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Thread: Getting the most out of my USB mic

  1. #1
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    Getting the most out of my USB mic

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    Early last year i got the Samson Meteor USB Mic for $100 to record my rapping i'm not happy with how it sounds in songs, my friends tell me its not as bad as i think but it irritates me that it doesn't sound clear in my songs ( It wont let me post a link to my soundcloud until 5 posts so when it lets me ill post it below ) i just want to ask has it got something to do with my mixing which would make sense since i haven't got the full grasp of it yet (I record & edit vocals in Logic Pro X). And if there is a way to make it sound clearer and better, i want to ask this because i'm thinking of getting a new mic with a interface although the mic is cheap (bm-800) and its all i can afford at the time being. I also want to ask would you reccommend getting a new mic or am i over-exaggerating?

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    Just improve on your mixing and you should be fine, but getting xlr mic with a interface would improve the sound also.

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    A usb-condenser-mic is likely to never sound as good as as a regularly cabled one through an audio interface but there might be things you can do to help yourself...

    first thing would be to look at the source. Your room is the source.

    a quote I saw recently that really sets it up (can't remember where or who)

    "Your microphone isn't recording you. It's recording your room with you in it"


    make your room sound as good as it can... Even if it's just hanging a duvet on the wall behind you... Ideally you want to treat it as well as possible.

    the other thing I'd look at is your beats (as you said you were a rapper, I'm assuming you're buying/leasing beats you haven't made yourself - if you do make your own I apologise and you can ignore the following). Try and get stems rather than stereo files so that you can have more control in terms of where you voice will sit in the mix. This might cost you extra (if buying) but with practice will improve the sound of your songs no end.

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    Work on your mixing.

    I used to record artists with a $150 AT2020 usb, I used to have to do a lot of dramatic eq adjustments to get things to sound right. With alot of work I could multiply the perceived price of the mic and I accredit my mixing abilities today to that mic.

    Now I use a $1200 Blue mic, the difference now is that I need very minor eq changes to get a great sound.

    So essentially what your paying for is to do less work. If you cant afford the premium, put in the work.

    Also look up recording techniques, despite what the box says, its not plug in, hit record, start rapping - mic placement is key.

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    Thanks for the tips! do you guys think i should stick with my current mic or get a new one? and yeah i make my own beats, my mixing is probably a big reason why it doesnt sound as good as i want it to.

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    thank you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mycbeats View Post
    Work on your mixing.

    I used to record artists with a $150 AT2020 usb, I used to have to do a lot of dramatic eq adjustments to get things to sound right. With alot of work I could multiply the perceived price of the mic and I accredit my mixing abilities today to that mic.
    Well unfortunately an at2020 is not a samson meteor.

    I wouldn't say you should work on your mixing at all with a mic like that. Sure, it can make you sound better, but I would just say get an sm57 and an interface. Very cheap microphone that can go a long way.

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    I was on the fence there for a bit but i think ill just stick with the mic and work on mixing if i dont like that ill move on to a new mic, thanks to everyone for the help

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    Well if you are going to stick with a mic like that, then here's a few things I'd advise.

    1) Research/practice mic technique. Know that any slight head movement can cause dramatic tonal changes. Inconsistent tone can really kill a vocal take for me.

    2) Automate tracks. You probably have heard of guys squashing the crap out of their rap vocals, but regardless of whether or not you are going to use compression, I would automate your vocal tracks. Be very surgical here. Every syllable should be heard. It can take a long ass time, but it's worth it. Ideally, this will be less work as your mic technique improves. This is also what Ali does on Kendrick's tracks. He doesn't use that much compression really, but of course Kendrick has been recording for a long time and is using thousand dollar microphones. Alternatively, you can use Waves Vocal Rider, which I've personally never used. Could be bad, could be good, I don't know.

    3) Just practice with eq. You can do research on it, but for me I would just a/b your tracks with other songs and see what makes your vocals tick. You're not going to have similar eq changes with really anybody, because only you have your voice with your mic in your room.

    4) If you can't hear what compression is doing, you either need a better monitoring system or practice. I like the sound of compression, even if it's just a db, on rap vocals. It's subtle, and can go a long way if you have already automated a lot of the track.

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