#1
Hello, I've been getting ready to record a new album, mostly ska/rock music. So far, you guys have helped me out with buying new instruments but there's just a few more things. If you can answer any of my questions, I'd really appreciate it, thanks!

1. Monitors

For the longest time, I've been using ipod headphones and a bass amp to mix songs. I need to invest in something better that won't kill my ears. Something that also doesn't have a lot of bass haha. I've been thinking about getting the M-audio BX5a monitors. Just something in the $200 range. I don't know a single thing about monitors though. Like what's the difference between a monitor and a speaker in a car?

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/product/MAudio-BX5a-70-Watt-Active-Studio-Monitors?sku=603707

2. Microphones

I only have a SM57. I like it but when I try recording soft acoustic guitar parts, I always need to turn the gain up which makes it sound a lot more hissy. I also record vocals with this mic but it sounds weird, like my voice doesn't fit in the song. I'm pretty sure I can sing too haha. I have a bass range, but I mostly sing the highest (around C3). I don't know if the mic is best for my range. I usually just add a little reverb and a small amount of EQ to the mix which makes it sound slightly better. I don't really know how to use compressors yet.

I also use a pop shield and stand away about 6 inches from the mic when I record. Should I get another mic that's intended for vocals? I don't really have the money so if I can learn how to work the sm57 better, that'd be great.

3. Interface

Finally, the interface. I already have one, which is M-audio's fast track pro. It's great and all I need but I'm not sure which is the best recording method for electric and bass guitar. I always plug those instruments directly into the interface and record. After that, I use programs to get the effects/distortion/etc. that I want. The other method I heard of is recording your amp by putting a mic right next to it when you play. I don't have any good amps though so I'm wondering if I'll be alright with my method, quality-wise.
#2
SM57's are the standard for recording guitar, but they're not designed for vocals. Get an SM58 if you're really serious about it, they're about £80 ($160) but they're worth it.
#3
an SM58 is the same price as a sm57 in the US.. at guitar center they are both only $100
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#4
Even though I've never actually used an SM58 before, I've heard it's practically the same mic. Maybe just a little darker sound.
#5
ya what exactly is the difference between the 57 and 58?
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#6
The frequency response of the 58 is better suited to the frequencies found in the human voice. As the 57 is more suited to those from a guitar.

You can use either for guitar or vocals, they just don't sound as good as their counterparts. ie, a 58 won't sound as good as a 57 when used with a guitar.
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#7
The 57 can sound good with female vocals, which are usually higher frequency than male vocals. since you have a deep voice, its not going to sound so good.

for vocals, a shure sm58 is always a winner. you cant go wrong with one of those. another option is the beta 58, which has a different pickup pattern and frequency response. some people love the beta58 and others hate it, so try before you buy.

as is always the case with "industry standard" equipment that many people swear by, there is better availible for a similar price. just look about a bit and do some googling to get some ideas.

as for monitors, they are designed to have as flat a response as possible. they wont colour the sound at all, so you hear exactly what you are engineering.
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#8
Quote by CanadaHckyDude
ya what exactly is the difference between the 57 and 58?


the main difference is 58's have a built in pop filter and too much (imho) presence (high end treble response).

58's are intended for vocals 57 are intended for instruments.

i use 57 on vocals with a pop screen.

maybe shure's aren't your style. you might want to look at audio technicas for vocals (pro 83?). sennheisers are nice too. they both have a good clean sound to them.
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as for micing the guitar you should not have a problem with getting enough gain with that interface/mic setup (i had the same setup). try micing the guitar closer or in different positions. my favorite is aim the mic at the bridge off axis toward the stings at about 6inches away. a condenser mic is best for realistic recordings of acoustic guitars.
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monitors get krk rockit 5's. i have the rockit 8's. i had m audio monitors and i returned them cuz they sounded like crap.

studio monitors are designed to have a flat frequency response; translation: they do not make music sound better, it makes music sound the way it is.
#9
I checked out the krk rokit powered 5 generation 2 monitors. They look pretty cool and it's also a little cheaper, but why exactaly would you choose these over the m-audio monitors?

So yeah, great information guys. Thanks a lot so far! I recorded a quick sample of a weezer song, singing with my SM57 mic. If you want to listen to it, check out the first song on my page - http://www.myspace.com/jimt

how do you think it sounds? Is it worth it to buy a new mic?
#10
If I were you, I'd get a condenser mic, probably the AT2020 ( http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020-Large-Diaphragm-Condenser-Microphone-103056305-i1126691.gc ). Acoustic guitars are way too quiet for a dynamic mic, and you have to be way too delicate while recording so as to not move AT ALL. Condensers can be put a little farther away. They are also good for recording vocals, so this might be what you need.

If you like the distortion you get on your amp, use that coupled with the SM57. If not, keep using computer effects.

Oh yeah, and do not sell your SM57. Farther down the road you'll get a good amp and want to mic it with that.
#11
Quote by dimatrod
If I were you, I'd get a condenser mic, probably the AT2020 ( http://www.guitarcenter.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020-Large-Diaphragm-Condenser-Microphone-103056305-i1126691.gc ). Acoustic guitars are way too quiet for a dynamic mic, and you have to be way too delicate while recording so as to not move AT ALL. Condensers can be put a little farther away. They are also good for recording vocals, so this might be what you need.

If you like the distortion you get on your amp, use that coupled with the SM57. If not, keep using computer effects.

Oh yeah, and do not sell your SM57. Farther down the road you'll get a good amp and want to mic it with that.


Thanks, I'm definitely going to look into that mic.
#12
Alright, I think I'm going to go with the AT2020 and krk rokit 5 monitors. I'll love to hear any last suggestions. Thanks
#13
There are other good products in the price range, but I think you'll be satisfied with those choices. They're both pretty solid, IMO.
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#14
I've used the BX5a's rather extensively, and find that if you can adapt to the small lack of low end from them, they are great for the price. Not perfectly flat, but more than adequate to make mixes that will translate well onto any medium. Besides, your room will have a lot more to do with how your monitors sound than the exact frequency curve they show on the manual
#15
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#16
Quote by j090
Like what's the difference between a monitor and a speaker in a car?


One word: accuracy. A speaker in a car is supposed to make any sound sound good. But a monitor is supposed to be honest (though some people do like a little sweetness), so if your mix is crap, it should help you figure out how so. M Audio's a good brand...people here like KRK, and I like Event and Genelac, though that's a bit too pricey.

Quote by j090
I only have a SM57. I like it but when I try recording soft acoustic guitar parts, I always need to turn the gain up which makes it sound a lot more hissy. I also record vocals with this mic but it sounds weird, like my voice doesn't fit in the song. I'm pretty sure I can sing too haha. I have a bass range, but I mostly sing the highest (around C3). I don't know if the mic is best for my range. I usually just add a little reverb and a small amount of EQ to the mix which makes it sound slightly better. I don't really know how to use compressors yet.

I also use a pop shield and stand away about 6 inches from the mic when I record. Should I get another mic that's intended for vocals? I don't really have the money so if I can learn how to work the sm57 better, that'd be great.


As said before, the SM58's more for vocals, but I've seen SM57's work for vocalists before. You probably need a beefier preamp, since SM57's are notorious for requiring lots of gain. As for acoustic guitar, I highly recommend going for a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, which captures much more detail and subtlety that an SM57 could only dream about. Good ones, like the M Audio Nova or that Audio Technica, are only $100.

Quote by j090
Finally, the interface. I already have one, which is M-audio's fast track pro. It's great and all I need but I'm not sure which is the best recording method for electric and bass guitar. I always plug those instruments directly into the interface and record. After that, I use programs to get the effects/distortion/etc. that I want. The other method I heard of is recording your amp by putting a mic right next to it when you play. I don't have any good amps though so I'm wondering if I'll be alright with my method, quality-wise.


Both methods are sound...pardon the pun. It really depends on the software you use then.
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#17
Quote by Fast_Fingers
One word: accuracy. A speaker in a car is supposed to make any sound sound good. But a monitor is supposed to be honest (though some people do like a little sweetness), so if your mix is crap, it should help you figure out how so. M Audio's a good brand...people here like KRK, and I like Event and Genelac, though that's a bit too pricey.


As said before, the SM58's more for vocals, but I've seen SM57's work for vocalists before. You probably need a beefier preamp, since SM57's are notorious for requiring lots of gain. As for acoustic guitar, I highly recommend going for a large-diaphragm condenser microphone, which captures much more detail and subtlety that an SM57 could only dream about. Good ones, like the M Audio Nova or that Audio Technica, are only $100.


Both methods are sound...pardon the pun. It really depends on the software you use then.


I have guitar rig 2. I might check out guitar rig 3 and amplitube though.
#18
either the m-audio or KRK monitors will work for your budget and sound good. I personally like the KRKs and you can easily find the older RP series on ebay these days.

If you are in a studio setting, why not look into condenser mics?
they work well on vocals and acoustic guitar. The MXL 990/991 work fairly well for the price, I use them myself. There's also the Studio Projects B1.

I personally think micing a good quality amp sounds better than DIing and using modeling software. However if you have cheap amps, the modeling software may be the better choice for you. Download the demos of programs such as Amplitube 2 and see how you like the sound.
#19
Quote by j090
I have guitar rig 2. I might check out guitar rig 3 and amplitube though.


Those are solid. As moody suggested, you may get better results miking a guitar, but there are a ton of variables around, such as amp and tube quality, mike placement, and reverb, so I'd stick with software until you get more confident/get a killer amp.

Oh, and the large condenser would work well for voice too.
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#20
i personally like guitar rig 2 better than guitar rig 3, but thats just me. and i liked guitar rig better than the amplitube versions ive worked with. both solid software tho.
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#21
Yeah I actually prefer guitar rig 2 as well.

Ok guys, I've decided to go with the krk rokit 6 monitors. It's just gonna take me a little longer to make $300 but it'll be worth it haha.

I'm wondering where I should place these monitors though, here's my little recording setup in the basement -



I'm thinking about putting a little platform on the wall above my computer desk. There's definitely a lot of space in this basement which gives some natural reverb sound. Another question is, will a pair of krk monitors connect to my m-audio fast track pro? I'm not sure if there's any L and R inputs for the monitors. There's just one headphone input. Do these monitors come with some cables that will solve this problem? thanks
#22
Well, I can't help you with the reverb, but for the M audio, just use the TRS outs on the back:

Quote by keiron_d
thank you sooooooo much for the advice Fast_Fingers...i would hug you if i could...i looooove you!


True love exists in UG. Can you feel it?

Recording Guitar Amps 101
#24
Awesome thanks, I thought the backside of the fast track pro was only midi stuff.

Yeah I'll probably have to experiment with the placement of the monitors. I'm still kind of deciding if I should go with the rokit 5 or 6. There's so many other things I can do with that extra $100 if I buy the rokit 5 monitors haha.
#25
Like build some broadband absorbers to help fix the reverb issue =)
#26
Where would I put them in my basement? I probably need a lot right?
#27
Quote by j090
Awesome thanks, I thought the backside of the fast track pro was only midi stuff.

Yeah I'll probably have to experiment with the placement of the monitors. I'm still kind of deciding if I should go with the rokit 5 or 6. There's so many other things I can do with that extra $100 if I buy the rokit 5 monitors haha.


I chose the KRK Rokit 8's because i wanted to be sure i could hear the low end bass. I am very satisfied with my choice. I listed to both the 5's and the 8's prior to purchase at Guitar Center. I had the clerk hook them to a keyboard and play the whole gamut with both sets of monitors.

For the placement, check out the owners manual for suggestions. That big empty room is going to screw with your ears. The tile floor and the walls are going to have a quick slap reverb right? Get a sofa in there and some area rugs or some tapestries.
#28
you know what, I'm just gonna move my recording stuff into my room, which is a lot smaller. I've recorded in there before and it sounds so much better. I'm also going to guitar center to actually check out everything before I make purchases for new mics and monitors. I'll keep the ones recommended here in mind, Thanks guys
#29
Quote by j090

1. Monitors
Like what's the difference between a monitor and a speaker in a car?


Studio monitors are built to have a flat frequency response. At playback you hear exactly what's been recorded (theoretically).

Car speakers, home stereo speakers (most anyways), and most headphones will color your sound in some way. Either by boosting or cutting certain frequency ranges.

I don't have any experience with the ones you linked. Check out the KRK Rokit series. I can recommend those purely on a price to performance aspect. They are budget monitors that do a fantastic job. I think you can still find the RP5's for 99 each.

Quote by j090

2. Microphones

I only have a SM57. I like it but when I try recording soft acoustic guitar parts, I always need to turn the gain up which makes it sound a lot more hissy. I also record vocals with this mic but it sounds weird, like my voice doesn't fit in the song. I'm pretty sure I can sing too haha. I have a bass range, but I mostly sing the highest (around C3). I don't know if the mic is best for my range. I usually just add a little reverb and a small amount of EQ to the mix which makes it sound slightly better. I don't really know how to use compressors yet.

I also use a pop shield and stand away about 6 inches from the mic when I record. Should I get another mic that's intended for vocals? I don't really have the money so if I can learn how to work the sm57 better, that'd be great.


Typically your SM57 is intended to be an instrument mic. You can get by with it for vocals and moderate volume acoustic parts. For vocals try standing closer to the mic and make sure it's pointed directly into your mouth. For acoustic try sitting with the mic pointed directly between the neck joint and sound hole. Angle the mic between 20 and 45 degrees. Also try it without the pop filter.

Typically for recording vocals and acoustic you would want a decent condenser mic. You can pick up an MXL V63M w/ shock mount for about 99 at MF. It's a budget mic, but should provide a very workable recording.

Quote by j090

3. Interface

Finally, the interface. I already have one, which is M-audio's fast track pro. It's great and all I need but I'm not sure which is the best recording method for electric and bass guitar. I always plug those instruments directly into the interface and record. After that, I use programs to get the effects/distortion/etc. that I want. The other method I heard of is recording your amp by putting a mic right next to it when you play. I don't have any good amps though so I'm wondering if I'll be alright with my method, quality-wise.


You can get very workable results (esp. on bass) by going direct and using VST's to shape the sound. I use Helian's 2nd for a lot of my bass tracks. It's an excellent free plugin. For guitar it's trickier. The current trend is tube amps. If you don't have a decent tube amp to mic up then I would say you're better off try to emulate that with a plugin. As long you don't want really heavy distortion you can probably get by with this. There's a boat load of VSts for guitar out there so I'll point the obvious Amplitube, GTR, ReValver MKIII. Maybe some other UGers can recommend others.

EDIT: I replied the OP without reading the thread....
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Last edited by Death-Speak at Jul 16, 2008,
#30
Another good monitor recommendation is the Yorkville YSM-1's.

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