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Is this a bad setup
Old 14th October 2013
  #1
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Is this a bad setup

I am posting another thread about my setup because whenever I read about certain gear, there is always something telling me im doing something wrong.

I intend to make hiphop music and decided to buy an SM57 for recording vocals ONLY. Even if this isn't the best choice, I'm still willing to keep it and buy another mic, because I can use it for live performances. Anway, the interface I am considering is the Fast Track C400, I have read it is a good interface for dynamics as it is quiet and has decent gain (50db).

The environment I'll be recording in is not very good, it is a very small room with barely any walking space and easily catches noise from outside as it has a window and also noises from the house, which is partly the reason i bought the sm57. What I am asking is, what would you recommend for my situation? What mic,? what interface? Should I buy a reflexion filter of some sort? Would a condensor be that bad, even if turn down the gain on the interface so it catches less noise? I have no experience at all in this field, so I'm hoping you gearslutz can help me. Thanks.
Old 14th October 2013
  #2
I would go for a SM58 instead, as it's designed for vocals, has an integrated pop filter, and is much more common for live vocals. It has the same capsule and essentially the same sound as a 57. Also the same price. Interface seems fine.
Old 14th October 2013
  #3
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herecomesyourman's Avatar
The main obstacle is budget. What is your budget?

I would recommend an RME UCX interface since you don't need a lot of I/O if most things are done in the box and it's fairly inexpensive. Those converters will rival AVID pro tools HD converters, Apogee, Metric Halo, Lynx Aurora, and the prism Orpheous (All which are far more expensive.)

It's small so it will fit on your desktop, and it features two preamps so if you can't afford more pres at first it will sound fine. The two preamps also have DI 1/4" jacks which are perfect for recording from the output of a keyboard if you have one that has internal sounds you like for making beats. It also has a great MIDI sync port, is capable of the highest sample rates, editing sound to film professionally if you want to make youtube videos, and has the ability to expand later if need by via ADAT cables, etc.

That's about $1,700...but it will work with any basic DAW at a pro level.

The rear inputs and ouputs are what's most important though (AD/DA) so you can get some decent front end.

One good solid preamp for vocals is a must. My recommendation is a 7th Circle Audio N72 *vintage Neve style preamp. in a standalone one unit enclosure. (This runs about $475.)

Then I would think about a 500 series lunchbox with the following:

One FET style compressor (1176 type, the Lindell 7x 500 is $299 and will do the job, JLM FC500 FET is a great second choice, better but more expensive.)
One Opto style compressor (JLM LA500 is a great option and fairly priced when buying direct.)
Two Pultec style program EQ's (I would go with a pair of JLM PEQ500's)
And lastly...a VCA style bus compressor (I would think about the new one by Smart or a Serpent Audio 4001K Something that as a -1.5dB setting.)

For tracking vocals you'd want to chain things like this:

Mic > N72 Pre > JLM PEQ500 > Lindell 7x Compressor > PEQ500 > JLM LA500 (Soft limiting)

For mixing on your master bus I would use the pair of PEQ500's on your bus...and limit with your VCA compressor at the end of the chain.

For monitors I would look into the Equator D5's...(inexpensive and totally pro.)

Read a lot about using compressors and program (putlec) style EQ's. Lindell makes a cheaper progam EQ for the 500 series, but I think the controls on the JLM justify the price...no one makes a more cost effective LA3A style design than JLM...and the Serpent is definitely the cheaper / more cost effective VCA style compressor in the 500 series format that's American made with light compression ratios. (The IGS S-Type starts at -2dB which is a tad too aggressive for me.)

None of this is cheap, but it's still the most cost effective route to a universally pro signal chain I can think up...and I would want all of this before buying a new mic...then I could audition mics until I found the right one which sounds great and flattering with that signal chain on your voice.
Old 14th October 2013
  #4
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DSPDiva's Avatar
 

Invest in treating your space. Getting a reflection filter may help a little, but you're still going to have problems with noise and also, you should invest in an interface with better preamps like the Focusrite Forte or the Scarlet. +1 to the 58, I too would agree, it's better for vocals than the 57, but better than both would be the SM7, although I personally don't use it on hip hop vocals, it's better than investing in a condenser which will definitely pick up the noise from outside/around the house.
Old 14th October 2013
  #5
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ROOM > INSTRUMENT > MICROPHONE > PREAMP > CONVERSION.

Sad but true....too bad good rooms are so hard to come by.
Old 14th October 2013
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abechap024 View Post
ROOM > INSTRUMENT > MICROPHONE > PREAMP > CONVERSION.

Sad but true....too bad good rooms are so hard to come by.
I understand, but what is instrument?
Old 14th October 2013
  #7
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Instrument in hip hop/rap stuff would be your voice. Or whoevers voice you plan on recording.

Also a 57 is a great vocal mic. I often prefer it to a 58, to me they often seem to cut a little bit better through a mix. Just be aware of your plosives (obviously)

Point being, the rap I've recorded, somepeople are really tight rythmically and pitchwise (yes you don't sing when you rap but the best rappers still realize your voice has an infinite set of pitches as you talk) doesn't matter what mic or room you use if people don't seriously practice and make something that is emotinally captivating.
I was working with one guy...pretty averagly talented...goos lyricsist but felt the need to booze all the time and it really messed up his delivery....so wether it was a 57, or the 1000$ mic he decided to buy. It still sounded like him!!

Point being, I've never heard you rap, I'm sure your quite good. Focus on the hard stuff (the actual art) forget about the easy stuff (buying gear). You can't buy your way to better recording.
Old 14th October 2013
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by abechap024 View Post
Instrument in hip hop/rap stuff would be your voice. Or whoevers voice you plan on recording.

Also a 57 is a great vocal mic. I often prefer it to a 58, to me they often seem to cut a little bit better through a mix. Just be aware of your plosives (obviously)

Point being, the rap I've recorded, somepeople are really tight rythmically and pitchwise (yes you don't sing when you rap but the best rappers still realize your voice has an infinite set of pitches as you talk) doesn't matter what mic or room you use if people don't seriously practice and make something that is emotinally captivating.
I was working with one guy...pretty averagly talented...goos lyricsist but felt the need to booze all the time and it really messed up his delivery....so wether it was a 57, or the 1000$ mic he decided to buy. It still sounded like him!!

Point being, I've never heard you rap, I'm sure your quite good. Focus on the hard stuff (the actual art) forget about the easy stuff (buying gear). You can't buy your way to better recording.
That touched me, no really it did. You are a wise person, because it seems to me people come up with excuses (including me) and ignore the art itself. I think im going to stick with the SM57, and get the C400, I can always upgrade in the future if I'm doing well in music. Thanks for your post.
Old 14th October 2013
  #9
Abe has the right answer!
Old 14th October 2013
  #10
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Condensers are great but you should try a bunch and find the one which really sounds best...if you have a good setup already then you know how it will sound with what you own...hence the hunt for the right mic becomes a lot easier.

You could be trying things out in random spaces and not really get what a great mic sounds like...and invariably pull the trigger on something less than ideal...an expensive mistake. Better to save and buy the right stuff systematically while you learn about engineering using the SM57 and your DAW. You'll save money and train your ears.

Treatments are great...but also I would wait until you get decent monitors. The Equator D5's are the least expensive pro monitors I would recommend for your set up...at $450 for a pair with wedges they're a steal and easily could be worth twice as much or more.
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