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A bunch of questions from a newbie

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Lobsterdeth, Jul 28, 2009.

  1. Lobsterdeth


    Jan 6, 2008
    I've been interested in recording stuff for youtube and stuf like that, but two things have always stopped me.

    I have a not-to-good mic, but I dont get any sound from it when I connect it to my laptop, it's really old Toshiba Tecra which I think might not have a good sound card. If I try recording it with the on board mic it starts clipping and distorting and stuff.

    Which brings me to a second question, I suppose I'm gonna need a good microphone, but I dont really have that much money. I had read some other thread about a Shure Esomething-something. The thing is I'm gonna need a mic that can take some punishment, because I mostly play with really high-gain distortions.

    Any help will be appreciated, thank you for reading this and not just posting "lol search buttan."
  2. RickenBoogie


    Jul 22, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Vocal mic? Shure SM 58, $100. But, I think you'll also need a preamp, and possibly a mixer. Recording isn't cheap.
  3. well, as for your mic not working I'm not sure about that without knowing the model etc it might just be that it's broken, it might be that it needs phantom power or a huge amount of gain (something a laptop line-in is unlikely to give!) or maybe you haven't set it up correctly.

    a shure sm58 or 57 is a proper workhorse mic that has been used with great results on man sources for years and years. not bad for the cost though you may want something a bit more silky and expensive sounding. The normal choice for this would be a large diaphragm condenser, though generally speaking a cheaper condenser will have a glassy/grainy sheen to the high end which although flattering at first listen may become tiresome. a 57 won't have that, but you get less of a full range sound, it depends on your preference. if you are up for really learning how to record I would get the 57 (a dynamic, rather than condenser mic)

    a condeser will also need power, normally in the form of phantom power, sent to the mic from some kind of mixer or interface. a dynamic should work plugged straight into the computer, though without a pre amp it will still sound pretty shocking. a pre amp is basically an amp for mics, and its necessary to get the mic's signal up to proper recording level.

    as for a mic that can take punishment, pretty much any dynamic mic could be used to hammer nails in and still work (I wouldn't try it though ;) ). that said, its very hard to damage a condenser with sound as well, you can happily put a large diaphragm condenser in front of a kick drum and not worry about it. get a sensitive mic right up against a snare and you might just about damage the capsule but generally speaking its very hard to break a mic with sound alone.

    the 3rd main type of mic, ribbons, are a little more fragile. they can take very high volumes as well but really don't like air rushing past them. so bass cabs and kick drums are a no. loud guitar cabs and even vocalists with a pop shield (I often use two) are fine. ribbons sound great, really great, but need a good preamp with lots of gain and as I say a bit more care to how you use them, so I would advise investing in a workhorse mic first!

    a mic'd audio chain is basically this -

    1 - the mic
    2 - the preamp, providing phantom power if necessary
    3 - the a/d converter - turns the sound from analog to digital and gets it into the computer
    4 - the software for your interface
    5 - the sftware you have chosen to use

    so you will need an interface, a lot of interfaces include steps 2, 3 and 4 in one and many come with a demo of 'lite' version of 5. there are lots to choose from.

    good luck!