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Recording Equipment for a Beginner

Hello KTVA Community,

Like I’ve mentioned in other forums, I’ve been at this course for a little over 5 months now and am currently working 6 days a week with the Volume 1 Dudes Starter Exercises. I’m not in a place where I want to start recording song covers yet since my main focus right now is to build up my vocal muscles and technique so I don’t form any bad habits, but I still have a question regarding equipment. My question is, what equipment would you guys recommend I buy now that I can have when the time comes that I’m ready to begin recording song covers? I’m sure this is a very vague question because of how many different types equipment are out there for recording, but I’d just like to get some ideas.

Blessings,
Steven Ochoa

Comments

  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 53
    Hello! I've been recording, mixing, and mastering all my own music from my home studio this past year. My music is available on all streaming platforms. It turns out, you don't need expensive equipment to start making your own music! In fact, if you already have a microphone and a pair of headphones, you already have almost all the hardware you need!

    As far as software goes, I would recommend Pro Tools. It's cheap (only $30/month) and it comes with all the plugins you need to start making killer recordings. In fact, I still use the stock compressor and EQ! There is also a free version of the software called Pro Tools First. The free version comes with all the plugins and full capabilities of Pro Tools; the only restriction is the number of tracks you can have at once. You can get around this restriction by mixing down multiple tracks into one. The other restriction is that you can't use 3rd party plugins. You can only use the stock plugins and the ones you buy directly from Avid (The company that made Pro Tools)

    If you don't have a microphone, you will need to decide if you will get a USB mic or an analog mic (the one with the 3-pronged cable). If you use a USB mic (or a USB headset), you will likely need to download a free 3rd party software called ASIO4ALL, otherwise, Pro Tools may not even recognize your microphone. If you get a microphone with a traditional 3-pronged cable, you will need a special device to convert that into a signal your computer can use. This can be achieved with either an audio interface or a sound board. A popular audio interface is the Focusrite Scarlett https://smile.amazon.com/Focusrite-2i2-GENERATION-USB-Recording/dp/B005OZE9SA/ .
    I personally use a sound board. The sound board I personally use is a Behringer Xenyx 502: https://smile.amazon.com/Behringer-502-Premium-5-Input-British/dp/B000J5UEGQ/ . It's a very small board with only one mic input, but you only need one mic when you're first starting, or if you do a cappella like me!

    With my sound board, I use cords like these to plug it into my computer: https://smile.amazon.com/Hosa-CMP-153-Stereo-Breakout-Cable/dp/B000068O3C/

    For analog mics, there are millions of different options. It really doesn't matter what brand you get, because the brands are all mostly the same. The only thing is make sure you get a condenser microphone with a cardioid pattern. This is the best type of mic for people who only use 1 microphone. Don't get a dynamic microphone unless it's going to be your 2nd microphone. The one I'm using now is an MXL 770, but but previously I was using a Blue Yeti USB mic, which meant I used ASIO4ALL: https://smile.amazon.com/Cardioid-Condenser-Microphone-Isolation-Windscreen/dp/B07XTRR2PN/

    It goes without saying that you will need a mic stand and a pop filter. You may also want a shock mount if the microphone you buy doesn't come with one. Make sure that the mount you buy comes with a 5/8 to 3/8 screw adapter, otherwise it may not fit on your particular mic stand!

    I hope this helps! I will be more than happy to help you with any questions about sound engineering (recording, mixing, mastering, etc.)
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 3,510
    I reckon get the focus rite starter bundle, it comes with a mic. Don't go over board when starting out. If you have a Mac then you'll already have garage band which is what I use.
  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @FurryMurry

    Thank you for all that info! I had zero knowledge on recording equipment before reading into and following those links you attached to your post so that was very helpful. I'll definitely be buying the MXL 770 bundle you sent me the link to since it comes with a shock mount as well as the Behringer Xenyx 502 soundboard with the cords for it since those seem like the most useful options based on the information you gave me about how well they work with the Pro Tools software.

    One other question I have is if there's a certain brand or type of pop filter as well as a certain brand of headphones you recommend? I have a little pair of JVC plug in headphones I bought on Amazon for like $10 just for basic use, but I'm not sure if they'd work well for studio recording when it comes to sound leakage.
  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @Wigs Thank you for the suggestion! I'll check it out
  • WigsWigs Moderator, 2.0 PRO Posts: 3,510
    Even Smule sounds pretty good and all you need is your phone and head phones. Your technique and voice is the most important part. I've been following this guy

  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @Wigs I’ll check out that video tonight and I’ll let you know how it was after. I’m curious to hear what he has to say
  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @Wigs

    Chris, thank you so much for recommending that video to me cause that guy was dropping some great knowledge and I'll definitely continue watching his videos. I found it really interesting when he was talking about the difference between hearing your voice inside a headset compared to without any headphones in an acoustic room. I've never actually gotten in a studio and have had time to experiment with that so I'm excited to see how that goes when I get to that point. Thanks again for the video!
  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @Wigs I also forgot to mention. That guy really proved your point about how it’s more about our singing technique than the quality of mic being used. The true, raw vocals don’t lie lol
  • esequiboesequibo Member Posts: 37
    edited December 2020
    a mic, i personally prefer a dynamic mic, just cuz it's easier and quick to use, i would recommend the shure sm58 it's lik 98 euro, inside the daw u add eq, compressor and reverb and u get a decent starter sound
    an audio interface and asio4all -- focusrite scarlett 2i2 3rd gen for example 144 euro
    a basic daw as a recording tool, it already comes with basic effect plugins -- u can get basic versions for very cheap, i've heard studio one 3 is very good 99 euro

    that's it. nothin else nothin less
  • FurryMurryFurryMurry 2.0 PRO Posts: 53
    esequibo said:

    a mic, i personally prefer a dynamic mic, just cuz it's easier and quick to use, i would recommend the shure sm58 it's lik 98 euro, inside the daw u add eq, compressor and reverb and u get a decent starter sound
    an audio interface and asio4all -- focusrite scarlett 2i2 3rd gen for example 144 euro
    a basic daw as a recording tool, it already comes with basic effect plugins -- u can get basic versions for very cheap, i've heard studio one 3 is very good 99 euro

    that's it. nothin else nothin less

    Hi @esequibo . I hope you're doing well. I wouldn't recommend him to get a dynamic microphone as his 1st mic as a beginner. The good thing about dynamic mics is that being closer to the mic might not make that amplified bass response that you get from condenser microphones. The problem is I personally wouldn't use this microphone for my vocal recordings (technically I do a cappella so it's ALL vocals lol :tongue: ) because dynamic microphones are usually less sensitive. This is due to the fact the coil inside requires more air to vibrate, which means the microphone is not going to pick up all the gentle nuances of your breathiness in light, quiet vocals.
  • sjonrokz4usjonrokz4u 2.0 PRO Posts: 1,033
    Just remember if your planning on using the mic for recording and live you want a dynamic mic. If you’re unsure of the difference google dynamic vs condenser mic. There are some condensers that can be used with a band like a beta87 for example but if you’re talking a studio condenser like I think @FurryMurry is talking about, that would be a horrible choice for live. 58s definitely do have proximity factor though (the bass response when you get closer)
  • esequiboesequibo Member Posts: 37
    dynamic vs condenser

    @FurryMurry indeed, i agree, condenser mic will pick up all the details, even your computer fan, but it can kinda happen as well for dynamics if u apply a good amount of compression. anyways i prefer that it won't pick everything i do, as already all my data is being processed by powerful algorithms on the web hehehe etc. so yeah
    here's a quick comparison of both mics using same plugins, almost same settings just have in mind i applied a tape saturator to give it some of the cool stuff
  • esequiboesequibo Member Posts: 37
    now tell me which one sounds better? ;)
  • StevenochoasmusicStevenochoasmusic 2.0 PRO Posts: 133
    @sjonrokz4u @FurryMurry @esequibo Hey guys thank you for all your input. Some of the terminology doesn’t make complete sense to me yet because I’ve never used a mic or any kind of studio equipment in my life lol but I appreciate all of the info because the more I can learn about this stuff the better :) In a nutshell though, I’m just planning on using whatever mic I get just for song covers (once I’m comfortable enough and have received enough critique on here to know I’m ready for song covers) for now since I’m such a new, beginner singer and am not even close to getting gigs scheduled or anything like that yet. Possibly some acapella stuff in the future like @FurryMurry was talking about as well
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