View Full Version : software and set up

12-14-2012, 08:53 AM
I'm about to embark of setting up to record properly. Can someone point me to a thread that can help - comparing recording software, best mic/amp set ups etc.?


12-14-2012, 09:38 AM
I'm about to embark of setting up to record properly. Can someone point me to a thread that can help - comparing recording software, best mic/amp set ups etc.?


A Google search will bring up tons of information on music forums, but what you will find is that there is no "best" set up.

A good recording program to start with is Audacity. It is freeware, and it's MP3 conversion is top notch. You need to download the LAME plugin to convert to MP3, and instructions can be found on the Audacity site. You really can't go wrong with Audacity for now.

For an interface to get the recording from the mic into your computer through a USB port, I recommend either the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, or the Avid MBox mini 3rd generation.

The Scarlett 2i2 is less expensive and gives you two inputs (combo XLR and 1/4 TRS) each with mic preamps that can deliver phantom power for condenser mics. It also works very well with Audacity - even if you decide to compile Audacity to use ASIO drivers.

The MBox mini comes with ProTools Express (requires Windows 7 or OSX) recording software. The unit itself has one input with a XLR/TRS combo jack, and one input with a TRS only jack (for line in or direct in). It has two mic pre-amps and also generates phantom power. It will also work with Audacity, but it does not like Audacity compiled with ASIO drivers. The MBox line is also very picky about hardware. On a Windows based PC you will need to disable speed stepping of the CPU or you will run into clock timing issues that create random static.

The Scarlett 2i2 and the MBox mini also allow you to plug an instrument into the box at the same time you have a mic plugged in.

Regarding mics, that's very difficult because some people sound better on certain mics than others. What I would recommend is buying from a place like Amazon, Sweetwater, Musician's Friend, or Full Compass that allow you to return mics. Try out a couple and see what works with your voice. I like AKG mics and use an AKG C2000B. The AKG Perception line is hard to beat. I find the Rode NT1-A (similar price range) to be too bright and harsh with my voice. Mics are something you have to try, and if you don't like what you hear try something else.

Most people recommend condenser mics, but they aren't always the best place to start. Condenser mics are sensitive and pick up everything. If you have a noisy environment a dynamic mic might be a better choice. Behringer makes the XM8500 dynamic mic which sells for about $20. For the hobbyist it's hard to beat that mic. The Shure SM57 sells for $100. It's proven professional mic that is rock solid.

Audacity, Focusrite 2i2, AKG Perception 220 (without mic cable) will cost you about $330 US without shipping.

You will also need some type of mic stand and a mic cable.

Best wishes.

12-14-2012, 09:39 PM
Thanks, Spots. Very good info. I think I was looking for recommendations and you've done that admirably. Ill nee 2 DIs and a mic. We have the mics and I think the out on our P.a. will work so we can mix through that.
I'll get into looking at the Focusrite and have another look at Audacity.

Ken Middleton
12-14-2012, 09:46 PM
Just get a Zoom H2n. Superb quality, not too expensive.

Use as a USB or stand alone. Stereo mics, of course. Great for video.

12-15-2012, 11:53 AM
cheers ken. Another good option