Home studio recording (solved)

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Home studio recording (solved)

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 6:14 pm

Hey guys

My wife has an amazing voice, and she loves to record songs to make CDs for family and friends. She has nice 1/4" microphones (one audio-technica ATM29HE and the other a Digital-Reference DR-GX1). I've got some decent software for editing on my computer, but they are too quiet when I plug them in via 1/4" to 3.5mm converter. Right now, she's using my Logitech USB headset to record, but the sound quality is not great.

I want to be able for her to plug the microphones into my computer with decent quality. What do I need to buy to plug in the 1/4" jack into my computer? Her birthday is coming up relatively soon, and this would make a pretty sweet gift.

Thanks,

Noah

Edit: I got the info I needed. Thanks guys!
Last edited by Nowin on Thu May 13, 2010 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 6:32 pm

Your best bet is to get a microphone pre-amp. You can get the gain you need by moving sliders in Windows, but you're constrained by the quality of the op-amps on your soundcard or mobo. Much better to raise the signal to full line-in voltage with a separate box not swimming in the EFI/RFI environment of your computer case.
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 7:06 pm

Is it possible that the microphones you have require phantom power? This could be the cause of low-levels when directly input into the computer.
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 7:58 pm

Captain Ned wrote:Your best bet is to get a microphone pre-amp. You can get the gain you need by moving sliders in Windows, but you're constrained by the quality of the op-amps on your soundcard or mobo. Much better to raise the signal to full line-in voltage with a separate box not swimming in the EFI/RFI environment of your computer case.

I have certainly played around with the boost and gain in windows, and the quality dies once you are able to hear anything.

StefanVonS wrote:Is it possible that the microphones you have require phantom power? This could be the cause of low-levels when directly input into the computer.
Not having any idea about most of this stuff, I googled what phantom power is instead of asking you guys like a newb. It might be the case that the microphones require some phantom power. Any way to tell for sure? Most preamps have built in phantom power supplies, correct? So either way, I'll need to get one.

Anyone have a recommendations for preamps?
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 8:04 pm

Yeah, a preamp is your best bet. The mic jacks on consumer soundcards are designed for the crappy condenser mics found on typical computer headsets.

As an aside, if you decide to upgrade your soundcard to a semi-pro or pro card, you probably want to look at M-Audio's offerings.
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 9:20 pm

I would recommend a simple USB interface like this one. It takes your sound card out of the equation and comes with software if you need it.

*EDIT: posted wrong link, sorry :)
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 9:52 pm

Nowin wrote:Any way to tell for sure?

Phantom power mics MUST be wired for XLR plugs. If your mics are 1/4" TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) plugs, they are NOT phantom power mics.
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Re: Home studio recording

Postposted on Thu May 13, 2010 11:34 pm

Captain Ned wrote:
Nowin wrote:Any way to tell for sure?

Phantom power mics MUST be wired for XLR plugs. If your mics are 1/4" TRS (tip/ring/sleeve) plugs, they are NOT phantom power mics.

Thanks guys, I'll look into getting a preamp. I don't need a new soundcard; the onboard one is fine. I'll find a decent preamp. Thanks for all the help.
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Re: Home studio recording (solved)

Postposted on Fri May 21, 2010 5:48 pm

A little late to the thread, but I'd like to make a recommendation if it's not too late. Behringer Xenyx 502. I have the 1202 which has additional XLR and unbalanced inputs, but the preamps are supposedly identical. You can output by one of these guys.

The mics aren't bound to their cables; either of them could use 1/4" or XLR, and they're both dynamic, meaning they don't require phantom power (only condensers need +48v). This mixer will take either type of cable, and the EQ is pretty nice. For vocal stuff, I've EQ'd mine all in the middle.

So you're looking at like $55 after shipping. Seems well worth it, as bad preamps will make great mics sound like poop.
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Re: Home studio recording (solved)

Postposted on Sun May 23, 2010 11:48 pm

For the same price range as the Behringer, there are also several models available from Alesis, such as this one. If you're serious about getting good amateur recordings on computer then you need some sort of USB mixer/preamp and probably a couple sound baffles to trap echoes during the recording sessions. All of this is within reach of even a budget-conscious enthusiast, and will vastly improve your results.
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Re: Home studio recording (solved)

Postposted on Mon May 24, 2010 8:25 am

Holy cats. Wish I'd seen that Alesis when I bought what I have.

The only downside (which doesn't look to be a downside for this particular use) is that you only get stereo in and stereo out, meaning you can record two tracks if you pan one input hard left and the other input hard right. It's true of the Behringer I linked, too, though. That's why I ultimately ended up getting an M-Audio Fast Track Pro for recording guitars. I wanted 3 tracks guitar - he XY mic setup plus the pickup for acoustic, or an amp mic + room mic + instrument line (split out via direct input box) for electric. But for the OP, two channels of input sounds like 1 more than they actually need.
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