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Thread: Total novice - Help with mic please.

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    Total novice - Help with mic please.

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    Hi, I'm a total novice to this recording game so please accept my apologies if what I ask is a bit thick.

    I want to start recording a blog/radio style program to .mp3 format (songs and voice overs)

    I have a Numark Mixtrack Pro and VirtualDJ that i can do this through to record the .mp3 or i can just use the VDJ software on the pc direct.

    I have some old mics that i use when i do discos and quizzes, which are fine for that type of thing, however for the voice recording and radio side of things they are very muffled and I have to be almost touching the mic with my mouth for the mic to hear me.

    The mics i have are a Proel DM226 & a Shure PG58.

    My question is... what is the best sort of microphone to use for the vocal side of things .. i.e what type of mic and what model ?

    Thanks in advance.
    RPJWB

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    The Shure should give you better results than described. The problem is likely to be down to how you are getting the audio into the computer . Plenty of better mics, but before you even go there - you need to sort out input. We don't usually do much with DJ gear, but the snag here is likely to be preamp settings perhaps being optimised for yelling into?

    Tell us how you have wired things so we can have a think.

    BTW - you don't need to multi-post. Most users here use the new post button so we see everything, not just one area.

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    Ok ... so at the moment I have the Shure mic plugged into the mic socket in the soundcard of the pc.

    There does seem to be a slight delay as well (about 0.5 sec) from when i speak to actually hearing the sound on the pc speakers/headphones

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    Ah - you don't have a proper audio interface then? Frankly - the mic input on most PCs,( not quite so band on Macs) is totally unsuitable for quality audio - two reasons. First is the actual audio quality really sucks. They're meant for cheap headsets and gamers using them to chat. Worse still is that the audio drivers are so varying in design and quality - so half a second of latency is useless for audio recording. They have dreadful gain at anything different to mouth on the mic grill stuff.
    You're going to need a proper stereo recording quality interface - 50 to 100 pounds or so. The you'll hear what your mics really sound like. In the interim - plug the mic into the DJ mixers, and the output of that into the computer 3.5mm socket. It will be better, not by much, but better.

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    Some podcasters prefer using handheld digital recorders instead of a dedicated interface. The ones that kind of do both. 4 channel zooms, or mackie handhelds, that have XLR connection for mics. They can record and edit with the handheld. They can also drop the track into a DAW in a computer for deeper editing. There is a way to use them live through the computer for VOIP ie Skype etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPJWB View Post
    Ok ... so at the moment I have the Shure mic plugged into the mic socket in the soundcard of the pc.

    There does seem to be a slight delay as well (about 0.5 sec) from when i speak to actually hearing the sound on the pc speakers/headphones
    How are you getting the Shure mic into the PC? The mic should use an XLR to XLR cable (and is "balanced" ask if this is g'ook to you) do you have a special cable or adaptor?

    That DJ is itself an Audio Interface. How good I cannot say but I would think it would have to be fairly low latency, i.e. delay, to be usable live.
    The user manual gives details of the setup procedure and installation with a driver disc. Have you done that? If not do, if you don't have the driver CD you should be able to download drivers from their site.

    Now, the mic input on the DJ rig is a 1/4" jack and you might need one of these..Microphone Matching Transformer: Amazon.co.uk: Musical Instruments

    The transformer will also give some lift to the mic level which will I am sure be useful as I doubt the mic pre amp in the rig will be that good in terms of gain or low noise.

    Of course, the best solution as Rob has stated is a decent audio interface but IF you go that route be prepared to spend $150 US 'ish because there are many single mic input AIs about that LOOK good value but in fact will give you operational difficulties. Do you actually need the disco rig?

    BTW. Half a second, 500mS is not a SLIGHT delay! Not in this, HR world! Almost any AI will be at least ten times faster.

    Dave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ecc83 View Post
    How are you getting the Shure mic into the PC? The mic should use an XLR to XLR cable (and is "balanced" ask if this is g'ook to you) do you have a special cable or adaptor?

    Dave.
    Thanks everyone ...

    The mic has a XLR to Jack cable (as per the Amazon item in your reply Dave) plugged into it and the 1/4" jack then has a 'reducer' to 3.5mm to plug into the pc soundcard. I could do the same into the DJ controller minus the reducer as the controller has a 1/4" input.

    Would a condenser mic with phantom power and a 2nd soundcard/controller be better ?

    At this stage I don't want to spend too much money for the project not to go ahead so i do understand the 'You get what you pay for' logic as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RPJWB View Post
    Thanks everyone ...

    The mic has a XLR to Jack cable (as per the Amazon item in your reply Dave) plugged into it and the 1/4" jack then has a 'reducer' to 3.5mm to plug into the pc soundcard. I could do the same into the DJ controller minus the reducer as the controller has a 1/4" input.

    Would a condenser mic with phantom power and a 2nd soundcard/controller be better ?

    At this stage I don't want to spend too much money for the project not to go ahead so i do understand the 'You get what you pay for' logic as well.
    Are you sure the XLR to jack adaptor is a transformer type? There are simple rewired adaptors and they will not work nearly so well plus the chances of a misconnection when using multiple adaptors to get to 3.5mm "stereo" are always present.

    Try just the mic plus adaptor into the DJ rig and see what the level is like into headphones. If you cannot get good results that way I would abandon the whole setup entirely and cut your losses and keep your hair! You can kludge about forever and get ever more stressed for the want of spending 100 or so to do the job properly.

    However, IF the mic gives you clean, clear voice through the DJ rig and cans, then investigate getting the rig working as an interface via USB. But, I ask again. Do you NEED the DJ rig for your VOX project? If not, get what you can for it and get a proper AI setup. Yes, the mic IS basic but should be decent enough.

    Capacitor (archaic. condenser) microphones are much more sensitive and have a wider, "crisper" response than dynamics and yes, one COULD be a better solution but at this stage I would hold off until you/we have exhausted the possibilities of the present kit. Whatever the eventual outcome, lessons will be learned!

    Dave.

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    Thanks again Dave.

    I have tried the mic again through the mixer and that has no effect at all as in the mic cannot be heard once i start recording on VDJ software.

    The only way i can get the myself heard when recording on VDJ software is for the mic to be plugged directly into the pc soundcard. the sound isnt crisp though its slightly muffled and unclear. for some reason now though the delay has gone, so not sure why thats happening but hey ... reesult.

    I think the best way to go now is try a condenser mic and see if that has any better effect. I will try a friends one first and then take it from there... unless you can recommend a budget one.

    Will I also need an AI for that as well ?

    Thanks

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    From the user guide..
    "29. OUTPUT 1 (RCA) – This stereo RCA connection will output the Master Mix from your computer.
    Please use a stereo RCA cable to connect this output to a powered speaker or amplifier system.
    30. OUTPUT 2 (RCA) – This stereo RCA connection will output the Cue Channel from your computer for
    monitoring purposes. Please note that the Cue Channel is also output through the HEADPHONES
    output on the front panel.
    Note: If you are using VirtualDJ Pro, you may assign the Cue Channel to OUTPUT 2 or split the left
    and right channels of the Master Mix to OUTPUT 1 and OUTPUT 2, respectively.
    31. HEADPHONES – This stereo 1/4" output will output the signal being routed to the Cue Channel.
    32. MIC GAIN – This knob controls the microphone level being sent to the Master Mix.
    33. MIC THROUGH – This is a 1/4" microphone input. The signal from this input will be sent directly to the
    Master Mix."

    Can you work through the above? I cannot see any reason why the microphone should not be audible in headphones if setup correctly. Do the decks play in headphones (via "cue" mix, known I think as "PFL" in studio mixer jargon). Even if headphone won't repro there should be a signal going out via Master Mix. Hook that up to a hi fi amp even a guitar amp and try. N very B! A live mic through speakers will howl like mad!

    It might be easier to try YOUR mic an a friends kit? With the transformer adaptor it can go into a music amp.

    That DJ rig SHOULD do what you want I am sure. You just need to be systematic.

    Dave.

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