I have some questions about recording with the Shure SM57, can anyone help? :)

#1
Greetings,

Previously, I've been using my amp's line out (into a 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapter) to record my guitar. It was a pretty sucky amp but still I managed to get a lot done using Audacity and the ilk. However, I now bought a Line 6 Spider IV 15, and the line out seems to be suckier than the line out of my previous amp, but this-as an amp-is far, far better than my previous amp. So I decided to buy a Shure SM57. I haven't ordered it yet. I just discovered the world of XLR after reading about it and it's getting confusing. I really don't have a lot to spend, so I was wondering, will I be fine with a simple XLR female (connected to the SM57) to USB male cable, directly into my laptop? I'm referring to something like this: https://www.amazon.com/AGPtek-Microphone-female-Adapter-Connector/dp/B005HH2GCQ

Is all that preamp, audio interface etc. jazz necessary? Can't I just do that and do the processing later digitally, if required? :/ Thank you in advance.
#2
Well, the first thing to consider is HOW you are recording.

Are you using a DAW and layering, or just slamming ideas into something simple? If you're layering, there will be latency as most computer sound cards don't care/are designed for minimal latency monitoring. So you will need to mute things out to record properly if multi tracking.

Second, I'd be suspect of of this. Not for security, but quality. The A/D conversion is destined to be bad with this. With A/D, money is a good indicator of quality (for the most part). At 11 dollars... expect some grimy sounding guitars.

Just get a small, inexpensive interface, a la http://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-audio/lexicon-alpha-usb-desktop-recording-studio and bob's your uncle. You even get a copy of Cubase LE with it.
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#3
the chemist Thank you so much for replying. Yes I am using a DAW, in a way. I basically record guitar covers and some of my own stuff. I record the individual tracks primarily in Audacity, and then layer them, mix them, put it all together, etc. in Sony Vegas Pro, and they've both been doing the job quite well for me. Also, I'm unfamiliar with the technical terms-by "latency" are you referring to the amount of delay between the time when I play and the time when I hear it from/in my laptop? If yes, then indeed, it has been an issue already with the cheap 6.3 to 3.5 mm adapters and USB and has adversely affected my timing.

Thank you so much for the advice. I didn't know all the terms you used so I looked up what A/D means and the link you provided. It has helped a lot.

I've boiled down what I'll be buying (along with the SM57 and a decent XLR cable) to:

1. The Lexicon Alpha USB Desktop Recording Studio (the one you referred me to)

OR

2. The Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 2x2 USB Audio Interface - https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-U-PHORIA-UM2-BEHRINGER/dp/B00EK1OTZC

OR

3. The Behringer XENYX 302USB 5-Input Compact Mixer and USB Interface - https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-302USB-BEHRINGER-XENYX/dp/B005EHILV4

OR

4. the Behringer U-Control UCA 202 USB Audio Interface - https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-UCA202-Audio-Interface/dp/B000KW2YEI

Which one do you think is most appropriate?
Last edited by deathengraved19 at Sep 19, 2016,
#4
Also, some people on YouTube seem to be directly plugging in their guitars into these devices and putting on the distortion etc. digitally. Is that a good idea? Can I ditch the Shure SM57 altogether and just buy a simple interface/preamp like this and do everything on my laptop? Or is the 'feel' of micing an amp different/superior/worth it? This is all very new to me. Haha.
#5
The problem you will encounter just going direct with a mic is the lack of a decent mic pre-amp. You won't be able to control the input except in the software you are using and that could be a problem. I suggest you budget $50 for an interface like the Lexicon Alpha which goes for under $50. You'll spend almost as much buying adapters and cords and not achieving a decent sound. I used an Alpha for a few years and it worked fine. It also gives you a lot of extra inputs like line inputs and outputs. When you are ready to go to a bigger better interface you can buy something with more bells and whistles but if you get a Shure 57 get an interface. There is even a new Behringer interface for $30 that gets decent reviews (see link below for video and reviews). This would be great for a starter system and has phantom power (the Lexicon doesn't have phantom power). You'll need that if you get a condenser mic later.

http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/UM2usb?adpos=1o3&creative=55225946401&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAjwmf6-BRDi9fSN7Ijt1wUSJAASawcjOBYiwDRtC6edIUUxpWSDzluPF6pY798cJrsf1YNVRhoCs0fw_wcB
Yes I am guitarded also, nice to meet you.
Last edited by Rickholly74 at Sep 20, 2016,