What microphones do you use to record your uke/voice while playing?

BiosphereDecay

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I have an original Blue yeti. I got it for making let's plays like 14 years ago. It's still going strong, but I want to hear what everyone else uses. Maybe I can find something better that doesn't peak as easy.

I'm looking for a low budget / high quality microphone that can handle recording both my voice and the uke. I do rough vocals and I'm constantly adjusting things to prevent them from peaking in the recording.

So what about everyone else? What microphone(s) do you use to record your ukulele and/or voice? (Or other instruments if you play multiple.)
 
Lots of different Setups will work fine.
I have mixers (Mackie 12 for the drum mics usually, new Onyx16 for more general use, XR18 as well) and computer interface if needed for computer. The Onyx has a built in record to SD card facility.

For vocals, an SM58 usually. For acoustic instruments, I often use a pair of mics, one figure eight pattern, the other a small condenser cardioid. Recording both those channels allows me (using textbook processing steps) to adjust the perceived width of the soundstage after the recording. So one can widen or narrow the apparent sound without re-recording.

This is excessive for most videos, imo. I’d go with an SM58 for vocals, something like an sE 7 pointed at the sound hole, and a basic 2 channel interface like Scarlet or MOTU M2. Make sure the SM58 is close to the vocalist mouth (2 inches?) and pointed at mouth, not nose or ceiling. You will want mic stands and xlr cables. The mics are abt $100 each new. Used interfaces abound, make sure you can get current drivers before buying.

Have fun.
 
Lots of different Setups will work fine.
I have mixers (Mackie 12 for the drum mics usually, new Onyx16 for more general use, XR18 as well) and computer interface if needed for computer. The Onyx has a built in record to SD card facility.

For vocals, an SM58 usually. For acoustic instruments, I often use a pair of mics, one figure eight pattern, the other a small condenser cardioid. Recording both those channels allows me (using textbook processing steps) to adjust the perceived width of the soundstage after the recording. So one can widen or narrow the apparent sound without re-recording.

This is excessive for most videos, imo. I’d go with an SM58 for vocals, something like an sE 7 pointed at the sound hole, and a basic 2 channel interface like Scarlet or MOTU M2. Make sure the SM58 is close to the vocalist mouth (2 inches?) and pointed at mouth, not nose or ceiling. You will want mic stands and xlr cables. The mics are abt $100 each new. Used interfaces abound, make sure you can get current drivers before buying.

Have fun.
You say keep the SM58 2 inches from my mouth, but how does it perform with large variance in volume, including extremely loud sections? If it can handle my mix of clean(quiet) and rough(loud) vocals, then we might have a winner at that price point. It also looks easy enough to hold that I could probably just pull it further from my mouth when I do a scream. That wouldn't be applicable if I wanted to record a live session though.
 
Max spl for sm58 is a good 160db. That's like instant ear damage. My generator is below 70db.
I'd set the gain on that mic channel. so you don't clip when you are loudest. The mic can handle it. With big volume changes, you'll probably be most concerned with adjusting the preamp gain to use it's dynamic range. If you're unfamiliar with setting gains, plenty of instruction out there. How it's done depends on if you have a mixer or just an interface, but the same pieces in play.

Vocalists with proficient mic handling can intentionally change the sound by controlling mic distance and position. I'm a techie and music hobbyist, so I have no personal proficiency doing this, though folks I've recorded occasionally use these techniques. These techniques seem to me as an observer to be supplemental to their own control of vocal dynamics.

Hope this gives you more to consider. Only you can judge if a particular solution works for your situation.

Safe travels!
 
Max spl for sm58 is a good 160db. That's like instant ear damage. My generator is below 70db.
I'd set the gain on that mic channel. so you don't clip when you are loudest. The mic can handle it. With big volume changes, you'll probably be most concerned with adjusting the preamp gain to use it's dynamic range. If you're unfamiliar with setting gains, plenty of instruction out there. How it's done depends on if you have a mixer or just an interface, but the same pieces in play.

Vocalists with proficient mic handling can intentionally change the sound by controlling mic distance and position. I'm a techie and music hobbyist, so I have no personal proficiency doing this, though folks I've recorded occasionally use these techniques. These techniques seem to me as an observer to be supplemental to their own control of vocal dynamics.

Hope this gives you more to consider. Only you can judge if a particular solution works for your situation.

Safe travels!
Thanks for the response. All I've got is a broken down computer, a phone, and a tablet. I have a cable that lets me plug the mic into any of those devices. When you say things like mixer or interface, are you referring to hardware or software?
 
Hardware. For an example small mixer, look up Mackie Mix8. My drum kit mixer is a Mackie Mix12fx, as I needed at least four mics and phantom power.

For example USB computer interfaces, look up Scarlet 2i2.


I also use an iRig interface to connect my uke pickup (Ohana 35CE) to my iPad to do yousician. It has two inputs, but nobody wants me to sing, so I've never used a mic with it. I have no doubt it would work.
 
While there are higher quality setups out there, it should be perfectly possible to record with the Yeti without clipping.
I dont have problems with mine. Perhaps I dont sing aggressively, but it should be all about setting the gain.

With a condenser mic, and the Yeti basically has three small condenser mics pointed in different directions under the grille, you want to be more than two inches away from the phone. Most toturials recommend starting at 12" distance and adjusting to your preference. If you want to record voice and uke simultaneously, you will probably need twice that distance.
For vocals, cardiod setting makes the most sense. For ukulele, cardiod or stereo would make sense. A lot of people record guitar with an xy stereo setup, why not use that with an ukulele? The microphones in the Yeti are not high end, stereo is the perk of having a Yeti over something with better capsules - like the AT2020 usb mic.
There is also a gain dial on the back of the Yeti.
Do a test recording, and turn down the gain untill you dont clip. Most toturials recommend recording with peaks at -12db, and then turn it up to the desired level in post. This way, if you accidentially sing louder than in the test, you still have headroom before clipping. Usually in post you turn it up to peaks between 0 and -1. For YouTube -1. If your DAW lets you monitor incoming sound level, just sing the loudest part and turn gain down until it looks like -12 db.
 
Clipping aside, are you happy with the sound you are getting?

Sounds like a mic placement and recording technique issue if so. If you have high dynamic variation, record at a lower level. Use a pop shield. And experiment with different placements.

There are lots of other mics that could be good for your use (I’d probably start looking at small diaphragm condensers), but you would also need to buy a good audio interface that would double as a pre amp.
 
While there are higher quality setups out there, it should be perfectly possible to record with the Yeti without clipping.
I dont have problems with mine. Perhaps I dont sing aggressively, but it should be all about setting the gain.

With a condenser mic, and the Yeti basically has three small condenser mics pointed in different directions under the grille, you want to be more than two inches away from the phone. Most toturials recommend starting at 12" distance and adjusting to your preference. If you want to record voice and uke simultaneously, you will probably need twice that distance.
For vocals, cardiod setting makes the most sense. For ukulele, cardiod or stereo would make sense. A lot of people record guitar with an xy stereo setup, why not use that with an ukulele? The microphones in the Yeti are not high end, stereo is the perk of having a Yeti over something with better capsules - like the AT2020 usb mic.
There is also a gain dial on the back of the Yeti.
Do a test recording, and turn down the gain untill you dont clip. Most toturials recommend recording with peaks at -12db, and then turn it up to the desired level in post. This way, if you accidentially sing louder than in the test, you still have headroom before clipping. Usually in post you turn it up to peaks between 0 and -1. For YouTube -1. If your DAW lets you monitor incoming sound level, just sing the loudest part and turn gain down until it looks like -12 db.
I've been recording my voice about 4ft away from the Yeti, with the gain at 0-20%, and the audacity recording volume at 60-80%. I've recorded quite a few songs without any peeking, but it takes a lot of fiddling. I was hoping to get something that wouldn't require quite as much guess and check work.
 
I use a Neewer USB mic kit I bought from Amazon a few years ago for $45.98. I record audio with it while I sing and play my ukulele on my MacStudio using GarageBand that comes with the Mac. If I also want to record video, I use QuickTime Player that also comes with a Mac.

Neewer mic and arm.jpg
 
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I have an original Blue yeti. I got it for making let's plays like 14 years ago.
What's a let's play?

My Answer: iPhone with Dolby On or Tascam portable recorder, onto an SD card, so kinda annoying, but in stereo.
 
What's a let's play?

My Answer: iPhone with Dolby On or Tascam portable recorder, onto an SD card, so kinda annoying, but in stereo.
It's recording yourself playing a video game and doing commentary(usually comedy), and then uploading that to YouTube. A lot of the biggest YouTubers are let's players.
 
I do think Vicegrips approach is probably the best with a studio interface and two separate mics for vocal and instrument.

That said, for simplicity I've always gotten by with just my iPad and an Apogee MiC which has the interface and gain control built in. All i need is the ipad, a lightning cable and the Apogee on a mic stand with a good mount so I can set it at any height or distance I like. I use the Rycote InVision Universal Studio Mount. It's basically bullet proof, requires no external power (so its all portable) and i can quickly adjust the gain right on the microphone. I get plenty of compliments on the sound quality of my videos.
 
I would start by looking at these two videos, they told me a lot. In their examples the artist plays a guitar, but I assume it translates to ukuleles.
Also, they naturally suggest which Neumann mics to use, since they are trying to sell those. But I guess the placement also works well with other brands, or with a dynamic mic in stead of condensers.





I have only ever used the one mic for simultaneous vocal and uke method. It has been for video, where two mics placed in proper position would be bad for the shot - especially if I use a reflection filter. If you use that method, you have the option of using a USB mic or am XLR microphone - which require an interface, which is the hardware you plug the microphone into. You cannot just use and XLR to minijack adapter, because you also need the preamps etc. from the interface to get any sound out of it.

If you use two microphones, you will need the XLR mics.

If you are on a budget, and dont have a newer laptop to process the music, you could just stick to the Yeti for a while. Perhaps invest in a mic stand, a better DAW, like perhaps Reaper, or some other stuff.

Within USB mics, I have used a Yeti and a Shure MV5. Of those two, the Yeti sound better to me. You can get better USB mics. The AT2020 and the Røde NT USB will both be a bit more serious according to reviews and sound samples, though they dont have stereo like the Yeti. They would set you back about $200, unless you find a second hand deal. A lot of people bought stuff like this during the covid lockdown, and are selling. Notice that the Apogee mic mentioned in another post might only work with Mac/Apple products.

Within XLR mics, I have tried a SE2200 large condenser mic and a Røde NT3 medium size condenser mic. They are pretty similar. I have a slight preference for the Se2200. I use them with an Audient iD14 interface. Less can do it, there is an abundance of options. If you want to be taken serious be musicians, you need XLR and interface. Not only because of sound quality, but because even the best USB mics send the message that you are not really a musician. For that reason i stuck with USB for years, to keep peoples expectations low 😆.

Regardless of what you go for, you will need to calibrate the gain to avoid clipping. But once you have found the settings that work with your setup, you can pretty much leave them there. As long as you record with a bit of headroom and add gain afterwards, small loudness changes in your singing should not differ too much from song to song.
 
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