Well, recording direct through a Digitech Rp250 can only satisfy a man to a certain extent. Then he'll wanna record through an all tube Laney GH50L (helll yeaa!)

So, I gave in to temptation and bought a Shure SM57 at the Billy Hyde Bargain Bible Sale ($140 AUS) and got the lead thing and a stand.
I got home, and gave it a shot, and it being the first time i'd ever used one, i just plugged the 1/4" end into my guitar widget (the thingy with one end 1/4" and one 1/8"....you get me, right?) and the XLR end into the mic.
it set up fine, so i just clicked on Audacity and started playing. (gettin an Imac with Logic Pro soon) just to see the sound.

It sounded....well...to be kind...it was sub-par at the best.
ok fine.
it sounded ****.
kinda like if the White Stripes tone and really old Metallica tone had a wild orgy, and Metallica knocked the White Stripes up.
9 months later, they chucked a blanket over the horribly-deformed love-child, in a feeble attempt and hide it, but only made their tone more horrible.
Still with me?
(nothing against Metallica OR the White Stripes. just their tone....)

I'm hoping oh so dearly someone here can tell me that i'm missing a vital thing that will make it sound nice...

like a Mixer or something?

Whatever i'm hopefully missing, how much? coz I don't have money pouring out my eye sockets. It's more...trickling from my pockets, slowly but surely.
Damn G.A.S!


Thanks in advance,
Last edited by ozzy578 at Nov 15, 2007,
Err, it's not very clear, but are you plugging the microphone directly into your computer's soundcard? If so, unless you have a decent audio capture card that will probably be the problem. Standard soundcards have cheap pre-amps and converters, and also are only meant to take in line level signals. Your microphone is sending a high impedance, low level signal which needs to be run through a pre-amp first otherwise it will sound bad.

By the way, in what way is the sound lacking?

So if you need to buy something then yes a mixer would be a good idea, or just a single microphone pre-amp (as you don't really need to mix anything in)
Yes , sounds liek you are plugging it direct into the computer soundcard, in which case it is obviously going to sound crap. You should look into getting a cheap USB interface, like the Alesis I/O2.

Also , in my experience, it's better to use a full XLR cable rather than an XLR/ jack cable. This could be wrong though, it might not make a difference.
There is poetry in despair.
Yea plugging straight into the line-in thing.
So you reckon a preamp will make it sound less....muffled and terrible?
It's hard to describe. Basically, it sounds like one of those 5 watt practise amps you get for like $20.
Its not muddy, its not bright, its not twangy, its just...screwed.
Thanks for the replies.
Yeah thats what you'll get with the computers soundcard. You need to buy a new interface, you'll notice the difference immediately.
There is poetry in despair.
Yep, you still need a mic preamp.
Peavey 5150
Mesa Mark IV
Mesa Single Rectifier (Series 1)
Fender Custom Shop Tonemaster
Roland Microcube

-Whitebox OS 1x12
-Port City OS 1x12

Digidesign Eleven RackAxe Fx Ultra

its all in the position, where the mic is pointing, what angle, how far away it is..

not to mention what the room sounds like.. is it open and echoey? or filled with furniture and sorta dead sounding.. what amp are miking, and is it cranked? or perhaps its too cranked and the mic can handle that sort of sound pressure..

if you ca get a good sound with your mic taking all this into consideration.. then you should look at Preamps, AD/DA's, compressors, EQ's and all those other little magic boxes..
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Good observations there, you beat me to it. I do agree that the soound card isn't doing you any favors, but mic placement, room acoustics and volume level do have a definite affect on recording quality.

A mic preamp might be a good thing, you could also check local pawn shops and see if you can find a multitrack cassette type mixer, no tape needed, just use the mixer line out for a signal to the sound card. My Tascam Portastudio 414 works great and it gives me the EQ and the option to use the effects loop too. I'm just getting started with it, but so far it does a pretty good job with my acoustic into a plain jane Sound Blaster. I use an old Shure PE35L probably made before most of you guys were born, I've had it 20 years and it was used when I got it. But it still works fine and sounds good...My biggest problem is getting a chance to record without dogs barking, kids yelling, boom boxes driving by...even at 3AM I hear bass drums for 4 blocks every few minutes...rap SUCKS...you gotta be a rude, inconsiderate, jackass to drive through a residential neighborhood at 3AM with a boom box cranked up so loud it wakes me up two blocks before you get here...so I get very few chances to record, way too much background noise.

I agree with the guy above me, mic placement, amp volume mainly. Play with it, if you can get it to sound decent by adjusting mic position and volume level, then look into a mixer or some "magic boxes". My favorite way to go is with a low power tube amp like my Fender Champ, crank it to 10 and it's still low enough volume to record and gets a great tube sound too.
Hmmm...I wonder what this button does...
mic position, room acoustics, will make little difference trying to run an SM57 direct to a line in soundcard. You need some kind of mic preamp that can adjust the gain on the mic, otherwise it's always going to sound like crap with an SM57. It doesn't need to be expensive, even cheap mixers have a built in mic pre. After you get the pre, then worry about mic position, acoustics, etc... They are important for recording, but the SM57 needs a pre first.
"The fool doth think he is wise, but the wiseman knows himself to be a fool." - W.S.
amp clips
amp vids
Well so far what i've done is i've spent a few hours with multiple copies of Guitar World from the 90's showing all the crazy mic placement ideas, tried em all, tried with my GH50L on low, then cranked, then inbetween.
It's picking up little volume no matter what, and the tone is pretty much sucked.
I'm soon getting a better computer for recording (Emac, getting it for free so i'm happy), so would that have a decent enough soundcard?
Do you guys think i need a USB/Firewire interface, or a preamp?
Whats the difference? I got no idea whatsoever.
If i bought like that Line 6 Toneport interface thing, would that make it sound decent? coz right now the recordings are quiet and tone-less.
Or if i bought the Behringer MIC100 preamp, would that work better?
I don't need heaps of inputs or nothing, I record all the instruments myself, seperately.
Thanks again
Quote by ozzy578
Yea plugging straight into the line-in thing.
So you reckon a preamp will make it sound less....muffled and terrible?
It's hard to describe. Basically, it sounds like one of those 5 watt practise amps you get for like $20.
Its not muddy, its not bright, its not twangy, its just...screwed.
Thanks for the replies.

preamp will make it sound 23859742396873046 times better
Quote by Say Ocean
preamp will make it sound 23859742396873046 times better

Thanks, thats all I needed someone to say

Ok, so i'm looking at the Mackie Onyx Satellite (I can get one for $350 AUS), would that be what i'm looking for?
Its an interface (whatever the hell that means) but its black, it looks cool, and it has preamps or something, which, from the reviews i've been reading, sound really really good.

So if i got that, plugged the SM57 into it, and then into the Mac, that'd sound good?
that sounds like it'll work just fine. all mixers do have preamps in them so you'll get what you need. the onyx is also USB/Firewire too isn't it?

if so, its a good way to go.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Yea its a firewire/usb interface with preamps.
So you reckon that'll do?

Thanks heaps.
ok well today i managed to borrow this guy from school's Behringer Mixer with Xenyx Preamps, just to see if it made much difference.

It didn't.
it was flat sounding, so i EQ'd around and oculdn't make it sound good.
It sucked, but just sucked louder.

It connects to the computer via the computers line-in through a guitar lead.

Is the bad sounding-ness because of my computer soundcard, or am i doomed to have a bad mic till i buy a new one?

If it still sucks coz of the soundcard, would the audio interface work like an external soundcard, or do i need a better soundcard too?
the sm57 isnt bad at all.
its like, the standard for micing up guitar cabinets. its probably because behringer make it. or because your soundcard could be a bit crappy, im not sure. but its definently not your mic.
hmmm well its gotta be something.
Would the soundcard make that much difference? and if it does, would the Audio Interface (Mackie Onyx Satellite) like bypass my soundcard or something like that? Coz i do not have the money to replace my soundcard.
soundcards do make difference i think. i recorded directly from a 57beta into my microphone input straight to audacity, and i recorded my guitar amp and double tracked it then panned it and it sounded actually great, after that i compressed it and it sounded even better. im not sur eman, just experimentation is the key. try as many ways as you can think of to do this.
Thanks. but i've tried heaps of things, eq'ing, panning and everything. I just hope its a soundcard thing.
its probably more than likely is. don't stress man. whats your setup. like, what are you recording thru, i didnt read the start of the thread cos it was too long, haha.

haha nah thats cool. At the moment its Gibson Explorer Pro > Laney GH50L > SM57 > borrowed mixing thing > computer line-in > Audacity.
Man. the whole recording thing is so much more complicated than I would've thought haha
haha yeah
thats what i thort
mic placement is very important i believe. so you are saying your gettign bad quality recordings thru the mixer. umm. whats so bad baout it?
is it muffled, is it too harsh, too soft. try and explain. it could just need major EQing maybe, but im sure you have tried that. try this...
get a cable ( if u want) that goes from XLR to a 1/4 inch socket, then get an adaptor that goes from 1/4 inch to a 1/8 inch (size of your line in input, headfones and mic). the plug the adaptor from the lead that comes from ur mic into the mic input of your computer (red)
see how that sounds.
and if its better that would be a makeshift way to record.

im guessing the problem might be the pre amp in the mixer. im not sur eof the quality of the mixer, but, for a mic to be put in the line in input, the signal needs to be amplified, which you have done, but the pre amp in the mixer might not be that good quality. i suggest you try the method i told you about. it could help it. then you can EQ in audacity. or compres sit. i recorded with the band im in, using one mic (chosen out of four mics i have) straight into the computer. i recorded drums, which actually sounded quite decent and much better than you would expect from one input. my guitar, and bass. we are going to record again soon after i get some new gear and we will try some new things.

sorry if i am no help at all.

EDIT: maybe you should save for an audio interface for around 300 or 400 (AUD). i know its expensive, but its surely a good way to record guitar tracks. im going to post some of the tracks ive made by just one input son after i convert them.
yea dude, thats why some people pay in th tens of thousands for pro recordings.

but yea, i was hoping you'd find a way to get a good sound before going out and buying more gear.. only to find it just makes louder crappy sounds. but it never hurts to explore either, and you lucked out since you only borrowed the mixer you're using now, meaning .. no financial loss.

so basically what you're left with is more experimenting with mic angles, distances, and tweaking your amp settings.

speaking of which.. i never asked.. what are the settings on your amp?? and what kinda speakers are in you cab?


also a few more things to look for. if you point the mic at the cone of the speaker, you'll get a more honky mid range tone. point it at the edge of the speaker if you want a more scooped sound. angling the mics affect how much high end it picks up..

just try EVERYTHING. sometimes the strangest set ups yield the best results for the situation.
Grammar and spelling omitted as an exercise for the reader.
Last edited by Kivarenn82 at Nov 20, 2007,
the trouble is partly that you haven't got rid of the problem by using the mixer. if you go through the mixer and then into the soundcard, you've still got the ****ty soundcard messing things up. the advantage of a usb/firewire interface is that it bypasses the crappiness of the soundcard. i wouldnt want to say that getting an external interface would instantly solve all your problems, but unless you do get something like that, you probably aren't going to get anything near worthwhile tone.
my name is matt. you can call me that if you like.
your still lining in. you need to use firewire or at least usb. that will imrove the sound drastically.
Ah so the interface does bypass my stock soundcard?
I got it to sound not AS bad last night after i spent about an hour with mic placement.
Thanks heaps for all your help.
b00m especially, absolute legend mate!

Well, i'm saving at the moment for a Mackie Onyx Satellite ($400 or so, i get $100 a week with my job, so i'll have it soon enough )

i've narrowed it down to my soundcard. I have a Laney GH50L all tube head, playing through what WAS a behringer cab, until I put some new speakers in it.
Eminence actually.
Real nice sounding live and stuff.
So yea, thank you all for you're help. I might borrow an interface from a friend to see if that works.
I'll keep you all posted how it goes, and if it goes well i'll probably chuck some recordings up on here for y'all.

Sorry about my recording n00bness, non-Digitech related recording is new to me.

Thanks so much though, really thankful.
^Hey, im from SA as well!

My setup to record is my PA running the line out into the computers line in and using Adobe Audition. I get great recording quality from this simple setup, so im not really sure why even with a mixer you still arent getting good quality.

I just lower the line in level really low so it wont distort or anything and then really crank my amp and mic it with the eq on the PA set basically flat, and i get an honest reproduction of my sound.

Also, where did you get your Laney from, the only shop ive come across that sells Laney is Ceceres.
Bmusic in Gawler does it, but I got mine from Southern Music in Christies Beach. Southern Music at Marion sucks, I know, it sells like....beginner stuff, but the one in Christies (fair way from where I am) has nice gear. Great drum gear too!
Well i dont think i will travel a huge way from where i am for an amp. How much did it cost you for the head?
XLR mic into a sound card without any preamp?!?!?

First off, this should be moved to "Riffs & Recordings" as thats the proper spot:

If you really want some good recordings, get an interface like a toneport or mackie makes a nice firewire interface.

Quote by ozzy578
Thanks, thats all I needed someone to say

Ok, so i'm looking at the Mackie Onyx Satellite (I can get one for $350 AUS), would that be what i'm looking for?
Its an interface (whatever the hell that means) but its black, it looks cool, and it has preamps or something, which, from the reviews i've been reading, sound really really good.

So if i got that, plugged the SM57 into it, and then into the Mac, that'd sound good?

Great unit to start on.
firewire is a good transfer connection so be sure your PC has a firewire port on it.

You wont need any mixer or anything else with this interface.
just an XLR cord and your mic and the interface.

Interfaces are inputs with built in preamps as well as some other great features. They bypass the wiring in your computers sound card and record though the interface instead making recording quality much better.

in the R&R section theres a great noob type sticky explaining all this.
Last edited by moody07747 at Nov 22, 2007,
Thanks moody07747. I'll invest.

and Deadmanscurve, i got my laney for $1320, with a Boss NS-2, which you kinda need, coz the tubes hiss pretty damn loud, but you run it through the loop and it kills all noise. brilliant little thing)

Well, Thanks for all your help, I think i should be set now.
Thanks heaps!

didnt want to make a new thread so thought id ask here my sound card in my laptop isnt that great so if i bought the mackie onyx satelite would i be able to avoid buying a new soundcard and be able to get low latency recordings using the mackie by using this set up is there anything else i would need

guitar > fx pedal > amp > sm57 > mackie onxy satellite > laptop > software

also my laptop does not have a firewire port can this use usb at all ?? thanks for any help
Last edited by exitmusic at Nov 30, 2007,
Well, I got the new computer and I tried it all over again with the only main difference being a slightly better soundcard, and it sounded much better.
So i'm saving right now for the Onyx Satellite, and yea. I'll post clips when I'm done if you like