#1
Alright, I need some advice. Here's my situation:

In my free time, I try to write some pop-punk-rock stuff. I'd like to try and do my own singing on it. I've been working with FL Studio, recording guitar directly into the computer, as the interface thread strictly bans. On my stationary computer it's on an Audiophile 24/96 and on my Macbook Pro just the built in soundcard. For the bass and drums I use plug-ins, Trilogy and Addictive Drums.
I don't have any microphone, so as far as the vocal melodies go, I've either just been using my imagination, or simply writing them with piano, guitar, or synth, to get an idea of how it would sound.

Anywho, I've decided that just ain't gonna cut it anymore, I've gotta start doing some real recordings of the vocals.
As for the quality I seek... Well, I usually tell myself my ideas are recordings that I'll eventually present to a few musicians I know, and we'll try to do a proper recording. So basically just demos I can show off. But honestly, I'd like to reach a quality where I can sort of release the stuff. Obviously not as a proper album, but at least just something to put on a band website, without people instantly noticing that it's far from professional.

So, here's my plan. I mean to get an RME Babyface, as I hear good things about it it's components, and it's mobile and within a budget I can handle.
The big question though, is that of the microphone.

I realize there's plenties of threads on the general subject, and I've done my share of googling, but I figured you guys might have an opinion on the possibilities I'm considering. I certainly need all the help I can get, as I've never tried recording vocals before.

Initially I was thinking a Shure SM58, cheap and simple, and maybe add a Rode NT1A. The Shure would handle the louder singing, and also I could use it to occasionally mic and record my guitar amp, rather than using Guitar Rig. The Rode might handle the "prettier" vocal parts, the quieter stuff. and maybe some acoustic guitar as well.

Now, I've since then been thinking that maybe I shouldn't skimp too much on the microphones, as the vocals are a pretty important part of the song, and I'd like for it to be somewhat future proof, as I might not have too much financial leeway the next couple of years. So I was thinking maybe buy a Shure SM7B for vocals. I imagine the fact that it's dynamic is good for home recording situations, as the rooms haven't been treated, so you avoid too much unwanted noise, and apparently the mic can handle some serious male rock vocals. From what I understand, it's been used by Bono, Michael Jackson, and just generally a buttload of popular records.

I've decided to post a link to my soundcloud, where I've uploaded some ridiculous iPhone recordings of me singing, nothing fancy, I just sang a couple of songs I liked, not a lot of preparation. That way you get an idea of what my voice sounds like, and feel free to laugh.
Now, below that are a few examples of some songs I've made. These are just ideas that I've uploaded in order for myself to listen to at work, and think of further work I might do with them, lyrics or whatever. But this way you get an idea of the genre/sound I'm working with.

[forbidden link]

Okay, sorry if this thread turned too long and specific, or if I forgot some stuff that really matters, but I would love to hear what you guys think of my plans here. Is there something I've overlooked? The gear I've mentioned should give you guys an idea of the budget I'm working with. The Babyface is around 700 bucks, and for microphones I'm thinking I'll spend around the same
#2
Okay, sorry, link won't work! It's soundcloud dot com slash otacon

Of course you don't need to listen to it, but keep in mind I sing relatively loud, and I like poppy rock stuff like Blink 182, Yellowcard, Deathcab, AFI, Green Day
#3
Oh boy, right up my alley. First off, instead of the Babyface, I'd look into the Apogee Duet since you've got a MacBook. I'd say between the 2, the Duet is the superior unit and $100 less.

As far as mics, you're on the right track but everything you've looked at is kinda meh. The SM58 is a great live mic for vocals but not as much in studio. If you plan on micing an amp, get the SM57 instead. The Rode NT1-A is okay but it sounds very brittle. The SM7B is a great mic IF you have an external preamp to help drive it. If you're going to spend up to $700 on a mic, the SM7B + a Focusrite ISA One Preamp will sound great, especially for pop-punk/alternative.

Some other options I'd suggest for mics would be the Blue Bottle Rocket Stage One. I know when Tom Delonge (Blink) is in the studio, he records his vocals through the big $6000 Blue Bottle Mic. Its probably the closest you'd get and you can find them used for under $800. I'd also look into the Rode NTK. They run around $400-$500 used but its a solid tube condenser for vocals.

Also, if you've got some extra cash after all this is done, I'd look into Steven Slate Drums to replace Addictive. The drum sounds are far superior to Addictive. Also, the Chris Lord-Alge expansion pack for it is worth buying. CLA has mixed every Green Day album since American Idiot as well as Nimrod and is the closest drum sample library on the market you'll get to the modern pop-punk/rock drum sound.
Derpy Derp Derp Herp Derp
#4
Thank you very much for the reply, lockwolf!

First of all, I did consider the Duet, but the reason for my Babyface preference is actually its Windows compatibility. It just so happens I've done all of my music so far using FL Studio, through Windows with the help of Bootcamp. Of course, I could start using Logic or Ableton or whatever instead, but I'm used to FL, I have all of my current projects on
it, and I don't really feel that it's holding me back. From what I understand, the preamps and converters are basically the same on the two units.

Speaking of preamps, I did some research on Babyface/SM7B compatibility. Here's some stuff that I found.

http://www.gearslutz.com/board/low-end-theory/619427-60db-gain-enough-sm7b.html
http://recordinghacks.com/2012/06/18/sm7b-audio-interface-shootout/

While the first link is a bit all over the place, what I found interesting about the second one is that the author did recommend the Fast Track C400, which I'm imagining is an inferior product compared to the Babyface?

By the way, sorry for being the guy who, when given advice, instantly starts giving reasons why he just wants to stick to his initial ideas! :P

It's just that that extra separate preamp is quite the investment, and I feel like if it's possible, I'd prefer to spent that money elsewhere, like say, on those drums you showed me! I looked into them, and it does indeed look like they sound superior to Addictive Drums, perhaps especially for the kinda stuff I'm doing!

Oh and I remember looking up which mic Tom Delonge uses, and was a little bit disappointed to see the 6000$ pricetag. But just now I tried to find this Bottle Rocket Stage One you speak of, but it's proving difficult to find any used ones for a decent price. The Rode NTK on the other hand looks like it might not be out of reach, so I'll definitely be checking it out!

And again, thank you for your suggestions!
#5
The Duet has better conversion and preamps with a much higher gain range than the RME. If you want Windows compatibility, get the Focusrite Forte instead. It has their flagship RedNet preamps and the newest converters out of all the higher end 2 channel interfaces. I haven't A/B'd it with the RME or Duet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it beats both. Plenty if gain for an SM7b, too.
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maybe you're not saying the right things? an amp likes to know you care.





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#6
Quote by MatrixClaw
The Duet has better conversion and preamps with a much higher gain range than the RME. If you want Windows compatibility, get the Focusrite Forte instead. It has their flagship RedNet preamps and the newest converters out of all the higher end 2 channel interfaces. I haven't A/B'd it with the RME or Duet, but I wouldn't be surprised if it beats both. Plenty if gain for an SM7b, too.


Thanks for the tip! Apparently the Forte is a bit cheaper than the Babyface as well. This may be due to fewer features, but I reckon for my use the basics may be enough, not quite sure what I'd use MIDI, Digital out/in and ADAT for. So I'm thinking I'm gonna go with the Forte, and an SM7B. I guess I'll have to give that one a try, before I decide whether I need a Large Diaphragm Condenser like the NT1-A.
#7
Quote by lockwolf
I'd look into Steven Slate Drums to replace Addictive. The drum sounds are far superior to Addictive.

Open to debate. I despise the sound of Steven Slate while Addictive is decent (if a bit plasticky at times).


SM7b is a great mic for vocal work, especially voiceovers and broadcast.
Works really well with a lot of rock vocalists too, and a major advantage for home recording is that it picks up a lot less of the ambient room sound.
Room sound is gerenally the main reason amateur vocals have a cheap or 'boxy' sound to them, so that can be a major advantage. Unlike most of the LDCs out there it also works great on distorted guitar amps and even bass cabs.

As an all-round vocal condenser I reckon the SE Electronics 2200A is very hard to beat.