#1
Anybody here use USB mics? What are some good ones mainly for instruments, but perhaps some vocals too? The line-in on my mac is broken, so instead of fixing it...I think I'll just get a USB mic
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#2
Why not get an audio interface and some good mics? Which brings me to ask: Why were you using the line in on your Mac to record in the first place?
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#4
if its just to record stuff to remember and whatever find a rockband mic haha. sounds terrible but it aint too bad quality
#5
Lol well yah it was quick....but I would still like to have some quality to it. At least plugging straight into the comp gives better quality than a crappy mic
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#6
Quote by Karlboy
Why not get an audio interface and some good mics? Which brings me to ask: Why were you using the line in on your Mac to record in the first place?

Line In is gonna give you way better results than a microphone, except for vocals, but that's fairly obvious

TS, get a decent computer lol. I blame the mac.
#9
Quote by Eliyahu
Line In is gonna give you way better results than a microphone, except for vocals, but that's fairly obvious

TS, get a decent computer lol. I blame the mac.

What?! That's absolute rubbish! Even though FireWire is better, USB > Line In any day. And furthermore, there is nothing wrong with Macs, many good studios use Macs instead of Windows-based computers.


TS, go ask in the Riffs & Recordings forum section, and you'll get much better answers.

I would say you should avoid USB mics, and go for a cheap USB audio interface considering what you want it for. It will likely have an XLR (mic) input, as well as a 1/4" jack input for you to use if you're only recording guitars and have a crap amp/need low volume recording.

Edit: Considering you have a Macbook Pro, I now suggest you go for a FireWire interface as it would appear you have the money
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2009,
#10
Quote by DisarmGoliath
What?! That's absolute rubbish! Even though FireWire is better, USB > Line In any day. And furthermore, there is nothing wrong with Macs, many good studios use Macs instead of Windows-based computers.


TS, go ask in the Riffs & Recordings forum section, and you'll get much better answers.

I would say you should avoid USB mics, and go for a cheap USB audio interface considering what you want it for. It will likely have an XLR (mic) input, as well as a 1/4" jack input for you to use if you're only recording guitars and have a crap amp/need low volume recording.


I never said anything about USB. Line In is when you take an audio cable from the output on an amp to the mic jack on a computer, then you get direct quality. There is no way in hell holding a microphone up to an amp is gonna be better.
#11
Macs are ONLY good for media, thus perfect for music.
Soon, death metal's drums will be so fast only computers will be able to listen to it.

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#12
Quote by Eliyahu
I never said anything about USB. Line In is when you take an audio cable from the output on an amp to the mic jack on a computer, then you get direct quality. There is no way in hell holding a microphone up to an amp is gonna be better.

Except that often you want the sound of the speakers, or the microphone might tailor to a certain sound, and you might want the sound cranked power valves give when pushed into overdrive...

Line In is the name of a 3.5mm jack on most laptops, which is NOT good quality for audio and recording. Direct Input/Injection (DI) is what you are thinking of, and more often that involves just the instrument, not the amplifier (as the whole point is you take a clean signal and then can 'reamp' via an amp simulation plug-in like Guitar Rig or Amplitube. Taking a line out from an amp and plugging it into the line in on any laptop will almost certainly blow up the laptop's soundcard, probably the laptop itself, and maybe even damage the amp itself.

TS is (hopefully) referring to using a computer mic with a 3.5mm connector, which would also be pretty poor quality.


Also, just out of interest, why do you think almost all professional recordings use microphones on instruments, and only recently sometimes mix that signal with a DI'd signal? Would the vast majority of producers really think it a good idea to do this, if they could simply plug in the amps directly and get a perfect sound? Heck, why then bother with studios? You'd only need a drum room, vocal booth, and a computer right?
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2009,
#13
Quote by stinger12345
Lol well yah it was quick....but I would still like to have some quality to it. At least plugging straight into the comp gives better quality than a crappy mic


The way he said plug straight into the computer makes it sound like he is doing what I was referring to, and unless you are trying to record a truly professional album, it works quite alright. I've gotten pretty nice quality out of it, but I am also a recording newb.
#14
USB mics are not good, unless you want to do it the cheap, low-quality way.

Get an audio interface with phantom power and a good condenser microphone and stand.

Listen to the track on my profile, MXL 990 Acoustic. It's a 60$ mic through a cheap audio interface.
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#15
Quote by DisarmGoliath


Also, just out of interest, why do you think almost all professional recordings use microphones on instruments, and only recently sometimes mix that signal with a DI'd signal? Would the vast majority of producers really think it a good idea to do this, if they could simply plug in the amps directly and get a perfect sound? Heck, why then bother with studios? You'd only need a drum room, vocal booth, and a computer right?


I have no idea what they even do in recording studios, but I was answering towards TS's situation. It sounds like he just wants something to record stuff and not release, and I was simply saying that in his situation holding a microphone to an amp is not going to be as good as going directly in. From what he said so far I don't think he is aiming for professional recording.
#16
Quote by Eliyahu
The way he said plug straight into the computer makes it sound like he is doing what I was referring to, and unless you are trying to record a truly professional album, it works quite alright. I've gotten pretty nice quality out of it, but I am also a recording newb.

To me, that suggests he is just plugging the guitar in. Plugging in the amp, to a line in, would be very bad for the equipment.

Apologies for coming across as harsh, I just thought it would be bad for people to start plugging amps into laptops. I'm a sound engineering & production degree student, so (hopefully) know that much about the stuff mentioned in the thread, or I'll be failing this year haha.
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#17
Quote by DisarmGoliath
To me, that suggests he is just plugging the guitar in. Plugging in the amp, to a line in, would be very bad for the equipment.

Apologies for coming across as harsh, I just thought it would be bad for people to start plugging amps into laptops. I'm a sound engineering & production degree student, so (hopefully) know that much about the stuff mentioned in the thread, or I'll be failing this year haha.

I dont see what is wrong with plugging an amp into a laptop....it gets the exact tone you get on the amp straight into an edittable program such as audacity where you can mix guitar+bass etc. I mean I am not a pro recorder but that is my exact way of recording my work, and generally the only problem is the fuzz from the amp because I use too much distortion (which sounds better coming straight out the amp for some reason). You can see the short solo I did on my profile, theres nothing wrong with it.

EDIT: you also have to consider that he is probably not using any "equipment" just guitar, amp, computer, audio cables, and microphones.
Last edited by Eliyahu at Jul 6, 2009,
#20
I suppose if the amp has a direct out, plugging it into something else shouldn't be too bad if the volume is fairly low, and the signal isn't too high, but not too many amps (particularly high-end amps) have direct outs on them, as they're designed primarily for live use. Using the speaker out from an amp head would be very bad for instance.

And listening to your solo, not to be intentionally rude but if that is the sound your amp is set to make when you play it, I think you need to let your musical ear develop a bit more and then search for a better tone because it's very... I dunno, very harsh and has a very digital sound to the distortion. I'm guessing it's a relatively cheap solid-state amp?

If you listen to the song on my profile, yes it was done in a pro studio, but the only thing DI'd on that is the bass (which is admittedly too loud, apologies for that) and the kick drum and snare are a mix of the original kick and snare mics, with triggered samples of a kick drum (from an Andy Sneap recording) and I think the snare was one of his too. He's a well-known producer, and also used to play in a band called Exodus (I think), and has loads of samples of his recordings that he's released
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#21
Quote by DisarmGoliath


And listening to your solo, not to be intentionally rude but if that is the sound your amp is set to make when you play it, I think you need to let your musical ear develop a bit more and then search for a better tone because it's very... I dunno, very harsh and has a very digital sound to the distortion. I'm guessing it's a relatively cheap solid-state amp?



As I said, it sounds better coming straight out the speaker. I have it set to really really high distortion because I generally practice with that, and I was testing out the tones Brian May used by boosting the treble as high as I could to. If I were recording for the final edit I'd definitely cut back on treble and drive.

EDIT: and its a Line 6 Spider 3, so bandwagoners can say what they want but I do get pretty nice tone out of it when I actually turn down the drive.
Last edited by Eliyahu at Jul 6, 2009,
#22
Quote by Eliyahu
As I said, it sounds better coming straight out the speaker. I have it set to really really high distortion because I generally practice with that, and I was testing out the tones Brian May used by boosting the treble as high as I could to. If I were recording for the final edit I'd definitely cut back on treble and drive.

EDIT: and its a Line 6 Spider 3, so bandwagoners can say what they want but I do get pretty nice tone out of it when I actually turn down the drive.

No worries, as long as you like the sound you have that's all that matters, but remember it isn't to everyone's taste (and in the case of a Spider, not to most people's taste ).

I'm glad I could tell just by listening though; if you'd have said it was a valve combo I'd have been rather disappointed in my ears
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#23
Quote by DisarmGoliath
No worries, as long as you like the sound you have that's all that matters, but remember it isn't to everyone's taste (and in the case of a Spider, not to most people's taste ).

I'm glad I could tell just by listening though; if you'd have said it was a valve combo I'd have been rather disappointed in my ears

I'm not a fan of the sound I made either but I like it to work with since I use the 75 watt so the lowest volume possible is the only way I can make it so it doesnt bug everyone upstairs. Then I need to put it into overdrive and turn the noise gate off so I can hear things like tapping. But I still cannot get Brian May's tone which is what I want!
#24
Quote by mulletboy14
I use my Rockband mic


This.
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#25
Quote by Eliyahu
I'm not a fan of the sound I made either but I like it to work with since I use the 75 watt so the lowest volume possible is the only way I can make it so it doesnt bug everyone upstairs. Then I need to put it into overdrive and turn the noise gate off so I can hear things like tapping. But I still cannot get Brian May's tone which is what I want!

Brian May uses a lot less gain than you seem to be using, and instead of distortion he gently pushes a small Vox AC30 valve combo into overdrive. This gives a 'creamier' sound, combined with his EQ which is quite 'middy' and while the treble is boosted, it isn't a harsh treble like your amp produces but a smoother one. I think part of the smoothness comes from his attack too, as he uses an old sixpence instead of a plectrum. And then he also uses his own "Red Special" guitar, which no doubt adds to his unique sound.

In short, you're never gonna get it exactly right but you can try to get close. If you like his sound, aim for something 'based' on that if you understand what I mean. For instance, I base my lead tone off a mix between Joe Satriani and Yngwie Malmsteen's tone (in my opinion) and end up with something quite 'airy' with delay and reverb on it, but not to the point where it won't cut through and has no bite. Admittedly the song on my profile doesn't really show the lead tone off, as I used a different sound on it, but one day I'll probably have a song on their demonstrating it.

Bottom line: Don't strive for someone else's tone, but try and find your own through experimentation and listening to different guitarists and identifying what you like about each of their distinctive sounds. Many top guitarists have a sound and you can instantly tell it's them just by hearing a few notes (though note choice can help too).


Edit: To clarify what I said about distortion not being the same as overdrive, your Spider is solid-state and rather than soft-clipping valves and creating a nice overdrive, the solid-state electronics clip in a harsh way producing a distortion of the sound which gets shriller the louder you push the amp. Without boring you with the science, this is because less of the original signal is captured, the louder it gets and the more distortion is introduced.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Jul 6, 2009,
#26
I dont want it exactly like his but I like the "woman tone" that Eric Clapton uses as well, on the neck pickup. You can't get all the harmonics but the tone sounds nicer and fits what I play since I don't play metal. I've been trying to mix blues with rock solos for a faster blues and the Claptonlike tone helps it.
#27
Ok, well as it happens I have a Line 6 Spider II 212 below this desk which I use for practise (as I can hardly keep a 100w all valve half-stack in my apartment and use it for practise... that lives at my mom's house haha) and though it won't be the same as the Spider 3, I doubt they changed too much. What guitar are you using? Les Paul-style, strat-style or ibanez/jackson/other 'shred' guitar style? And do you have humbuckers or singlecoils?
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#28
I use a Blue Snowball USB mic. It's cheap, around 100 bucks, and it sounds pretty decent and is easy to use.
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#29
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Ok, well as it happens I have a Line 6 Spider II 212 below this desk which I use for practise (as I can hardly keep a 100w all valve half-stack in my apartment and use it for practise... that lives at my mom's house haha) and though it won't be the same as the Spider 3, I doubt they changed too much. What guitar are you using? Les Paul-style, strat-style or ibanez/jackson/other 'shred' guitar style? And do you have humbuckers or singlecoils?

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#30
Ok, here's what I've got (using a Les Paul and compensating for your strat's singlecoils and treblier sound), assuming the newer Spiders work the same way.

Set the Amp Model to the 'red' Metal patch, drive at somewhere between 1 and 2 o'clock (between the 6th and 7th of the 11 dots), bass at 1 o'clock, mid at 3 o'clock, treble at 12 o'clock (as your guitar is trebley, and that amp model is quite trebley and the distortion is harsh otherwise), and channel volume how you please. Set reverb to about 10 o'clock and you can add a light delay if you like to thicken the sound slightly (but use it lightly!).

If you like, use your neck pickup too. I think that should get you fairly similar to a Brian May tone. If there isn't enough gain, boost the drive slightly, but he really doesn't use too much gain.

If you want a more clapton-like twist, increase the drive and then roll back the volume on your guitar to give it a subtle edge on dynamics, and then alter your attack between fierce picking for growlier/distorted tones, and softer for a more creamy sound.
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