What type of USB mike would you recommend?

Ive never owned or used a USB microphone before, so what type would you recommend to record musical instruments? (Electric guitar specifically)

Thanks

Price Range?

Since there is no mixer, USB microphones can be hard to control and can take post production to get what you want. Electric Guitars can cause problems because of uncontrolled high volume. Again, no mixer to conveniently adjust for the performance. We had a poster recently who was having trouble with his electric and USB microphone we suspect because he liked to play loud enough to be heard in the next time zone. Many microphones will not do that.

Do any of your friends have one? I’m wondering why you picked USB microphone.

That’s an older Zoom H2 stand-alone recorder.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5SC1uIxXhk&feature=relmfu

And just before you blow the bux on a microphone, have you tried to record using your laptop built-in microphone? You have to make some adjustments to Windows, but that does work. The reason I say start there is the room is a performer in your show. If you don’t have a reasonable place to record, it will always sound like you’re recording in your mum’s kitchen no matter what kind of mic you use.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/EchoSample.mp3

We have a Blue Snowball at work and that seems to work OK. I’ve been happy with work I’ve done on it. It has a switch position for loud sounds.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Snowball/
http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SnowballAL/

Samson G-Track seems to work well, and that’s one of the microphones we tested with Sound-On-Sound overdubbing.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/GTrackUSB/

http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_recording_multi_track_overdubs.html

Koz

[u]Here[/u] are some USB studio condenser mics. As long as you avoid cheap “gaming” or “communications” type microphones, you should be OK. I’d suggest spending around $100 USD (or more).

USB mics are very convenient, and you’ll save a bit of money compared to buying an inexpensive studio condenser plus a USB interface*. The downsides are, you generally can’t use more than one USB mic at a time. That means no stereo unless you get a stereo USB mic, and no multitracking. And, you can’t use the USB mic for live performances or with a mixer.

Some other things that are as important as a good mic are, acoustics (including soundproofing), microphone positioning, instrument (or vocal) quality, and of course the quality of the performance. (The recording software doesn’t affect recording quality… The software basically just sends the digital data to your hard drive.)

We had a poster recently who was having trouble with his electric and USB microphone we suspect because he liked to play loud enough to be heard in the next time zone. Many microphones will not do that.

Right! You might want to look for a mic with a “pad” (a switch to knock-down the signal) or a “gain” control. Turning-down the volume in software won’t help if the digital signal is clipped (distorted).

Probably the most common way to record electric guitar is to mic the amp, because the amp & cabinet are part of the instrument sound. The Shure SM57 is very popular for this (and it’s probably the only $100 mic you’ll find in a pro studio), but it’s not a USB mic.

But some people (especially people doing home recording) record “direct” instead micing the amp. Pro studios will often record both in parallel. With a direct recording, you can use amp simulator software to simulate different amp/cabinet combinations. The [u]Behringer UCG102[/u] is inexpensive. The various line-6 [u]POD[/u] interfaces are very popular.


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  • For quality recording, you need an audio interface. (The interface is built into USB mics.) A regular microphone input on a soundcard is the wrong interface for a good studio/performance mic. Soundcards have high impedance unbalanced inputs, and pro mics are low-impedance balanced. Regular (non-USB) studio condenser mics also need 48V phantom power, which a regular soundcard does not provide. And, the preamps in consumer soundcards are generally low-quality.

Sometimes, the line-input on a consumer soundcard is OK. In that case, you can plug the mic into a mixer and the mixer-output goes into the computer’s line-input.

and no multitracking.

The G-Track we reviewed specifically because it can multi-track. Not in stereo, though.


So you need to give us a bunch more information, including looking past this purchase. Do you eventually want to sound like fourteen people in a band? You can totally do that with very modest equipment, it just takes a while.

Give us a snapshop of you. We can take that and run with it.

… Until the cable runs out. USB microphones are only good for about 2M/6’ of cable. Do you have a noisy computer? This is a problem.

Koz

Hello and thank you for the replies.

Yes, Ive been leaning towards the Blue Snowball, from the samples Ive been listening to it sounds like a good choice.

Of course, Ive realized that I might take me a while to figure out how to use it effectively, and Ill need to be patient.

U-tube tutorials have also been very helpful so far, although they arent the answer to everything.

If all else fails I hope you dont mind if I consult you guys again, youve been very helpful and have my thanks. :smiley: