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Tentative Recording Setup

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by WWOD?, Jul 19, 2003.


  1. I'm currently working on setting up a recording system on my new computer. Here's what I have so far:

    Computer
    2.6 ghz processor intel processor
    512 mb ram
    120 gb hard drive
    15" flat panel LCD monitor
    Windows XP

    I want to use an M-Audio Audiophile sound card and mic my bass amp with a Shure SM57 Instrument mic. Just a couple of questions now.

    1)I haven't been able to find an XLR female to Male RCA adapter to use with the SM57. Would it be ok to use and XLR female to 1/4" TRS Male adapter and then a 1/4" female to male RCA?

    2)If not, then is the M-Audio Delta 44 a suitable card using just the one adapter? (I would prefer the Delta 44, but I might not be able to make enough money before college.)

    3)A friend of mine uses N-Track studio and loves its ease of use. Are their any large cons to the program?
     
  2. 4)I read this on the system requirements for both M-Audio sound cards and I have no idea what it is.
    "UDMA EIDE or ATA 33/66 HDD" Can anybody help me out?
     
  3. You need a low-Z to hi-Z adapter, or else a direct box, for best results. (Not all XLR to 1/4" adapters have the audio impedance matching transformer built-in, some are merely an XLR jack soldered to a 1/4 plug). Once you've converted the low impedance to hi-Z, it's easy to adapt to RCA.

    As far as the UDMA/EIDE or ATA33/66: older hard drives used slower access speeds, which may not give suitable results with the demands of your audio card. So your audio card spec'd out the minumum level of performance it can live with.

    If you've got a 120 gig hard drive, relax. It's probably an ATA 133 (I think that's UDMA Mode 6) which is far more than adequate!
     
  4. JMX

    JMX Vorsprung durch Technik

    Sep 4, 2000
    Cologne, Germany
    Bill is right, you need a DI box or a mixer with decent mic preamps.

    Your PC dramatically exceeds the minimum requirements of the Audiophile.
     
  5. Johnalex

    Johnalex

    Jul 20, 2001
    South Carolina
    If you are low on money get a cheap little mixer.

    Also remember you are going to have to have a way to hear what comes out of the Audiophile. SO make sure you ahve something with RCA inputs to use for monitoring. I Was a little confused when I got my audiophile about that.
     
  6. Thanks for all the input, but I'm getting confused by all the terms that get thrown around here. I don't know what a low-Z to hi-Z adapter is or a DI box. I'm trying to learn all this stuff as fast as I can. I don't know anybody with a professional setup either. I only have one friend who does this and he runs a SM-57 through a Soundblaster Audigy as simple as possible. Are their any good sites that explain this stuff? Thanks again.
     
  7. Okay, I'll try to explain. A microphone with an XLR connection is called low-Z because its internal impedance (Z) is low (around 300 ohms maybe). One with a 1/4 inch plug is considered hi-Z because the impedance is high, maybe 10,000 ohms. For example a bass pickup may be in the 7000 to 12,000 ohm range.

    While you could just take an XLR mic cord, cut off the end, and solder on a 1/4 inch plug, there would still be a problem. The mixer (or amp, or tape recorder, or whatever the mic plugs into) uses a circuit which is designed to match the impedance of the device plugged into it. The low-Z inputs--XLR jacks--are connected to circuits which are designed to match up to a low Z impedance. The 1/4 inputs are made to match up with a hi-Z. To correctly go from a lo-Z to a hi-Z or vice versa, a transformer is used (called an impedance matching transformer). A DI box (stands for Direct box) does basically the same thing, only it can have an electronic circuit to do the change, usually powered by a battery or a mixer's phantom power supply.

    RCA inputs are typically used with line-level (about 1 volt) inputs, not mic-level inputs (small fractions of a volt), but perhaps you can coax enough gain out of your card to handle a mic. If not, you'll need some sort of preamp to boost the mic level signal to a line level. Sorry I didn't delve into that in my first response. A small little mixer may be just what you need, or maybe a little preamp. Or a Sansamp.

    Or--if you're really low on funds: get ahold of a cassette deck with a mic input. This will usually be 1/4 inch, so you'll still need to pop for about $15 to get the impedance matching transformer that will let you plug your SM57 into the tape deck. You will now use the tape deck as your preamp. The tape deck will have RCA outs at line level that you can connect directly to your RCA input jacks on your computer. Put in a cassette, press the pause button!!!, and hit Record. You can leave the tape paused, just keep it on Record. Use the mic level knob to set your mic's gain....

    Your friend's sound card may have a mic plug on it, I'm not familiar with it. Maybe that's how he plugs straight in.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Ok, let me see if I understand that. If I were to get a M-Audio Delta 44 with the 1/4" inputs on the breakout box I would need to use a low-Z to hi-Z female XLR to 1/4" male to change the low impedance Shure SM-57 to a high impedance connection?