Cheapo home recording setup

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by Nick Gann, Jul 22, 2004.

  1. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Hi everyone,

    I want to be able to use my computer to record some stuff. In the past, I had just plugged my bass or guitar directly into the soundcard of my comp, but I would rather get the sound of my instruments through the amp. I am looking for a cheap microphone that I can just plug in to the mic input on my laptop. Any suggestions of what I can buy for not too much money, and where I can get it, be it Guitar Center, Radio Shack, or Best Buy.

    I will also need a program on my comp to record with. On my old computer, I downloaded Cakewalk Pro Audio 9 off of Kazaa, but I am not going to put Kazaa onto my computer. Are there any free programs with not too many bells and whistles that I can download? Or, at least, something that doesn't cost an arm and a leg?

  2. if your looking for a mic for your bass amp, i hear good things about the AKG d112, i belive they run for about 200 bucks or so.
  3. RyanHelms


    Sep 20, 2003
    Cleveland, OH
    Quartz Studio from Digital Sound Planet is pretty cool. The full function 4-track (one track at a time recording) is free. As for an amp sim or mics, ?
  4. Corwin81


    Mar 18, 2003
    Ames, IA
    there's a free Pro-Tools
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I wouldn't go with a cheap microphone, at least not the type that normally goes into the 1/8 inch jack of a soundcard. If you want the sound of you amp, a cheap microphone will not do it for you. Most cheapo mics won't produce frequencies lower than 80-100Hz well, or at all. Just as a ref, a low E is around 40Hz. With digital recording, your sound is as good as your microphones.

    If you're looking to mic your amp, I'd save up a wee little and get a better mic.

    I think a cost effective and flexible system would be getting a cheap Behringer mixer for under $100, and an EV Co4 instrument mic (~$30-40). An SM57 would be a little better, but it will cost more. From there, just run the tape outs or another output on the mixer into the line in of your sound card. You'll more than the cheapo mic option, but considering improvement of sound quality, as well as flexibility to record other things like drum machines, or whatever, it's not a bad buy. If you keep your eyes open, you could probably get a setup like this for $100-150.
  6. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Cheap mic's will sound infinetly worse than going direct. If you don't mind, what is your budget?
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Eh, the title of the thread is specifically "cheapo".

    Keep in mind guys, I'm not talking about using this to record a my non-existant band or the non-existant jam sessions I'm always non-invited to. I'm just talking about me recording some stuff that I play when alone in my basement. Quality is not that much of an issue. As long as it doesn't sound like total dog doo, than I should be ok.

    About going direct, would it be a good idea to go from the line out on my amp straight into my coundcard?

    Jive, I'll look into the budget mixer/good mic setup, see what kind of costs I can come up with.

    Thanks everyone.
  8. byrdsfan


    Feb 9, 2004
    I got a Behringer mixer for $39 from MF. It's nice. They also have a MXL mic for $59. A lot of people like these and they look pro, at least.
    Before i bought some stuff, I was having some fun with the mic that came with my Apple computer. It might be a better one that PCs come with becuase it was powered by the computer (regular mics won't work with that input, it has to be powered). It sounded great recording my friend's Martin.

    But heck, if you can plug just any mic into you PC, get a cheapo Nandy from MF. I got the three-pac for $19. We use them for practice and they sound fine.
  9. Eldermike


    Jul 27, 2004

    The signal chain is, well, a chain. You are limited by the weakest link. So, any consideration of quality improvement in recording has to consider ever part of the chain.

  10. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I forgot about the MXLs. I have a MXL 2001 and it sounds incredible for the price. They can handle lows really well. I think you can get an MXL 990 with a shickmount for around $50-$60.

    As far as the line out is concerned, I imagine that you can use the line out from your amp if you have the proper cable. It will probably be a mono signal. Amps are different, so I don't know for sure. I imagine that if it says line out, it means that it will send a line level signal.
  11. Edwcdc

    Edwcdc I call shotgun!

    Jul 21, 2003
    Columbia MD USA

    I have a Behringer( quickly ducks to avoid missles) B1 studio mic and I have to say that it has proven to be quite versatile.
    It makes my crappy acoustic sound nice and makes my crappy voice tolerable. :D I have yet to mic an amp with it. I think I got it for about $100 with shockmount. I have a digital 10 track and a digital 4 track. My old Yamaha tape 4 track died about 4 years ago. I just use it as a mixer now.
  12. Im striving for the same thing, a cheapo home recording setup...just something I can catalog some scratch trax, riff and song ideas and such down on, and then burn to CD to pass on to the band...I tried Kristal for the first time this evening and find it pretty user friendly so far. Im about half done with my first little project, an original song I want to pass on to my guitarist for refining, so Ive saved the project and will add vox as soon as I get hold of a mic. Im simply going direct into my Soundblaster 128s mic input, and using my Pocket Rocket headphone peramp between the instruments and the soundcard for signal boost. Sounds great so far, We'll see how much of a pain it will be when it comes time to export and burn to CD
  13. You can get an XLR to 1/8" adapter cable and use any dynamic microphone connected to your laptop MIC input. I use an SM57 for general purpose stuff - HOWEVER, the integrated audio in my Dell laptop SUX and I have to process the track in Sound forge to get it to sound lke anything decent. You pretty much get what you pay for. when I need to get good audio I use an MAudio Duo interface connected via USB, and run a pair of AKG condensers with the integrated audio disabled in Windows. Soon I will switch to a Mac Powerbook and leave that Dell on the shelf, but I'l still be using the Duo