#1
So I am completely new to recording. Actually, that's not true. I've recorded with my old band, but my guitarists had all the gear and handled everything. But for the most part, I am new to recording. I don't have any recording gear (save for a DigiTech JamMan looper that I can save onto my computer), and I with Christmas coming up, I figured that I can get the basics.

I have Audacity, GarageBand, and JamManager (the free software for my looper), but I don't have any microphones, interfaces, etc. So what gear do I need to completely get from point A (my amp with no direct output) to point B (having a file in my iTunes account that I can put on my iPod)? And could it cost under/around $300?

Thanks!
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Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
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#3
Focusrite Saffire 6 and a Shure SM57 (or SM58, which is the same as the 57, just with a windscreen) is the best interface/mic setup you can get in that price range. The Fast Track mentioned above is okay, but it has very poor mic preamps in comparison to the Saffire and a Beta 57A is just silly. The only thing the Beta 57A sounds better on is drums IMO, and even then, it's not worth the $40 extra over the SM57.

There's a Saffire 6 on eBay right now at $99 with a little over an hour left:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/FOCUSRITE-SAFFIRE-6-USB-DIGITAL-AUDIO-SOUND-INTERFACE-DJ-RECORDING-/190610957106?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c614c6332#ht_2387wt_1197

You might get a steal!

You can also get the demo model for $150:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/SAFFIRE-6-USB-COMPUTER-INTERFACE-LEGENDARY-FOCUSRITE-SOUND-BEST-DEAL-AVAILABLE-/200685006879?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eb9c2301f#ht_2615wt_1185

Or a brand new one for $170:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Focusrite-Saffire-6-USB-Audio-Interface-PROAUDIOSTAR-/300632301489?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item45ff14dfb1#ht_10517wt_1195

I'd suggest you buy an SM57 from someone like Musician's Friend, as there's a lot of fakes floating around (though, the bigger eBay retailers might sell it cheaper and they're pretty reputable). This should do you well:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/shure-sm57-mic-with-cable-stand/485304000000000

Comes with the stand and cable, which should be all you need to get started with the interface
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
#4
Yep, Shure SM 57 is a great microphone and also used in professional situations. At around £100 it's great value for money. SM 58 is similar as well, although the frequency response is slightly more bassy.

Might also be worth having a look at a good condenser too, AKG make some good ones but are probably a bit outside your price range.
#5
Yeah, I'm not going to be recording drums (I might write drum tracks with GarageBand if I can...), so I guess the SM57 is the one for me.

Actually, since I won't always be able to have my computer near my gear, my brother (who does professional work with a radio station and with his band) told me about maybe getting a multitrack recorder like this. The rationale behind it is that I can record the stuff standing alone, and then put it on the computer just as a final copy. You know, do all the editing (albeit minimal) on the recorder itself. Thoughts?

I'm not looking for a super-professional sound, of course. But I don't want it to sound like crap. I'm probably going to record electric and/or acoustic guitar, bass, and vocal tracks, so getting everything synced up and workable may be an issue, so sort of "doing it live" on the multitrack may be a good thing.

Thanks again, guys.
.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
.
#6
And just because I'm curious, what is the difference between ribbon mics, condenser mics, and something like the SM57?

I'm only going to be recording my guitar and vocals with the mic, because I have a preamp for my bass that I can put directly into the interface or multitrack recorder (whichever I decide on). So how would something like this or this work for guitar and vocal recording?

Thanks again for all the help!
.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
.
#7
Quote by lkngro
Yeah, I'm not going to be recording drums (I might write drum tracks with GarageBand if I can...), so I guess the SM57 is the one for me.

Actually, since I won't always be able to have my computer near my gear, my brother (who does professional work with a radio station and with his band) told me about maybe getting a multitrack recorder like this. The rationale behind it is that I can record the stuff standing alone, and then put it on the computer just as a final copy. You know, do all the editing (albeit minimal) on the recorder itself. Thoughts?

I'm not looking for a super-professional sound, of course. But I don't want it to sound like crap. I'm probably going to record electric and/or acoustic guitar, bass, and vocal tracks, so getting everything synced up and workable may be an issue, so sort of "doing it live" on the multitrack may be a good thing.

Thanks again, guys.

Multitrackers are definitely a good route if you're planning on recording at different locations than in front of your computer. They can be very convenient if most of the recording you'll be doing is away from home, or in a different room that's too far from your computer to be practical. They're also nice, because they don't depend on your computer's power to run recording programs and plugins, and most have the ability to save individual tracks to a built in hard drive or memory card which you can transfer to your computer.

The downside to most of them, however, is that the mic preamps are generally significantly worse than computer interfaces in their price range, because you're paying for the cost of convenience and having all the power inside one little box. They can also be tedious to mix and edit on, because of the very small screen, some people prefer it, while others would rather avoid it at all costs. You also aren't able to save your own plugins to the unit, thus you lose out on things like better EQs, compressors, drum programs and most importantly, amp simulators. They also leave no room for upgrading, and generally have low resale value. With that particular model you're looking at, you also only get 16 bit recordings, instead of 24 bit, which most computer interfaces over $100 now have.

With a computer interface, you'll have the benefit of using your own plugins, and a larger screen to mix on. In general, there's a lower start up cost when compared to features that are included. Downsides are that, unless you have a decent computer (dual core, 2GB of RAM, decent sized hard drive preferably running at 7200rpm or better), your system might get easily bogged down running multiple tracks with plugins at once. But, unlike a multitracker, you can always upgrade the power (computer) to accommodate for more tracks, and more plugins - But that will obviously be significantly more expensive than a multitracker in most cases. If you're using a DAW that runs VST plugins, there are literally a multitude of great, free, plugins out there that rival even some of the best paid ones. With a computer interface, you clearly don't have as much portability and you're also more likely to have troubleshoot issues when they arise.

I'm not trying to persuade you one way or the other, though. The multitracker might be the best option for you and your situation, but knowing the strengths and weaknesses of both is certainly beneficial to help you decide. Just a heads up though, the Tascam interface you linked is $100 cheaper on Zzounds

Quote by lkngro
And just because I'm curious, what is the difference between ribbon mics, condenser mics, and something like the SM57?

I'm only going to be recording my guitar and vocals with the mic, because I have a preamp for my bass that I can put directly into the interface or multitrack recorder (whichever I decide on). So how would something like this or this work for guitar and vocal recording?

Thanks again for all the help!

This should answer your questions decently:

http://soundschematic.com/dynamic-ribbon-condensor/

Ribbons can generally be substituted for most things you'd use a dynamic for, and even some that you'd use condensers for. It's really up to the sound you want.

However, I've never tried that MXL ribbon, but I assume it's going to be fairly poor - The cheapest, good sounding, ribbon I've tried is the Cascade Fat Head, which is more than twice the price of that one. You also have to consider that ribbon mics are extremely fragile, and using them improperly can severely damage them. They are not really a kind of mic I'd suggest buying to a beginner.

The condenser has the potential to be better on vocals (mainly if you're singing and not screaming), but having owned that microphone before, it's pretty poor for vocals and guitar. Condensers are generally only used to record lower to mid gain guitars, though they can be used for higher gain if it's the sound you're going for, but usually as a room mic, in conjunction with a close-mic'd dynamic like the SM57, to capture a "bigger" sound. Sometimes, this leads to a more muddy and boomy sound. Condenser mics, unless they have a dedicated power supply, or batteries, will also require Phantom Power on your interface to run them, so that's another thing to consider, if you're going for a multitracker, as a lot of the lower end ones don't come with phantom power built in.
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
#8
Thanks so much for everything MatrixClaw. I think I'm going to go with and interface as opposed to a multitrack recorder, because I don't need it to be portable and I have the option to be able to write drum tracks if I want to.

I don't know what mic yet, but I'd like to keep it at or under $100. I'm still looking at the MXL 990 despite your poor review, and now the MXL V63M. It's hard to find any reviews on Youtube that involve electric guitars though. A lot of them are just by people who use them for voiceovers. Any more suggestions on that would be fantastic.


I was looking around more for interfaces and I came across the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. It seems to have everything I need and is cheaper than the Saffire 6. Thoughts?
.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
.
#9
A lot of the multitrackers have built in drum machines, but to be fair, many of them sound very unrealistic.

What kind of genres are you going to be recording, and what kind of vocals?

I'd still highly suggest the SM57, because you're going to want one eventually, so rather than buy a mic that you may or may not like, you might as well go with a mic that is used in 90% of studios around the world. You're going to need a stand and a cable either way, so even though the SM57 package I showed you earlier is $110, it's still going to come out to about the same price as if you were to buy any of the other mics you're looking at, once you factor in the cost of the stand and cable.

The Scarlett was a really anticipated interface, but I've heard from a few people lately that the preamps are really poor compared to the Saffire 6. It'd probably do just fine for what you want, but for a little extra, you're going to get an interface that will last you significantly longer.
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
#10
I'm going to be recording acoustic guitar, bass, clean to moderate gain electric guitar, and clean vocals. Nothing is going to be incredibly loud or gainy, just so you know.
.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
.
#11
condensor mics use a preamp gain stage that powers the diaphragm and also adds gain to the signal. they are more powerful and responsive than regular diaphragm mics like the sm57 and 58, but they require a phantom powersource, either in the form of a battery or from the mixer/interface. they extra electronics alos make them a lot pricier. a very good model on the less expensive side would be the shure sm81. its pretty much a standard for acoustics instruments. its can also serve as an overhead for drums, a room mic for guitars, or vocal.

in terms of price, the most accessible quality mics are the sm57 and sm58. literally all recording studios have them, and all audio students learn with them first. generally speaking the 58 is considered more for vocals and the 57 for instruments. if you had to pick one, id probably go for the 58 its just a little more versatile and vocals are what you really want to pop. on the other hand if youre a shredder and could give a shit about vocals grab a 57
#12
One more question: Can my VOX AC4TV be SAFELY connected directly to an interface (either the Scarlett 2i2 or Saffire 6) via the 16 ohm speaker output? Or will it blow out the interface or something like that?

The reason I'm asking is because if it is able to, then that pretty much eliminates my need for an instrument mic, because everything other than my vocals could be plugged directly into the interface. And I think the condenser mics sound better with vocals than some of the dynamic mics, so it's something I'd need to know.
.

Quote by dullsilver_mike
The resonant frequency of the clitoris is too low for the guitar players to take care of.


Quote by jackers1234
you sir, have just won for this statement. =D


Young Knees
.
#13
Quote by lkngro
One more question: Can my VOX AC4TV be SAFELY connected directly to an interface (either the Scarlett 2i2 or Saffire 6) via the 16 ohm speaker output? Or will it blow out the interface or something like that?

The reason I'm asking is because if it is able to, then that pretty much eliminates my need for an instrument mic, because everything other than my vocals could be plugged directly into the interface. And I think the condenser mics sound better with vocals than some of the dynamic mics, so it's something I'd need to know.

Definitely not.

Your amp needs a load on it to not blow the output transformer. Plugging from the speaker input into anything other than a cab or load box is not safe. If the amp has an effects loop, you can run a cable from the "send" to the interface (while it's still connected to the speaker) and use an impulse on your software to emulate the power amp/cabinet. This is often a better option for people who are new to recording and don't have their micing technique down. I don't think the AC4 has an effects loop though, so you're out of luck there.

A decent condenser should work fine for lower gain stuff and would be preferable on acoustic guitar and most singers.
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