Buying my first microphone, help please!

Hello everyone!

I’m gonna buy my first microphone, mostly for rap but maybe for song also. I was planning to buy a Samson G-track, the usb-one, but after i was googling i found out that many people was having problems with static noise in windows 7 and so on. So after that i was planning to buy AT2020 USB, but after asking some folks they told me to buy this : and this :

So now i need your help, I want a good microphone with no static noise at all if thats possible? without buying a lots of stuido eq. My thoughts about buying an AT2020 USB, was to be able to use my old sound-card. But how does it works then, will the AT2020 use my soundcard or has it one built-in? I’m suspicious to my sound-card and think that it generates alot of static noise. At least it does so with my headset-mic and with my XBOX360 USB mic. I have none experience from studio-things and so on, so thats why i’m asking you guys.

To make a long story short, I need a good microphone to a small price due to my amateur use. And I also need to know the things I need around, like popfilter and so on.

(Please excuse me if my english isn’t the best!)


(Please excuse me if my english isn’t the best!)

It’s fine. It’s the question that’s difficult.

USB microphones bypass the sound card. The sound card’s job is to convert the tiny electrical signal from the microphone into binary so the rest of the computer can use it. The microphone signal is so small that it takes great care and effort to amplify and convert it to digital. Most sound cards are very cheap and don’t take good care or do a good job. A common problem is a frying or a “rain in the trees” sound behind the show. That’s just cheap electronics inside the card.

USB Microphones convert the music to digital inside the microphone and much of that hiss and shshsh sound goes away.

However. USB microphones have their own problems. Since usually there’s no easy way to control the loudness, many USB microphones start very quiet. Overload and crashing (too loud) is very dangerous, sounds awful, and we can’t fix it later. That’s the end of the show. Too quiet isn’t bad. We can fix that with several of the Audacity amplifier tools.

But if it’s too quiet, you get the hiss and shshsh sound back, this time from inside the microphone.

Find out more about the G-Track problems. One of the musical performers in the office has a G-Track USB and loves it. G-Track is one of the microphones with sophisticated electronics inside to allow easy overdubbing and multi-track recording. Some of the other microphones do not allow that.

He’s a rock musician and does not have trouble creating high volume. “bgravato” on the forum plays acoustic guitar expressively and is much more likely to run into quiet performance problems.

You also need to know that you can only separate USB microphones a certain distance from the computer. USB will only go about 3M or 4M. You may not share a USB hub with other devices like keyboard and mouse. The microphone must have its own computer connection.


You didn’t say what was your budget. Usually you get what you paid for.

If you’re buying from thomann have a look a their T-Bone mics. They usually have a ver good quality/price ratio.

I have a T-Bone SC1100 and I’m very happy with it. The SC1200 should be slightly better, but I haven’t tried it. Both are in the same price range of the SE.

I’m connecting my mic to the computer through an ART USB Dual Pre mic preamp, which I’m very happy with. It’s slighly more expensive than the Fast Track, but not that much more.

I also have the t-bone micplug, but i wouldn’t really recommend it, too much hiss. You can’t beat the price though.

USB mics often have the same hiss problem… often the quality the built-in preamp is not the best and you can’t separate the mic from it if you want to buy a dedicated preamp later. So I wouldn’t recommend usb mics.

When you’re using USB devices, whether it’s a usb mic or a usb preamp, it doesn’t matter which sound card you have, the sound input never goes through the sound card. The output does if you connect the speakers or headphones to the computer’s sound card. Make sure the hiss you hear is in the recording and not being added by the sound card (or speakers or headphones) only on the playback.

Which arrangement looks closest to how you would like to record:

Thanks for all your answers!

My budget is around 200 euro, sure I could buy something better for more money but I’ not sure how much I will use it. I’m just an amateur yet…
What exactly is the “hiss” problem? Is it noise?

I’m planning to get this since the other one lacked phantom power… So is the T-bone mics better than the SE?
I think it’s very hard to find information about the mics online, cause there is always people who are dissapointed with their mics, wheter it’s G-track, SE, AT202 and so on.

But what the hell, maybe it’s best to just order and test it out…

Well, I’m nott planning to get on the stage so the first pic looks closest :slight_smile:

That black thing between her and the microphone is a pop and blast filter and helps prevent popping or cracking P sounds. A side effect is keeping the performer from swallowing the microphone, distorting consonants, and giving a breathy, gasping sound.

Noise is a big problem in microphone systems because the microphone signal isn’t all that big. It’s so small (how small is it, Johnny?) it’s so small that it competes with the electronics making its own noise. All electronics make noise - usually pink or white “rain in the trees” kind of noise. The object is to make that noise a lot lower than the show.

Ever stood next to a portable power generator like in a construction crew or an emergency response? That thing that takes two people to lift and you can hear it pounding six blocks away? That’s a generator designed to run lights or a jack hammer or something similar.

Cut a one-inch circle out of a Kleenex tissue. Put it in your hand and blow gently on it. That’s the generator inside a microphone. I’m not joking. It’s generating sound signals from the power of your voice instead of the massive crushing power of gasoline/petrol.

It’s one reason you never, ever blow into a microphone. It’s a good way to convert €200 to garbage and get yourself a black eye from the sound guy.

It’s expensive to design an amplifier for signals like that, and unless you got really lucky, cheap amplifiers add noise on their own. The Samson C01U has been reported by many people to be noisier than it probably should be.

One of the significant shortcomings of USB microphones is the built-in amplifier. If it’s not up to your standards, that’s tough. You can’t separate them.

It’s rough to mix two or more USB microphones. After two, you get straight into analog mixing desks and internal digitizers, etc, etc. It gets crazy in a hurry.

What kind of performances are you doing?


Hiss noise is that kind of ssshhhhh or ssssssss you hear as background noise.

Which other one? The one I mentioned (ART USB Dual Pre) also has phantom power.
I have no experience with m-audio products, but they’ve also received some good reviews.

Indeed… I think you’ll always find someone complaining about something (and also someone praising it’s the best thing on earth).
What may fulfill ones’ standards may not be true for other.
I think thomann will take back the products if you’re not satisfied with them. You’ll always loose the shipping costs though.

Whether T-Bones are better or worse I cannot tell you. I never tried an SE. The only thing I can say is that I’m quite pleased with my T-Bone SC1100. T-Bones are regarded as having a good quality/price ratio. SE is also a well regarded brand. Ideally the best would be going to a store and try all mics available and judge by yourself :slight_smile:

For your budget I’d stay away form usb mics and I’d go with a separate mic and preamp. USB preamp being preferred to one without a usb connection. Almost all good mics have a XLR connection. Large diaphragms usually require phantom power.