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Thread: Getting back into Hip Hop, need some advice on equipment to buy

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    Getting back into Hip Hop, need some advice on equipment to buy

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    I started making instrumentals... hip hop, electronic etc... and finally got my mixing to a level I find to be passable. Not necessarily pro level of course, but I want to start recording my own vocals for rap and samples for my electronic tracks.

    I live in a shitty room with shitty acoustics, but that's what I have to work with right now. What's the best USB Microphone I can get? And would one of those noise reduction shields actually yield good results for what I'm trying to do.

    Should I invest in some of those foam things that go on walls?

    One more Q, would good EQing on vocals recorded with a USB condenser mic make them sound anything like a professional recording?

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    Quote Originally Posted by switch-man View Post
    What's the best USB Microphone I can get?
    I'd advise against USB mics - they're of course kind of convenient, all-in-one packages...but when you consider that an USB mic actually consist of a mic, a mic preamp and an USB audio interface all in the same un-upgradeable and un-connectable (to anything else than USB) package, you'll realize how cheap the individual components have to be. You can get decent enough AIs for around $100 these days.

    And would one of those noise reduction shields actually yield good results for what I'm trying to do.
    I'm guessing you're talking about the Reflexion Filter and its kind. They don't really do "noise reduction" as much as attenuate room reflections, so your recordings sound less like...your bedroom. They don't really stop noises from the outside from entering your mic.

    Should I invest in some of those foam things that go on walls?
    Acoustic treatment is a good idea, but basically the biggest problem tends to be the low end and foam does next to nothing to help with that. Actually, foam does very little to anything, unless you have a lot of it, and it's still a small part of the equation. Building acoustic panels, bass traps and such would be more effective...but well, this is a big subject. There are a lot of threads on this, and lots of info online - see GIK Acoustics or RealTraps for example.

    One more Q, would good EQing on vocals recorded with a USB condenser mic make them sound anything like a professional recording?
    It won't fix a bad recording, but obviously it can help. Better get the source signal as good as possible, though.
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    I don't know what AI's are. lol, googling around for that term and microphones didn't help either.

    I've got my eye on these two microphones.

    One is the veyr popular Rode NT-USB condenser mic which can do this:

    YouTube

    and the other is the Shure SM58 X2U Cardioid Dynamic Mic with a X2U, XLR to USB Signal adaptor.

    Would the latter setup be as simple plug and play as the Rodes USB option or do I need to buy other stuff?


    They're both about the same price...

    and thinking back, by AI, you probably meant Audio Interface right? Do I have to buy an AI if I go with the Shure SM58 with XLR to USB option?

    Also, I watched a video of an R&B singer singing under a comforter..... yeah, a comforter. He did a before and after, singing without the comforter, and then with it and the difference was clear and much better than without...

    YouTube

    Would that do instead of buying bass traps and things like that? Lol... I know it looks funny but it certainly seemed to work for him.

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    Shure SM58's are great mics for live performances, not so much for recording IMO.

    You really want to get a decent condenser mic, preamp, and an audio interface. At the very least an Audio Technica 2020 mic, an ART Tube MP, and something like a Lexicon Alpha interface.
    Last edited by logic7; 09-07-2017 at 07:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by switch-man View Post
    and thinking back, by AI, you probably meant Audio Interface right? Do I have to buy an AI if I go with the Shure SM58 with XLR to USB option?
    Yeah, audio interface - sorry for not clarifying that. The Shure X2U basically is an audio interface, although the simplest possible one. It's also notoriously noisy from what I've read & the SM58 needs quite a lot of gain from the preamp (which in this case would be the X2U as well) = recipe for disaster, possibly. I mean I haven't heard the X2U in person, but basically it's almost the same as an USB mic - cheap components in a small package, and lots of people have complained about its noisiness.

    Also, I watched a video of an R&B singer singing under a comforter..... yeah, a comforter. He did a before and after, singing without the comforter, and then with it and the difference was clear and much better than without...

    Would that do instead of buying bass traps and things like that? Lol... I know it looks funny but it certainly seemed to work for him.
    Mattresses, duvets, comforters - all well-known poor man's acoustic treatment devices They certainly work, probably better than expensive acoustic foam.
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    Quote Originally Posted by krushing View Post
    Mattresses, duvets, comforters - all well-known poor man's acoustic treatment devices They certainly work, probably better than expensive acoustic foam.
    Back in the day when I was single I had a two bedroom apartment. I kept my clothes in the smaller bedroom's closet and hung up old comforters in the walk-in closet in the master bedroom to turn it into a vocal booth.
    "... got a problem with your processor? your gonna have to call pentium for that." - joey tunez

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    Okay, I think I've settled on the Audio Technica AT2020 XLR version with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface, and recording vocals under a comforter....

    All together it's only about 200 bucks and if this would provide a much better sound than the Rode NT USB then the extra 30 bucks is worth it...

    Also, how would something like the Audio Technica AT2020 do with screaming vocals?


    Last edited by krushing; 09-08-2017 at 04:32 AM. Reason: removed color tags for readability

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    Well, it's not that it's magically supremely better sounding - you'll have to drop a bit more than $30 for that. It's just more future proof - the USB mics have various points of possible failure, and basically un-repairable: if the USB component fails, you need to buy a new mic. If the preamp fails, you need to buy a new mic. If the mic fails, you know the drill. But with a separate mic & interface, you can upgrade, replace or repair the parts individually. Plus it's probably gonna sound a little less noisy at least
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    What mic do you use? And which one would you recommend to someone who wants a professional sound but doesn't want to break his wallet, and who's willing to sit in front of his computer all day editing small details?

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