XLR to USB Microphone Set-ups?
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  1. #1
    Tech Guru Lambox's Avatar
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    Default XLR to USB Microphone Set-ups?

    Not sure if this belongs here, but oh well. I'm looking for an inexpensive microphone set-up to do some vocal and talkbox recording. Let me be the first to say that I know nothing about microphones and I'm only vaguely familiar with the terms associated with them (ie: phantom power) and have no idea what they mean. I don't want to have to break the bank and buy a whole new audio interface; so, I'm considering buying an XLR to USB interface and buying a Shure SM58.

    Does anyone have any experience with these types of things or any better ideas?

    Some examples:

    Shure X2U
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  2. #2
    Tech Guru Lambox's Avatar
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  3. #3
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    If I was going to buy one of those I would say Shure. What sound card are you using now? The Focsurite Scarlett 2i2 is only $50 more than the Shure and gives you tons more flexibility than either adapter.
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    Tech Guru pilmat's Avatar
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    If you want DIRT CHEAP and are not the most concerned about clean audio (like your going to distort it anyways), a Rockband USB mc works quite well.

    I don't know if you've gone Apple yet (I remember you were PC before), but a Rockband mic straight into Garageband is simple and just works. The only difference to that and the vocal stuff I did for you in the past is that I used a NI AK1 as a soundcard and its mic pre-amp. I've traded that in for an Apogee Duet2 now
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    Tech Guru sobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pilmat View Post
    If you want DIRT CHEAP and are not the most concerned about clean audio
    If anyone has the slightest concern about clean quality audio, I wouldn't think they're going to be using a mic via USB.

  6. #6
    DJTT Infectious Moderator photojojo's Avatar
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    Isn't that what a USB audi card is doing? If you can have a card with a few in's and out's and it be a good quality I don't see why you can't strip all that down to just one mic and it still be good.
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  7. #7
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sobi View Post
    If anyone has the slightest concern about clean quality audio, I wouldn't think they're going to be using a mic via USB.
    Actually, the Shure x2u is decently regarded for the price.

    Anyone who wants to do serious recording wouldn't look at it twice because it has such limited IO (at least it has a headphone jack) but if you just want one mic……they're supposedly very decent for the money. I wouldn't mind having one to leave in a bag in the event I wanted to record something that just came up, but it's not worth the investment for pure whimsy.

    OP: you mentioned talkbox…I assume you mean vocoder. The SM58 is perfectly good for that. Do you want any other kinds of vocals? If so, do you have a budget?

    Also, if you know absolutely nothing, this has good primers for vocabulary and the words you should be looking for when you start wanting to learn other techniques. I don't think the whole course is worth the price, but I watched it for free a while back at school (so I could use the school's HD rig).

  8. #8
    Tech Guru sobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photojojo View Post
    Isn't that what a USB audi card is doing? If you can have a card with a few in's and out's and it be a good quality I don't see why you can't strip all that down to just one mic and it still be good.
    Didn't realize this was about going into a good audio card. I was thinking about just plugging into a computer. I stand corrected.

  9. #9
    Tech Guru Lambox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by photojojo View Post
    If I was going to buy one of those I would say Shure. What sound card are you using now? The Focsurite Scarlett 2i2 is only $50 more than the Shure and gives you tons more flexibility than either adapter.
    Unfortunately I'm still using a DJ I/O.

    Quote Originally Posted by pilmat View Post
    If you want DIRT CHEAP and are not the most concerned about clean audio (like your going to distort it anyways), a Rockband USB mc works quite well.

    I don't know if you've gone Apple yet (I remember you were PC before), but a Rockband mic straight into Garageband is simple and just works. The only difference to that and the vocal stuff I did for you in the past is that I used a NI AK1 as a soundcard and its mic pre-amp. I've traded that in for an Apogee Duet2 now
    Yep. I've gone Apple, finally. I considered the Apogee as well. I've used a Rockband mic straight into the computer and it works, but it's definitely nowhere near what I'm looking for.

    Quote Originally Posted by sobi View Post
    If anyone has the slightest concern about clean quality audio, I wouldn't think they're going to be using a mic via USB.


    Quote Originally Posted by mostapha View Post
    ...

    OP: you mentioned talkbox…I assume you mean vocoder. The SM58 is perfectly good for that. Do you want any other kinds of vocals? If so, do you have a budget?
    Nope, I meant talkbox. And possibly just some hip hop/rap style vocal work with myself and a buddy. And I don't have a budget, really. I don't have any money, really. I work part time, so I buy what I can afford here and there.
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  10. #10
    Tech Guru mostapha's Avatar
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    If that's what you're working with……

    The shure x2u will work fine. Just keep in mind that if you're on PC, you have to use all of its IO, which means you have to use it's headphone jack for output while you're recording. It's really limiting. If you're on a mac, you can aggregate it with other sound cards. The XLR to USB adapter isn't an adapter…it's a 1 in 2 out sound card with a mic pre.

    A Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is right about $100 and is a lot more flexible…and has great converters and pretty good (for being transparent) preamps for the price……but you can decide whether you want that or not.

    For really budget hip hop vocals, an sm58 is okay. There's a sennheiser (I think it's the e840…talk to guitar center about it) that's really close to an SM58 and lists for the same price……but it's dealer price (what GC pays) is like 40% of what GC pays for an SM58……so the sales guy might be more willing to deal with you on it (don't tell him you know specifics…might piss him off). The next step up costs a few hundred and probably isn't worth it if you're on that serious of a budget.

    Here's the rub……

    An X2u + SM58 package is $200. You could easily get an e840 and Scarlett 2i2 for that price if you even pretend to haggle. And either way, you'd need an XLR cable.
    Last edited by mostapha; 06-06-2012 at 12:06 PM.

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