Does it make a difference?

Anything to do with Midi. Controller Keyboards, Midi gear, software etc.

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shelly0624
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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Saul,
The last three links took me to Amazon USA ...
Two of those mics I had actually been looking at. A lot of the mics that plug directly into your PC are on a desktop stand. (I like to stand up when I sing). The Snowball one, however, was getting good reviews so I had been curious about it.. If I don't get one of the plug-into-your-PC ones, I will be getting an audio interface. When I get a little time, I have a few ideas on those that I'll run past you via PM.. There are two styles.. several brands..



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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by Saul »

Hi Shelly

You can actually mount the Blue Snowball on a standard mic stand :)
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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

I have the old-style mic stand where you slip the mic into an end-sleeve (instead of screw it on). I'm old!
I'll need to get a new microphone stand too ...

The Shure SM58 did actually make a nice vocal track in the past (it likes my voice), though maybe not as crisp as a diaphragm mic. It's omnidirectional which requires a soundless environment. I will be moving my gear into my she-shed after I work on the inside of it.

I was also looking at USB Condenser Microphone, IKEDON 192KHZ/24Bit (plug & Play PC Streaming Mic).
So many of the plug and play mics are for speaking (like a YouTube application ) and I wonder how many work well for singing.

Can you hear yourself in the headphones while you record, I wonder? Probably. This probably doesn't make sense, but singing into a mic with a little reverb makes vocal expression easier. If I hear yourself in a flat and dry way, one might think the realism pushes you to perfect the flaws in your voice, but for me it is a distraction.. so whether or not it is RECORDED uncolored.. it helps to HEAR it processed a little, for emotion and expression in the song. With our old set-up I could do that.. If I do that with a snowball-type mic, it makes sense to get something like that and keep it simple..

Another thing, I've been looking at mixers with an audio interface. I dunno if that's an advantage... like Harbinger L802 8-Channel Mixer with 2 XLR Mic Preamps. I would want a mixer for under $130 if possible. Would that be a good thing?

And then I'm looking at the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface instead. I saw one for only $109
My need will 3 keyboard tracks, maybe an acoustic guitar (hope springs eternal.. I hope, yet, that maybe my hands could be fixed with surgery --when inwardly I know better..) and then one or two vocal tracks. 8 tracks would be enough for my simple needs.

We haven't gotten our stimulus check yet, so sugar plums are dancing in my head while I think about my future acquisition. (Or another analogy, I'm like a kid with his face pressed up against the candy store window). I get excited about small things, right? :lol:

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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by Derek »

Hi.

One small correction. The SM58 is not omnidirectional; it is designed to be least sensitive behind (where a loud stage monitor might be). Not the that really matters for studio use.

Whilst we are recommending a large diaphragm mic, if you’re happy with the SM58 and capture a good performance then there’s no wrong answer...

When I used to record Carol in Carreg Ddu in my home studio I used to hang duvets behind her to kill wall reflections and had her sing out facing into the room. We both had headphones on to minimise spill into the mic of the backing track and metronome and I always provided at least a little reverb (not as much as I used on the final tracks to get the ethereal sound) for the reason you mention that hear8ng yourself dry is not conducive to a good performance.
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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Thank you Derek for the correction :) I learned something new..

Should I get the audio interface I mentioned; the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface (..or another) ... or a mixer with microphone plug-ins? Is there an advantage to a mixer or would the recording software be all I would need for mixing? (I realize that my budget is very limiting and that BETTER gear would be better and maybe inexpensive stuff would either be superfluous or counterproductive...)

The cloth backdrop, I can see, would be a great help. Soundproofing my she-shed would be ideal.. not only for recording but for practicing privately, but that will have to be a later project. Right now, I just need to practice, practice, practice my keyboard!

Thank you again for your help :)
Between you, Saul, Chris, and SysExJohn .. maybe I'll have a plan on how to work toward my goal..

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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by Derek »

Hi,

You can't go wrong with a Scarlett interface. Whether or not you need a mixer depends on how many external sources you need to get in for recording and if the interface provides enough channels. TBH I would not bother with an external mixer and the mic preamps on sound modules are pretty much as good these days unless you spend a shed load of money. So I'd get an audio interface with enough IO to cover what you need to record simultaneously. Vocals? Guitar (hopefully)? and Keyboard?

For clarification, the duvet hanging is not for sound proofing, it is to absorb sound reflections the wall behind the singer bouncing back into the mic (which is facing the wall). It was a tip from Sound on Sound magazine.

I can't find the original article I was looking at way back in 2007, but the following tips are from the same person, Paul White, and cover why you want to do this duvet trick, along with other great tips.

http://www.roland.co.uk/blog/killer-recording-tips/

They key thing is to aim to get a good a recording as possible, as it is a fallacy to think fundamental problems can be easily fixed in the mix afterwards. Five-ten minutes of effort setting up for recording can save hours of work trying to fix problems in the mix that could have been trapped during recording.

I just realised one thing we have not covered is how you listen to the output of your computer? Do you already have something, or do you need advice here as well?
Regards
Derek Cook

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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

Thank you Derek :)
I'll go with the Scarlett audio interface then..

Yes, I would appreciate advice on the output.. We only have little computer speakers. (I can't believe I didn't think of that .. but then again, it was analog years ago, not computer).. We only have a big Fender keyboard amp and a old beat-up monitor. I still will have to go budget as much as possible. We'll be building a really nice playground for our grandbabes in the backyard. They don't have a yard at their apartment complex ..so some of the stimulus check will go for that. Andy has drawn up the design and it's going to be cool! So, as usual, needs of the fam come first.

Thank you again, :)
This helps to streamline my goals. I don't want to waste time or money on things I don't need or understand.


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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by puremusic »

No stereo system you could hook it up to?
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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by parametric »

ALL good advice there from Derek, Shelly . . . .

Pro recording spaces are often constructed in a non linear fashion with uneven wall lengths Precisely to avoid

parallel facing walls - to alleviate reflection effects. These are often built INSIDE rectangular buildings, so you're generally

not aware of this when inside "the space". . . .

Acoustic baffles and surface treatments DO WORK, but are expensive . . . . .

The Duvet idea can certainly help with this . . . .

If I had my own "Space" here - I always fancied acquiring one of these Public Telephone Acoustic Bubbles-

and fitting it out for "Vocals" . . . . . :lol:

Acoustic Bubble.jpg
Acoustic Bubble.jpg (7.36 KiB) Viewed 756 times

As regards Audio/Midi interfaces, Focusrite is good and well respected. Always better to have MORE I/Os than you need

rather than less :wink:

Things like Mics I would always consider buying the regular Wired arrangement rather than USB.

If it's wired, then you can use it, not only with your USB Interface, with the Computer, but also in a regular way -

with a Mixer - for performing.

As you are no stranger to the performance scenario - it seems sensible to acquire your gear with that in mind TOO . . .

Performance might require Vocal Mic(s), a Mic to mic-up a Guitar (or possibly DI) and a couple of I/Ps for Keyboard (L+R)

So don't discount a mixer (which of course will also serve as a Pre-Amp for Powered Speakers - on stands, perhaps.)

With recording - it's as Derek says . . . Get the best recording possible. As big a signal as you can without overloading,

and as little background (ambient) noise as possible.

Record it Dry. Echo, Reverb and much else can be applied inside a DAW - if composing,

or with outboard or mixer-bound FX, if performing.

If you record with the effects ON there - they cannot then be removed later. . . . . :idea:

As to Speakers for your Computer/DAW . . . .. The Focusrite (or similar) will have L + R ouputs, probably on 1/4" Jacks.

These will nicely plug into any monitor Speakers you choose.

I say MONITOR speakers - as these should offer a good flat response without undue colouration. You need at THIS stage to

hear everything in your tracks critically - so you can make informed decisions on equalisation, compression - and

"amounts" of FX to try . . . .

MANY manufacturers make Monitor Speakers and they vary in size and price, but you need not spend a fortune.

There are many reasonably priced ones out there . . . .

I would recommend Yamaha - and my special favs (If I HAD my own Space) - Genelecs

Currently I have some M-Audio ones, I bought off Saul (can't remember the model).

So lots to look forward to and get excited about . . . . . :dance:

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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

THANK YOU CHRIS!

Tons of information. Good direction. i appreciate it.. :clap:
I was so focused on the recording aspect that I forgot the performing side and the gear that could possibly serve a double purpose. I still have a hard time visualizing myself playing in front of anyone at this point, but it would definitely be fun to amplify my voice and keyboard while I practice. In fact, that kind of practice forces one to work a little harder to polish things up..

Good advice, Chris, regarding a wired mic vs a USB one. I do have a really nice keyboard amp -- good for voice too. I need some decent headphones too.

These ideas help me to direct my attention away from things that might not be as useful for the overall purpose. I'm going to use the Shure SM58 for right now, mostly because of cost. I have a friend who has a nice recording setup and I'll see what he has in the way of mics in case I want to try something new before buying something else. Mics, for sure, are as individual in characteristics as an instrument. I have used mics that were not my own and some of them I hated. However, I'm sure that none of those were high-end.

So I will need monitors too.. I'll check out the ones you mentioned..

I'm excited to get my little cottage ready on the inside.. I will really welcome the privacy to work on music.
I'll have to post a pic of it here sometime. It's cute.. Andy can build anything. He never ceases to amaze me...

While I used to play guitar and sing at the same time, I know I will be recording a vocal track separately.. (I'd love to be a Sarah McLachlan but I don't think that's gonna happen!! :lol: )

Maybe there will come a day when the keys will be almost as responsive as my guitar was .. but one step at a time. You can't sing seriously if you're concentrating on chords. I'm singing softly, though, so I get the timing right.

Thank you again, everyone, I have some really solid direction.

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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by parametric »

shelly0624 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:40 am
THANK YOU CHRIS!
You're welcome Shel . . .
shelly0624 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:40 am
Tons of information. Good direction. i appreciate it.. :clap:
I was so focused on the recording aspect that I forgot the performing side and the gear that could possibly serve a double purpose. I still have a hard time visualizing myself playing in front of anyone at this point, but it would definitely be fun to amplify my voice and keyboard while I practice. In fact, that kind of practice forces one to work a little harder to polish things up..
Sure - One has to be mindful of cost - and it can be a PAIN to deconstruct your recording setup, so you can "Gig" . . . .

BUT - even at the Uni where I worked, for our electroacoustic concerts, which were increasingly 8-channel

Surround Sound we HAD to cannibalise our studios for Speakers (especially) and a Large Desk. . . . .

Ordinary Mortals generally cannot afford to have a Stack of expensive Speakers that are ONLY used for Concerts

and are stashed in a cupboard the rest of the time . . . Same for a Desk :lol:
shelly0624 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:40 am
Good advice, Chris, regarding a wired mic vs a USB one. I do have a really nice keyboard amp -- good for voice too. I need some decent headphones too.

These ideas help me to direct my attention away from things that might not be as useful for the overall purpose. I'm going to use the Shure SM58 for right now, mostly because of cost. I have a friend who has a nice recording setup and I'll see what he has in the way of mics in case I want to try something new before buying something else. Mics, for sure, are as individual in characteristics as an instrument. I have used mics that were not my own and some of them I hated. However, I'm sure that none of those were high-end.
Your SM58 is a good Mike and will be fine . . . . We had a case of Six of them at the Uni . . . .

I Once had to setup for a larger ensemble - and had to borrow some extras from my mates in our Audio-Visual Dept . . . .

Unfortunately, they were SM58 "Lookalikes" made by SoundLab and frankly appalling quality . . .

Over-Bassy and no top-end sparkle, but then they were only about £15 each instead of £100 . . . . .
shelly0624 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:40 am
So I will need monitors too.. I'll check out the ones you mentioned..
Yamahas are good, but tend towards Pricey. Genelecs are VERY Good and are expensive, but there are a Myriad of

others, in between to be considered . . . . The Jury is always going to be OUT, on which is best - Much like Pianos :lol:

I discovered Gennies when we rebuild the Dept - and they sounded WONDERFUL . . . .

So much so, that the "Golden Ears Brigade" at the Uni - by which I mean the Academics that were "Composers",

ALL bought Gennies for their own Home Studios. . . . . . . good enough for me . . . :lol:

shelly0624 wrote:
Tue May 05, 2020 9:40 am
I'm excited to get my little cottage ready on the inside.. I will really welcome the privacy to work on music.
I'll have to post a pic of it here sometime. It's cute.. Andy can build anything. He never ceases to amaze me...

While I used to play guitar and sing at the same time, I know I will be recording a vocal track separately.. (I'd love to be a Sarah McLachlan but I don't think that's gonna happen!! :lol: )

Maybe there will come a day when the keys will be almost as responsive as my guitar was .. but one step at a time. You can't sing seriously if you're concentrating on chords. I'm singing softly, though, so I get the timing right.

Thank you again, everyone, I have some really solid direction.
I'm sure your new Space will be fine when finished, and will be a delight use (Y)

You WILL become comfortable with the Keys in time, and just as with the Guitar, your Brain, and muscle-memory will

Learn the Chord-Shapes on the keyboard in much the same way as on the Guitar . . .

As you progress, you find yourself breaking up the chord-shapes by "Arpeggiating" those chords - UP and/or DOWN . . .

You will then have created "Rhythm" in your playing :idea: - and will be able to apply it to the Songs you are playing . . .

THAT is more or less what I do. If you listen closely to my Piano Parts, you'll recognise what are effectively "Broken-Chords"

in there . . . .

Eventually - you will do this naturally . . . . .AND include the Left Hand in that Arpeggiation (Y)

You have the tenacity to succeed Shel . . . . GO for it . . . . (Y)

Chris
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Re: Does it make a difference?

Unread post by shelly0624 »

I did buy the Scarlett interface but it is on backorder. Amazon was way expensive (anything music-related has been lately, even used). I definitely think prices will go back down as music stores open, because Amazon used to have the lowest prices IMO. I bought the interface from Ebay; the seller was Kraft Music. I am now feeling more of a time crunch. The arthritis is now significantly moving into my left index finger too, with swelling and stiffness, so three malfunctioning fingers on my left hand make me realize that I need to work faster. Numbering my fingers to play keys has taken a different form and arpeggios for the left hand are a challenge. I don't really want to go the auto accompaniment route if I can help it.

I used to love to record when I played guitar and look forward to singing the most.. (but not midi). I'm sure it will be easier than I think. It's hard to stop playing when I practice keyboard. Several hours can go by and I lose track of time; I love it so much. One thing, the chords on keyboard are sweeter and far more lush than guitar, with multiple chord voicings.. but nothing beats the sound of a good acoustic guitar with nice sustain. Feeling a little melancholy today about this autoimmune disease, but it won't stop me. I borrowed my son's dulcimer. It was fun and much easier on my hands because you play it flat on your lap, so my fingers didn't need to bend much. The 4 strings felt soft and pliable .. and they were farther apart. .. but it sounded a bit thin, compared to my guitar. Some people are able to make some nice music on them but I don't want to be distracted right now.

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