Need advice on equipment - soundcard & preamp

Hello all,

I have been creating commentary videos on my channel (mommsenwasright) for some time, using different recording software (Xsplit, ORS etc.) and editing my material in premiere pro before uploading to youtube. So most of the time i record my own voice, sometimes adding some background music, and record game / video sound, too.

I used a blue snowball usb microphone which I had lying around. I was always aware, however, that this was just a temporary solution because of the limitations of USB microphones.

Now i inherited a Sennheiser e845 S microphone and want to use that one for recording. However, i simply cannot decide what i should buy for recording with it.

  • I need something that can work as a preamp, of course, and which has the right microphone input port.
  • However I don’t need more ports for instruments or MIDI recording etc.
  • It would be nice if i had an external soundcard / audio interface that could fulfill all my needs: acting as a soundcard, perhaps even allowing me to output all my sounds (music/gaming) with it on good speakers even when not recording. Connecting to my microphone for recording. Allowing me to connect some very good headphones for monitoring my recording. Connecting to my computer to record in any kind of software I want to use. Allowing me to record game / video sound as well. Ideally allowing me to record in multichannel so that i can edit different audio channel in premiere pro (commentary & game sound or video sound) - though I know that this is really more dependend on the software i use.

I have been looking around for days, but there are soo many options out there, and a lot of them are simply overkill for me.

Any kind of help / comment is GREATLY appreciated!

The Blue Snowball should give pretty good recording quality.
What are the “limitations” that you are speaking of?

For mic pre-amps, I quite like the ART USB range. They are fairly inexpensive and generally robust (all the one’s I’ve seen are built into strong metal enclosures). As you say, there is a lot of choice, so at most we can only give personal opinion.

Well, personal opinions are nice. :slight_smile: Basically with a USB microphone you have pretty much no possibility to change or modify anything. It is it’s own soundcard, so-to-speak,

Now, i’m actually pretty happy with the sound quality of the snowball, but why shouldn’t i use the “real” microphone if i have it lying around? But i know nothing about the hardware i need for it.

Hmm, strange, didn’t i already write a reply here?

Anyway, the blue snowball is nice, but practically its own soundcard. Which means that you cannot control anything in the sound mixer or any kind of other sound device. Also, when I have a microphone that is better I (which is think the new one is) i think i should use that one.

However, I don’t know if i should get just something to connect the microphone or a full-fledged USB audio solution which can be my headphone amp, microphone amp and recording soundcard all in one.

You are or were under Forum Moderation which means one of the forum elves has to approve your post. Hint: Do not try to sell us kitchen cabinets or male enhancing drugs.

You should point to a specific reason you want to change microphones. As above, the Blue Snowball is a respectable microphone.

One poster is considering a different microphone in order to get his noisy computer away from him. The Snowball is limited to one USB cable length. XLR type microphones can go hundreds of feet.

As you found, once you dip into XLR type mics, the options explode. My particular preference is a full-on mixer which may seem like overkill, but I have never found a shoot I couldn’t do and the mixer is $100. $120 in the USB version. That’s it behind the headphones. Turns out I don’t have a really good picture of one on a shoot. That’s a Peavey PV6. They make a PV6-USB.

It’s only restriction is no batteries, so field operations can be sticky.

You should know that many of the simpler ways to amplify and digitally convert a microphone can have serious restrictions — chief among them is they don’t get loud enough. My small mixer has three different ways to control performance volume (they do slightly different jobs) and I’m not likely to run out.

Some “stereo” amplifiers like the Scarlett…

… are forced stereo. You need to record in stereo, there is no option, and a single microphone will only ever appear on one side. Plug into #1 and you will appear on the left. Post production is required.

There are amplifiers with no volume control at all. They have an XLR at one end and a USB connection on the other. They have a lot of the same problems that the Snowball does and we have posters complaining about the lack of volume controls. Run away.

A word on your microphone. That’s a supercardioid which means it receives primarily from the front with very good evil sound rejection from the sides, but it does have a little sensitive blob straight back.

It’s a Dynamic (moving coil) microphone which means it may sound very different from the Snowball which is a condenser type.


If the Snowball is perfect for your needs, then there is no need to change it.
The fact that you want to change to using a different mic suggests that the Snowball is not perfect for you. So the question is, what’s wrong with it? What are you trying to fix?
It’s true that the Snowball offers little in the way of controls between voice and computer, but what controls do you want/need? One of these offers lots of control, but is probably way over the top for what you actually need.