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XLR Micro to computer?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello,

I'm looking to get a relatively cheap but effective recording setup and I was looking at the Shure SM57, it doesn't need a phantom alim to be powered up but still needs an amp (250Ohm output impedance)
The only problem is that usual audio interfaces that have XLR inputs and jack outputs are relatively expensive (seems that everything using XLR interface ain't cheap). So, I thinked about the following setup, would that work?
Shure SM57 >> XLR-1/4' Jack cable >> FiiO E5 >> Soundcard mic-in and ADC >> Numeric sound

Just thinkering, I've seen that there are USB microphones too but I'm sure sure if they're of the same quality (for the price).


Thanks in advance for your answers!
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post #2 of 7
Get a Scarlett 2i2. It will double as a high end sound card as well.
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post #3 of 7
You can get a microphone preamp for $30-50. I think the best budget interface, which acts as both an amp and DAC/ADC, is the scarlett 2i2 for $100.

I have a Scarlett 2i4 now, but used an M-Audio Buddy preamp for a while with good results.
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post #4 of 7
Do you intend to actually sing songs/record instruments or are you just gonna use the SM57 as a desk/commentary mic?

I've owned a SM57. It is a very insensitive mic, which means even if you turn your cheapo amp all the way up, your recordings are going to be really quiet unless you hold the mic right up to your mouth or unless you are recording loud instruments. It's not a good mic to have sitting on a desk a foot or more away from you.

For your desk, I suggest a more sensitive mic like the AT2020, which goes on sale often enough for $60 (XLR version).

About USB mics....
You're certainly paying extra for the USB feature. For example, the At2020 USB version is double the price of the XLR version, but when you factor in the cost of an audio interface to go with the XLR mic, you'll most likely be saving money (at the cost of the flexibility that comes with having the mic and interface separate).

Furthermore, I don't think you would be sacrificing sound quality with USB. Mic set ups look like this: mic -> amp -> analog to digital converter -> computer. There's an epic thread here that pits the $30 ART Tube MP amp against a $2000 amp in a (not perfect) blind test. The ART tube dominated. This means that the effect the amp has on sound is basically nothing. In other words, if your recording is loud enough to hear, then you have a good amp. USB mics will provide this.

mic -> amp -> converter -> computer.

When I was shopping for a mic, I tried two set ups. The first was mic -> scarlett 2i2 ($150 AMP/DAC) -> computer. The second was mic -> art tube MP ($30 AMP) -> onboard sound card (DAC) -> computer. Since amps mean nothing, the only difference here is the analog-to-digital converter. However, I found that it made no difference. The recordings I made sounded the same. Now, onboard sound cards are cheap as hell, so you'll be getting something comparable in a USB mic.

mic -> amp -> converter -> computer.

Thus, the link in this chain that has the most effect on sound is the microphone itself, but if you're smart, you'll notice that the AT2020 in an XLR set up is the same mic as the AT2020 in a USB set up, so the sound will be the same. You lose nothing by going the USB route other than flexibility.
Edited by cuad - 8/24/13 at 12:05pm
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post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cuad View Post

Thus, the link in this chain that has the most effect on sound is the microphone itself, but if you're smart, you'll notice that the AT2020 in an XLR set up is the same mic as the AT2020 in a USB set up, so the sound will be the same. You lose nothing by going the USB route other than flexibility.

Great post, thank you! I went at the store and settled on an USB AT2020, great stuff I must say. It was cheaper than usual because the new + variant just came out.
Quote:
Originally Posted by gl0ry View Post

Get a Scarlett 2i2. It will double as a high end sound card as well.

Yeah I did think about getting an interface that would do soundcard for the PC aswell, but I'm not confident the 2i2 can take USB input can it? -- anyways, I went with an USB mic which is much simpler when I go to my friend's home (esp. when their soundcard is limited to what's built-in a MacBook Pro...).
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by adridu59 View Post

I'm not confident the 2i2 can take USB input can it?

It can
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post #7 of 7
I've got an AudioBox 22vsl from Presonus. It's a solid device geared toward low volume studio recording. It doubles as my DAC, and works off USB. It also comes with a free copy of StudioOne. I use PreSonus gear on the road every day on touring shows and it's rock solid.
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