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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey guys im starting up my own little home recording "studio" and I need a good USB microphone for it. I need it to be good at recording vocals, guitar, piano, and maybe light drums and I need it to be in the sub $200 (cad preferably) range not including accesories.
 

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I'm not sure what's available in Canada, so all I can say right now is to look at large diaphragm condenser microphones. But don't get a Shure since they're usually a bit overpriced (similarly to Monster Cables Inc., but Monster is worse).
 

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Overpriced or not, you really can't get much better than Shure. If you want quality and you have the money, why NOT use Shure?

My suggestion, to have a top of the line, yet simple recording solution:

For the microphone, I would highly recommend the Shure SM57. While designed for instruments, it is also an excellent vocal microphone. It's a dynamic cardiod microphone which produces a very clean and balanced sound. For the classic setup, the SM57 is the preferred instrument microphone.

As for USB, you can get the Shure X2U adapter, which is a simple XLR to USB adapter. It's plug and play if I am not mistaken, so need for extra drivers. Here in Germany I can get the SM57+X2U bundle for 179€, which is about 250 Canadian dollars. However, that is the European price in CAD (with the current exchange rate). You should be able to find them cheaper in Canada.

Of course there are cheaper solutions, but this would be in your price range and you would NOT be disappointed. Whatever people may say, Shures are worth the money. That coupled with Shure's amazing customer support makes Shure one of the best solutions you can find. Legendary Performance truly speaks for itself with Shure.
 

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For the stuff to be recorded, a large diaphragm condenser is the best bet - especially for piano and drums.

Shure's good microphones are good, but they're priced higher than other mics that are comparable (and just as good and sometimes better than Shure's).

Here are some brands to look for in alphabetical order so that you don't limit yourself to just Shure (which would mean that you'd be spending more money):
  • AKG
  • Audio-Technica
  • Audix
  • Blue
  • Electro-Voice
  • M-Audio
  • Nady
  • Rhode
I would have listed MXL, but I honestly don't know anything about them.


For the application, I strongly recommend focusing the search on a large diaphragm condenser because not only are you looking at recording vocals and guitar, but you're looking to record piano and maybe some drums too. Nothing picks up all 4 of these things like a condenser microphone. A dynamic microphone will require you to place it really close to the source and it just won't sound right.

How do I know all of this? Because I used to be forced to use two SM57's as overheads for my drums, and it required me to use a very high level as well as heavy EQ. But then I switched to decent small diaphragm condensers (or "pencil condensers"), and now it's way easier. I don't even EQ them that much either (although I still do because my drums are just budget drums, so they need all the help that they can get). I originally wanted large diaphragm condensers, but my budget was very tight, so ended up with the M-Audio Pulsar II Matched Pair. I'm very happy with them. This allowed me to get stereo sound without spending a ton of money on 2 decent large diaphragm condensers (or two small ones, for that matter) as well as two stands as opposed to just one.

However, if you limit your search to just USB mics, then you're going to be limited to mics that are geared towards recording speech and other things where the mic is just stuck on a table somewhere (most of them talk about "podcasting"). A fine example of what I'm talking about is the large diaphragm condenser that Chris Perillo uses to make all of his YouTube videos. That mic is great for that, but it wouldn't do as well for everything else (although, I believe that it would be far better than a dynamic mic).

Having said all this, I still recommend checking out all of the large diaphragm condensers (USB) that are in the highest side of your budget. You might even want a stereo large diaphragm condenser! Who knows?
 
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Oops, I did not see you mention drums.


As for USB, I would still recommend the Shure X2U. With it you can use mics with the typical XLR output and connect it to your computer's USB port.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tizmo View Post
Oops, I did not see you mention drums.


As for USB, I would still recommend the Shure X2U. With it you can use mics with the typical XLR output and connect it to your computer's USB port.
Oh, of course! Then the options become less limited! Hey!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I have been looking at the Blue Snowball and the Samson CO3U USB mics. They seem to be good and have a decent price especailly the Snowball as I can get it for 72 bucks! I would like to get the X2U and a good mic but I have no idea where to buy it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by greg8west View Post
I have been looking at the Blue Snowball and the Samson CO3U USB mics. They seem to be good and have a decent price especailly the Snowball as I can get it for 72 bucks! I would like to get the X2U and a good mic but I have no idea where to buy it.
I don't know anything about Samson either, so after comparing both, they really do look like they're about as good as one another. But I know that Blue is known for making really good microphones, so my instincts are leaning towards recommending the Snowball.
 
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