Hey guys, I was looking into buying a Shure SM57 mic (getting a good amp soon), and I was wondering what kind of inexpensive setup could i use to be able to mic an amp cabinet, put it into the computer, and into some sort of recording program.

By inexpensive, I mean $300 or under. I'm looking for a setup to record guitars, bass, drums, and eventually vocals, although for now it would be used just for guitars. Now, its important that the recording maintains the sound of the amp (hence why i didnt want to go direct input into an interface) since I plan on getting a good amp soon. Any help is greatly appreciated!
its just something you plug your guitar and in your case your amp into before you put it into your interface i helps keep the natural sound of the amp and guitar
alright, that sounds cool...what sort of interface would i want to use in this case?
Ideally you should look for a firewire interface, assuming you have a firewire port on your computer (I use a mac, and all the new iMacs come with two firewire ports anyway; one 400 and one 800).

Otherwise, a USB interface would do, they're just often not as fast and are (allegedly) less stable.

Anyway, a good device would be something like this, however if you intend to eventually record drums you will need multiple mic (XLR) inputs so a decent 8-input interface would be your best bet.

Remember, you don't necessarily need a mixer with all the tone control pots such as seen on a PA desk - not only do they often not have the right outputs to connect direct to a PC/Mac, but also you merely need something to convert the analogue signal of the sound into a digital signal for the computer to read correctly. Tone shaping can be dealt with in the DAW (recording program) itself if it is a decent program, and you will no doubt be altering the EQ when mixing the tracks anyway.

As long as the interface has gain controls, and ideally headphone outs (so you can monitor what is recorded without a significantly noticeable latency) and a VU meter or LED gain meter would help you make sure you aren't clipping the system

Edit: Oh, and make sure you get one that has a +48v phantom power switch in case you buy any condenser mics. Hope all that helps.
Why don't you look into something like a ZOOM H2 portable recorder.
http://www.portlandmusiccompany.com/h2.html (listen to the recorded tracks in right)

You're absolutely not going to Pro stuff only spending 300 bucks, are you?
H2 thingy can give you every thing for $200, and if you have a good knowledge on how to place mics maybe you can even touch the pro level with this simple thing. It's no use to spend more money to do some demos and stuff.

And for the DAW, (if you're not gonna sell your recordings) you can get Reaper for $50.

I'm sure this $250 can do better than $300 set up.
Theres two solutions.

For more money, you could get a USB mixer and use the EQ to edit your sound and use DSP. That would be about $270 not including the mic cable.


Alesis USB Mixer

For less money, you can get a USB Preamp but for about $200 (not including the mic cable,) but you would have to get more editing software if you want to change the sound.


ART USB Preamp.

Basically, get the USB Mixer if you want to put in extra money, or get the USB Preamp if you want to go with the cheaper solution.
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Good luck recording acoustic drums with a small interface...
For drum tracking the best lower priced interface out there IMO is the PreSonus FP10.

The problem with USB interfaces and mixers is they all mix down to a stereo track meaning you can't tweak each drum mic with EQ and compression later in mixing.

Save up your cash, get a drum mic set with about 8 mics, get the FP10, and run that to a computer....or just pay for real studio time as that will get you the best sound.

If you wanted, you could use software to add drums. It's a little involved to program drums at times but the sound is great from some of these products and it will save you quite a bit of money. Toontrack has some good sets you can look at here. Most people have been happy with EZD and DFH expansion but the latest SD2.0 sounds great even though its a little high in price...they even have a second volume coming out soon for that.

Most interfaces come with preamps on board so you wont need to buy an external one as suggested above. If you simply want to record some guitar and vocals for now, a small interface like a PreSonus Inspire or EMU 0202 or 0404 and your SM57 will be a nice little starting setup. The 57 is good for vocals and amps as well as a bunch of other things.
Last edited by moody07747 at Dec 21, 2008,
hey everyone, thanks for all the advice! A setup that doesnt have a great ability to record drums is fine with me, I meant able to add stuff in order to record drums down the road (sorry i didnt specify). Basically, you're saying firewire is better than USB? also, how do i know if i have a firewire port? I have a Dell Dimension E510, but if that doesnt have a firewire port i might be buying another computer for recording anyway. Again, thanks for all the help!
Last edited by locosenor13 at Dec 21, 2008,