#1
Hey everyone,
I've been looking at getting a lower-budget condenser microphone just for some hobby recording (vocals, guitar, piano).

However, I was wondering about a few things:

1) Do all condenser mics record stereo (ie. in audacity?) ? I have this dynamic mic that doesn't seem capable of doing stereo, but as to condenser mics, can they do it even though it doesn't specify anywhere ?

2) looking at some condenser mics, people say that condenser mics are phantom powered. What are some inexpensive/portable ways to power it without having to buy a preamp or w.e?
So for simplicity/convenience would it be better just to get a USB condenser mic (especially since it's mostly just for hobby). Are there any drawbacks to USB condenser mics?

3) Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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#2
Ok, from my knowledge no microphone pics up stereo, you have to use two microphones in a XY position or similar to get the stereo affect. Although setting up a stereo track or multi-tracking the same recording and panning can achieve a stereo sound.
Phantom power can be gained through a lot of things. You can buy a separate box to power a mic or just use a mixer/pre amp that supplies it through the mains. Most people use there mixer or midi input because most come with phantom power.
USB is a big no go for condenser mics. No pc can power phantom power enough to get the frequency response. I don't actually no of any condenser mics that are usb.
Your best bet if you want to keep it cheap is ebay it and maybe just take your time.
#3
Quote by Blanco
Ok, from my knowledge no microphone pics up stereo, you have to use two microphones in a XY position or similar to get the stereo affect. Although setting up a stereo track or multi-tracking the same recording and panning can achieve a stereo sound.
Phantom power can be gained through a lot of things. You can buy a separate box to power a mic or just use a mixer/pre amp that supplies it through the mains. Most people use there mixer or midi input because most come with phantom power.
USB is a big no go for condenser mics. No pc can power phantom power enough to get the frequency response. I don't actually no of any condenser mics that are usb.
Your best bet if you want to keep it cheap is ebay it and maybe just take your time.


+1

You can always redub the guitar; you just have to perform it almost perfectly both times.
Or you can buy 2 if you want to take the hobby further. The key to the stereo part is that they're not the same exactly (otherwise it would just sound like mono)
#4
http://www.audio-technica.com/cgi-bin/product_search/wired_mics/mics_by_type.pl?product_type=Microphones%3A+Stereo

Stereo Microphones, actually there are quite a few. Tend to be used with video camcorders.

Don't know where they work for recording other than my cameras when I am in a situation where a separate audio track is not a reasonable option.

Condensor mics need power, the stereo condenser mics I have used are either externally powered or use batteries (usually both). They also usually use a 3.5 mm stereo plug, not XLR and I have never seen that type of a jack have phantom power. Not sure if these can plug into a computer's input, never tried it.

Some of the more expensive ones connect via 2 XLR plugs, but I have always powered those with batteries as well. I run those through a small mixer, a multi-channel interface or straight into some Zoom H4 handheld recorder thingie that lives in our location audio recording kit. You sound like you are on a budget so this really isn't an option.
Last edited by Quintex at Mar 27, 2011,
#5
Quote by Blanco
. Most people use there mixer or midi input because most come with phantom power.


I'm sorry but you know shit about recording. Go back to Recording 101 before posting here again...

Anyways, except for the higher end mics that are specifically designed for stereo, most condensers don't record stereo. You're looking at $500+ for a good one

As for the USB Condensers, I usually avoid them but for just tracking shit for the sake of tracking it, it gets the job done. If you're looking for a little more quality, the same mic but non-USB and a decent interface kicks the shit out of the same mic but USB any day.
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
#6
Quote by lockwolf
I'm sorry but you know shit about recording. Go back to Recording 101 before posting here again...

Anyways, except for the higher end mics that are specifically designed for stereo, most condensers don't record stereo. You're looking at $500+ for a good one

As for the USB Condensers, I usually avoid them but for just tracking shit for the sake of tracking it, it gets the job done. If you're looking for a little more quality, the same mic but non-USB and a decent interface kicks the shit out of the same mic but USB any day.



Sorry, go look at a mackie mixer for instance. It comes with phantom power. Now look up audio/midi interface, majority come with phantom power. You also basically just said exactly what i said in my first post.
#7
Internet Explorer crashed right when I hit Post Reply...
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...
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Luckily I saved my post into a text document like I do with all my longer than two sentence posts.

Quote by Blanco
Ok, from my knowledge no microphone pics up stereo, you have to use two microphones in a XY position or similar to get the stereo affect. Although setting up a stereo track or multi-tracking the same recording and panning can achieve a stereo sound.
Phantom power can be gained through a lot of things. You can buy a separate box to power a mic or just use a mixer/pre amp that supplies it through the mains. Most people use there mixer or midi input because most come with phantom power.
USB is a big no go for condenser mics. No pc can power phantom power enough to get the frequency response. I don't actually no of any condenser mics that are usb.
Your best bet if you want to keep it cheap is ebay it and maybe just take your time.


As far as I'm concerned there are stereo mics, but I believe these are essentially two mics in one. I don't see how a singular diaphram with a magnetic coil could possible ever provide stereo signal.
It'd be very impractical as well, you'd need to either run two XLR's from the mic or have a special cable. Video cameras are in stereo, but that's completely different. That's not proffesional sound engineering quality. One of my 40 dollar dynamic mics beats the hell out of my Dad's 1200 dollar video camera in terms of sound quality.

Holy shit long post. But wait, it gets longer.

Blanco, I can see what advice you're trying to give but I see lots of faults in what you've said. Rather than correcting you, I'll pretend I never saw your post.

Condensors do require Phantom Power. There are multiple ways of providing this to your microphone.
Mixer-I have yet to find a mixer(With XLR) without Phantom Power. Taking Phantom Power capabilites out of a mixer takes away a couple hundred microphones in your range of possibilites.
Pre-Amp- You can buy pre-amps seperate from the mixer. I don't have enough experience with these to talk about them in depth, but I do know that 99% if not 100% have Phantom Power.
Those are just two ways. It's four in the morning, what do you expect?

On the topic of USB mics:
I've never owned one(There's good reason too.) but I have used them before. A friend of mine(ex-friend if that matters at all...) had one of those Snowball USB Condensors. I didn't really like it. The lack of versatility was too much to even be worth it. Personally, I do more live sound than recording so I like all of my gear to work Live and in the Studio. I can see the USB mics being good for Podcasts or the like, but a serious recording microphone... I hardly think so.

And you thought I'd stop up above...
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#8
Quote by Blanco
Most people use there mixer or interface because most come with phantom power.


Fixed.

See, midi is completely irrelevant to the discussion. Not all interfaces have midi. Mine doesn't. Mind you, it used to be that all interfaces didn't have phantom power either. My Delta 1010 didn't.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

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#9
Quote by Blanco
Sorry, go look at a mackie mixer for instance. It comes with phantom power. Now look up audio/midi interface, majority come with phantom power. You also basically just said exactly what i said in my first post.

That may be, but pretty much everything else you said was absolute nonsense.


1) Copying a track, or putting a mono mic source onto a stereo track will do absolutely nothing to a mic signal, except that doubling and panning makes it twice (3dB) louder.


2) Most people (with any sense) use an audio interface or dedicated soundcard to record with a mic into a computer, because you need Analogue-to-Digital (or A/D) Converters as well as a preamp, and mixers generally do not come with this. Also, mixers people (presumably like you) buy are usually of very poor quality and have crappy preamps as well as no converters, so you're boosting the mic's signal poorly, to then use the computer's stock soundcard to poorly convert the signal into one the computer can understand.

Additionally, most budget mixers will only be able to output in stereo to your computer, assuming you had enough inputs on your computer for heavy multi-tracking anyway, so anything beyond two mics would end up mixed down before you even hit record, removing a huge advantage of computer recording (being able to mix tracks with complete freedom once recorded, as you can save/undo/redo/cut/paste etc.)


3) You mentioned MIDI interfaces as well... find me a microphone that records audio in MIDI and I'll hand you a medal - because they don't exist, and can't exist. MIDI is a system of data-handling and coding, that allows electronic instruments/equipment to interface with each other and tell each other what to do when ____ signal is sent to them. It is used for volume/velocity data, pitch data, and when the right system is used it can tell equipment to play a certain instrument/sample sound.


4) "No PC can give full phantom power required by a USB microphone" - well, have you ever thought that not all microphones need 48V's of power? 48V phantom power is just a unified standard across the industry, as is XLR and many other things you often overlook. Can a microphone run off less than 48V phantom power? Well, many microphones are designed to run off a lot less - my Rode M3 can run off a 9V battery and produce a near identical frequency response as when powered externally with 48V - clear so far?

A bigger factor in how a mic sounds can actually be the impedance in the preamp stage, as these can vary greatly. A big reason why some vintage recordings sound like they do, is because of deliberate mis-matching of impedances - and because so many mics vary with their ideal impedance that you'd need a different input for each mic you owned if you were to match them perfectly... imagine a console with a dedicated channel for each model of microphone you used... it would take up a whole building for some engineers!
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Mar 28, 2011,
#10
Quote by Blanco
USB is a big no go for condenser mics. No pc can power phantom power enough to get the frequency response. I don't actually no of any condenser mics that are usb.

there are actually quite a few USB condensors out there. case in point: http://backstage.musiciansfriend.com/search/search.jsp?question=usb+condensor
whether or not it sounds good is another issue, but they do exist, and computers can source power for them via USB.

qwdudeqw,
if recording is just a hobby and you want to stay cheap, a USB mic might work for you. they dont always sound the best, especially since many are made as entry level mics. it saves you having to buy an interface, but you will want one if you ever get more serious about recording.
#11
Hey everyone thanks so much for the great info! yeah, like jof1029 said, I wanna just stay cheap. My guitar teacher suggested I just go with a snowball mic because they are relatively cheap and simple to set up (and don't require any phantom power sources).

The only thing I'm a bit worried about with these is delay though, since it's USB. Do most snowball mics come with delay (as in, I'm listening to another track while recording, and then find out that afterwards, everything is EXTREMELY out of sync?). For those who didn't like the snowballs, what were some of the reasons why?

Also, by "stereo" i think i don't really understand it quite right. See, i used to have this old computer mic that plugged directly into the back of my computer through a pink plug. When I recorded with it using Audacity and set it to stereo recording, I would always get 2 identical tracks (one left speaker and one right speaker)whenever i clicked record). However, I also tried recording with a dynamic mic we have at our house, and even though i'm still in stereo mode, only 1 out of 2 tracks is displaying input signal while the other one is blank. THAT's what I meant by stereo/nonstereo lol,...sorry...ghetto home recording here...

Thanks for all your help !
Anyone play gunbound? then add johnny93


....you must tap into: THE FORCE!
....or: THE FORCE! will leave you
....then, you will no longer have: THE FORCE!
#14
Quote by qwdudeqw
Hey everyone thanks so much for the great info! yeah, like jof1029 said, I wanna just stay cheap. My guitar teacher suggested I just go with a snowball mic because they are relatively cheap and simple to set up (and don't require any phantom power sources).

The only thing I'm a bit worried about with these is delay though, since it's USB. Do most snowball mics come with delay (as in, I'm listening to another track while recording, and then find out that afterwards, everything is EXTREMELY out of sync?). For those who didn't like the snowballs, what were some of the reasons why?

Also, by "stereo" i think i don't really understand it quite right. See, i used to have this old computer mic that plugged directly into the back of my computer through a pink plug. When I recorded with it using Audacity and set it to stereo recording, I would always get 2 identical tracks (one left speaker and one right speaker)whenever i clicked record). However, I also tried recording with a dynamic mic we have at our house, and even though i'm still in stereo mode, only 1 out of 2 tracks is displaying input signal while the other one is blank. THAT's what I meant by stereo/nonstereo lol,...sorry...ghetto home recording here...

Thanks for all your help !

Snowball mics are pretty good from what I've heard but I've got no personal experience of them so I'll say no more.

As for the stereo thing - that is because you physically can't have stereo from one mic source. The reson you only have one side (presumably the left?) showing a signal is because a mono signal sent to a stereo track in Audacity will either show as the same thing twice, or the first (left) of the two channels by default. Stereo signals are those with two differing signals (one for each channel) creating a 'stereo spread', whereas a mono signal is only one source and if played through a stereo set-up will just result in the two speakers playing identical signals.


Quote by TechnicolorType
Blanco is funny.

True...

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Blanco is gone/silent.

Also true...

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Blanco is probably eating humble pie.

And again, true :P

But I do generally hope he accepts what was said, takes it with a pinh of salt, and then sticks around because I never intend to come across as mean as I do lol.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Mar 28, 2011,
#15
Sorry didn't check back, yeah i realised what i said was stupid now i've re-read it. I tend to switch off after midnight most days hahaha.

Also now i've read the original post doesn't audacity have a make stereo button??? Although it might only be for converting files. Never really played with it much but i re-call something like that. Might be worth looking into.
Last edited by Blanco at Mar 29, 2011,
#17
Quote by TechnicolorType
I dunno', but one thing audacity does have is a very handy split-stereo button.

As far as I'm concerned every DAW has this.
Add a new track, copy the track which you want to make stereo onto the new track, put into a sub-channel, pan hard left and right. You now have a Stereo track.
Not sure if this can be done in Audacity due to shittyness. But there is the split stereo thing like you mentioned.
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#18
Nah. That's completely different.

On audacity, it takes two clicks to turn a stereo track into two individual tracks.
#19
Quote by TechnicolorType
Nah. That's completely different.

On audacity, it takes two clicks to turn a stereo track into two individual tracks.


I believe we are talking about two different things here.
I'm talking about turning a Mono track into Stereo.

I'm sending you a PM by the way. I have a question for you.
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#20
It's getting a bit confusing now. On audacity you take the mono track, duplicate it. Make the separate channels different sides, so one is left channel other is right. Then you go back to the first track and choose make stereo from a menu. I remember someone saying its one of the unique things that audacity had before the bigger brands came up with similar ideas. Like beat-locking/audio snapping was first in sonar and the others adopted the idea.
#21
Quote by Blanco
It's getting a bit confusing now. On audacity you take the mono track, duplicate it. Make the separate channels different sides, so one is left channel other is right. Then you go back to the first track and choose make stereo from a menu. I remember someone saying its one of the unique things that audacity had before the bigger brands came up with similar ideas. Like beat-locking/audio snapping was first in sonar and the others adopted the idea.

I'm confused because people keep going on about 'make stereo' from mono tracks... Hopefully you're on about something else, but you physically can not turn a mono sound source into a stereo one. It's not possible and doesn't exist. You can make a stereo signal mono, but not vice versa. A mono signal is played back through both speakers on a set-up at the same level. In fact, you can play mono through any number of speakers because it is the same signal.

The reason you have a make stereo button might be some form of processing that alters the output to each side of the DAW's output to give the impression of stereo, but the only way to have a stereo signal is to have to different signals, i.e two mic signals or two different mono signals panned left and right.


So to clarify: recording once, with one mic, will only ever yield mono results.
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Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Mar 29, 2011,
#23
@Blanco. While that works fine, it's nothing but a waste of time. xD
Quote by DisarmGoliath
I'm confused because people keep going on about 'make stereo' from mono tracks... Hopefully you're on about something else, but you physically can not turn a mono sound source into a stereo one. It's not possible and doesn't exist. You can make a stereo signal mono, but not vice versa. A mono signal is played back through both speakers on a set-up at the same level. In fact, you can play mono through any number of speakers because it is the same signal.

The reason you have a make stereo button might be some form of processing that alters the output to each side of the DAW's output to give the impression of stereo, but the only way to have a stereo signal is to have to different signals, i.e two mic signals or two different mono signals panned left and right.


So to clarify: recording once, with one mic, will only ever yield mono results.
This. ^^^^^

But I think what Blanco and Tim might have been talking about actual tracks rather than signals. Like what Blanco was saying. Duplicating a mono track and panning each to one side then exporting as stereo.
This would create a stereo track.
But if you wanted it in stereo you don't need to duplicate anything or merge two tracks. Put a mono track into a DAW. Export it as stereo. It's as simple as that.

but it still wouldn't be a true stereo sound and each side would be literally the exact same.
so it'd be extremely pointless to do seeing as a regular mono track would give the exact same results.

ideally, you can duplicate a mono track and slightly re-position the tracks from one another, modify volumes and panning, eq them differently, or add effects differently to create a larger and/ or different sound out of the same track which would then make exporting it as stereo actually have a reason.

but you can't turn a mono signal into a stereo signal like Goliath explained well.
Last edited by TechnicolorType at Mar 29, 2011,
#24
Quote by TechnicolorType
@Blanco. While that works fine, it's nothing but a waste of time. xD

But if you wanted it in stereo you don't need to duplicate anything or merge two tracks. Put a mono track into a DAW. Export it as stereo. It's as simple as that.

That was going to be my next point, ninja

Any DAW will have a Bounce/Export feature, to mixdown the finished project into a format that media players can play, and all of them will mixdown to stereo as standard, with 5.1 as an option in most DAWs these days, and some offering 7.1 etc. No DAW would output in mono, because there would be no point.
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#25
I was using the term, "Stereo" wrong.
I was talking about splitting the tracks, but doesn't Stereo mean something along the lines of dual?
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#26
Quote by timbit2006
I was using the term, "Stereo" wrong.
I was talking about splitting the tracks, but doesn't Stereo mean something along the lines of dual?

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/stereo

As you can see, stereo still means something from two sources giving two signals. A stereo track can still be mono, but that is only in the sense that the mono track is reproduced as two identical waveforms for left and right, so it is still a mono signal rather than a stereo one.
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#27
Yeah it was never going to be a true stereo track, but i guess it gives quite a good illusion on a cheap budget.