USB Mics?

Lo-Tek

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Does anybody have experience with USB mics? Thinking of picking something up to try and improve the quality of the occasional home recording. Not sure how much I'll use it so don't want to spend lots now.
I know nothing about these but it looks like for music ya need a mic w/ stereo capability? Not sure I understand the difference between the types to be honest.
I'll also want something that is plug and play. Evidently some require a "driver"?
Any input appreciated.
 

FracStrat

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Does anybody have experience with USB mics? Thinking of picking something up to try and improve the quality of the occasional home recording. Not sure how much I'll use it so don't want to spend lots now.
I know nothing about these but it looks like for music ya need a mic w/ stereo capability? Not sure I understand the difference between the types to be honest.
I'll also want something that is plug and play. Evidently some require a "driver"?
Any input appreciated.
It’s really about your sound adapter in your computer … What we used to call a ‘Sound Card’ in the days of Desktop Towers ……
If your computer is new, fast, lots of RAM, USB 3.0 .. Then an interface will work but they rely on the PC for the heavy lifting ……
A stand-alone unit may be better ( Zoom, Tascam , etc. )
So the USB Mic is only part of the picture ..
YMMV
 

lespaul339

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What program are you looking to record in? Do you have an interface with a built in preamp? Are you looking to record guitars, vocals?
 

Lo-Tek

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What program are you looking to record in? Do you have an interface with a built in preamp? Are you looking to record guitars, vocals?

I'm not sure what program I would use. Possibly garage band but a friend mentioned something else.
I currently just use "voice recorder app" for scratch/reference recordings.

Looking to get something I could use for acoustic/vocals but also for close micing an amp.
My initial research has me considering Blue Yeti or for a bit more money a Rode NT-USB.
Just looking to get slightly better audio without going nuts since I don't have much spare time anyway.

To answer the other part of your question, no interface. I want a mic that plugs right into my USB port and is good to go.
 

lespaul339

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So something I'd recommend even though you don't want an interface is a simple set up like this: You can even buy them used for around $100.



Then buy yourself a good condenser mic, and an SM57 and you're good to go for micing acoustic guitars, vocals, or your amp.

I used this scarlet interface in GarageBand when I first started recording on my own, and trust me, it will get you there. I've since upgraded to a Clarett interface, but these Scarlets are nice and have great built in preamps and don't cost a lot of money. I know you're not wanting an interface, but they're very simple to use. Mic preamps are everything when it comes to recording. The Scarlet IMO is the best bang for your buck when it comes to built in interface preamps. Plus, the mics you buy that aren't USB mics will be better quality mics than the USB ones. Also, there's better options for different mics down the road once you're looking to expand your mic options.
 
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AtomicRob

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I have a Shure PG27USB which is the USB version of the PG27 which is/was a fairly cheap (~$200?) condensor mic. I only use it for video conferences for work… it might be a cheap condensor but it still blows away the mics in my laptop or webcam. I haven’t really used it for music - I use other mics through a MOTU interface which gives better results. But USB mics are plug and play, no driver should be needed. And you don’t usually need/want stereo for guitar or vocal recording unless maybe you‘re trying to record the ambient sound of a whole room.
 

JohnH

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I think USB mics can be great quality, and I use one on my headset for Teams and Zoom etc. But Id worry about level control for use in music. So for my home rig i have a small mixer with a USB interface, its a Mackie ProFx v3 with two mic inputs. I have a few mics but a Rode M1 dynamic, or Rode M5 condenser (I have a pair but generally only use one) would each work fine. If you are at all serious about experimenting with music recording Id suggest the separate mixer, then into USB on your computer. I record into Audacity software which is good and free.
 

Lo-Tek

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Thanks for the advice. I guess down the road getting a proper set up would be the answer.
I'm not ready to invest too much into right now though since I don't know how much recording I'll really do.
That's what makes the usb plug and play appealing.
Leaning now to the Rode or Audio Technica at2020usb.
Granted this recording is quiet but it seems like a decent sound quality. The mic is rated to 110db but not sure it would work up to that. I'll probably record at lower volumes anyway.
 

mark123

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So something I'd recommend even though you don't want an interface is a simple set up like this: You can even buy them used for around $100.



Then buy yourself a good condenser mic, and an SM57 and you're good to go for micing acoustic guitars, vocals, or your amp.

I used this scarlet interface in GarageBand when I first started recording on my own, and trust me, it will get you there. I've since upgraded to a Clarett interface, but these Scarlets are nice and have great built in preamps and don't cost a lot of money. I know you're not wanting an interface, but they're very simple to use. Mic preamps are everything when it comes to recording. The Scarlet IMO is the best bang for your buck when it comes to built in interface preamps. Plus, the mics you buy that aren't USB mics will be better quality mics than the USB ones. Also, there's better options for different mics down the road once you're looking to expand your mic options.
This is also my advice.
 

Maggot Brain

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I've dabbled into this as I too thought a decent USB mic would suffice for basic home recording. I'm sure it could work but I believe it would just be better to pick up a cheap but decent interface and a SM57.

With the huge craze for "media influencers" and "youtooberz" the market for decent entry level interfaces seem pretty good.
 

Mojah63

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I bought a Blue Snowball for my son during covid for his violin lessons. It was terrible. I ended up dragging my 11R up and using a decent XLR vocal mic. I'd look for something that has at least a 48K sample rate @ 16 bit. 24 bit would be better... a -10db Pad and switchable polar patterns would be nice too. Unless your recording a drum set or ensemble a mono microphone would be fine. Plenty of electric guitars have bee recorded with the mic a few feet or more from the amp..
 

Dogs of Doom

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you might try the Zoom H2n...

It's basically a hand recorder, that is a condenser mic array. You can either record portable, to SD card, or hook it up USB as a mic, w/ built-in interface, which is what the Blue mic's are.

1648235648796.png

you can mount it on a stand. It has multiple mic setups, x/y, m/s, surround, etc...

The price has gone up in recent months, it's about $160. You might find it cheaper. I've seen it as low as $130 (new)...

Do note, that, if you use the interface on the USB mic's, you will lose your normal sound. The H2n has a built-in speaker, but useless for monitoring. It has a headphone out, for monitoring...
_____________

this will tell you everything in a scroll down presentation:


they also sell a couple cheapie podcast setups:


 
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Lo-Tek

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you might try the Zoom H2n...

It's basically a hand recorder, that is a condenser mic array. You can either record portable, to SD card, or hook it up USB as a mic, w/ built-in interface, which is what the Blue mic's are.

View attachment 104667

you can mount it on a stand. It has multiple mic setups, x/y, m/s, surround, etc...

The price has gone up in recent months, it's about $160. You might find it cheaper. I've seen it as low as $130 (new)...

Do note, that, if you use the interface on the USB mic's, you will lose your normal sound. The H2n has a built-in speaker, but useless for monitoring. It has a headphone out, for monitoring...
_____________

this will tell you everything in a scroll down presentation:


they also sell a couple cheapie podcast setups:



That H2N is actually pretty interesting to me. Looks versatile and pretty easy to use. Plus could be used simply as a mic.

Doing some more poking around I found some interface bundles that come with mic and cable, software etc for less than $200.
More confused than ever. lol

Shure has a USB mic on sale now that looks very user friendly and has a better than average resolution spec. Unlike some of the USB mics it is actually designed for music applications.
 

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