather than just an interface?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 08:45:29 pm
I would strongly consider the mixer. The mixer can not only act as an audio interface, but can also act as a standalone mixer for live use.

The main downside, compared to an audio interface, is that even if you connect and mix multiple channels (instruments) most of these mixers will mix these down to a single stereo channel pair into the computer, so you cannot use them for simultaneous multichannel recording.

Cheers,

Keith

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 09:10:20 pm
I'm not quite sure what that means, Majik - you mean that if I had a mic and guitar plugged in, it would end up being one track and you can't adjust each one separately?


I just heard back from Takamine.  Apparently my acoustic has a "higher output than your average guitar pickup." 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 09:16:06 pm
I'm not quite sure what that means, Majik - you mean that if I had a mic and guitar plugged in, it would end up being one track and you can't adjust each one separately?

Exactly! You can adjust the level of the mix in real time at the time of recording using the faders, but what the PC records will be the mix, not individual tracks.

From the Mackie ProFX8 product description:

Quote
Integrated USB I/O allows you to record a stereo mix from the mixer directly to a laptop.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 09:21:05 pm
So basically you just have to get it all set up how you want it before you start recording?  And that's what you'd want to avoid, then, right?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 15, 2014, 09:24:46 pm
That is precisely why I never got a mixer. I fancy one now to fine-tune the monitor mix, but not to use as an interface. Friend of mine uses it to EQ and compress the monitor mix slightly.

If I record from 8 sources into my 8 input interface, I get 8 tracks that I can pan, compress and EQ (mix) however I like inside the DAW.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 09:27:51 pm
So basically you just have to get it all set up how you want it before you start recording?

Yep!

Quote
  And that's what you'd want to avoid, then, right?

It depends...

For live work, that's what you would want to do.

For studio work, it's preferable to record each channel individually as this gives you more control to remix, correct errors, and even apply effects to each track individually.

Whether this is a better solution than a standard audio interface depends on whether your emphasis is live performance (and practicing for that) or on recording.

Unfortunately, there's different requirements for each of these, and no setup will be universally "best" for both situations. When weighing up the options, one need to decide where the emphasis will be, and accept that compromises may need to be made.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 15, 2014, 09:33:07 pm
This one does it, apparently
http://www.zzounds.com/item--ALEMM16USBFX

Cousin has one. I have no experience with it in the studio, but live we used it to get 3 mics into a (I believe) mono makeshift PA system.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 09:37:42 pm
One thing: will any of these things allow good enough recording to do your own pretty professional-sounding record at home, if you wanted to?  (not necessarily in the $200 range, but just in general)

Okay.... boy, I don't know.  Right now it's only recording since I don't have any of my own songs to do gigs yet.  But my long-term goal is to front a world-touring band, which would probably be more emphasis on the gigs to get going in that direction.  So I'm not quite sure which one would be more appropriate to get me started.

You're saying that if I recorded a guitar and vocal track at the same time using a mixer, most of them would turn it into one track.  If I recorded them both separately, or recorded a drum or piano track separately in addition to the vocal/guitar track, would it end up being separate tracks?  If I did it that way, could I adjust each track separately?  I hope that made sense.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 10:16:54 pm
This one does it, apparently
http://www.zzounds.com/item--ALEMM16USBFX

Cousin has one. I have no experience with it in the studio, but live we used it to get 3 mics into a (I believe) mono makeshift PA system.

Yes, but the USB audio in is still only two channel, i.e. a mix of all of the inputs.

Quote
USB Audio:
- 2-Channel Audio In
- 2-Channel Audio Out
- 16-bit; 44.1/48 kHz

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 10:20:28 pm
One thing: will any of these things allow good enough recording to do your own pretty professional-sounding record at home, if you wanted to?  (not necessarily in the $200 range, but just in general)

All of them are.

Quote
You're saying that if I recorded a guitar and vocal track at the same time using a mixer, most of them would turn it into one track.

Pretty much all of the mixer devices would, yes.

Quote
If I recorded them both separately, or recorded a drum or piano track separately in addition to the vocal/guitar track, would it end up being separate tracks?  If I did it that way, could I adjust each track separately?  I hope that made sense.

Yes, absolutely, and this is the essence of multitracking. With modern DAWs there is almost no limit to the number of parallel tracks you can record and mix in this way (practical limits are down to the power of your computer, but even slow computers can usually manage 8 tracks or more).

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 10:32:37 pm
So... if my current focus is recording but I know I'm going to start doing live shows -hopefully- in 2015, which do you all personally think I'd be better off getting?  In the known future I'm going to be recording covers and then trying to start doing full recordings of my own songs (even if I have to play as many of the instruments as I can).  Gigs may not start until summer, depending on how fast I come up with my own songs.  I have to pick one or the other right now, but I can always get better live gear as I start doing more gigs and/or making money off of my own record.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 15, 2014, 11:04:01 pm
I'm sorry, it appears that that website doesn't have the USB 2.0 version, that one does break out to 16 channels instead of stereo.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 15, 2014, 11:34:45 pm
So... if my current focus is recording but I know I'm going to start doing live shows -hopefully- in 2015, which do you all personally think I'd be better off getting?  In the known future I'm going to be recording covers and then trying to start doing full recordings of my own songs (even if I have to play as many of the instruments as I can).  Gigs may not start until summer, depending on how fast I come up with my own songs.  I have to pick one or the other right now, but I can always get better live gear as I start doing more gigs and/or making money off of my own record.

IMO, You could buy a Swiss Army Knife that has a saw and a screwdriver,, but if you want to cut down trees or assemble a carburetor it would be best to have a saw, or a screwdriver.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 11:37:07 pm
... Which one's the SAK and which one's the saw and screwdriver?

My other question, if I get the Scarlett interface, since my guitar has a high output, will I be able to fix it the same way they did in that video to make it work?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 11:41:23 pm
I'm sorry, it appears that that website doesn't have the USB 2.0 version, that one does break out to 16 channels instead of stereo.

I think you need the Fireware based Onyx series for that, and they are a fair bit more expensive.

Cheers,

Keith

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 15, 2014, 11:51:15 pm
So... if my current focus is recording but I know I'm going to start doing live shows -hopefully- in 2015, which do you all personally think I'd be better off getting?

I would get an audio interface or a multi-track field recorder.

If you intend to record and sing at the same time and want to have the flexibility to individually edit and mix the voice and instrument, you need at least a two channel input audio interface.

Cheers,

Keith

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 15, 2014, 11:57:45 pm
Okay.  And that should last me for a while? 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 12:00:15 am
One thing to think about in terms of getting professional quality recording... It's going to be hard to do at home under any circumstances. Getting a *very* good recording quality is quite possible with budget equipment, but you have to know how to record and your room will probably need some acoustic treatment.

For example, I know my equipment is capable of quality recordings, but I don't exactly know what I'm doing so I'm sure I am not getting the most out of it.

So I think any one of these options will give you some room for improvement and will last you a while. It's going to take some practice before you get to the level that some of these YouTube people are at, and once you are good enough to get the most out of your equipment you should have a better idea of what you need to upgrade to improve your sound.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 12:06:13 am
Alright.  I guess my only real concern with the Scarlett (the one I think is best overall right now) is that high-output pickups cause the clipping, like mentioned before, and my acoustic is high-output.  I'm just a little concerned that adjusting the volume and gain won't be enough to fix the issue and I won't be able to return it.  But I also would feel best getting one that people on here are familiar with so they can help me if I need it.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 12:23:07 am
Yeah, that's a valid concern. I couldn't find any technical specs on your Takamine's pickup and the only reference I would have is my Agile, so I don't know if it'll have that problem if you plan to record direct with your pickup.

If you have a Guitar Center or other shop nearby you might be able to take your guitar in and try it through the interface to see if it clips. It won't tell you for sure if it'll work with your particular setup (computer, etc.) but it might be worth a try.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 12:26:18 am
Yes, you will be able to get around it with using the volume control on your guitar.

There's some electric guitars that don't even have a volume knob, now that's where you'd have to do a little more fixing to make it work.

If you really needed to know about it, I could ask to borrow my friend's Scarlett because I know somebody that has the exact same guitar as you have.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 12:30:40 am
Yes, you will be able to get around it with using the volume control on your guitar.

There's some electric guitars that don't even have a volume knob, now that's where you'd have to do a little more fixing to make it work.

If you really needed to know about it, I could ask to borrow my friend's Scarlett because I know somebody that has the exact same guitar as you have.

If you could possibly do that tomorrow, that would be awesome.  Otherwise I'll have to see if the store near me even has one to try.  The sale ends on the 18th.


There's a Guitar Center about 20 minutes away... I dislike that store. But it's pretty much the only music shop that I know of aside from one that's 20 minutes the other side of town.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 12:33:30 am
The only thing I could do tomorrow is drop by and run my own guitar through it (a Taylor). It also has a preamp so I'm assuming they might be in the same ballpark in terms of output capacity.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 12:42:29 am
That would be helpful, I think, if you could do that.

THe guy at Guitar Center claims it shouldn't have any issues, but I'm not sure how much I trust him.  He also claims I can return it if I contact him directly (even though the site says non-returnable) so I printed a transcript of the call, just in case.  I'm just not totally confident about it.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 12:50:35 am
I would strongly consider the mixer. The mixer can not only act as an audio interface, but can also act as a standalone mixer for live use.


Keith

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

That was sort of where I was coming from as well.... the Live use. Let's say she finds a place to play
A little shop, a little church, a school, a small bar....

Now maybe any of those will have a small PA set up but no mixer. Or the mixer is too complicated or too basic. With her own mixer she can already know a decent two track or mono out. She will be in control of all her stuff and could even patch in an mp3 player, cd of her own backing tracks or whatever. Just send her mix that she rehearses at home out to the in-house PA.

I haven't read much on these little Interface/Mixer combos. Most say record Stereo Out... I assume they do Stereo back in as well? Or maybe not... is it a one way affair?


Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 01:05:40 am
Never, ever been to a  club that has a PA and no mixer. I have however had bands with their own sub mixer that they wanted to plug into my FOH mixer so that they could mix their own sound from stage. The results were less than desirable. And if the mixer is too complicated to operate, chances are that the person using it isn't qualified to do live sound.  IMO, if you want to do live sound, you should either let the house do it, or provide your own PA including mixer, monitor, snake, amps speakers, mics....
Does that Mackie mixer even track individual channels to the DAW? Or does it only record the stereo mix?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 01:06:11 am
Hollywood......

All these inexpensive Interfaces and basic mixers....

Interface = 2 inputs... maybe 4  BUT ONLY 2 Outputs at a time.. That means record a MAX of 2 tracks at once.

MIXER - these entry level ones you can afford... Even if it has 6 Inputs it still only Outputs 2 TRACKS MAX at once.

R3cord 1 or 2 tracks, rewind, record 1 or 2 more, rewind, record 1 or 2 more, rewind, record 1 or 2 more. So now you just recorded 8 tracks  but only TWO AT A TIME...

Mixer = plug in Keys, Bass, Guitar, Vocal, Backing vox... press record... how many tracks do you get? TWO

The signal from all those instrements have been MIXED onto two tracks. You can record any or all of them but only  TWO at once.

Now the more expensive stuff has what is basically direct out. For every Input it has an Output. For instance my mixer could record 26 Tracks at once.

Two tracks should be plenty for you though and honestly you will probably only be recording one track at a time. Just be clear on that.

Mixer = Many In - TWO Out
Interface = Two In - TWO Out

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 01:13:33 am
Never, ever been to a  club that has a PA and no mixer. I have however had bands with their own sub mixer that they wanted to plug into my FOH mixer so that they could mix their own sound from stage. The results were less than desirable. And if the mixer is too complicated to operate, chances are that the person using it isn't qualified to do live sound.  IMO, if you want to do live sound, you should either let the house do it, or provide your own PA including mixer, monitor, snake, amps speakers, mics....
Does that Mackie mixer even track individual channels to the DAW? Or does it only record the stereo mix?

Agree on the above. I'm thinking of smaller scale situations.

Bold: I don't know... that's what I have been trying to figure out.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 01:22:04 am
So I'm better off, at this point, getting a simple 2 in/2 out interface?  And then once I start doing gigs, use the in-house equipment, and upgrade later on as I figure out what I actually need and get more comfortable with all this?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 01:29:40 am
There's a Guitar Center about 20 minutes away... I dislike that store. But it's pretty much the only music shop that I know of aside from one that's 20 minutes the other side of town.

You don't necessarily have to buy it there. I don't know if they'd have a Scarlett 2i2 available for you to plug into, but you could call and ask.

Yes, you will be able to get around it with using the volume control on your guitar.

There's some electric guitars that don't even have a volume knob, now that's where you'd have to do a little more fixing to make it work.

I had this problem with my Agile, even with the volume fairly low and the the interface gain knob all the way down. I don't believe the Agile has particularly hot pickups, so it's a real concern.

I don't remember finding a solution that didn't kill the tone on my recording, like setting the input to line level rather than instrument, but TB gave me a good option on a cheap solution to lower the input. I think it's this:

http://www.premierguitar.com/articles/Build_Your_Own_Series_Resistance_Box

There might have been a problem somewhere else in the chain that was causing my issue, but it seems a bunch of people have had similar problems so it seems that for some reason the Scarlett 2i2 just can't handle much of an instrument level input.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 01:38:49 am
I wonder if I should go with one of the other ones, then...  :-\

One of you said a few pages back that the Steinberg has the same gain issues as the Scarlett.  So I wouldn't know what to get if both of those have the same problem.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 01:49:19 am
I wonder if I should go with one of the other ones, then...  :-\

One of you said a few pages back that the Steinberg has the same gain issues as the Scarlett.  So I wouldn't know what to get if both of those have the same problem.

My advice would be to get either of those two interfaces and if the gain becomes an issue buy a DI box (Which you will very likely want later when you do live gigs anyhow.)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 01:50:13 am
The main downside, compared to an audio interface, is that even if you connect and mix multiple channels (instruments) most of these mixers will mix these down to a single stereo channel pair into the computer, so you cannot use them for simultaneous multichannel recording.


If you have Guitar on Input 1 and Vocal on input and they are panned hard left and hard right respectively you will get a stereo file but it will really be dual mono that can be split. Reaper right click, process items, explode channels. Bang... two mono tracks.

So she can get two mono tracks... not 3,4,5,6 or whatever... but it won't be a blended Stereo image. It will be just like a 2 input interface.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 01:52:36 am
If you have Guitar on Input 1 and Vocal on input and they are panned hard left and hard right respectively you will get a stereo file but it will really be dual mono that can be split. Reaper right click, process items, explode channels. Bang... two mono tracks.

So she can get two mono tracks... not 3,4,5,6 or whatever... but it won't be a blended Stereo image. It will be just like a 2 input interface.

Then, if she's using it live and wanting to record the performance the instruments would be hard-panned in the live mix? What about the keyboards?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 01:56:10 am
I wonder if I should go with one of the other ones, then...  :-\

One of you said a few pages back that the Steinberg has the same gain issues as the Scarlett.  So I wouldn't know what to get if both of those have the same problem.

If I'm reading the specs right... which I wrote a few pages back.. it looks like the Focusrite overloads much sooner than Steinberg or TASCAM.

Whatever you get will work. You will probably never get rid of it until computers are so fast that USB is not even used any longer and by then you will have upgraded to other stuff appropriate to whatever it is you are doing.

It all works and it all works very well.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 02:01:42 am
So regardless of what I get, if there are any issues with the guitar, there are for sure ways to make it work?
THe cheapest DI box I see at GC is $55.

One other thing I came across was this http://www.alesis.com/multimix4usb (http://www.alesis.com/multimix4usb) but it's still a mixer.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 02:02:42 am
Then, if she's using it live and wanting to record the performance the instruments would be hard-panned in the live mix? What about the keyboards?

Right I'm saying use the Mixer for Live --- use the Interface in the Mixer for Home. Why would she be tracking a live performance other than Stereo at this point in the game? I doubt she can deal with that.

Live = no recording or at best record the Stereo Mix on a Laptop just for the heck of it.

Home = Flexibility. Record two tacks at time. Less plugging and unplugging. Less level setting. More playing and creating.

Ability to add muso friends she may meet without running out of inputs. Right now she is done. Both inputs are used up. No expansion possible.



Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 02:05:53 am
So regardless of what I get, if there are any issues with the guitar, there are for sure ways to make it work?
THe cheapest DI box I see at GC is $55.

I'd get an active DI. Either Radial or Countryman. There's a smokin' "buy now" deal on a Countryman 85 on eBay right now. With the DI, you can record direct to a mic input of your interface while using your amp. You will also use it for playing through your amp on stage while sending the guitar to the mixer. (You ahve to have a balanced signal to run long distances) Di's typically sound better than pads, and active DI's typically sound better than passive (transformer) DI's
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 02:07:09 am
Why would she be tracking a live performance other than Stereo at this point in the game?

So that the tracks can be remixed and it won't sound like a board mix.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 02:08:35 am
So regardless of what I get, if there are any issues with the guitar, there are for sure ways to make it work?
THe cheapest DI box I see at GC is $55.

Correct, it can be fixed. Yes DI boxes ain't cheap. They go up in price from there. You can pay 10X that a nice DI box. On the other hand... one of those little mixers with a "INSTRUMENT" input switch IS a direct box.

Personally, I would fix it with two resistors soldered inside a guitar cable for 20 cents.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 02:09:07 am
Yes, there will be a way to deal with a gain issue overloading the interface. As others have said, a DI box (which aren't cheap) or a much cheaper DIY solution like I linked (from TB's advice in another thread).

And keep in mind this is only for recording direct with your pickup. If you record with a mic you won't have this issue, although the pickup in your acoustic is probably very good so that may get you the best quality recording.

At this point, I'd agree that a Steinberg or TASCAM interface might be a better option for you than the Scarlett. It's a good interface, but I'm not confident that you can easily overcome the gain issue without investing more money or doing a bit of soldering work.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 02:09:57 am
So that the tracks can be remixed and it won't sound like a board mix.

No, I mean live... does she really need to be worrying about recording her live performance at this point in the game? That's a lot to deal with.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 02:11:04 am
I'm confused.  So are you saying a mixer already has a DI box built in?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 02:25:36 am
I'm confused.  So are you saying a mixer already has a DI box built in?

No. Mixers that have HiZ inputs often have pads on them though so you can attenuate the signal.
DI boxes take an unbalanced instrument and convert it to a balanced signal taht can be plugged into the XLR input of the mixer. Even if a mixer has a HIz instrument input, and even if it has a pad, you have to use a DI box to balance the signal so that it can be sent long distances without added noise from RFI, EMI, etc. A balanced signal splits your waveform into positive and negative and sends both down two separate condictors. Anything that isn't common to both pins gets canceled by common mode rejection.. You don't really need to know all that though.. you just need to know that an unbalanced signal (like a guitar) has to be balanced so send it long distances (like into a PA mixer) so that additional noise isn't introduced.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 02:32:17 am
Okay.  So, say I get the Steinberg or Focusrite (kind of leaning away from the Focusrite right now) and my guitar has issues with it.  Do I have to spend another $200 - more than the cost of the interface - to buy a DI box just so I can properly use the interface, or are there other cheaper ways to work around any issues?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 02:42:25 am
Okay.  So, say I get the Steinberg or Focusrite (kind of leaning away from the Focusrite right now) and my guitar has issues with it.  Do I have to spend another $200 - more than the cost of the interface - to buy a DI box just so I can properly use the interface, or are there other cheaper ways to work around any issues?

There's cheaper ways.. You can build a pad with resistors. Or build a DI box with a  Jenson transformer. I really think you'll be OK just turning down the guitar. My acoustic guitar has a preamp that works fine with my Presonus interface. I prefer mic'ing it when I record though.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 02:46:50 am
I prefer mic'ing it when I record though.

Would the SM58 also work to record guitar if I needed to? 

So, which should I get:
1) Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
2) Steinberg UR22
3) Mixer

From the reviews, it sounds like the Steinberg software is hard to install, but the Focusrite will overload faster.  Ugh.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 02:47:18 am
I'm confused.  So are you saying a mixer already has a DI box built in?

Yes, it can be used as a DI. You plug your guitar direct into CH1. You press the button that is labeled INST. This converts the impedance and gain structure for guitar.

Then you route that signal to either the main output which is balanced XLR  - OR - you use the Monitor Aux. so you plug a balanced cable into that output point and turn up the little knob on CH1 that says AUX.

Those are both Balanced outputs and will drive long lines. For anything you are going to be doing in the near future that is plenty good.

That won't allow you to split to amp but to be honest I can't imagine you needing to do all that. If you wanted to run to amp too you would still need a reamp box and ideally a pickup emulator along with it.

SCENARIO: You meet someone and they will let you play but don't a DI for you. You say  no problem. I have a little mixer. I can plug into that and you can tap off it.

SCENARIO: You meet a bass player, a keyboard player, and you. No gear. But you say,, OK, I've got a little mixer and we can record all of us at once onto my PC

SCENARIO: You sit at home and build up single tracks with all your gear already plugged in and levels set. So the inspiration flows and you actually get some music recorded. As opposed to... Cool idea pops in head, plug in guitar, set levels, record, maybe even remember what the urge was. Unplug, plug in keyboard, set levels, hit record, play. Unplug, plug guitar back in, set levels, record some more.

Don't you know anyone that could show you how this all works in a private setting? Maybe even make arrangement with GC or someone to show you in their music room.

If my mixer wasn't broken I'd make a YT vid for you. I think if you could see it done once you would get the picture.






Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 02:49:01 am
Would the SM58 also work to record guitar if I needed to? 

Well, between the Steinberg and the Focusrite Scarlett... which one do you guys think is better?  I know TB recommends the Steinberg, and at least one of you has the Focusrite...
From the reviews, it sounds like the Steinberg software is hard to install, but the Focusrite will overload faster.  Ugh.

The SM58 will record anything that makes sound that you can hear.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 03:03:33 am
Yes, it can be used as a DI. You plug your guitar direct into CH1. You press the button that is labeled INST. This converts the impedance and gain structure for guitar.

I'm gonna have to disagree here. The mixer's instrument input is a single-ended input with a pre-amp. Almost identical to the input of an interface. Unless there's a pad switch, or more range of attenuation on the input trim pot, it's the same thing.

A DI box both balances, and attenuates. It takes a single-ended unbalanced signal and balances it.
With a mixer, the unbalanced input gets amplified, goes through a tone circuit, a fader, and at least one additional bus and amplifier before it hits the output. Each of those circuits add noise, and each of those components are a possible failure point - especially the mechanical components (like the gain and EQ pots and the faders.)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 03:15:19 am
It has a INST switch on CH1 only. That's what it's for. It certaoinly must be a pad and impedance adjustment. I have never seen anything that can't be plugged into a Mackie even without that special input.

CH1 has a different resistor network for INST then LINE. I can't tell what it is but I can't imagine them using the wrong values. Right after that everything. LINE, MIC or INST go to a balanced amplifier so any noise will happen to them all equally.  I mean after that INST amp.. that does have a little amp of it's own. They all use the same amp after that ... all the rest of the circuit is shared is what I mean.

I realize a $250 Mixer/Interface will not be as high quality as say a $600 tube DI but come on... a little noise in the board... the situations she will be in it will hardly matter and I seriously doubt it will be noticed in context.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 03:22:42 am

Don't you know anyone that could show you how this all works in a private setting? Maybe even make arrangement with GC or someone to show you in their music room.

I literally don't know anyone.  The only people I know that are at all involved with music is a singer/songwriter in California and a guy with his own band in Nashville.  The girl in California went to some studio in Ohio to record her album, and the guy in Nashville doesn't really answer questions very well.  Locally I have absolutely zero contacts.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 03:35:46 am
Watch these.... I'll try to find some others...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0IRU4IKPmM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T7ZNjyEvADA
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 03:40:59 am
It has a INST switch on CH1 only. That's what it's for. It certaoinly must be a pad and impedance adjustment. I have never seen anything that can't be plugged into a Mackie even without that special input.

This is me doing a sound check on my Mackie mixer. Keyboards, Bass and acoustic guitar all DI'd

(http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z94/ScooterTrash_album/SoundCheck_zps60128164.png)

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 03:46:09 am
This is me doing a sound check on my Mackie mixer. Keyboards, Bass and acoustic guitar all DI'd

(http://i194.photobucket.com/albums/z94/ScooterTrash_album/SoundCheck_zps60128164.png)

I'm guessing you blew all of your $350 budget? I know what you are saying is right.... but she can't afford it.

If she were an acoustic singer songwriter and had connections with performing acts... I would say absolutely. Get a great DI, a Great Mic and those are going to be your tools.

But she needs to learn the ropes. she needs to learn to make do with what is not ideal but can be made to work fine.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 03:50:32 am
One of the videos I watched a few minutes ago, the guy had a mixer that was plugged into a very small interface, which went into his Mac.

Maybe a better question is, what would be the ideal home studio setup for a general low budget?  If I know the ideal setup, maybe that'll make it easier to figure out what I need and then find the best options based on the price.  My parents are willing to help with part of it (though I'd rather them not need to) but I will find a way to make it work. 

Basically I want to be able to record my own record in my bedroom that doesn't sound like it was made in a bedroom.  As long as I can keep it reasonably priced, I'll figure it out, even if that means buying some of it used or on sales and whatnot.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 03:53:41 am
One of the videos I watched a few minutes ago, the guy had a mixer that was plugged into a very small interface, which went into his Mac.

Maybe a better question is, what would be the ideal home studio setup for a general low budget?  If I know the ideal setup, maybe that'll make it easier to figure out what I need and then find the best options based on the price.  My parents are willing to help with part of it (though I'd rather them not need to) but I will find a way to make it work. 

Basically I want to be able to record my own record in my bedroom that doesn't sound like it was made in a bedroom.  As long as I can keep it reasonably priced, I'll figure it out, even if that means buying some of it used or on sales and whatnot.

You might want to listen to some of the recent recordings by Digger, Katja, and Endureth and ask what they've been doing. I think they've been getting some great recordings and I don't think they broke the bank.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 16, 2014, 04:22:03 am
What about an Alesis Multimix 8? They come in both USB and Firewire and have the audio interface built right in. I've used the Firewire version for mixing but not for the interface (no Firewire on laptop; went into Mackie Blackjack). It seems really [nice] and retail is amazingly cheap.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 04:32:08 am
Maybe a better question is, what would be the ideal home studio setup for a general low budget? 

A basic 2 input interface like we have been discussing.
REAPER - and it's manuals
Lots of Free Plugins - that are very very good by the way
Lots of watching YT vids on how to record and mix
A Large Diaphragm mic
A decent set of monitors or at the very least a decent set of headphones
A boombox of some sort to play mixes back on to see if they translate to real world.

Quote
Basically I want to be able to record my own record in my bedroom that doesn't sound like it was made in a bedroom.

Moving blankets, something to treat reflections. Something to make the room sound better. acoustic treatments of some nature will be required unless you happen to have a good sounding quiet room, which is quite rare.

Quote
One of the videos I watched a few minutes ago, the guy had a mixer that was plugged into a very small interface, which went into his Mac.
That's a cheap little Behringer thing. You don't want it. Can't plug a Mic in.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 04:46:09 am
Ok, let's see what we can all agree on and how many items we can put in a list.


DAW - Software
REAPER - $60 but FREE to use fully featured. No limitations.
Why REAPER ... very little it can't do and great support network. Lots of free instruction.

Can we agree on Reaper?

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 16, 2014, 11:24:35 am
Wow, a lot of posts overnight...

I haven't read much on these little Interface/Mixer combos. Most say record Stereo Out... I assume they do Stereo back in as well? Or maybe not... is it a one way affair?

Yes, these all have Stereo back in over the USB as well. However, this has limited capabilities compared with normal channels on many of the mixers I have looked in this this price range. Typically the USB input channels can be mixed into the main output, control-room output, and so on, but not back into the USB.

The Mackie ProFX8 you linked to before does support the connection of the USB input back to the output via "USB Thru" function.


Does that Mackie mixer even track individual channels to the DAW? Or does it only record the stereo mix?

It only records the stereo mix.

If you have Guitar on Input 1 and Vocal on input and they are panned hard left and hard right respectively you will get a stereo file but it will really be dual mono that can be split. Reaper right click, process items, explode channels. Bang... two mono tracks.

So she can get two mono tracks... not 3,4,5,6 or whatever... but it won't be a blended Stereo image. It will be just like a 2 input interface.

That's a good point, and a neat idea.

One of the videos I watched a few minutes ago, the guy had a mixer that was plugged into a very small interface, which went into his Mac.
Moving blankets, something to treat reflections. Something to make the room sound better. acoustic treatments of some nature will be required unless you happen to have a good sounding quiet room, which is quite rare.
That's a cheap little Behringer thing. You don't want it. Can't plug a Mic in.

The little Behringer 302USB mixers (http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/302USB.aspx) can definitely take a mic.

The Behringer Xenyx series are great value for money, and I doubt most people could hear any difference between them or the Mackie ProFX series. However, the 302 doesn't have a Hi-Z input so wouldn't be suitable for DIing an electric guitar.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:56:26 am
The little Behringer 302USB mixers (http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/302USB.aspx) can definitely take a mic.

I think one of the videos a guy had one of these on the side...
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/616367-REG/Behringer_UCA222_UCA222_USB_1_1.html
she definitely doesn't want that.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 02:53:48 pm
Out to check the Scarlett's input level with my Mini, will make a video and stuff.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 04:27:49 pm
Thanks, Cue!

Any chance this would be useful? There's one on Craigslist near me.  Haven't really looked into it, just thought I'd mention it.  Peavey SRC 4018 Mixer
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 04:34:09 pm
Sorry about the orientation, wasn't paying attention.

The electric guitar does eventually run the red, but as you can see, the gain level still had room to go lower.






Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 04:44:42 pm
Awesome, thanks, Cue!

So if I get that one, I should be fine with my Tak?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 04:46:24 pm
That's not the one you have been looking at. that's the 2i4 not the 2i2... You need to read the specs on each.

No one can say for sure what your guitar will do.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 16, 2014, 04:48:24 pm

Any chance this would be useful? There's one on Craigslist near me.  Haven't really looked into it, just thought I'd mention it.  Peavey SRC 4018 Mixer

Not really. It's a standalone mixer; it cannot be used as a computer recording interface.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 04:48:59 pm
If you were in my shoes, which one would you get?

By the way, there's a whole ton of different things on Craigslist within 15 miles of me, so if I need anything else I might be able to get it on there.

Is this what you posted about before?
http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/msg/4794657277.html (http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/msg/4794657277.html)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 04:58:48 pm
the 2i4 is step up from the 2i2.

Also notice the it has 2 little buttons that say PAD.. If you press those in the input level drops quite a bit. So it were over loading you press that in and it solves your issue.

It also has more outs but not sure how they are configured. Thi is first I've hear of you looking at the 2i4
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 04:59:37 pm
I'm not looking at the 2i4, as far as I know, but I guess that's the one Cue has.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Majik on December 16, 2014, 05:27:33 pm

Is this what you posted about before?
http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/msg/4794657277.html (http://grandrapids.craigslist.org/msg/4794657277.html)

Unless it specifically says "USB Mixer" or (Firewire mixer) then any given mixer is going to be just that: a standalone analogue mixer, which won't be useful to you.

Without knowing the model number (and from what I can tell in the photo) this is an older model analogue (non-USB) Mackie.

Cheers,

Keith
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 16, 2014, 05:36:40 pm
What about an Alesis Multimix 8? They come in both USB and Firewire and have the audio interface built right in. I've used the Firewire version for mixing but not for the interface (no Firewire on laptop; went into Mackie Blackjack). It seems really [nice] and retail is amazingly cheap.

Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 07:14:38 pm
It never overloaded with my acoustic. I had the volume on my guitar all the way up and it still didn't clip. I'm pretty certain your Tak will be inside that range.

The 2i4 has the same preamps as the 2i2. I didn't even need the pad with my acoustic guitar.

Borodog, there seems to be a weird thing going on with the Multimix units, some read only stereo out and others should break out to 16 channels. I assumed it was the USB/USB2 difference, but I can't find the USB2 version anywhere (tried GC/MF/SW). I guess it got lost in the replies.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 07:41:24 pm
That craigslist Mackie is definitely NOT what you want. They didn't do USB back then.

I'm not looking at the 2i4, as far as I know, but I guess that's the one Cue has.


Ok, I thought you meant what would I pick... the 2i2 or the 2i4

You make a list all the things you think you would get along with for whatever it is you want to do. We will then pick what WE would buy and why.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 08:23:31 pm
You make a list all the things you think you would get along with for whatever it is you want to do. We will then pick what WE would buy and why.

You want me to make a list of what I think I need?  :o  I have no idea - that's my whole problem!

I just meant if this were you - if you wanted to spend under $500 (tops) on everything you needed to make a pretty nice home studio, starting from just a MacBook Pro, what would you buy? 

I'm thinking I'm going to just get the Focusrite and the mic/stand/cable set.  But for reference, their promo right now is $20 off of $100 or $100 off of $500.  Depending on how much nicer $500 of equipment is than $200, I might be able to swing that, since it would only be $400.  I'd have to talk to my parents about it, but they're actually all for me getting recording stuff.  I'd prefer to spend under $200, but if there's a significant difference between $200 and $500 equipment... I'll see.  Just throwing that out there.  I can get the money if it will make that much difference.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 08:30:41 pm
You want me to make a list of what I think I need?  :o  I have no idea - that's my whole problem!

I just meant if this were you - if you wanted to spend under $500 (tops) on everything you needed to make a pretty nice home studio, starting from just a MacBook Pro, what would you buy? 

I'm thinking I'm going to just get the Focusrite and the mic/stand/cable set.  But for reference, their promo right now is $20 off of $100 or $100 off of $500.  Depending on how much nicer $500 of equipment is than $200, I might be able to swing that, since it would only be $400.  I'd have to talk to my parents about it, but they're actually all for me getting recording stuff.  I'd prefer to spend under $200, but if there's a significant difference between $200 and $500 equipment... I'll see.  Just throwing that out there.  I can get the money if it will make that much difference.

I'd save the money. You're gonna want it later for speakers and plugins.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 08:31:41 pm
Okay.  So for now just get the Focusrite and the SM58/cable/stand combo?

You all agree on that?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 08:59:08 pm
Okay.  So for now just get the Focusrite and the SM58/cable/stand combo?

You all agree on that?

I would... It'll definitely get ya started and will be an improvement over what you currently have. There are people here that have that interface, so you'll have some support. And if later you decide to upgrade the interface, it won't be a lot of money wasted. And if you're going to perform live, you'll have the 58 forever.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 09:13:22 pm
Alright, sounds good.  Is there anything else I'll need to go with it - cables, accessories, anything like that?  Want to make sure I've got everything.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 09:24:16 pm
All you need is that Focusrite, mic, stand, mic cable and instrument cable. Then you're all set. ;)

I'd save the money. You're gonna want it later for speakers and plugins.

What do you need plugins for? Native and free plug-ins go a very long way.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 09:27:00 pm
Alright, sounds good.  Is there anything else I'll need to go with it - cables, accessories, anything like that?  Want to make sure I've got everything.

Later, when you get speakers you'll need a couple cables. If you plan to use the line output from your amp directly into the interface you'll need an extra instrument cable - just long enough to get from the amp to your interface. You'll also need a DAW. You can install whatever DAW software comes with the interface, but I'd install Reaper. Wait until after the interface and its drivers are installed before you install the DAW.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 09:28:10 pm
You want me to make a list of what I think I need?  :o  I have no idea - that's my whole problem!

I just meant if this were you - if you wanted to spend under $500 (tops) on everything you needed to make a pretty nice home studio, starting from just a MacBook Pro, what would you buy? 

I'm thinking I'm going to just get the Focusrite and the mic/stand/cable set.  But for reference, their promo right now is $20 off of $100 or $100 off of $500.  Depending on how much nicer $500 of equipment is than $200, I might be able to swing that, since it would only be $400.  I'd have to talk to my parents about it, but they're actually all for me getting recording stuff.  I'd prefer to spend under $200, but if there's a significant difference between $200 and $500 equipment... I'll see.  Just throwing that out there.  I can get the money if it will make that much difference.

Ok,,, now that rules out playing live... so this is HOME ONLY.

Yes, there is a significant difference between $200 and $500.


OK
Mackie Blackjack - site says it needs no drivers for Mac. Reviews show driver problems on windows but they are old drives like 1.9, 2.0 but driver is up to V3.0 for Windows... but again no driver needed for Mac.

Why do I like it. Mackie makes nice stuff. Really nice preamps. It has the INST level switch on both inputs. But unlink all the rest it's ergonomic. Cables plug in back and the front slants. so it's easy to physically use. $145

But .. basically pick 1.

Steinbeerg UR22
Mackie Blackjack
Scarlet 2i2
All are $150 retail I think -- any would work.

Next I would get one of those $25 mic stands OnStage model. they work fine... I already linked all this stuff before...
Total so far $175  so say add $25 more for mic cables, guitar cable.. Even $200

I would also still learn how to use the audio better on your camera and use that mic as a room ambiance mic. So you would get three audio tracks each time you hit record... as well as your video.

For vocal... and this comes with cable... this looks very interesting....
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/condenser-microphones/mxl-3000-mic-bundle

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArlnhUozdrM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Twt4ROakP7g
"I was using an MXL 3000 condenser mic, a Studio Projects VTB1 Mic Preamp, a Mogami mic cable, Sonar Producer Edition software and I was recording directly into the stock sound card's line out on my former Dell computer."

I have that VTB1.. the VTB1+Dell soundcard can't be any better than the mic pres on any one of the interfaces you are looking at. He is in his bedroom. He has a set of Sennhiser headphones... can't tell which model

That's a pretty damn good sound.

So now we are at $375 roughly.

Headphones...
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/audio-technica-ath-m50x-closed-back-professional-studio-monitor-headphones -- I actually do own these.

Or .. .and I have not heard these but they are highly rated.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/sennheiser-hd-280-pro-closed-back-headphones
I think one video I posted the guy was using them.

So that runs you up to $475 or $545... you can easily run that $475 up to $500 and get the $100 off or maybe one of those interfaces is a little less than $150 and the $545 would drop closer to $500.

I have not heard that mic but it seems well rated... The same type packages are available from Audio Technia and Cue knows those model numbers adn may even have some. Same deal with mic, stand, cable, screen, etc..

It's a REALLY REALLY tough call to buy a mic without hearing your voice on it. Everyone responds better to different mics. You could have voice that works great with a $100 mic and sounds bad with a $1000 mic.... but for general purpose go with public high ratings.

You could change many of these items and still be fine.

$500 setup ---- $400 with discounts
Interface
Headphones
LDC Mic
Stand
Cables

$200 setup
Used Interface - $100
Behringer X8500 mic - $25
Cables, Stand, some kind of used speakers or headphones, or decent earbuds $75 -- tough to do at that price

$200 is near impossible.

Now you know why I said the first thing you need is a job. Oooor ... marry a lawyer or doctor




Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 09:29:10 pm

What do you need plugins for? Native and free plug-ins go a very long way.

I didn't say; "need" I said; "want"
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 09:38:18 pm
Ah I see - excuse me. I'd say r=plug-ins are only really necessary if you want to use softsynths or piano. For mixing, everything you need is in the DAWs.

I have an Audio Technica AT3035 (discontinued, cheaply available used) and an AT825 (discontinued, no idea about availability, was really cheap when I got it).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 09:47:45 pm
Ah I see - excuse me. I'd say r=plug-ins are only really necessary if you want to use softsynths or piano. For mixing, everything you need is in the DAWs.

I have an Audio Technica AT3035 (discontinued, cheaply available used) and an AT825 (discontinued, no idea about availability, was really cheap when I got it).

Here's some mixing tips by a professional recording engineer. When you get done watching the videos, let me know how many native plugins he uses:

http://www.pensadosplace.tv/category/into-the-lair/ (http://www.pensadosplace.tv/category/into-the-lair/)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 16, 2014, 09:49:19 pm
I have Blackjack interface and HD280 headphones. I recommend both.

Can't say the same for my mic, though. I kind of regret buying it. Maybe it just doesn't lie to me the way I want it to. :Op
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 10:15:43 pm
Here's some mixing tips by a professional recording engineer. When you get done watching the videos, let me know how many native plugins he uses:

http://www.pensadosplace.tv/category/into-the-lair/ (http://www.pensadosplace.tv/category/into-the-lair/)
What about www.therecordingrevolution.com - also a (semi-)professional mix engineer and uses mostly native plugins.

Anyhow, with this setting on the 2i4 (gain 40%, switched to instrument, no pad):
(http://i289.photobucket.com/albums/ll229/Dusky1991/89C145B6-DB31-4AED-978D-B957B8784E88_zpsm3dg3sjl.jpg)
And the volume on my guitar maxed out, I got this sound:
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/49609615/ezyodoodle.wav

As you can hear, it's nowhere near clipping.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 10:26:48 pm
What about www.therecordingrevolution.com - also a (semi-)professional mix engineer and uses mostly native plugins.

By all means; if you want to spend $700.00 for Pro Tools, use the native plugins.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 16, 2014, 10:34:06 pm
LOL, leah, that's my problem with PT - no can do man.

Anyhow, he's doing a new project right now and is running Reason with all it's native plugins.

Also, have you seen his video where he talks mixing with Dave (Pensado)?

To get back on topic - REAPER's native plugins go a long way and the ones in Studio One seem pretty decent as well. Haven't had enough time to try all of them, though. Although I have to say that within the first few minutes I spent with S1, I might actually want to get me a license.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 10:44:56 pm
Although I have to say that within the first few minutes I spent with S1, I might actually want to get me a license.

I have Studio One and Sonar X2 Expanded. S1 is actually a good really good DAW (imo) and the native plugins in S1 are good. I'm only using Reaper now. The reaper native plugins are OK.. but the GUIs leave a lot to be desired and there are much better plugins out there including a lot of free ones.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 10:46:00 pm
Only buy plugins between Black Friday and Christmas.






Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 10:47:01 pm
Okay, fantastic!  The last thing, then - between Focusrite Scarlett and Mackie Blackjack.  Which one should I get?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 10:51:25 pm
I have Blackjack interface and HD280 headphones. I recommend both.

Can't say the same for my mic, though. I kind of regret buying it. Maybe it just doesn't lie to me the way I want it to. :Op

Any chance you have a pair of AKG K240s or AT-M50s... I have those which both sound good and totally differnt so they compliment each other. I haven't had any Senns in a long time. Wondered what they sounded like in comparison.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 11:06:52 pm
How much difference do the headphones make at this point?  Music sounds good through the ones I have (over-ear Philips, probably cost $20), but they have recording headphones at GC for $10 and $20.  Just not sure if I'd even need them.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:16:07 pm
I don't see anyone with driver issues on Mac... again I think you don't even need drivers for Mac.

http://www.joelcarlo.net/new-mackie-blackjack-v3-0-driver/

Commentary at bottom of this next review concerning the Scarlet

http://www.joelcarlo.net/steinberg-ur22-usb-audio-interface-review/
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:20:42 pm
How much difference do the headphones make at this point?  Music sounds good through the ones I have (over-ear Philips, probably cost $20), but they have recording headphones at GC for $10 and $20.  Just not sure if I'd even need them.

Then don't buy them OR take your headphones to GC and listen to some $100 - $150 phones compared to yours.

Plus the phones put you over the $500 mark to get $100 off so it's kinda like you get them free...

Unless they are giving 20% off for every $100.. .then you buy $400 and only pay $320.

Where are you getting these discounts anyway?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:22:28 pm
I can't vouch for the Blackjack, but they both look pretty good.

One last thing.. Did you ever decide if you want MIDI capability for your keyboard? The Scarlett 2i2 doesn't have it, and it looks like the Mackie doesn't, either. However, that Steinberg UR22 does have MIDI I/O and it's $140 on Amazon.

If you think you want to record some MIDI keyboard parts, I would probably recommend going with either the Steinberg or spending $50 to upgrade from the 2i2 to the 2i4. Personally I wish I would have spent the extra money on the 2i4, but I managed to snag the 2i2 on sale which is why I went with that.

Not trying to confuse you further, just curious if you had made a decision on MIDI/no MIDI.

Also, don't waste your money on those cheap 'recording' headphones. You could probably get away with your regular headphones for a while, but I would suggest budgeting a good $100 for a decent set of headphones because it WILL make a difference in your mix quality. If you aren't hearing things accurately then you can't mix accurately. FWIW, I use Sennheiser H280 Pro's ($100) and they are not bad at all.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:25:31 pm
Yeah, I never got that straight either. If you have a midi keyboard, I would definately get a midi interface... unless the keyboard has usb midi.


What model keyboard do you have?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:26:21 pm
By the way, are you looking at buying online at Guitar Center or in the store?

If you buy online at Musician's Friend, they have a deal for 17% off orders over $199, so you'll save more money than with the GC sale IF you spend under $500 total. Just do the math and figure out whether GC or MF will give you the largest discount, because depending on the total price one will be better than the other.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 11:27:40 pm
TB - the discounts are just on Guitar Center's home page.  DECSAVE is the promo code.

Mike - I have no idea, honestly, but I did see a video of a guy that got a little finger drumset thing on Craigslist that was kind of cool.  I'm not sure exactly what it was, but I know it was a MIDI piece of equipment.  I was just reading the review TB shared that they were talking about the Scarlet in the comments, and that the 2i4 doesn't have the clipping issues.

Would it be better maybe to just get the 2i4, if it doesn't have any clipping issues, and has MIDI if I ever need it?

The keyboard I have right now is a Yamaha YPG-235.  It's got a USB port on the back but it also says MIDI on the front. 

I'm looking at GC online... but I'll look at MF, too. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:35:50 pm
The 2i4 also has those -10dB pads, so even if you overloaded the pre-amp you can hit that and it would solve the clipping issue. So 2i2, probably no clipping issue. 2i4, definitely no issue unless something is very wrong with the unit.

For MIDI, does your keyboard have connectors in the back like these?

(http://www.looperman.com/media/blog/images/00075-midi-birthday.jpg)

IMO, the 2i4 is the better buy if you can afford to spend the extra $50 and have any plans to record keyboard parts or buy some sort of MIDI controller in the future (for drums or whatever).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:36:36 pm
You don't need the 5 pin midi.. Your keyboard already has Midi over USB. Just plug it into you PC. You don't have 5pin connectors.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:38:45 pm
Thanks for the clarification, TB. So the MIDI isn't necessary, which makes the 2i4's main advantage those pads on the inputs. Not sure that alone is worth the $50.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 11:42:22 pm
Well, I just realized the 2i4 needs a Mac OSX 10.7 or higher, and mine is 10.6.8... so I'd have to buy an upgrade to the computer, which is another $20.... so I think it's probably better to just stick with the 2?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 16, 2014, 11:42:38 pm
The 2i4 also has those -10dB pads, so even if you overloaded the pre-amp you can hit that and it would solve the clipping issue. So 2i2, probably no clipping issue. 2i4, definitely no issue unless something is very wrong with the unit.

+1.

If you can afford the 2i4 it would be better

Edit.. Was posting at the same time and just read about your OS.
Do you think you'll be updating your OS in the future anyhow?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:47:33 pm
Ah, good catch. I didn't even think to check system compatibility. That's odd that the 2i2 and 2i4 have different requirements, but since 10.6 is apparently not supported the 2i2 looks like the best choice of those 2.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:49:03 pm
You might want to read that coupon again.... $100 off qualifying products. Focusrite is not on list and Mackie only has a speaker one the list.

However you can probably buy it all off Amazon or Ebay(dealers) for same discounted price.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mackie-Onyx-Blackjack-2x2-USB-Recording-Interface-/291326288575?pt=US_Computer_Recording_Interfaces&hash=item43d46662bf

I would buy that one. 400+ sals at 100% and he bought it for comparison AND said the pres sound the best -- but needed more IO
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 16, 2014, 11:53:38 pm
TB - With those GC and MF coupons there are usually a ridiculous number of brands that don't qualify (300+ from what I remember).

However, you should have no problem getting the discount. I did some research before purchasing my Vox AC4 since Vox was 'excluded', but it appears that they waive the exclusion on most brands.

From what I remember, they list all those brands because they technically don't want to be included in the sale, but it's GC or MF's discretion as to whether they will give you the discount and nearly everyone said they were able to get the discounts no problem (myself included).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 16, 2014, 11:55:37 pm
Ok, yeah, I think they can't advertise them or something. I know Mackie is strict on that. You have to ask for the discount then they give it to you.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 16, 2014, 11:58:37 pm
So TB, your personal opinion between the Mackie and the Focusrite?  They both seem good to me.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 17, 2014, 12:00:09 am
Yep, Hollywood shouldn't have a problem. Things are explained here:

http://www.thegearpage.net/board/showthread.php?t=1213475

If you buy online and they reject the coupon, just call in and ask. MF customer service was great, in my experience. A couple brands, like Apple, might be stubborn and not qualify for the sale prices. But most others would be fine, I would think.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 17, 2014, 12:11:25 am
So TB, your personal opinion between the Mackie and the Focusrite?  They both seem good to me.

I kinda like that Mackie. and you know you won't have the guitar issue and know you will have good mic pres because that's their main claim to fame.

They are both good. Me personally... I kinda know the Scarlet is good but I like the ergos on the Mackie and I like the INST switch... So like someone said way back. No one is putting out junk these days. You don;t have to worry about driver issues.

If you have this ...
    
Quote
Mac OS X 10.4.11 – 10.7.1

   
G4 processor

   
512 MB RAM

I would go for it... Borodog says his works fine. Cue I think had a Scarlet go bad at one time and bought another one... somebody did anyway.. Digger and Katja have Scarlet.. .The review guys have Blackjack

I mean it's all good... but Mackie is -known- for mic pres and that is what you really want to make that mic sound it's best... or whatever mic you get.

If I had to have one by Monday... I would get back on eBay and press Buy now for $112 shipped OR if MF/GC let me have it for $120.. but then I would have to pay $6 tax and shipping ...so yeah.. I'd click buy It Now on that used one and take my chances.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 17, 2014, 12:50:36 am
Any chance you have a pair of AKG K240s or AT-M50s... I have those which both sound good and totally differnt so they compliment each other. I haven't had any Senns in a long time. Wondered what they sounded like in comparison.

I don't have either, but the when I bought the HD280s I did a lot of research and settled on the HD280s. Went to GC to buy and asked the pro audio guy what he used. HD280. Asked if there was anything he would rather use. HD380.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 12:51:02 am
One thing I see about the Scarlett is the headphone jack apparently is quiet and sometimes has latency issues?  Do any of you with the Scarlett have that?  ANd would just plugging the headphones into the computer instead fix that?

Also: Musicians Friend says interfaces are returnable, so maybe I should order it from there rather than GC.  They're basically the same price (there's like $4 difference.)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 17, 2014, 01:11:06 am
No on headphone into PC...

Quote
Guitar Center's sister companies/subsidiaries incorporate Music & Arts, Musician's Friend, GuitarCenter.com, LMI, Giardinelli, Musician.com, Private Reserve Guitars, Woodwind and Brasswind, Music 123, and Harmony Central.

MF is GC they will do all same prices adn deals
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 17, 2014, 01:11:59 am
TB - I had an E-MU 0404 USB let down by bad drivers. I've been using a Focusrite Saffire Pro40 for years now and I'm afraid it's gonna outlast FireWire.

I know somebody that didn't have good experience with a Scarlett (18i20) and got a UR44 (Steinberg) instead.

About the monitoring level - my Saffire is only quiet with unmixed recordings or direct monitoring. My headphones (Beyerdynamic DT770) have a relatively high impedance (250 ohms), but it's not even a real problem.

As has been said, don't plug into the PC, that's gonna give you even worse latency.

I have Studio One and Sonar X2 Expanded. S1 is actually a good really good DAW (imo) and the native plugins in S1 are good. I'm only using Reaper now. The reaper native plugins are OK.. but the GUIs leave a lot to be desired and there are much better plugins out there including a lot of free ones.

Thanks for the word on S1 and REAPER, I agree the GUI leaves a bit to be desired. What was your reason to go with REAPER? I've never gotten around to getting a license for REAPER (shame on me now), but I'm almost more inclined to get S1.

Also, I reckon the REAPER plugins do a better job than their GUIs imply. ;)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 17, 2014, 01:16:30 am
Direct monitoring with the 2i2 is quiet with my HD280 headphones. I normally just monitor from Reaper so I can get the volume up to where I need it.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 17, 2014, 01:19:30 am
The 280 has even higher impedance than my 770s. It's either that, or the Scarlett also has weaker headphone outputs than the Saffire. I thought they were basically the same units but running on USB, maybe it ain't that simple.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 01:23:29 am
Is the quietness going to be a problem?

Direct monitoring with the 2i2 is quiet with my HD280 headphones. I normally just monitor from Reaper so I can get the volume up to where I need it.

How do you do that without plugging the headphones into the computer?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 17, 2014, 01:25:37 am
What was your reason to go with REAPER? I've never gotten around to getting a license for REAPER (shame on me now), but I'm almost more inclined to get S1.

I have a friend who does a lot of MIDI stuff. He wanted to do some projects and he was using Sonar. So I got Sonar and it was a CPU hog and sometimes froze up. TB recommended Reaper so I gave it a try. It does everything I wanted and more and uses a lot less memory and CPU, and I like the free updates. There's also a lot of support and good video tutorials for Reaper.

Quote
Also, I reckon the REAPER plugins do a better job than their GUIs imply. ;)

They work OK, but I like my other plugins much better. Sometimes I sidechain the Reacomp and sometimes I use ReaFir, but those are about the only Reaper plugins that I use.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 17, 2014, 01:46:05 am
Direct monitoring via HD280 Pro on Blackjack is no problem at all.

The only problem I ever have is with my condenser mic, which has a dead flat response but it is at -10 dB. So I typically have to crank it a bit and the S2N is not great. Hence my tendency to sing too close to the mic. But I would not blame any of that on the Blackjack.  I had previously thought that the recorded sound sounded a bit dead compared to direct monitoring, but it turns out that was some sort of Audacity artifact. No problems in Reaper. Might be simply 16 bit 44 kHz vs 24 bit 48 kHz.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 17, 2014, 01:49:45 am
The 280 has even higher impedance than my 770s. It's either that, or the Scarlett also has weaker headphone outputs than the Saffire. I thought they were basically the same units but running on USB, maybe it ain't that simple.

My HD280s have only 64 ohm impedance (I think they make a 300 ohm version, as well).

It might be a combination of both, but I've found it easier to monitor from Reaper rather than buy a headphone amp. I get latency issues if I try to run any plugins while recording, but I just monitor the dry signal and it usually works alright.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 02:07:49 am
Alright... I don't get what that all means, but I take it you've got ways to make it work?

The guy at GC said sometimes changing the headphones themselves will fix the issue - and since only some of the reviews mentioned it, either most people just don't notice or it is something with the headphones.

SHould I just go ahead and order the Scarlett, then?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 17, 2014, 02:41:59 am
Well I can't compare to the Scarlet but I can strongly recommend the Blackjack.

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 02:50:03 am
The only thing with the Blackjack is on their site it says up to OSX 10.7, but on the music sites they all say up to 10.6.4. 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 17, 2014, 02:54:55 am
If Mackie says 10.7, who would know better? Just make sure to update the drivers first thing. You should do that with any piece of hardware you buy.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 17, 2014, 03:21:32 am
The only thing with the Blackjack is on their site it says up to OSX 10.7, but on the music sites they all say up to 10.6.4.

What are the dates of the comments? Are the music sites saying it doesn't work on 10.7 even though Mackie says it does? Or are the comments so  old that Mackie has updated their compatability.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 03:33:06 am
Are the music sites saying it doesn't work on 10.7 even though Mackie says it does? Or are the comments so  old that Mackie has updated their compatability.

^ This.  Both.  The music sites say it doesn't work on a 10.6.8, and some of the comments on the pages are from 2011.  But Mackie's website says it works on 10.7. 

Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 17, 2014, 03:48:18 am
Is the quietness going to be a problem?

How do you do that without plugging the headphones into the computer?

I assume you will be recording with Reaper or a similar DAW. All should have the ability to directly monitor your track by clicking a button in the program. So if the direct monitoring is too quiet, you can monitor from the DAW instead.

The only potential issue is latency, but I've been able to make it work and my PC is several years old with not the best specs so I assume your Mac has better performance and should have less of a latency issue.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 17, 2014, 04:25:29 am
^ This.  Both.  The music sites say it doesn't work on a 10.6.8, and some of the comments on the pages are from 2011.  But Mackie's website says it works on 10.7.

So then it should work. You can use 3 year old comments.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 17, 2014, 04:27:57 am
Agreed, I would trust Mackie's website. If they say it works and it doesn't, then they are looking at some big problems and very unhappy customers. Chances are they've updated the product in the last 3 years so that it will work with newer OS's.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: _Avalon_ on December 17, 2014, 08:07:49 am
Well, I just realized the 2i4 needs a Mac OSX 10.7 or higher, and mine is 10.6.8... so I'd have to buy an upgrade to the computer, which is another $20.... so I think it's probably better to just stick with the 2?

Upgrading to OSX Yosemite (10.10.1) is free now.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 17, 2014, 02:19:45 pm
The impedance on the 280 must be in the name, I think the 300 ohm spec was on the 'Pro' version which was the first one I found on Google.

I too run into latency issues when I start to run plugins on my input. This only starts to get a little annoying when I'm tracking electric guitar that I run through amp/cab sims.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 17, 2014, 05:43:28 pm
Other way. Impedence in the Pro version is 64 ohm; regular HD280 is 300.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 17, 2014, 06:08:22 pm
My K240's are low like that too. The AT-M50s will blow your head off. They all work fine though IME.

If you are just tracking you use most anything. Mixing though it shouldn't be problem.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 17, 2014, 09:02:04 pm
I use my DT770s for tracking but they sometimes leak some highs when my head is close to the mic (which is relatively often). They're great for mixing, but I'm sure somebody has a suggestion for cheaper closed-back headphones that don't have that (I'm expecting AT).
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 17, 2014, 10:18:55 pm
Okay, I finally got it taken care of!  We happened to be near Guitar Center today, so we stopped in and I talked with the guy there.  I ended up getting the Scarlett 2i2 (they didn't have the Mackie in store, which helped make that decision).  I said I wanted the SM58 combo pack, and he recommended the Sennheiser e835 for several reasons, so I got that with a mic stand and cable.  I checked on the mic and it has really good reviews, so I should be all set.   ;D  I'll start playing around with it tomorrow and get it all set up and everything.

Thanks a million to all of you who helped out with this!!! 
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 17, 2014, 11:05:10 pm
Congrats Hollywood!

There's one thing though - clips or it didn't happen! ;)

Enjoy learning and recording, I'm sure you'll be sharing some of it with us. You will, right? ::)

I think I actually considered the e835 too, precisely because of good reviews. I never got one because I wanted something that worked on both guitar amp and vocals. Now that ain't easy so it would be a compromise anyway.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 18, 2014, 12:00:07 am
Congrats Hollywood! Enjoy! :)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 18, 2014, 12:24:41 am
Congrats!
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 18, 2014, 12:39:52 am
There's one thing though - clips or it didn't happen! ;)

Enjoy learning and recording, I'm sure you'll be sharing some of it with us. You will, right? ::)

Of course!   :) 

Stay tuned... The Adventures of Learning To Operate The Scarlett will begin tomorrow at 11:00 am EST on JustinGuitar.com.   ;D
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 18, 2014, 12:50:53 am
Stay tuned...
... she said joyfully, to a forum filled with musicians. ;D

Can't wait to hear some better quality recordings from you. ;)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 18, 2014, 01:04:36 am
Awesome, congrats on the purchase! I think you'll be happy with the interface, and the mic appears to have pretty solid reviews. I'm looking forward to hearing some clips!
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 18, 2014, 02:04:15 am
Oh shoot.... I was just getting ready to call Abbey Road and tell them you wanted to buy the whole deal.

Yeah, you will be happy once you get going with it.

I'll give you a warning up front.... Those green lights and orange lights and red lights on that dial....

The RED is not a GOAL to be sought and just backed off from. It is to be avoided at all cost.

The Yellow/Orange is actually HOT and you don't want  to be there either.

The GREEN lights come on at -24dB.. that means even if you just had the green lights on at their lowest you will get a perfectly fine recording.

The RED is not a speed limit sign that you simply don't want to pass. It's a SONIC NIGHTMARE that you want to stay way away from.

If you could keep the most of your playing, the bulk of what you play or sing somewhere between the GREEN just coming on and MAYBE every once in a while you see just a hint of YELLOW happen on a really loud peak... then you will be perfect.

DO NOT worry that your waveforms in your DAW look small. That's what ZOOM is for.

When you play the track back it should show a PEAK level NOT OVER -6dB and really you might want to consider -10dB your limit ( smaller number is louder ) and you want an AVERAGE around -15dB. Most of the videos you see on YouTube are done wrong. They are recording needlessly and harmfully way too HOT. It will make it more difficult to get a good overall final product.



Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: mike42 on December 18, 2014, 02:12:09 am
Good advice TB. I normally keep it in the -10dB to -15dB level, and often times the level will drop below -24dB so the green ring blinks on and off a bit.

Recordingrevolution has a good video on gain staging. I think it's this one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Enhcve9Lblc
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 18, 2014, 02:32:04 am
My master bus usually peaks at -12dB or so, I think -10 on the master is also suggested by Graham from the above video. I suppose that means that my individual tracks peak even lower than that. -10dB is a good rule of thumb.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Hollywood on December 18, 2014, 04:52:46 pm
Now for the silly questions... I can't figure out how to use it!  It's plugged into my computer, the USB light is on, and I've got the mic and guitar plugged in.  Now what?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 18, 2014, 08:52:31 pm
Start making some noise (bash on some chords, tap on the mic) and turn the gain knobs next to each input up until the halos around said gain knobs start flickering green. ;)
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Borodog on December 18, 2014, 09:10:12 pm
Software?
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Scooter Trash on December 18, 2014, 10:25:43 pm
Now for the silly questions... I can't figure out how to use it!  It's plugged into my computer, the USB light is on, and I've got the mic and guitar plugged in.  Now what?

Yeah.. Install Reaper. Create a track ("insert" "track") There are shortcut keys. Ctrl-T on PC, not sure what it is on Mac.

After you have created a track, right-click on the led segments to the right of the fader on the track and where it says "input mono" click and select your interfaces first channel.

Plug your mic into the #1 input of your interface. Talk into the mic and adjust the level so that it's below clipping.

Go into reaper and arm your track by clicking the red 'record arm" button on the track.

Click the red record button on the transport and begin recording.

Press the stop button on the transport when you're done recording. You'll be prompted to save the take. Save it. Then you can rewind and play back the recording.

That should get ya started.
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: TB-AV on December 18, 2014, 10:47:55 pm
https://justinguitarcommunity.com/index.php?topic=36229.0
Title: Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
Post by: Cue Zephyr on December 27, 2014, 09:28:48 pm
I just went against my own advice and purchased the UR22, to replace my E-MU that died a few months ago. If anyone's interested, I'll report back when I get it.