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Thread: Microphone for recording at home?

  1. #1
    We're all mad here elbent's Avatar
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    May 2020

    Default Microphone for recording at home?

    I want to record little videos of my playing to post and track my progress as I learn, and yes, to show off a little Anyone have a suggestion of a modest microphone I could use for recording? Since this isnít for professional use or anything I donít want to spend much, $75 max. My phone and computer mics are just a bit too scratchy. Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Registered User cartershilts's Avatar
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    Apr 2015
    Madison, Wisconsin

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    If you're looking for something convenient and without the need for an audio interface check out the Rode ME-L. Only works for iPhone, but Rode makes some good stuff.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?


    I am new to playing mandolin myself, but have some experience with
    microphones. So, I will give my opinion.

    For recording there is a microphone, a microphone stand, a cable,
    and an adapter to get to the recording device. All are necessary
    to get from sound to a track.

    Though there are many options, the standard for this is the Shure SM57.
    The vocal version is SM58, and the differences between the two are small.
    Those Shure microphones just work year after year. The price is $89,
    a little over budget. However, for recording you also want a microphone
    stand. I have seen retailers bundle the a Shure microphone with a stand
    for $100. Maybe that helps. I would not buy a cheap Shure mic from a
    random seller on ebay. There are Chinese counterfeits that are very close
    visual copies. I would buy new from a dealer.

    I have no direct experience, but Shure also makes similar but less
    expensive microphones, PGA57 and PGA58. One of those would fit your
    budget and, being from Shure, I expect to have robust performance.

    Whatever your mic choice, I think a mic stand is needed to prevent
    mechanical noise and also position the mic for good sound capture.

    There is still a question about getting the signal into the recording
    device. There are "USB" mics that handle that for you, depending
    on the recording device. Maybe that is another post.


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  5. #4

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    I've used a Blue Snowball USB mic to good effect. Plugs right into your computer and works well. You can hear some of the results on our website

  6. #5
    Registered User John Kelly's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Ardnadam, Argyll, Scotland

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    I generally record to my laptop via REAPER software and use a Rode NT1A most of the time, but recently, thanks to recommendation from another poster over on the Song-A-Week Social Group I have acquired a Boya BY-MM1 mic to use with my Tascam DR-05. It is a cardioid mic requiring no batteries and comes complete with a small mount for attaching to a DSLR camera hotshoe or a camera tripod, and also comes with two connecting leads, one with standard 3.5mm TRS connections and the other with the extra connections required for Android phones. It also comes with quite a good wind muff. Cost me about £21 here in the UK. You mention that you record on your phone, so using mics like the Shure mentioned would need extra adaptors, I would think.
    I'm playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order. - Eric Morecambe

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  8. #6
    Registered User
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    Jun 2005
    High Peak - UK

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    Yes, the Shure SM57 is a good dynamic mic (I bought a pair of them nearly 40 years ago and they cost less now than they did then) but they’re intended to be plugged into a balanced input. If you’re plugging into a ‘phone or something similar, unless you know what you’re doing and you can use a soldering iron, I’d suggest you avoid them.

  9. #7
    Gibson F5L Gibson A5L
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    Apr 2008
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    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    Gear gear gear ….. Yeah SM57's and 58's are great mics in the right application. Plugging one into a computer isn't the right application. As pointed out above you need an interface. Think about buying a camera with a built in mic that plugs directly into your computer. Whether you have an Apple product or a Microsoft based product you can purchase a plug and play device within your budget. A good quality recording may be produced in this manner. Yes you can buy more gear , better gear spend lots and lots of money ……. Rode does make good products so does AKG so does … and the list goes on… My advice is to keep it simple to start. R/
    I love hanging out with mandolin nerds . . . . . Thanks peeps ...

  10. #8
    Registered User
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    Sep 2002
    Aberdeen, Scotland

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    I bought a Samson Go-Mic - a mini USB mic - for £43.88 a couple of years ago, intending to "do something" with it.

    It lay in a drawer until the current crisis, when I gave it a try.

    You can see results of my first attempt on the Celtic thread

    I'm not happy with my playing but I think the sound was acceptable, if less resonant than what I was hearing live.
    A friend commented that he thought the sound was very powerful so I suppose it also depends on your playback equipment.

    Since then I have used the mic for my work and other (social and medical) Zoom calls where it really excels.

    Required no set-up at all - plug and play.

    I see on *m*z*n comments that it worked fine with Android phones as an external mic, with a mini-USB or USB-C crossover cable. Mic itself comes with a standard USB cable.

  11. #9
    Registered User J Mangio's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Las Vegas, NV

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    Recently I picked up a Digital Reference DR 1100 on sale at Musicians Friend for $10.00; does the job.
    2019 The Loar Supreme LM700 VS

  12. #10

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    This is not intended for the original poster, but for those with Shure SM57
    and SM58 or similar microphones who think they will not work with a computer.

    Many consumer level computers have a jack or two for audio connections.
    Those connections were designed to work with dynamic microphones like
    those found in audio headsets. The Shure SM57, SM58, and many other
    options are dynamic microphones. They will work just fine with the
    audio components in the computer. If you already have one or more
    of those microphones you should be pleased to learn you can buy an
    adapter cable for about $10. Plug one end of the cable into the
    mic and the other into the computer. Just buy a cable and try it.

    Now what kind of cable depends on the computer or recording device.
    A "PC" typically uses two jacks, one jack for the microphone and one
    jack for the headphone part. They are labeled like this.
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    The microphone adapter cable looks like this.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It plugs into this jack.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    To reduce space some newer computers, which I call "laptops", have
    only one audio jack. That takes a different kind of cable which
    costs a little bit more, maybe $15. That is the price of progress.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    It plugs into this jack.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Some newer phones have no audio jack but use Bluetooth. That is subject
    for a different post.

    So there you have it. How to plug your microphone into your computer
    with no batteries, no soldering, and no interface box.


  13. #11
    Fingers of Concrete ccravens's Avatar
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    Dec 2005
    Crockett, TX

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    I'd also suggest a USB mic to keep things simple.

    Here's a good one in your price range:
    Chris Cravens

    Girouard A5
    Montana Flatiron A-Jr.
    Passernig Mandola
    Leo Posch D-18

  14. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    May 2010

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    MXL has lots of decent recording mics for less than $75. Most people I know with studios, and home studios, have this particular model among the more expensive microphones in their mic locker:

  15. #13

    Default Re: Microphone for recording at home?

    If you can buy for $10 a mic that comes with a personal recommendation
    like you got from member J Mangio, that is likely to a good choice.

    A USB mic would be all right, but it only works for one channel. When
    you advance to wanting to record more than one channel, for example
    vocals with your mandolin you really need separate channels. Then
    (to avoid multi-pass tracking) a USB mic won't work. Unless the USB
    mic is cheap you might as well buy a regular analog mic as your first mic
    in my opinion.

    A condenser mic is fine for experienced users or for a second mic. For
    beginners condenser mics are not plug and play. I would suggest an
    interface box is the next step before considering a condenser mic.


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