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Good USB or Firewire Microphone that hooks up to a computer?
Old 15th September 2012
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Good USB or Firewire Microphone that hooks up to a computer?

Hey guys,

I have been recording hip hop tracks in Audacity for a few years now with a crappy 90 dollar microphone that hooks up to my computer via USB. I recently got a mac and was hoping to reinvest in another microphone. I have been considering options that would give me better sound quality while recording.

I looked into purchasing the following set up, which I think was going to run me about 300 dollars or so:
- Avid recording studio
- Perception 220
- pop filter

Does anybody know if there are any high quality microphones that would directly hook up to my computer (either via USB or firewire, whichever is better)? I would greatly prefer to hook directly up to the computer for a couple reasons. One motivation is that I wouldn't have to learn new equipment/programs. Another is that I live in a small apartment with thin walls and usually recording in my apartment isn't an option. Most of the recording I do I actually do in my car in an abandoned parking lot near my house. So having a lot of equipment might cramp my style a little bit.

Please let me know what you guys think. Should I get the whole set up or is there something that can get me 99% of the way there that's easier/cheaper?

Any advice people can give me on good products to buy or good online stores to buy them from please let me know. Are there any good places to buy used equipment that's guaranteed to be in good shape?

Thanks for anybody who took the time to read this.

Old 15th September 2012
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Just to add

Also, if anybody knows about XLR technology, let me know if that's something I should be involved with...
Old 16th September 2012
Gear Nut
Kruxify's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Take a look at the Blue Icicle preamp to hook up your condenser.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
Lives for gear
Pedantic Sound's Avatar
🎧 5 years
Originally Posted by zilcymb ➑️
Also, if anybody knows about XLR technology, let me know if that's something I should be involved with...
I think the XLR tech is here to stay.
Old 16th September 2012
Lives for gear
Lotus 7's Avatar
If you only need one mic channel, the Blue icicle unit mentioned by Kruxify or the similar Shure X2u are an inexpensive solution. Either one will allow you to use any modern microphone with your Mac. That opens up a wide range of possible microphone choices. Either one will give you a balanced XLR input with the option of "phantom power" which is required for most capacitor mics.

Another device to consider is the Apogee One. It's a very high quality audio interface which includes a great mic preamplifier with a "phantom powered" XLR input, but also includes a very nice sounding, built-in mic. It also has stereo outputs which can be used to get high-quality audio out of your computer. You can easily try one at a music store to see if you like the sound. The Apogee One gives you the flexibility to use its internal mic, or to plug in any mic of your choice later.

Any of the above will work fine with the power available on a standard USB port on a Mac laptop, so will meet your portable requirement, although they will slightly reduce the running time on the Mac's battery because of the power they use.

The actual choice of which mic to use is more of a personal preference issue, and depends on your voice and what kind of "sound" you want to emphasize or possibly eliminate. Some people love a deep "radio announcer" sound and others might like something that is brighter and can cut through background music or noise.

Good Luck.
Old 16th September 2012
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
USB mic's suck. Get a real interface so you can use any mic that's better.
Old 16th September 2012
Here for the gear
🎧 5 years
Thanks for all the help

Thanks for all the recommendations guys.

What are other options if I didn't take the USB route?

Also, how quality is the Apogee One built-in microphone? Comparable to the perception 220
Old 17th September 2012
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
forget usb mics and adapters. Most have mediocre interface chips in them.

Get a usb interface and regular xlr mics.
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