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Old 09-05-2012, 04:18 PM   #1 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Default Need help understading Mics, Preamps & Popshields!

Hey guys! I'm new on here & I need some assistance..well maybe a lot of it!

I'm looking into Rapping & Singing.
I need a bit of help understand the following:

-Different Mic types
-What is a Preamp & what does it do?
-What is a Pop shield & what does it do?
-How would I record this onto a PC?

*Also, Which Mic, Preamp & Popshield would you guys recommend?
The aim is for it to be really clean sounding, like Radio vocals.
My Range is around 500$-1000$.

Thank you guys so much in advance for any help, I really appreciate it!
BadBwai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-08-2012, 09:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Freebase Dali's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 5,329

- Mic types.
Basically you have dynamic and condensers. Those will be the two types that you'll come across the most. A dynamic mic will be rated for a higher sound pressure level, which is useful for miking guitar cabinets and drums. There are dynamic vocal mics, such as the Shure SM58, but it's more geared to live use because it has a pickup pattern that lends itself to that situation. It can be used for studio recording, however, with good results.

Your second main type of mic is a condenser mic. This type of mic lends itself more to vocals in a studio setting, as it picks up a wider range of frequencies, and is useful for acoustic guitars, drum overheads, and vocals, depending on the type of condenser. In general, if you're going to be recording in a studio environment and not in a live environment, you'll want to go for a a condenser if recording vocals.
Keep in mind that condensers need phantom power to operate, so either your mixer or audio interface will need to be able to supply it. Also keep in mind that condensers pick up a lot of sound, so if your area isn't controlled as far as external noise is concerned, you'll have problems.

- Preamps
Preamps are basically what drives the microphone. You can't just plug a microphone into a recording device and expect it to work. A preamp amplifies the signal received from the microphone and sends it to its destination. The quality of the preamp will play a large part in the quality of the recording.
Most audio interfaces have preamps in them, so that you can just plug your XLR cable from your mic into it and record. In cases where you don't have an audio interface or an external mixer with preamps, you'd need an external microphone preamp.

- Pop shield
A pop shield or "pop filter" is basically just a mountable filter with material stretched over it that is positioned in front of the mic, between the singer and the mic, so that plosives (P's and B's, aka the popping sound) are filtered out. Pop filters pretty much just make sure you don't blow into the mic too hard. They should always be used unless you're singing off axis from the mic and have enough control to send your blasts of air past the mic. When singing into a condenser, a pop filter should always be used because of the high pickup. And usually, any condenser mic will come with one.

- Recording onto PC
This is like 30 pages of explanation condensed into a couple sentences...
You need a music program capable of recording multiple tracks and an audio interface capable of connecting your mics. The amount of inputs on your audio interface will be determined by how many different sources you need to record simultaneously. If you only need to record one thing at a time, one input is fine, although most of the interfaces you'll come across will have at least two inputs. That's fine.

As far as which to choose from, it's really up to you. I'm not going to sit here and rattle off brands. You need to get out there and research. That said, no matter what you end up buying, even if it's top of the line, you won't automatically have "radio vocals".
What you need to understand is that there are very experienced professionals that make music sound the way you hear it. It has nothing to do with the musicians most of the time. And it's not something you learn in a day.
You can buy the most expensive, best sounding gear out there, and you will still sound amateur, because there are just certain things in mixing and mastering that have to be learned and practiced for years and years for it to be effective.

If I were you, I'd just focus on making good music and recording it, then worrying about the sound quality later. If you're looking for a magic button, I'm here to tell you that there definitely is no magic button...
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Canada
Posts: 6

Wow! Thank you so, so, so much sir.
I can't even explain how thankful I am!
That's exactly what I needed & very helpful!
Just one more question, if you don't mind!

So a preamp is basically a must?
Say I had a Mac, and I wanted to record my vocals onto there with a Microphone, how would I do so?
Would I need a Preamp, connected to the Mic, to the Mac?

I used Adobe Audition to edit & I have fairly good experience with editing already. I used my iPhone recordings to do so, that's why I'm not sure about how a mic would work.

Thank you for any information, you've helped me TONS already!
BadBwai is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2012, 09:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Northampton, England
Posts: 4

My pop filter is just a pair of old tights... does the job
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Old 12-04-2012, 01:18 PM   #5 (permalink)
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FrankBeardjr's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 52

google, blue spark mic. (pop filter is included) $177
google. presonus usb w/studio 1 $299

rap and sing away!

you'll need headphones,mic stand,one xlr cord ($60) and your good to go, monitors asap,used rokits from guitar center online will do fine around $300
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Old 12-07-2012, 10:05 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Maryland
Posts: 2

I would say that a pre-amp and a compressor are a must. Having a good vocal compressor that is hardware driven and not software driven will be one of the best investments you can make.

By placing a compressor between you mic and your DAW you can lay down vocal tracks that aren't clipping and that have a full saturation.

If you are planning an making pro-quality vocals than you will also need a decent mic and not an $89 mic from Radio Shack.

Not as important, but very very useful is having a parametric equalizer...this can be in software format and will allow you to control things like "presence" and "breathyness".

Last edited by Tooleyweed; 12-07-2012 at 10:07 AM. Reason: Grammar
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