Hey guys, i was looking to get a Microphone for recording mostly guitar, either from amp or acoustic (occassional harmonica recording too perhaps), to record to my computer, and truly have no idea what's worth looking for!

Im just looking for a decent Mic and small USB/Firewire interface i can hookup to my laptop, and record with garage band, costing perhaps around £100-200 (could go more or less, but i don't need professional quality, just something better than my laptop mic!).

I'm located around South-West London, so any shop suggestions will be useful, Andertons is normally my go to place!

Thanks for any help

Edit: One thing i found was this:


The popular SM57 mic (i think PGS uses one, or similar), with a USB interface of sorts. Would this be a good way to go?
Last edited by jaybals at Nov 11, 2011,
SM57 is delicious in front of an amp, but aside from that usage, people will debate for pages on here what it is actually good for.

Mics are like instruments, in the sense that they all have small tonal characteristic differences that one person may love and another may hate.

As for what you are looking for, idk much about mics that go directly USB or Firewire, as I use an interface. Good luck.
Cheers man, from what i read it seems to be good for a relatively low price, but good quality. Are they just as good for electric and acoustic?
I agree, i'd rather have a mic which uses normal cables combined with interface. What is a good, small interface? I don't want a desk-top mixer, I Just something to plug and play.
SM57 is a pretty solid choice, one of the chaps who was interviewed by UG (Mike Fraser, it was on the home page a day or so ago) said he used an SM57 for AC/DCs guitars. I usually have one kicking about as well when I'm micing amps in college, usually with a Blue 100 as well, which captures more high end. You could probably use a similar set up for acoustic.
Cheers for the help so far guys! Look like the Shure 57 is the way to go, now for the interface.

I found this available at my local store:

I know pro tools is known for its software, how do their interfaces add up? This interface appears to come with a slimmed down version of pro tools. Would i be doing my recordings justice using garage band? I'm not looking for anything massively high quality right now, as long as it records clearly, and i can use it to start recording stuff with my mates (one track at a time), i'm happy!
That interface and software would work fine for recording with the 57. I've never used that particular interface (we use Mbox 2s with Pro Tools 9 on most of the machines in college) though. The only issue you might have with that interface is if you have a condenser microphone that needs an external power source, which that interface doesn't provide.

But as I said, the 57 would work fine with it.

Oh and I've never used garage band, but if you've got a decent interface and mic it should be okay.
Last edited by G!! at Nov 12, 2011,
Ah cool, thanks for the feedback. Looking around, i've found so many different brands and models around the same pricetag, so any first hand reviews would be great.

Some i've read about are:

Alesis Multimax USB 4
or IO2

The IO2 doesn't seem to be as well made, so i wonder why the price similarity? It does appear to come with a Cubase software, but would this just be a trial? Would it be worth it is i already have and know how to use garage band?
I like the fact that the Multimax has 3/4 channels, for future expansion in recording, such as two guitars, or guitar and mic simultaneously. I have also found the Multimix 6 is available, for the same price! What would be the benifit of the smaller Multimix 4 for the same price?

There was also the Steinberg CI1

This seems to be a good one too from reviews, and it comes with its own Sequel LE and WaveLab LE software, but already having garage band, i wonder if i'd need these?

Finally, there was the Tascam US100 Mk2
Another, solid little unit, however this is only one input (either 1/4" or mic jack), i'm not sure if these can be used simultaneously, however if it's is known to be good quality, i'd have no problem! I can always record track by track.

Are there any other suggestions or personal choices around the same price? Sorry about so many questions, i'm new to recording, and just want to make sure i get a good deal!

As for condenser mic's i'll keep that in mind, cheers! For now i'm just looking at Dynamic's, perhaps get a condenser in future, although i dont put down vocals, i wouldn't want to put anyone through hearing my voice :P
Last edited by jaybals at Nov 12, 2011,
get a 57. it is the most flexible guitar mic on the planet. there will be times when another mic could work well or using a 57 plus another mic has its benefits, but for a bedroom studio a single 57 can do everything you will ever need, and better than any other single mic
"every prince has to slay a few dragons before he meets his princess"
Quote by jordanzio
get a 57. it is the most flexible guitar mic on the planet. there will be times when another mic could work well or using a 57 plus another mic has its benefits, but for a bedroom studio a single 57 can do everything you will ever need, and better than any other single mic

Well i think i'm totally convinced on the 57, thanks! Seems like a great mic to go for. Now its just a matter of the interface! If you've got any suggestions!

Quote by jaybals

I've not used any of these, but the Alesis one looks quite interesting, especially if the four tracks remain as separate tracks in your software; though if the 6-track version is available for the same price, I don't see why you'd go for the 4 - although if it's USB powered it might not have the same capabilities regarding phantom power (but again that's not a problem if you're only using instruments and dynamic mics). I wouldn't look for other software if you're comfortable with the one you've got.

The difference in price might just be down to quality of parts used.

I've not got much experience with other interfaces I'm afraid. That said, you might be able to get a cheap mBox 2 somewhere cause Avid released a new version (the mBox 3) roundabout the time they released Pro Tools 9, they're pretty reliable, the bigger ones have pads and phantom power too. (Edit: Forget it, they're still about £200 )

Even if you've not got a condenser, I'd suggest getting an interface with phantom power, just in case you decide to get one.
Last edited by G!! at Nov 12, 2011,
Both of the Multimix (the 4 and 6) have phantom power, so the fact they have the same price seems a bit odd, but the 6 seems to be just as well made, and have equally good reviews! However i have read it has 16-bit resolution, as opposed to the IO2, which has 24-bit. How much difference would this cause?
Not knowing exactly how much you know about digital audio (or digital anything, everything has a bit-depth) - generally the higher the bit-depth the better the quality and the bigger the file. However - some programs handle higher bit-depths better than others I think.

Might be useful to know (Again, you may already know this.) that CD quality audio is 16 bit. 24 I think tends to be high definition. I don't expect too much difference in quality.

Gedit:I had a look at Garage Band - apparently it only supports CD quality audio - that's a sample rate of 44.1 KHz and a bit depth of 16 bits.
Last edited by G!! at Nov 12, 2011,
Ah thats good to know!

Seeing as i dont want any software, purely interface, i'm pretty sure i've slimmed it down to the Alesis Multimix ones, as they seem to be really good in terms of features and build quality (metal casing unlike the IO2). From watching reviews/demos, the multimix 6 doesn't seem to have extra features that are too important for me, it seems more to be different types of input i doubt i need, ill likely use just the two Mic XLR's anyway, so i could avoid the clutterof the larger one. I guess i'll see what the shop suggests!

I may upgrade to the latest Garage Band if i can grab a copy, im still on the previous version (my Mac is a bit old)

Thanks for all the help! Can't wait to get recording.