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What else do I need to record sound? (gifting a singer) Audio Interfaces
Old 11th December 2013
Gear interested

Thread Starter
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.

I certainly know I want to get her this: MXL 990/991 Recording Microphone Package | Musician's Friend
Along with this: On-Stage Stands Tripod Mic Stand With Boom Buy One Get One Free | Musician's Friend

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.

The quote about this package says:
'This is a good package because it comes with 2 condenser microphones and an audio interface. The audio interface will act as a 2-channel preamp with +48v phantom power (a requirement for most condenser microphones) that interfaces with your computer as assignable inputs.'
(What is a good mic for recording singing and electric or acoustic guitar? - Yahoo Answers)

What exactly does this mean? What else would need to be purchased in order to plug both of these into a laptop to simultaneously record guitar and vocals?

Thanks so much in advance for any help anyone can offer. :-)
Old 11th December 2013
Gear Nut

from the links you have provided i cant see any sign of an interface.

you will need a DAW to record into. (Software)

simple terms its:

Mic/guitar - Interface - DAW

You will plug monitors or headphones into the interface also.

Interface needs to have 48v power to power the condenser mic.
Old 11th December 2013
Gear Nut

a lot of interfaces come with a demo version of a DAW for example a Scarlett 2i2 comes with a free version of Ableton which would be usable for your needs.

the scarlett has good mic preamps in it also. Can pick one up for around £100 usually.

do some research and shop around for what you want. As stated above you need, mics, mic lead (xlr), interface with 48v phantom power, a DAW and something to monitor with (monitors or headphones).

hope this helps.
Old 11th December 2013
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?
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