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Need help with Microphone purchase

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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 5:10 pm

SRoyC wrote:2. Till now I hae used Audacity only, but I would like to capture the sound better. So is there any resource whicj you may point me to, so that I can learn how to use a microphone more effectively while recording vocal music?

Cakewalk is a flagship DAW and free (https://www.bandlab.com/products/cakewalk) - it doesn't get any better.

Keep in mind that learning how to use the microphone for vocals has little to do with the computer or the software you use, but all with the acoustics of the room and the microphone position in it.. and how your vocals are, of course. :D
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby SRoyC » Fri Oct 09, 2020 7:20 pm

James, Mike and CS70, thank you so much for your responses. I would surely try those two software you have mentioned.

Could you please point me to a guide explaining how to record audio properly, in my case?

Regarding Microphone, Iam still searching for a better option in terms of budget-quality equation, but I am yet to find anything better than the second one that I have mentioned earlier, yet.

Thanks again.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby CS70 » Fri Oct 09, 2020 11:25 pm

SRoyC wrote:James, Mike and CS70, thank you so much for your responses. I would surely try those two software you have mentioned.

Could you please point me to a guide explaining how to record audio properly, in my case?

Regarding Microphone, Iam still searching for a better option in terms of budget-quality equation, but I am yet to find anything better than the second one that I have mentioned earlier, yet.

Thanks again.

Guide, no.. what I would have replied here, I wrote once for all on a post at https://www.theaudioblog.org/post/what- ... -recording (with the specific intention of answering this kind of question :)).

Be aware: simply understanding that (nowadays) the role of gear is fairly limited (in the sense that most gear is at least half decent) brings you miles ahead of most other beginners. Because it makes you focus on what matters. So kudos for posing the question!

Reading SOS will provide lots of answers. :)

A fun anecdote on how much performance beats everything, because I once again have been reminded of that just a couple days ago.

I play a little guitar, and I'm recording a classic jazzy piece that I love, just for the fun, and my drummer wanted in (sic) and wanted to use brushes, so I made him a guide demo with the right BPM, a quick bass line and a guide melody.

I did one with my phone, the way I usually play and hum it on the sofa, only with a click (another phone) and sent him the whole thing, so he can brush at will and we'll record the drums in the week. The room was a technical room at the studio - lots of spare parts and paint cans (dont ask) on the shelves. As recording rooms go, from 1 to 10 it was probably a -2.

However: the result sounded pretty alright, at least for a guide demo. I love the song and I made that arrangement years ago.

Then, I go back back home, and I think that sooner or later I will actually have to sing the thing "for real"... so I try different keys and finally settle on one which will I think, eventually, suit my voice outside the sofa.

So I think of making a better demo and that "there's nothing like now", right?

I take out a couple of my beloved AEA and Neumann mics, connect the Grace and UA preamps, the works. What's the point of having nice gear if you don't use it for your own stuff?

Then I create a DAW project and set up the mics (figure 8s for isolating guitar and vocals played at the same time), spend a few minutes moving them about while monitoring, sit down, grab the recording remote, long headphones cable, sit down and push "record"

Problem is, the key is new.

Which means my guitar playing requires different voicings, so it's not that effortless (aka "it sucks") and since I'm concentrating on the guitar, the singing is terrible - there's no focus nor passion (I'm focusing of making my pinky do what it does not want to do, and mommy and daddy and jumping fishes have nothing to do with my pinky).

The result is that all that quite state-of-the-art and rather expensive gear, carefully set up in a rather decent room produces an extremely good and detailed recording... of me playing and singing like crap.

In other words, the result is much worse than the three-minutes demo played on the phone in the awful technical room at the studio.

Go figure. I need to go practice :D
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby blinddrew » Sat Oct 10, 2020 11:29 am

It's amazing how many 'technical problems' can actually be fixed by 'go practice'. :D
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby SRoyC » Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:43 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your kind assistance.

After searching continuously for the last three days, I have come to the conclusion that even after increasing my budget by 100%, there are only two brands available either online or offline in USB condenser microphone category. These are Maono and Fifine. Both of these are actually imported and marketed in India, none are manufactured here. Interestingly, the only amazon.in has choices available. The other online retailer Flipkart hardly has any variety to offer.

So which one I should go for?

I understand that these brands are neither common, nor popular in Europe, but sadly, these are the best I can get for my budget. Hence if experienced members here could be kind enough to guide me, I would be really grateful.




On a different note, I have installed Cakewalk from Bandlab, and my first impression is that it looks a bit scary, and must have a good learning curve. As a vocalist, I need to find the optimum use of this program. So if anyone could be kind me to pint to that direction, it would be really helpful.

Thanks again.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby Mike Stranks » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:00 pm

Most of us here will only recommend a particular product if:

* We know the product or
* We know the brand and know they generally produce good gear or
* Someone we know and trust has recommended the product.

Sadly in this case it seems as if none of those applies.

I've just checked both products on the web. There are numerous Amazon reviews for both, as well as YouTube videos. I think you're just going to have to make up your own mind in this case as none of us know these products at all.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby SRoyC » Sun Oct 11, 2020 5:41 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Most of us here will only recommend a particular product if:

* We know the product or
* We know the brand and know they generally produce good gear or
* Someone we know and trust has recommended the product.

Sadly in this case it seems as if none of those applies.

I've just checked both products on the web. There are numerous Amazon reviews for both, as well as YouTube videos. I think you're just going to have to make up your own mind in this case as none of us know these products at all.

I understand your point, as I have no experience with this, I can't even ascertain which review is good and which is bad. :sad:
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby CS70 » Sun Oct 11, 2020 7:34 pm

SRoyC wrote:On a different note, I have installed Cakewalk from Bandlab, and my first impression is that it looks a bit scary, and must have a good learning curve. As a vocalist, I need to find the optimum use of this program. So if anyone could be kind me to pint to that direction, it would be really helpful.


A certain learning curve is unavoidable. Cakewalk (like many "classic" DAWs) works with a mixer metaphor - as in physical mixer... that of course doesn't help you much if you are not familiar with physical mixers :D

In short, you have an infinite number of channels, each of them empty or containing some audio (conventionally they are called "audio tracks") or MIDI data ("midi tracks"). For recording with a microphone, you don't need to concern yourself with MIDI tracks at all.

Each channel has a physical input (one of the inputs in your interface, or, if you don't have an interface, typically your PC microphone input) and outputs to a bus. In turn, the bus can output to another bus or to the some physical outputs of your interface (once again, if you don't have an interface you will see only the speakers output of your PC). Both channels and buses have a fader (so you can balance the sound coming out of it), EQs and insert slots of effects etc..

The DAW will mix all the tracks and buses together according to output set in each of them and send the result to the speaker.

A project in a DAW is made of some tracks (aka channels) and at least one bus (the "main" bus): if you start up with a simple, basic project, you'll usually have one audio track, one MIDI track (you can delete it) and one bus called "main" which outputs to the speakers.

In all DAWs, you have a "control panel" with record, play, pause etc. In Cakewalk, it's on the top. To record, you have to "arm" the audio track for recording and push "record" on the control panel - any signal that is present at the interface input will be recorded. To playback, you simply push the "play" button on the control panel.

These are just a couple of hints. Things work very similarly in most DAWs, it's just the mechanics of the functionality that varies.. A bit like with cars, once you understand one, you more or less understand them all.. but you may need to adapt and find out where exactly the various controls are and how they work on the specific one. But a DAW has gazillion more functionalities than a car, so both the learning and the adapting if you change one take quite some time (and similarly to a car, you can't expect to learn how to use it by reading a few lines in a forum).

Cakewalk is a DAW that allows you to go from the beginning to complex commercial productions without having to change, and the fact that it's free is amazing (it didn't use to).

A good introductory book on mixing which works also for Cakewalk is Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby sound bites » Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:43 pm

A good introductory book on mixing which works also for Cakewalk is Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
@SRoyC: Give us your postal address and I‘ll send you a copy.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby SRoyC » Mon Oct 12, 2020 6:26 am

sound bites wrote:
A good introductory book on mixing which works also for Cakewalk is Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
@SRoyC: Give us your postal address and I‘ll send you a copy.


Thank you so much. But I reside in India, so will it be economically viable for you to send me a physical book?

Sadly these books are very costly when converted to my currency.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:07 am

I think a lot of folks here would say just go for a good manufacturer with a recognised reputation for solid products, and please, stay away from those Amazon bargain bin jobs, TBH, I’m not mincing words, they’ll probably be crap, the gold trim and chunky "plastic" cases give the game away, you’re looking at noise, and generally poor quality all round.
Rhode, Audio Technica, AKG, SE, all do great budget mic’s we know and trust, also, the Neat Workerbee is very good value, worth checking out.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby sound bites » Mon Oct 12, 2020 8:51 am

SRoyC wrote:
sound bites wrote:
A good introductory book on mixing which works also for Cakewalk is Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
@SRoyC: Give us your postal address and I‘ll send you a copy.


Thank you so much. But I reside in India, so will it be economically viable for you to send me a physical book?

Sadly these books are very costly when converted to my currency.
That’s alright, mate. Just hand it on to someone else who might need it when you’re done with it.
You can PM me your address.
Cheers
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Oct 12, 2020 9:41 am

Arpangel wrote:I think a lot of folks here would say just go for a good manufacturer with a recognised reputation for solid products, and please, stay away from those Amazon bargain bin jobs, TBH, I’m not mincing words, they’ll probably be crap, the gold trim and chunky "plastic" cases give the game away, you’re looking at noise, and generally poor quality all round.
Rhode, Audio Technica, AKG, SE, all do great budget mic’s we know and trust, also, the Neat Workerbee is very good value, worth checking out.

Just read the thread Arp...

... we've already done this and made recommendations. It's not viable for this person. Budget and other constraints.
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby Arpangel » Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:20 am

Mike Stranks wrote:
Arpangel wrote:I think a lot of folks here would say just go for a good manufacturer with a recognised reputation for solid products, and please, stay away from those Amazon bargain bin jobs, TBH, I’m not mincing words, they’ll probably be crap, the gold trim and chunky "plastic" cases give the game away, you’re looking at noise, and generally poor quality all round.
Rhode, Audio Technica, AKG, SE, all do great budget mic’s we know and trust, also, the Neat Workerbee is very good value, worth checking out.

Just read the thread Arp...

... we've already done this and made recommendations. It's not viable for this person. Budget and other constraints.

Sorry Mike, I flicked through it, but maybe a bit too fast!
That’s the trouble with this forum, things always get answered at lightning speed so on those extremely rare occasions I can actually help someone I'm always way late to the party.

:D
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Re: Need help with Microphone purchase

Postby SRoyC » Mon Oct 12, 2020 4:47 pm

sound bites wrote:
SRoyC wrote:
sound bites wrote:
A good introductory book on mixing which works also for Cakewalk is Mike Senior's Mixing Secrets for the Small Studio
@SRoyC: Give us your postal address and I‘ll send you a copy.


Thank you so much. But I reside in India, so will it be economically viable for you to send me a physical book?

Sadly these books are very costly when converted to my currency.
That’s alright, mate. Just hand it on to someone else who might need it when you’re done with it.
You can PM me your address.
Cheers

I am at loss of words to express my gratitude. Thank you again. I have sent you a PM.
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