#1
Hi Guys,

We looking for a mic to mic our jam space. Our setup is as follows:

Vocals and Keyboard into a small 8 channel mixer through a 200 watt powered speaker
Drums, Bass and Guitar not mic'd.

We currently use a really bad computer microphone hanging from the roof on one end of the room. All amps are on the opposite side of the room pointing towards the mic. The mic goes into the microphone jack of the computer into some software. The room is quite small.

Looking to upgrade the sound quality. The levels are good, but the quality is quite bad. The bass guitar and kick don't come through very well. The mixer doesn't have a usb out. Only a line out (red and white) that we could maybe use to send to the mic input of the computer.

I was thinking our best bet is a USB mic of higher quailty.

What do you guys suggest is the best bet for this situation? I'd say budget is max $200 on a mic (thats probably generous, the less the better). If micing all the instruments is the best bet I'd like to know, but I don't think buying mics for drums, guitar and bass is an option at this point.
#2
Grab a pair of Behringer C2 for £40. They'll do a pretty good job of capturing your practice room in stereo - it even comes with a special stereo bar that holds both mics on a single mic stand.

Then get a simple USB interface like a Focusrite Saffire or Akai EIE with phantom power, this lets you get the signal into the PC in the best possible quality. Using the PC's built in mic input will really reduce your quality.
#4
What makes you think a shitty usb mic in the middle of room is going to do anything better than what you've got now?

With a remotely decent stereo pair you will at least get an accurate image of the space - though you probably won't have very much, if any, clarity, depending on what you guys play.

I'd honestly just buy some sm57's. close mic the guitar, vox, and kick/snare or just do a drum overhead...then DI the bass.
#6
The issue I see is...any room mic, unless you have a really balanced sound in the room...isn't going to really give you any form of clarity. If you're a jazz quartet...it might work. IF you're a loud rock band w/ distorted guitars...I highly doubt it'll be beneficial to just mic the room.
#7
Ok so it sounds like an audio interface is required either way.

I guess it depends on forking out the cash for SM57s instead of getting stereo condensers in the room.

Instruments -> Mixer out -> audio interface -> Computer.

Is it better to just get an audio interface or upgrade the mixer to something that does both? While keeping the cost reasonable?
#8
What do you want to DO with your recordings? No matter how much you spend on a mic, recording your band with one mic in a room will never give you anything you'd think of releasing. So, is it just for evaluating rehearsals? If that's the case, keep it simple and get a really usable recording with something like a Zoom H2. It records direct to mp3 (if you want it to), is dead easy to use, and sounds great for what it is.

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.
#9
SM57 close miking? Ludicrous - he wants to record band practices, not build a bloody project studio!


- You'd need at least 8 simultaneous inputs - which costs a lot more than your typical 2x2 interface
- You'd need to buy at least 5 or 6 mics: 2 condensers for drum overheads, a kick mic, a snare mic, a mic for each guitar cab, a vocal mic and a DI for the bass.
- You'd need to learn proper engineering and placement techniques for each
- You'd need to learn mixing skills, or you'll just end up with a mess of rough sounding tracks that don't blend together naturally


Honestly, a spaced stereo pair is what you want. Axemanchris mentioned the Zoom H2, you'd be very surprised at how good those little handheld recorders sound. They generally have a pair of XY small diaphragm condensers, basically the same thing I'm suggesting but in a much more convenient format at the expense of positioning flexibility.
#10
Its just for recording practices and listening to later ourselves, and probably so other people can listen also. If your going to show other people, you want to sound good, right?

I think based on price and what we want to do that a pair of studio condensers is a good option. Any other recommendations on audio interfaces? We are in Canada if that helps at all.
#11
Quote by kyle62
SM57 close miking? Ludicrous - he wants to record band practices, not build a bloody project studio!


- You'd need at least 8 simultaneous inputs - which costs a lot more than your typical 2x2 interface
- You'd need to buy at least 5 or 6 mics: 2 condensers for drum overheads, a kick mic, a snare mic, a mic for each guitar cab, a vocal mic and a DI for the bass.
- You'd need to learn proper engineering and placement techniques for each
- You'd need to learn mixing skills, or you'll just end up with a mess of rough sounding tracks that don't blend together naturally


Honestly, a spaced stereo pair is what you want. Axemanchris mentioned the Zoom H2, you'd be very surprised at how good those little handheld recorders sound. They generally have a pair of XY small diaphragm condensers, basically the same thing I'm suggesting but in a much more convenient format at the expense of positioning flexibility.

Are you high, dude?

You can get a 57 for like 50-60 bucks used, or at cost if you have a friend that works at GC, it's not hard to do. Micing a guitar cab isn't science, especially if its a single mic for rehearsal - hang it over the cab.

You can use another to overhead the entire kit.

You can DI the bass and run the vocal straight in, Thats 4 inputs...he has an 8 channel mixer.

2 57s...for 100 bucks. Or an omni condenser for 200+. A zoom for 200+...
#12
Quote by chronowarp
Are you high, dude?

You can get a 57 for like 50-60 bucks used, or at cost if you have a friend that works at GC, it's not hard to do. Micing a guitar cab isn't science, especially if its a single mic for rehearsal - hang it over the cab.

You can use another to overhead the entire kit.

You can DI the bass and run the vocal straight in, Thats 4 inputs...he has an 8 channel mixer.

2 57s...for 100 bucks. Or an omni condenser for 200+. A zoom for 200+...

First of all, in the UK it's £100 for a single SM57....not everyone gets em as cheap as the US.

Secondly, that's a lot more work to set up before each band practice (assuming the goal here is to get rough recordings to capture ideas and for self-assessment), for potentially worse results. 57s make a pretty poor drum overhead,

Even though the mixer is 8 channels, you're still only going to be taking a stereo feed from the master bus....so unless you take time to get everything balanced, panned and EQ'd in advance you're going to end up with an unusable mess.
f the mixer doesn't have a proper send/monitor output, you might even have to run all those mics through the PA....which is simply not going to happen.

Trying to record practices with separate close miking is a total waste of time and money at this kind of budget/level. Better to go with natural room sound.
#13
A room mic in an untreated tiny room with low ceiling with a bad balance makes for an even worse recording than close micing the source and adjusting volumes so you can actually hear shit.
#14
Quote by chronowarp
A room mic in an untreated tiny room with low ceiling with a bad balance makes for an even worse recording than close micing the source and adjusting volumes so you can actually hear shit.

No, a room mic in a small untreated room sounds like if you were standing in a small untreated room. Close micing and adjusting volumes sounds like you stuck the amps next to your head and setting the levels.
#16
The recordings we have now aren't fuzzy or anything. You can hear each instrument clearly. Its just the quality that needs an improvement.
#17
I'd be more inclined to go with a dynamic mic for a room mic in this situation. A condenser isn't going to pick up the kick drum at all over guitar and bass and if you don't set your levels low enough, the sensitivity of the Mic is going to give you huge volume spikes when cymbals and the snare hit. Cheap condenser mics tend to have brittle high end, which is only going to accentuate cymbals and the high end fizz of guitars.
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
#18
Quote by chatterbox272
No, a room mic in a small untreated room sounds like if you were standing in a small untreated room. Close micing and adjusting volumes sounds like you stuck the amps next to your head and setting the levels.

+1

Chronowarp, I totally get your point, a trained audio engineer could get great results doing it with individual mics.

Personally, I'd go a step further and use passive DI boxes for software re-amping.

I'm live recording a festival next month, and I'm making all the guitarists go through DI boxes as a form of insurance.....when you've got to engineer for 8 bands in 12 hours you don't get that much time to work on exact mic placement or worry whether the amps are good quality!


However, for a bunch of guys who just want some listenable recordings of their practice, it's a fair bit of learning and with the strong potential to be completely unusable if you don't nail it.

Quote by madi719
The recordings we have now aren't fuzzy or anything. You can hear each instrument clearly. Its just the quality that needs an improvement.

What do you want to use the recordings for? Self-assessment or as demos for others to listen to?
#19
http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/zoom-h2n-handy-recorder

includes two studio condensers and an interface all in one unit. $179. No screwing around to set up, easy to use, etc.

We used one of these to record our rehearsals and it was perfect for that purpose.

But if you want to have something as a demo, you're going to have to be prepared to spend a bit more money, or spend a day in a project studio, which you could do for about $200. They'll have way better gear than you'll be willing and able to afford in the next few months, they'll know how to use it better than you will in the next two years, and you'll have your demo next weekend.

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.
#20
Quote by kyle62
What do you want to use the recordings for? Self-assessment or as demos for others to listen to?


It would be self assessment and just to let friends listen to if they inquire.
#21
Then, definitely, you don't want to screw around spending a lot of time and money. Go with something like the Zoom H2.

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.