Author Topic: USB or mic with cheaper interface?  (Read 25613 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Cue Zephyr

  • All Time Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 6968
  • Good Vibes 90
  • Who's picking the banjo here?
    • Ezyo Music
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #30 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.
Guitar, banjo, mandolin and piano, bass and percussion only when needed
Production and mixing

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #31 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.



Gone

Offline Majik

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1912
  • Good Vibes 107
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #32 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
Guitars: PRS Singlecut S2, Fender Tele Lite Ash, G&L Legacy Tribute, Freshman Apollo 2 OCBX
Amps: Bugera G5 Head, Boss Katana 100
All sorts of other stuff.

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #33 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.
Gone

Offline Hollywood

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1737
  • Good Vibes 41
    • Official Website
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #34 on: December 12, 2014, 08:57:07 pm »
Yes, I have a Mac.  But beyond that... I have no idea what you just said.  ??? 
Frontwoman of folk-rock band Lighting Matches
www.LightingMatches.weebly.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Scooter Trash

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3035
  • Good Vibes 80
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #35 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.
I dream of a better tomorrow where chickens can cross roads without their motives being questioned.

Offline Hollywood

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1737
  • Good Vibes 41
    • Official Website
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #36 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.
Frontwoman of folk-rock band Lighting Matches
www.LightingMatches.weebly.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Scooter Trash

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3035
  • Good Vibes 80
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #37 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.
I dream of a better tomorrow where chickens can cross roads without their motives being questioned.

Offline Hollywood

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1737
  • Good Vibes 41
    • Official Website
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #38 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.
Frontwoman of folk-rock band Lighting Matches
www.LightingMatches.weebly.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #39 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.
Gone

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #40 on: December 12, 2014, 10:17:48 pm »
You have an Amp?
What is it?
Gone

Offline Hollywood

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 1737
  • Good Vibes 41
    • Official Website
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #41 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. 
Frontwoman of folk-rock band Lighting Matches
www.LightingMatches.weebly.com
www.Facebook.com/LightingMatchesMusic

Debut solo EP "Destination Sunday" (Rachel White)

Offline Scooter Trash

  • Stadium Superstar
  • ******
  • Posts: 3035
  • Good Vibes 80
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #42 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.
I dream of a better tomorrow where chickens can cross roads without their motives being questioned.

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #43 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?
Gone

Offline TB-AV

  • Honorable Ex-Mod
  • All Time Legend
  • *****
  • Posts: 14966
  • Good Vibes 329
Re: USB or mic with cheaper interface?
« Reply #44 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
« Last Edit: December 12, 2014, 11:04:40 pm by TB-AV »
Gone

 

Get The Forum As A Mobile App