View Full Version : Mic and software for my PC?
I'm interested in recording myself on my pc in order to listen to how I'm doing, you know, self-critiquing.
I've tried the little mic that came with my pc and some basic .wav and .midi recording software that was on my pc, but it sounded terrible! (and only HALF of that terribleness was from my playing...ha ha).
Are there any basic setups you guys got that really work? I don't want to spend a lot of money on software or a mic, but thought there might be a reasonable option out there. I'm not recording for anyone else to hear, just me.
BTW, I just built a new pc and got it working this weekend. This is the first time I've logged on with it. 2.4 GHz Celeron, 512MB ram. Win XP.
Beats the 0.266Ghz 64MB ram Win95 I had before....but this modem is still the limiting factor!
....and it doesn't help my mando playing either.
What you need is a small, cheap two-channel mixer that has some sort of basic mic preamps built in and some way to connect it to your PC. Then you can use just about any mic with your PC. It may require an upgrade to a soundcard with RCA inputs, which is another cheap ebay item.
After messing with SM57's and Oktava MK012's, I found an AKG C1000 on ebay for about $100. It seems to be a perfect mandolin microphone.
Don't know what your budget is. Here's some suggestions though.
MBox from Digidesign - Kind of costly (400) but a great set of tools and a very solid recording engine(stripped down pro version). Very easy to use and get into. Slippery slope into the expensive recording world. Great online forum.
Tascam USB 122 - 200 bucks and USB with phantom power. Easy to plug in and use. Kind of cheap. Free software that's bundled with it is kind of limited
For more options check out www.harmonycentral.com and check out their recording forum.
Guitar tracks pro ($100), and a "el-cheapo" audio technica mike ($30). I got both at Guitar Center (musicians friend carries these items also). And I am really amazed at how good the recordings turn out.
Thanks for the advice and ideas folks - i appreciate it!
I just came across a PC cable on ebay that has a COM port type end, and on the other are a series of pigtails that would allow mic and rcs plugins. The seller didn't seem to know exactly what it was for, but said it plugged into the soundcard game port and allowed you to record from there. I didn't go for itb/c I wasn't sure myself.
What I do is to use a decent-ish mike (which I picked up *extremely* cheaply on Ebay; postage was more than the winning bid) and a B-Tech BT-26 microphone preamp to get the signal up to line level for the soundcard input. Total cost in the UK about 25 Pounds ($45), although if you pay the normal price for the mike, it'd be about twice that. For multitrack recording, I use the free Audacity (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) program, which does the trick for what I need just as well as a fancier commercial bit of software.
I just realized I have a friend at church who is into electronics repair and from what I remember, has a shed/warehouse/vault full of amps and stuff. Surely he might have the approp. mixer/preamp or mics laying around....
Posted earlier without really reading your post. The free software should be fine if you just want to kind of hear yourself and not do anything too fancy. You might want to upgrade if you are going to do more laying down of tracks. I would get a real sound card. PCI's work great and are cheap, but you'll need a mixer or preamp to get the mic up to level before plugging in. You can get these for anywhere from 60 bucks on up. I would recommend the Delta 410 PCI. Borrow a mixer from your friend to warm up the mic. Then get a Studio Projects B1. Great mic for 79 bucks. Doesn't get any better for under two hundred bucks really for larg diaphragm condensers. Then if you have more money wait for a sale at Guitar Center and get a set of Oktava's MK 012's. Excellend stereo mics and sometimes you can get them 2 for a hundred. They'll give you a fuller sound than a solo mic as you can do some interesting micing on the mando. But the Studio Projects is a great budget mic that will greatly improve the sound you are currently getting. Check ebay or 8thstreet.com or other online vendors to get one. I have no financial interest, but did dable in amateur recording and have done massive research. Hope that helps.
When you're ready to upgrade your software there's a program that'll run you 50 bucks from some swiss guy or something that's all the rage. Check out http://homerecording.com/bbs or http://www.harmony-central.com.
Would someone please look at this device someone is selling on ebay?
Sound Capture Cable for plugging into regular sound card (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3463525980&category=3668)
It appears it is a cable that plugs into the game port or com port and has numerous ends on it for different types of input including RCA.
Thought maybe someone has seen/used this before.
Have never seen much like this. If it were legit (and it very well could be) you would still need software to run it on. What kind of drivers does the thing use to bring in music to data? You would also need preamps for your mics to get them into the computer. You don't want to use dynamics for mandolin. You *could* get a descent sound, but the preamp and technique required are a little down the road. I would say to look for something that has software and hardware with preamps bundled together. It'll cost you a little more, but with non of the headaches of compatability, drivers, etc.
This would be probably more that decent for your needs