Demo recording setup help requested

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  • @theresaandtheexes Jan 7

    Hey y'all! I've got a few weeks to get set up and need help. I have a 2017 mac laptop with garageband and um... a shure sm 58 and some xlr cords, none of which will likely be of any use... Also a Blue Yeti USB mic that's about five years old. Halp! πŸ˜‰

    Just looking for a basic setup on the cheap that will interface with garageband, unless anyone has better suggestions. Will likely be plugging in my acoustic electric guitar if possible and and need to record vox as well. Budget of about $100 max. All ideas welcome and thanks in advance.

  • @rustyp Jan 7

    Hi @theresaandtheexes
    Do you have any other interface for mics other than your Blue Yeti?
    If not, then that alone will be your friend.
    Plug it in and make sure it's playing nice with your GarageBand.
    Set your mic to the cardioid setting to get rid of room noise, unless you have a quiet and really unreflective room.

    If you don't have another interface, then I would just forget about plugging in your guitar and play acoustically straight in to your mic. It'll sound better through the mic anyway unless you have a really good guitar preamp.
    Make sure you have a useful set of headphones so you can monitor your click while you're recording, if that's your preference.
    Also, set up a soft environment in which to record. A closet works well because your clothes will absorb room reflections. If you just set up your mic in the closet and sing or play directly at the mic in your closet it should do a good job. Your bed, couch, other soft stuff will help get rid of sound reflections, wier

  • @rustyp Jan 7

    Your worst enemies are blank walls and an uncarpeted floor. Also, don't record straight in front of your computer screen. All of these flat smooth surfaces create wierd echos and "comb filtering" which just makes things sound crummy.

    Most of all ...... have fun!!!!! πŸ˜€

  • @oddbod  Jan 7

    A basic but decent audio interface would be my recommendation.
    Not sure if the Yeti can connect by XLR cable as well as USB, but one of these sounds like it could cover your needs -

  • @oddbod  Jan 7

    Looking at the specs, the Yeti only appears to connect via USB so I doubt you can have both the Yeti and the Scarlett (or any audio interface) connected to the Mac simultaneously.
    You'd be fine using the SM58 and/or an electric guitar with the Scarlett though.

  • @roddy  Jan 7

    I have a Focusright Scarlett 2i 4 interface connected to a Mac Powerbook and use Sure SM mics. The sound is pretty good. I don't think the unit can be used with a USB mic. It's best to check compatibility between any interface unit and the particular MacOs version that your laptop is running.

  • @axl  Jan 7

    If you go with the Yeti you could spend the 100$ on some nice (or ok) closed headphones to wear while overdubbing. If the Yeti works with the Mac (plug it in and see if you can select it as a sound source and output) and you don't need to plug in anything then you're all set.

  • @lvgd09  Jan 7

    Sounds like you need an audio interface, and cheap. I bought Focus Right several years ago and it was $400. However, I did buy a lambda audio interface before that and it still works fine but I don't need it anymore because recording on my laptop is hazardous to my guitars falling over and other positioning problems. I don't know but suspect that a USB mic is probably not going to work with an audio unit. However, I do use my USB midi keyboard and it can play audio through my sound card output (speakers, headphones). I've never tried them both at the same time though.

  • @headfirstonly  Jan 7

    The Blue Yeti is a condenser mic, which is likely to give you better results when recording the guitar (and, possibly, your vocals). With Garageband as well, you should be set to produce some decent-sounding demos with what you already have.

    The SM58 is a dynamic mic, best suited to louder recording levels. If you want to use that, @oddbod 's suggestion of the Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface is spot-on. Sweetwater are doing it for $109 at the moment. The SM58 will plug straight in to it, and you can record vocals and your acoustic guitar that way.

    If you can stretch for a bit more, rather than the Solo, get the Scarlett 2i2. That model will give you room to expand later on, as it can record two channels simultaneously (as separate sources, or as a stereo pair). I bought a first generation 2i2 years ago, and it's done me proud to the point I've never even thought about getting anything else. The 2i2 is $160 at Sweetwater. Behringer's equivalent, the Behringer U-Phoria UMC22 won't have the same build quality as the 2i2 or the nice suite of software on CD, but it's *ridiculously* cheap at under sixty bucks.

  • @standup  Jan 8

    As far as interfaces go, I've read a lot of good things about Audient. You know, people on the internet love them. For what that's worth.

    Their cheapest 1-input box is $199 I think. But if I needed a small cheap interface, I'd be checking those out.

  • @rustyp Jan 8

    As long as you get your Yetti to work with your mac,
    I agree with @axlΒ that you could get some good headphones with your money. I personally like open back headphones for vocals because they sound more natural and you can hear your own voice outside of the headphones like you would when you're singing without them.
    @headfirstonlyΒ is right that you'll get better recordings of your vocals and guitar with a condenser mic.
    Don't send money you don't need to spend. πŸ˜€

  • @spingo  Jan 9

    I got one of these $23 interfaces recently and it works fine with my laptop! Not my iPad, unfortunately, which is why I got it. But mic-> this -> computer should work great.

    Adorama has a surprising amount of cheapo used Behringer stuff, though read the descriptions for the item's condition:

  • @alamous Jan 9

    BTW: There's absolutely nothing wrong with the sm58, it's a fine microphone and It's perfectly usable for professional level recordings of the highest quality.

    The setup needed depens heavily on the kind of demos you want to make. If you just want to make singer-songwriter type demos I'd suggest getting an audio interface and a decent but affordable condencer mic like the Audio Technica AT2020 and placing it in front of you, maybe a foot or even a couple away, and pointing roughly towards the middle of your face and the top -side of the acoustic guitar. Don't bother with plugging the guitar in and don't bother with trying to multi-track stuff as long as you can play the song and sing on the same time. This will get you good, or even fantastic results... just look at Neil Young etc...

  • @alamous Jan 9


    Single track, 1 cheapo ribbon mic (SE-Electronics VR1) and a very affordable focusrite interface/preamp. Recorded while the both of us sitting down on my homes living room floor with poor acoustics. Good enough for a demo...

  • @boyatheart  Jan 9

    Get a Behringer U-Phoria USB interface. Amazing quality for so little money.
    I have a U-Phoria UMC404HD, which has 4 mic inputs, but you'll probably not need that one. I think they do two smaller ones and they'll serve you well.

    I think it's the UMC202 that will allow you to record your guitar and vocals separately, but simultaneously using jacks or XLR connections.

  • @boyatheart  Jan 9

    I just saw the link posted by @spingo For that price it would be a crime not to get that.
    It'll record your vocals through the XLR input and your guitar through the jack input at the same time.
    That's even cheaper than I thought they were. Insanely good value.
    For those who doubt Behringer quality, either construction or sound, you need to get up to date. That's no longer the case!

  • @leepat  Jan 10

    what they said.
    i'm pretty happy with my Focusrite bundle which included headphones and mic, but the U-Phoria looks nice for the budget.
    good luck!

  • @oddbod  Jan 10

    looks like the OP has gone and left this thread to take on a life of it's own

  • @rustyp Jan 11

    @alamous That's a great recording of a good song!

    At $400 on Amazon, I'm not sure if that mic would qualify as a cheapo in my studio πŸ˜€ but we all have our standards. πŸ˜€

  • @alamous Jan 14

    @rustyp the price seems to have gone up since I bought mine. I remember paying like 200€

    But the idea behind the post is: It's not about the gear, it's about understanding what you have and what you are doing and then using the available gear to achieve said things.

    Maybe we need to have an sm57 challenge where yo need to record the entire demo using a single SM57 (per track, so multitracking is obviously allowed)

  • @rustyp Jan 14

    Yes, @alamous I completely agree with your assertion. I was just poking a little fun. πŸ˜€ I got excited when you said cheapo 'cause I'd really like a ribbon mic. πŸ˜€

    My first response in this thread was really intended to make the same point. The OP said they have a blue yetti which is a usb multi-pattern condenser. So they could do just about the same with what they've got right now as long as their computer plays nice with it. πŸ˜€

    I'm curious to know if on your recording both of you were on one side of the mic or if it was between you taking advantage of both lobes. What ever it was, it was cool!

    And, I think that an sm57 challenge would be cool! ..... as long as it could be a 57/58 challenge 'cause I don't have a 57 but I have a 58. ")

  • @alamous Jan 14

    @rustyp I'm pretty sure we were on the both sides of the lobes and I think we were both something like a foot from the mic. And sitting on the floor, if I remember things correctly 😁 So clearly not ideal. The track is compressed pretty heavily and to me it also sounds like I must have boosted the highs quite a bit, since the ribbons tend to sound a bit darker without any EQ.

  • @rustyp Jan 16

    @alamous cool minimal setup though. πŸ˜€

  • @alamous Jan 17

    @rustyp haha, thanks. I recorded a version of it with a bit busier arrangement and some actual production values last year and this december released it as the debut single for a new band I've been cooking up with some friends.

  • @yarimurray  Jan 23

    @rustyp MXL R40 ribbon mic at Musician's Fiend for $159.99.

    I have this mic and it is awesome for vocals. Warm and present. fBvNaaCgEaAvpKEALw_wcB

  • @alamous Jan 23

    @yarimurray I bet! And id guess it's pretty good for loads of different things.

    The fun part in ribbon/figure-8 mics is that the nulls between the two polar patterns are often really deep so they reject a LOT of sound coming in from the sides, which is super nice when you wan't to eg. record your singing and your guitar playing on the same time and still get a good measure of separation between the vocals and the guitar; Just point the vocal mics 'null' towards the guitar and vice versa and you're good to go!

  • @rustyp Jan 25

    Thanks @yarimurrayΒ 
    MXL also has the r144 I think. That one gets some good reviews too though it's less expensive.
    We'll see. πŸ˜€
    I might get a real sm57 just 'cause I don't have one and there's a challenge on! πŸ˜€
    I have two 58s but maybe I need a 57. πŸ˜€
    ?GAS is really hard thing to cure. πŸ˜€

  • @alamous Jan 25

    @rustyp The SM58 and the SM57 are super similar, to the point that you propably will never hear the difference in the recorded sound if you don't actually know which one was used. I would put my money on something that widens your palette, so maybe a ribbon mic or a condenser microphone.

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