Page 1 of 2
#1
Hey everybody. I currently have only a $250 budget. Yes, laugh at me. Anyways I just want to record basic vocals and acoustic guitar nothing fancy. I have a friend who will do all the mixing and mastering for me.

So my question is with $250 is it possible to get the equipment to record something decent? USB Mics? XLR Mics? Also keep in mind I'll need some type of stand and pop filter.

I'm fine with used equipment.

Thanks.
#2
As far as digital recording rigs go I can say that even the cheapest ones go for like $600. I think your money might best be spent renting a studio for an hour or two, or perhaps saving to get a rig.
#5
Quote by Cold Reader
yeah, grab a usb microphone and grab Audacity, something like THIS would be good


Yeah I looked into the AT2020 USB Condenser. I'm still not sure exactly what to be looking for though.
#6
Quote by Workhorse
As far as digital recording rigs go I can say that even the cheapest ones go for like $600. I think your money might best be spent renting a studio for an hour or two, or perhaps saving to get a rig.

Wrong, do some research before posting.


If you're really on a budget get a decent USB mic (Audio Technica AT2020 USB would be a good start) and then I suggest Reaper, as Audacity is crap for all but the most basic of audio analysis/recording.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#8
I have the XLR AT2020 and if the USB version is anything like that then I would recommend it for sure. I'll also second the use of Reaper over Audacity. I can't stress enough how much better the quality of my projects became just from making the switch to Reaper.
If music was the food of love I'd be a fat romantic slob.
#9
Quote by Mr_Jubby_Jubs
I have the XLR AT2020 and if the USB version is anything like that then I would recommend it for sure. I'll also second the use of Reaper over Audacity. I can't stress enough how much better the quality of my projects became just from making the switch to Reaper.



Definitely, I already have Reaper just need the mic now haha.
#10
Quote by Workhorse
As far as digital recording rigs go I can say that even the cheapest ones go for like $600. I think your money might best be spent renting a studio for an hour or two, or perhaps saving to get a rig.

lolwut?


Get this (make a best offer, so you get it cheaper, ProAudioStar is great, you'll probably get it for like $120):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Scarlett-2i2-USB-Audio-Interface-Red-PRODAUDIOSTAR-/110753110417?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c9665991#ht_6690wt_1195

And this (make sure it comes with the shockmount, otherwise, wait for another used one to pop up):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Audio-Technica-40-Series-AT4040-Condenser-Cable-Professional-Microphone-/330623423379?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4cfab11393#ht_500wt_1202

The AT4040 is a MUCH better mic than the 2020, and for a little more than buying a new 2020, you could get a used 4040, that will last you much, much longer.

With an XLR cable and an adapter for headphones you already have, the whole setup might end up costing you $50 over budget... but you will get exceptionally better results than with a AT2020, and you'll have the ability to expand to a second mic for your acoustic when you come up with more money.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
Last edited by MatrixClaw at Oct 9, 2011,
#12
Quote by bassplayer4444
Dear Matrix,

<3


Also two things: Suggested headphones and anything like that but cheaper?

Pretty much anything cheaper than the Audio-Technica ATM-H50s are similar in sound quality. The cheap Sennheisers are decent, but don't expect amazing results. The ATM-H50s or Beyerdynamic DT770s are about as cheap as I'd go with headphones, anything cheaper than that and I'd just as soon use iPod headphones and a 1/4" adapter.

Obviously, monitors are the best way to go, but a decent set of them is going to set you back ~$200, and since you're not planning on mixing the tracks, and I assume you really only need something for monitoring back what you've played while recording vocals and listening for mistakes, I wouldn't suggest getting a pair of monitors or expensive headphones until you want to do things yourself.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#13
Quote by MatrixClaw
Pretty much anything cheaper than the Audio-Technica ATM-H50s are similar in sound quality. The cheap Sennheisers are decent, but don't expect amazing results. The ATM-H50s or Beyerdynamic DT770s are about as cheap as I'd go with headphones, anything cheaper than that and I'd just as soon use iPod headphones and a 1/4" adapter.

Obviously, monitors are the best way to go, but a decent set of them is going to set you back ~$200, and since you're not planning on mixing the tracks, and I assume you really only need something for monitoring back what you've played while recording vocals and listening for mistakes, I wouldn't suggest getting a pair of monitors or expensive headphones until you want to do things yourself.


Dude, you are so much help thank you.
Also I have found a great interest in the Blue Spark Studio Microphone, any opinion on that? Instead of getting the AT4040.
#14
Something about the design/aesthetics of the Blue microphones has always put me off them - they just look tacky and cheap to me, and I'd be worried of the capsule snapping off from the body over time. Can't say anything about the sound quality, as I've only ever tried a Blue Snowball mic in a shop that isn't really for music tech (so may have been with a poor set-up, as it was before I was into engineering and a good few years back) and thought it was no better than the cheap MXL USB mic I used to have before selling for some serious/'big boy' gear.

I'd sooner take the AT2020/AT4040 but that's a slightly unfair comparison as I've never heard the Blue Spark. I do look at the build of the AT's though and instantly hear the warmth of the large diaphragm capsule in my head, whereas the Blue makes me think of uninspiring 'recording on a budget'.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#15
Might be a little late on this, but a Zoom R8 would be great for an interface, controller, recorder.
Quote by SimplyBen
That's the advantage of being such a distance from Yianni. I can continue to live my life without fear of stumbling upon his dark terror.


Quote by Toppscore
NakedInTheRain aka "Naked with shriveled pencil sized bacon In The Rain"
#18
Quote by bassplayer4444
Well first off it's pretty well built and solid(the Blue Spark). Check out this before bashing it, just saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RK78ul4Vv04

Hey, I'm not knocking the sound quality as I haven't heard it in person, but I also won't judge sound quality on a YouTube video - not only does YouTube compression alter the audio considerably, but the guy could easily have processed the track with EQ and such to improve the quality of the mic (and most likely did) not to mention you have no proof the audio was even done with the mic.

I know it's only for budget recording etc. but if you get serious about recording in the future, learn to trust your ears (in person, so to speak) above all else and don't get swept up in anything that could potentially be marketing hype, or someone with a personal bias for/against something.

As for that audio, it's probably fine for what you're after and it's hard to judge a mic when it could easily be the positioning/mixing but I actually think the guitar sounds very thin in that clip (mostly just string attack and treble) but it's all down to opinion anyway. All I'm saying is that I believe the AT's will probably be better for what you want, based on personal experience of them alone and having only tried one Blue mic, which didn't satisfy my ears.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#19
I have tried the Blue Spark. The AT4040 is considerably better as a standalone mic IMO. It is more transparent and truer to the original sound. The Spark is a cool mic, though, but it's not nearly as versatile as the 4040 is, and without trying both in person, side-by-side, the AT is a much safer choice.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
Last edited by MatrixClaw at Oct 9, 2011,
#20
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Hey, I'm not knocking the sound quality as I haven't heard it in person, but I also won't judge sound quality on a YouTube video - not only does YouTube compression alter the audio considerably, but the guy could easily have processed the track with EQ and such to improve the quality of the mic (and most likely did) not to mention you have no proof the audio was even done with the mic.

I know it's only for budget recording etc. but if you get serious about recording in the future, learn to trust your ears (in person, so to speak) above all else and don't get swept up in anything that could potentially be marketing hype, or someone with a personal bias for/against something.

As for that audio, it's probably fine for what you're after and it's hard to judge a mic when it could easily be the positioning/mixing but I actually think the guitar sounds very thin in that clip (mostly just string attack and treble) but it's all down to opinion anyway. All I'm saying is that I believe the AT's will probably be better for what you want, based on personal experience of them alone and having only tried one Blue mic, which didn't satisfy my ears.



I agree to a certain degree. Sure youtube quality isn't the best but you can't completely disregard it. I'm pretty sure a $15 mic and a $150 mic are going to sound way different even on youtube. Also I agree his guitar did sound rather thin but it could have been just mic placement.

But my real question senor is how do I hear real sound clips of them and compare them... cause I don't know how to listen to them in real life haha?
Thanks man.
#21
Quote by MatrixClaw
I have tried the Blue Spark. The AT4040 is considerably better as a standalone mic IMO. It is more transparent and truer to the original sound. The Spark is a cool mic, though, but it's not nearly as versatile as the 4040 is, and without trying both in person, side-by-side, the AT is a much safer choice.


Which would be better for a more driving acoustic sound? A lot more strumming and a have a brighter tone overall? Cause I have used an AT2020 before and it was rather warm.
Last edited by bassplayer4444 at Oct 9, 2011,
#22
Aside from trying the mics out at a large music retailer (or if you can't find one that stocks quality audio gear, as is the case for many people as their only real musical equipment outlets tend to be places like 'Guitar Center' etc. who are more about instruments than studio gear) try googling the mic name/model and 'soundclips' or 'demo' - you might even get lucky and find a shootout of a few mics you're looking at, and usually they're done by more professional people (you might want to try a forum search at Gearslutz or KVR Audio for instance) who will be as detailed as possible with their signal chain and anything they did while recording.

As a last resort, sometimes websites like thomann.de have soundclips of mics that are not great to judge from but are usually a little less 'downgraded' in quality than YouTube clips' audio. Ultimately though, I advise trying to at least get your hands on a few mics to try them out if possible.


You could also, and I know a few people who do, try to find the details of the local supplier/distributor of the mic(s) you want to try and contact them to ask if you could visit their warehouse/store and trial the mics there - maybe if it's a long way, you could try and make a daytrip out of it to coerce your parents/lift/companions into coming along with you, and get to check out a cool new city too?

Edit: Also, if you want a brighter sound from the AT2020 on acoustic guitars, either combine it with a clean DI (if it's an electro-acoustic) or angle the mic away from the soundhole more - either towards the bridge of the guitar, or the 12th fret, to get more of the string noise and less of the 'boominess' of air coming out of the soundhole (the soundhole is like the woofer of the guitar, and where a lot of the deeper sounds emanate from, whereas the brighter sounds tend to come from the strings/resonation of the sturdier parts) or even pull the mic back a little further to get less proximity effect and more of the 'whole' sound picture, though you'll also have more room noise to deal with if your room isn't great/treated.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Oct 9, 2011,
#23
Thanks for the help again, would you suggest the USB or XLR AT2020?

I'm having doubts about the blue and I think in this range a mic of that price isn't worth it. So I'm probably gonna head with the AT2020. I have used an XLR AT2020 and if the USB is comparable or very similar then I'd be content.
#24
Quote by bassplayer4444
Thanks for the help again, would you suggest the USB or XLR AT2020?

I'm having doubts about the blue and I think in this range a mic of that price isn't worth it. So I'm probably gonna head with the AT2020. I have used an XLR AT2020 and if the USB is comparable or very similar then I'd be content.

It depends - I'd imagine the XLR version would be better if you had enough of a budget to allow for additional equipment, because the converters and preamp would be that of an external audio interface rather than whatever is onboard the mic.

But unless you're also willing to buy a decent audio interface, I think the USB version is probably better-suited to your needs because it negates the need for additional hardware and if you didn't buy an interface you'd be plugging into the mic-in of your computer which would use your soundcard's preamps and A/D converters and sound terrible in comparison.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#25
Quote by DisarmGoliath
It depends - I'd imagine the XLR version would be better if you had enough of a budget to allow for additional equipment, because the converters and preamp would be that of an external audio interface rather than whatever is onboard the mic.

But unless you're also willing to buy a decent audio interface, I think the USB version is probably better-suited to your needs because it negates the need for additional hardware and if you didn't buy an interface you'd be plugging into the mic-in of your computer which would use your soundcard's preamps and A/D converters and sound terrible in comparison.


Well let me ask you this, for the AT2020 USB. From an audio quality standpoint, do you think it would be listenable? Good enough for a demo?
#26
Quote by bassplayer4444
Well let me ask you this, for the AT2020 USB. From an audio quality standpoint, do you think it would be listenable? Good enough for a demo?

Definitely listenable, especially with something as stripped back as acoustic and vocals; you may have to work more with positioning/distance of the mic compared to a higher-grade mic, but it can definitely achieve great results. If you were recording heavy electric guitars/drums/bass then I'd worry about its ability to multi-task and be good in so many roles but most LDC's excel on acoustic guitar and vocals (though my fav on acoustics is a stereo pair of SDC's).
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#27
Quote by Cold Reader
Also, a pretty basic pop shield, might do something...


.... or you can make your own for next to nothing...

http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?32246-2-DIY-Microphone-Pop-Filter-Screen

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

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#28
Quote by axemanchris
.... or you can make your own for next to nothing...

http://www.hv20.com/showthread.php?32246-2-DIY-Microphone-Pop-Filter-Screen

CT

True, but unless you buy a gooseneck and a device to attach it to a mic stand correctly, you're going to get frustrated with it.

I made one a long time ago myself and it worked fairly decently, but the Sterling one I bought from Guitar Center for $20 a few months ago is much, much better. It's not necessarily better at blocking pops, but in functionality, it was well worth the price. Plus, it looks much more professional when people see it.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
#30
Quote by bassplayer4444
Hey everybody. I currently have only a $250 budget. Yes, laugh at me. Anyways I just want to record basic vocals and acoustic guitar nothing fancy. I have a friend who will do all the mixing and mastering for me.

So my question is with $250 is it possible to get the equipment to record something decent? USB Mics? XLR Mics? Also keep in mind I'll need some type of stand and pop filter.

I'm fine with used equipment.

Thanks.


$250? That'll buy you a day or two at a nice demo studio, that's the easiest and most sensible solution.
#32
Quote by MatrixClaw
True, but unless you buy a gooseneck and a device to attach it to a mic stand correctly, you're going to get frustrated with it.


I just get a butterfly-type mic clip...

http://www.imusician.co.uk/acatalog/00036372.jpg


and either mount it on a stand in front of the vocal mic, or get one of these:

http://memphisdrumshop.com/bmz_cache/9/93dac7bed9387de4d7b5e309ebe6156a.image.400x400.jpg

... and clip it right to the vocal mic stand and place the filter in front of the mic.

Easy!

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

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#34
Quote by bassplayer4444
Yeah I looked into the AT2020 USB Condenser. I'm still not sure exactly what to be looking for though.


Instead of getting the USB version, get the XLR version, you'll cut the mic price in half.
Also buy an audio interface, I got an M-Audio Fast Track Pro and it's great, 2 main inputs, digital in/out, midi in/out, preamps, phantom power (for condenser mics, so if you get the AT2020 XLR you can use it with that)

If you don't want the Fast Track Pro, there's a stripped down basic version of it for a lower price. The one I got was 149 dollars exactly for a new one.
Last edited by Clay-man at Oct 10, 2011,
#35
Quote by axemanchris
I just get a butterfly-type mic clip...

http://www.imusician.co.uk/acatalog/00036372.jpg


and either mount it on a stand in front of the vocal mic, or get one of these:

http://memphisdrumshop.com/bmz_cache/9/93dac7bed9387de4d7b5e309ebe6156a.image.400x400.jpg

... and clip it right to the vocal mic stand and place the filter in front of the mic.

Easy!

CT

I guess... but you'll end up coming out about even with that pre-made one, and it'll look much nicer. The one he linked is only $9.37 (£6), personally, I'd rather save myself the time and just buy one that works the way it should, and looks nice

Quote by FireHawk
Lol to be honest a $20 pop filter is nothing in the total expense of recording lol

+1

Quote by Clay-man
Instead of getting the USB version, get the XLR version, you'll cut the mic price in half.
Also buy an audio interface, I got an M-Audio Fast Track Pro and it's great, 2 main inputs, digital in/out, midi in/out, preamps, phantom power (for condenser mics, so if you get the AT2020 XLR you can use it with that)

If you don't want the Fast Track Pro, there's a stripped down basic version of it for a lower price. The one I got was 149 dollars exactly for a new one.

Really not sure where you're getting at with that, considering that you'll then nearly triple the final price, since you'll have to buy an interface

But, you can get the USB version on Amazon for the same price as the XLR version on MF:

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020-USB-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B001AS6OYC/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1318314768&sr=1-1

I would still very much suggest going with the Focusrite Scarlett (or a Saffire 6 if you can stretch the budget a bit more, it'll be worth it) and a used AT4040, as I mentioned earlier. You'll be much happier in the long run if you plan on taking recording at least somewhat serious. The AT2020 is junk compared to the 40 series.
Quote by Dave_Mc
I've had tube amps for a while now, but never actually had any go down on me
Quote by jj1565
maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





www.SanctityStudios.com
Last edited by MatrixClaw at Oct 11, 2011,
#37
Quote by Clay-man
An Interface will give way better quality than a USB mic.

Depending on the interface and the USB mic, this is possibly true, but a crappy mic going into a cheap interface will sound like $hit whereas a good USB mic will at least sound passable for any beginner who wants to learn the basics first.

With the budget he has, he will not be able to afford a decent interface and a good mic for his requirements, whereas the suggested USB mic should more than cope with what he wants.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
#38
Well, say I went with XLR stuff. What should I get? I know one of you mentioned the at4040 and the focus rite preamp interface but that was over my budge.
#39
Cheapest I'd go mic-wise for you is probably the AT2020, and interface-wise the cheapest I'd go is an M-Audio Fast Track - cheapest I could find them (in UK, mind) was £65.91 for the mic, from Amazon, with free delivery, and £79.02 for the Fast Track from dv247.com (incl. the delivery of £6), which comes in at £144.93

If we take that as £145, that's $228.59 at the moment... so you may be able to get a better deal in the States, as you tend to get music gear cheaper (possibly due to lower taxes on it?) but I'd imagine you're looking no cheaper than $200 for the two at best

I realise that's within your budget, but if you are new to recording and unsure how serious you wanna get (and only want to record acoustic and vocals for a while) I think you're probably better off making a more reserved investment until you're certain you wanna put your money towards more serious gear.
Hey, look. Sigs are back.
Last edited by DisarmGoliath at Oct 12, 2011,
#40
Quote by DisarmGoliath
Depending on the interface and the USB mic, this is possibly true, but a crappy mic going into a cheap interface will sound like $hit whereas a good USB mic will at least sound passable for any beginner who wants to learn the basics first.

With the budget he has, he will not be able to afford a decent interface and a good mic for his requirements, whereas the suggested USB mic should more than cope with what he wants.


M-Audio is pretty decent. You even suggested the Fast Track in your latest post.
A USB mic is more for podcasting or such. It most likely has cheap analog to digital chips.

As we suggested, if he wants to take recording seriously, he needs to not go the cheapest route, but he doesn't need to spend TOO much either.
Last edited by Clay-man at Oct 12, 2011,
Page 1 of 2