View Full Version : Pickup or Mic

07-16-2009, 01:55 PM
I'd like to record my uke but I don't know if I should get a a pickup or a mic. It seems that the mic would be more versatile but when I tried the mic on my computer to do a Garage Band track it sounded terrible. Any advice would be welcome.

07-16-2009, 02:16 PM
It really depends on how the setup is, but personally I think an under saddle pickup correctly installed is the way to go. It's very unobtrusive, and I think the overall sound quality is just better...more faithful to the real instrument sound, at least in my experience. Somebody else may have more info than I do, however.

07-16-2009, 02:29 PM
I think a mic sounds better. I've used a USB dynamic mic (like you'd use with Singstar or Guitar Hero), and a dynamic vocal mic with an adapter straight into the soundcard with some success. When using a desktop condenser mic (you know, the ones that used to come with PCs, with the long skinny necks) I found I got a more natural sound by sitting further away.

You can also get a very good sound with a pickup, but I've found that a decent amount of processing (compression, reverb, eq) is necessary.

07-16-2009, 03:02 PM
Personally, I think the more natural sound when recording will be obtained by using a mic. There are some people, Gerald Ross comes to mind, who do get great results by plugging direct and using the pickup in the instrument but most people donít yield those same results. I believe he uses the MiSi Acoustic Trio pickup system in his instruments.

For most of my recording I was using an SM-57 dynamic mic because it was what I had available. We use loads of them with the rock band. The problem with the dynamic mic was that the input had to be really hot in order to get a good signal into the computer to get the proper recording level. This introduces a lot of hum and noise. Now I use a condenser mic which I like much better. It also introduces its own set of challenges. It is much easier to get a good signal into the computer but you also have to be very careful because it picks up every little sound around you (i.e. The TV from the next room or the washer and dryer, or the air conditioner kicking on). You have to definitely selectively pick the times to record and make sure there is no background noise at all. That is a challenge in itself.

Not sure if that was helpful or not but at least I got it off my chest :D.

07-16-2009, 03:08 PM
Enormously helpful. Thanks Dom

07-16-2009, 04:08 PM
You have to definitely selectively pick the times to record and make sure there is no background noise at all. That is a challenge in itself.
You got that right! Between the constant loud "tinkling" of ice cream trucks that circle the neighborhood relentlessly from early afternoon to after dark, the kids next door screaming (they have three that are 5 and under) and the "oom pah" Mexican music blasting from the other side, some days I can't even hear myself think, let alone practice or even attempt to record. :rolleyes:

Ukulele JJ
07-16-2009, 06:47 PM
Pickups are handy for performing live. But in a "studio" setting, mics are the way to go, IMHO.