I'm going to buy a mic to start recording with some of the money I get for Christmas, so would someone explain to me the pros and cons of USB vs. regular mics where you have to buy an audio interface too? My friend has a Shure mic and he said USB mics in general sound worse than regular ones, but I've been looking at the Blue Yeti and people have said its a REALLY nice mic and recordings I've heard from it sound really good. Not having to buy an audio interface would also be awesome. If I go with the Yeti, what program(s) should I use to mix and layer and stuff?
I've heard the Yetis are great, but usb mics generally do not sound very good, but are significantly cheaper. That's pretty much the pro/con right there. As for mixing, there's all sorts of programs. Ableton is somewhat popular, but more so for loops. The big debate seems to be between protools and logic, but they're both are pretty expensive. If you have a mac then I think that garageband can mix, but my favorite is audacity.
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Reaper is much better than audacity. It's free like winzip (evaluation period is infinite, but you have limited functionality) or you can get an individual user license for $50.

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Reaper is much better than audacity. It's free like winzip (evaluation period is infinite, but you have limited functionality) or you can get an individual user license for $50.

false. Reaper rules.
there are pros and cons to both style mics. I have a Blue Snowball USB that i run directly into my laptop for remote recording and it has always served me well. I have some nice XLR mics in the studio but those have to be run through a board to digitize. Of course the XLR are higher quality and the mackie board helps with brining in a nice quality recording but for what you are doing i would say just grap a decent USB condensor mic and let it fly.
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Don't waste your money on a USB mic. I went that route, and it has been sitting in a box for two years now.

Buy a simple interface to start, and try to find a used SM57 to try out at first. Try running it into Reaper and you'll be very happy with the results.
I have used a Blue Yeti a couple of times. It's nice for the price, but it couldn't replace an interface and Shure SM57 for me.
I get great results from a cheap USB condenser mic, enough that bands are happy to pay £40 a track to record demos at my dodgy little loft studio.

However, if you're mostly looking to record electric guitar, you want a dynamic mic. Very few USB dynamics exist (Samson make one) and in the long term you're better off with an interface.
Well I do own and play 2 electric guitars and I'm indefinitely borrowing a friend's bass and POS 10 watt amp, so I would like to be able to record those too but I mostly fingerpick acoustic and play banjo and stuff...
The thing with the USB mics is that, yes, they are good in their price range, but once you start getting more serious about recording, you will want a dedicated interface to use with better mics. When you factor in the cost of a good interface (~$200 and a good mic ~$150), you're already significantly more expensive than going with a USB mic - However, you will have higher quality preamps that can be used with any setup, not just a single mic, you'll have a lot more routing options for headphones, monitors and outputs to other devices, and you'll have significantly better A/D conversion.

A USB mic is a decent route to go if you don't plan on getting any more serious about recording than just recording covers and little demos to go up on YouTube, but if you plan on recording full songs using guitar, bass, singing, drums, etc. the USB mic will not suffice. The point really is that, if you buy a good interface, you can use it with whatever mics you want, thus - If you want to upgrade to a better sounding mic in the future, you don't have to replace your interface, eventually cutting down on your total cost. If you ever decide to upgrade your USB mic, you'll have to sell the whole thing, which means you lose your interface AND mic, at which point, you'll have to buy an interface anyway to run whatever mic you choose to buy next.
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