What else do I need to record sound? (gifting a singer)
I'm looking to buy a microphone set for my girlfriend for Christmas, she plays acoustic guitar and sings - recording both using only a laptop mic. I'm sort of strapped for cash, but this being our first Christmas together - I definitely want to impress.
My background lies in video production and post-production, I'm afraid I don't know much about recording sound.
However, I don't know what exactly will be needed in order to plug all of this into her laptop to record. It seems to me that I'll need to buy the necessary cables, but there's a 'Yahoo! Answers' post that has me a bit confused.
As eizla83 mentioned, to record, you need the basics: A microphone, or microphones, an interface with mic preamplifier(s) and with phantom power to power the mic (if it's a condenser mic) and DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software. A mic cable, or cables and a mic stand (be sure it has a boom) are also essentials, as is something to monitor the recorded tracks to allow for processing (editing, mixing, adding equalization, compression, gating, etc.). That means either monitor speakers or decent headphones at a minimum, although a home stereo system can be used for basic monitoring if need be.
The mentioned Focusrite 2i2 is a good starter level (2) channel interface with decent mic pres. It's fine for a first interface as is the comparable Steinberg UR22. This presumes she has a laptop with a free (direct from the computer - no hub in between) USB port (these small interfaces are powered via USB and communicate with the computer via USB).
The MXL mics in the package in your link are just a pair of mics. No interface is included, so they can't be connected to a computer without additional hardware. They are "rock-bottom" quality mics, and are priced at about what they're worth, if that.
Focusrite sells a very nice "2i2 Studio Recording Bundle" that includes everything except a mic stand at a price below the normal retail of the individual parts. It's one of the better ways for someone starting at "square-one" to begin recording. The mic is good and the headphones are decent. The 2i2 Bundle includes Cubase LE6 (an excellent "starter" DAW) and a nice pack of useful software Plug-ins, that add useful processing capability. Add an inexpensive mic stand, and your GF will be in business.
Focusrite also sells another bundle called the "iTrackStudio" at a slightly lower cost. I'd avoid that version, since it only includes a single mic input channel interface (no way to easily add a second mic in the future), so is very limited.
The Scarlett 2i2 can accommodate (2) mics, but initially, she can use one to record voice and guitar. Next year's present can be another nice mic.
She can also download a very powerful, free DAW called Audacity (free), or another called Reaper (free to try, low cost to keep), if she doesn't like Cubase. All are excellent ways to record, edit and process music.
If you are dead-set on buying the MXL 2-mic package , you should also get a UR22 (which also comes with a copy of Cubase AI6) or a Scarlett 2i2, cables, headphones, and a mic stand.
You're aware, of course, that if you buy a package such as the above for your GF, she'll expect you to install it and show her how to use the interface and the DAW, and she will be calling you every time she has a problem. Are you really ready for such a commitment?