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Thread: USB mics.. would you ever?

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    USB mics.. would you ever?

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    In my quest to be more productive in the limited time I get to record, I was looking at the possibility of investing in a USB mic for convenience.

    Now I know I'm not going to get an amazing matched mic, studio quality sounding acoustic guitar but it's all about expectations and I'm just wondering what kind of results you can expect recording acoustic guitar and vocals? .... I don't have a treated room, expensive matched condenser mics or any particular recording expertise, so I figure that one more compromise is not the end of the world.

    The blue microphones Yeti seems to get a lot of good reviews but I noticed that there are quite a few USB condenser mic options.

    Any thoughts?

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    My concern with USB mics is whether I would have the ability to hear the playback channel while recording. Does the Blue have a jack for plugging in headphones? Although you are recording guitar and voice, in the future, you might want to expand to include more instruments, like drums or bass. To do that, you would need to hear them while recording new tracks. Can the blue provide that function? There are also quality concerns when putting a complete audio interface into a small package.

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    I don't imagine that aspect would be any different to recording using a usb midi controller and I can monitor all tracks along with the usb midi input in reaper.

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    I've got a very nice one I bought years ago - never use it because of the driver switching hassle. Worst purchase for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I don't imagine that aspect would be any different to recording using a usb midi controller and I can monitor all tracks along with the usb midi input in reaper.
    Um, no it's quite different. With midi, you're not concerned with bleed from previously recorded tracks. When recording audio, you don't want to capture previously recorded tracks with the microphone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chili View Post
    Um, no it's quite different. With midi, you're not concerned with bleed from previously recorded tracks. When recording audio, you don't want to capture previously recorded tracks with the microphone.
    I will be using an audio interface with headphone out on that for monitoring...don't see why bleed would be any issue more so than a regular xlr mic. I know some will question the point of getting a usb mic if I have an AI but it saves time / space setting up with mic stand etc and my old cheapo condenser is probably due replacing.

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    Cool. Enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I will be using an audio interface with headphone out on that for monitoring...don't see why bleed would be any issue more so than a regular xlr mic. I know some will question the point of getting a usb mic if I have an AI but it saves time / space setting up with mic stand etc and my old cheapo condenser is probably due replacing.
    Getting a USB would be a backward step. Their best use is for podcasts and the like.

    If you have in mind to pursue recording into he future, then your best strategy would be to get equipment that provides for your own development as well as achieving improvements in quality. If your old cheap condenser is due for replacing, then aim for a better one, not one with compromised functionality. As for saving time and space . . . well, I think the amount of time you spend recording would far outweigh the time it takes to set it up. Think of it as character development. On the other hand, you can do what I do, and leave a mike permanently on a stand. If it takes up too much room, get a small desk stand.

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    WIth regards to the question in the topic header....... NO

    While a USB mic might be good for playing an online game, or doing Skype videos or Youtube postings, there is no way I would use one for any serious recording. Every demo that I have heard using a USB mic has been relatively noisy. If you already have an interface, what would be the advantage? There are good mics available for $100 all day.

    Look at it from the other side. If you were recording an acoustic guitar album would you go buy a $59 Rogue beginner acoustic from GC? Or would you rather spend $200 on a better Yamaha, or even $399 for an Epiphone Masterbuilt? Or do the right thing and get a very good guitar that had good tone and playability, like a Gibson/Martin/Taylor etc.

    To me, its the same argument. I think the USB mics, even the better ones, are still a compromise from a good XLR/interface combination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcmac74 View Post
    I will be using an audio interface with headphone out on that for monitoring...
    If you are recording with a PC you are going to have problems using two different interfaces with low latency. Yes, with some software you can use one interface for input and another for output but only with the standard Windows drivers which have much higher latency than ASIO drivers.
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