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  • shure condenser mic to mac question

    Hey all,

    So I'm looking to get either the Shure ksm 27, or the ksm 32. It'll be used mainly to record acoustic guitar and vocals onto my mac's garageband; fancy, I know

    My questions is, I've heard I can get a 'usb mixer', like the type alesis offers and connect the microphone to my mac that way, but do I have any other options? Also, will I be losing quality by running the mic through a mixer and then into my mac?

    Also, if anyone wants to help me decide on which of the two mics to get that'd be great too. I know absolutely nothing about this technical stuff, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    You really need to read some other threads here. It seems there are many here just getting into recording
    who dont know what an interface is.

    Go to this site and read all the catagories on the left. You should then begin to know whats involved.
    http://tweakheadz.com/guide.htm

    Comment


    • #3
      Hey all,

      So I'm looking to get either the Shure ksm 27, or the ksm 32. It'll be used mainly to record acoustic guitar and vocals onto my mac's garageband; fancy, I know

      My questions is, I've heard I can get a 'usb mixer', like the type alesis offers and connect the microphone to my mac that way, but do I have any other options? Also, will I be losing quality by running the mic through a mixer and then into my mac?

      Also, if anyone wants to help me decide on which of the two mics to get that'd be great too. I know absolutely nothing about this technical stuff, so any advice is greatly appreciated.

      Thanks!


      Absolutely, there are many options for Hardware Interfacing Products out there for just this application. At a certain point, all the marketing speak is semantics, because some package together certain electronics, aimed at people looking for all in one boxes.

      Some options are simply the Balanced Line Level Input/Output Analog to Digital, and Digital to Analog Converters. Many are packaged with a number of different electronics for everything a small setup would need to run. It all depends on your needs. It seems the word "interface" is an acceptable universal term for the objective.

      Most all "Interfaces" have on board DSP Mixers Applications, that allow routing of all the I/O on the device, as you would with a "USB Mixer", [in many cases even better!!!] because a USB Mixer is just a analog mixer, with an A/D and D/A Converter and USB interface inside it! There is going to be more electronics in these devices, than patching into the line input of a simple multi-channel interface, such as an Mbox pro, or RME Fireface, etc.

      It all just kinda depends on your budget, and what input/output electronics you need on board. There are a thousand different high end solutions from RME, Avid, Apogee, which are among the best in the world, but if you are on a smaller budget, M-Audio has some cool interfaces, called the Fast Track C200 and C400. The C200 might be right up your alley!

      http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/FastTrackC400.html

      I hope this is of assistance
      Adam Brassadam@dspdoctor.comDSPdoctor

      Comment


      • #4
        Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys, I'll read the link. And Mixwell, thanks a bunch for your explanation, I'll definitely be looking into the m-audio interfaces

        Comment


        • #5
          Theres probibly 20 decent budget interfaces that all have various options.
          You really need to do some reading so you first know what you can do with an interface, and then
          decide on the best options you may want in an interface. If you're planning on eventually recording live bands,
          you'll want enough channels to record all the parts separately at the same time. if you plan on taking it to band rehursals,
          a computer based solution may not be the best option, you may want a stand alone recorder for that.

          Then on top of that you have three different kinds of interfaces, PCI - Firewire - and USB.
          All have different computer hardware requirements.

          Next after you get an interface you need a DAW program and monitors.
          Some interfaces ciome bundled with CE/Lite versions of DAW programs like Cubase.
          These should get you going with a basic stripped down version of the programs.
          There are also free and low cost DAW programs and plugins too.

          Monitors are a big part of getting a quality mix and thay arent cheap.
          you can track with headphones, but its impossible to get a quality mix
          without monitors. A low end set begins in the $150 to $300 range, and no
          you cant get a secent mix using computer monitors or HiFi speakers. You need
          nearfield monitors designed for mixing. Once mixed you can play the recording back on
          any set of speakers and it should sound decent.

          Of course you need good front end gear too. From performer, to instruments, amps, the room
          acoustics, mics and preamps have to sound good. Its a chain and any one link can ruin a good recorrding or
          seriously bottleneck the sound. You can have world class interface and guitar rig. If your mic sucks,
          the sound quality will stop at that point and it wont matter if the interface is great, it can only hear
          what the mic hears.

          That site should explain many of these areas. Once you have that site wired, There maybe 50 more sites that are simular where you
          can pick up info. The idea is to be able to make decisions for yourself on what you may need. You are the one who will be spending the cash
          afterall. You need to be able to read and compare specs right off the bat so you can compare which one may be better for the money.

          Then you can google up reviews for the gear, and read the manuals before you buy them. This way you'll know if the hear has problems
          you'll find out before you own it.

          Comment


          • #6
            I understand where you're coming from, and thanks for the advice. The things is though I do this just for fun. I have been using the built-in microphone on my mac to record and then I edit the songs in garageband. Really the only thing I'm wondering and confused about is:

            What is the most basic way to connect a Shure condenser mic to my mac laptop?

            I don't want a mixer or something where I'm playing with effects dials. All the tweaking I do is in the music editing software 'garageband'. I see that shure offers mics with a usb connector, so I was wondering how I would connect the particular condenser mic that I want to my mac. So far from reading the Tweak site I got that this would probably be the best route to go:

            http://www.zzounds.com/item--PRSFSMOBILE

            If I was reading the site right, it's supposed to function better because it connects through a firewire outlet vs a usb outlet, correct?

            I just figured there would be something much more basic that would get the job done, but it looks like there isn't.

            Comment


            • #7
              A condencer mic requires an interface with Phantom power.
              A low cost interface for a mac has a bit more limited options than a PC.
              The one you have listed is good but you can do better for the price I believe.

              Heres a few.

              http://www.google.com/products/catalog?hl=en&q=recording+interface+for+a+mac&gs_u pl=&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&biw=1440&bih=776 &wrapid=tlif132924624594110&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=7227737960286670335&sa=X&ei=JrA6T9O DMYHq0gGs-rCaCw&ved=0CGoQ8wIwAQ#

              http://www.zzounds.com/item--PRSAUDIOBOX

              http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?sku=217035488&sellerid=34304240

              Mac OSX 10.7, Lion
              http://www.zzounds.com/item--FOCSCAR82I2

              I'm not a Mac guy so you need to check the manufacturers sites and make sure the interface will work with your OS.

              Comment


              • #8
                Awesome, thanks so much. Yeah I went into guitar center and the guy there explained it all to me. I've always had problem taking info I've read and conceptualizing it. I'm much more of a hands-on learner. I'm pretty sure I'm going to go with the last link you sent me, as that's the one I was looking at in the store and that the employee recommended. Thanks again for all your help!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Focusrite has a pretty good rep from what I've read. Google up all the reviews you can find and see if you can find any major problems people have with it before buying.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Yeah, I found one semi-bad review, and in that the guy said that the 'driver' was giving him some trouble, but the software was excellent. Not really sure what the driver refers to, but all the other reviews I read were great.

                    Thanks again!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      GarageBand / your Mac wants mic's of 2.2 kohm and Shure ones are generally 600.
                      That's why the output from a good studio mic seems low.
                      Rather than messing about with expensive preamps, power, etc simply use one of the many Guitar Amp inputs in GarageBand. They expect a low input.
                      You will then have more controls with the amp than you had with the mic input (such as eq & presence etc).
                      The only thing I had to buy is one of those inline filter/ transformers (it's not really a transformer it's an unpowered filter or resister with a single switch for low or high impedance). I actually then found my Shure mic a bit high giving a slight buzz so the filter is set to LOW and it's fine...

                      This is far simpler and cheaper than flapping about with preamps etc...

                      I hope this helps...

                      Comment


                      • WRGKMC
                        WRGKMC commented
                        Editing a comment

                        ^^^^ Old thread, guess you didn't read the details of the OP. He's micing an acoustic guitar and doing vocals, not recording an electric or an electric guitar amp. An Interface has a preamp built into it so the quality of the interface will determine the quality of the mic tracks. Also guitar level inputs on an interface will not give the proper mic gain nor will it provide phantom power to a condenser mic. 

                        Many interfaces have an all in one plug that will take a mic input, supply phantom power to that mic, and have a preamp gain knob. That same jack will have a 1/4" jack in the center. You can plug an electric in and run it at guitar level or connect a line level device like an external preamp if you want. 

                        In any case, a computer sound card does have a mic input but its not pro quality. Neither is the card.  It provides 5.5V phantom power for those computer mic/headset combinations used for phone or dictation and is not pro gear. The sample rate is only 16/44.1 on most built in sound cards and the drivers and multitracking requires ASIO or a Mac equivalent drivers for a sound card to provide low latency data streaming to and from the hard drive. A pro interface will allow you to record up to 24/196, fore higher sound quality and increased dynamic range.



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