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#26 2011-09-15 18:15:11

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

Jerome, I finally decided to check into the Alesis Multimix 4 USB you mentioned and decided it looks like a great deal.  However, I read some bad reviews about hum and noise through headphones.  It did say that the noise doesn't come through the recording, just through the headphones.  Well, I don't plan on using headphones, so do you think this is still a good deal?  I'm prepared to step up a notch here, but want something that is rated good.  I aslo like the MXL mics you mentioned.  What do you think?


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#27 2011-09-15 19:05:21

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

pete are you going to be able too plug in a usb mic too that mixer? I am going too get one some day soon, I ordered a mic like yours and it will be here on monday.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#28 2011-09-16 00:14:14

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

You plug XLR's and line level inputs into it, and the interface communicates with the computer.  That's how you can record simultaneous tracks without a whole lot of computer.

As far as that device goes, I don't have any personal experience with it, or with Alesis products in general.   Monitoring noise can be caused by anything from having devices plugged into different outlets to plain old poor quality headphones, so I wouldn't worry too much about that.  If you read about it everywhere, then I'd consider it, but if you read good reviews that say "monitors were quiet" then I think you could discount the negative reviews as to something specific in the reviewers setup.  And if it is a problem, Amazon's return policy is great.

Anyway, a couple of things.  All other things being equal, that looks like a good value.   

Some more things to consider that are applicable to anything you buy.

Everything is a trade off.   For example, with this device we might be trading in convenience of the on-board mixer (a nice feature) for some other area;  pre-amps or chassis quality, for example.    Every button, dial, knob, light, and connection on a device costs money to put in place, so the more of them there are, the more money you should expect to spend.  One thing I always like to do is compare what I think I want with other things in that price range, and then I like to compare similar items (on-board mixer, USB interface) with things very similar to it to find out what the high end stuff costs.

For examples, if you decide to do your mixing in a software DAW (most devices come with one) rather than on board the interface, you open yourself up to some other equipment in the $75-$100 range.   You're already using Audacity, right?

http://www.google.com/products/catalog? … EPMCMAQ4Hg

http://www.google.com/products/catalog? … EPMCMAY4UA

http://www.google.com/products/catalog? … EPMCMAc4ZA

http://www.google.com/products/catalog? … PMCMAE4qgE

There's a lot of other stuff out there.

Going the other way, on-board mixer with USB interface it looks like you're right in the ballpark for what similar models go for.   You can get a whole lot of interface and mixing board these days for not a lot of money.

This thing, for example, http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/X2442USB.aspx, runs $285 retail.

It's a good time to be a music geek.  smile

I'm glad you're opting for the condenser mics over the dynamic mics.   For recording, they are the right tool for the job.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#29 2011-09-16 01:38:29

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

The more I look for stuff, the more confused I get.  For now, if I could just plug two usb mics like the one I have now, I would be happy, but the computer will not recognize two USBs, I guess.  Done a lot of reading on it.  Now you are giving me more choices and I'm flabergasted.  For instance, what is the difference between the Art USB Dual Preamp anfd the USB mixer?  Not forgetting, all I really want to do is be able to use two mics at the same time through my computer, one for vocals and one for the instrument.  I still like that original setup you first mentioned.  I believe that mixer has a preamp for both mics and phantom power.
Dino, good luck with the mic.  I am sure you will like it.  Very simple to operate and works great with the webcam.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#30 2011-09-16 03:32:09

jerome.oneil
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From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

Well, lets compare the two devices and how you would use them.

Fundamentally, they will both do the same thing in that they will allow you to plug two microphones into it, convert that mic's signal, and send it to the computer via the USB connection.  Software on the computer will see the two physical connections and allow you to record them separately.  It provides a headphone port for you to monitor the sounds, so you aren't bothered by latency issues.

Either device will do that, so the question is "What do I get from one vs the other?"

With the Art Dual, you do all of your recording setup in some sort of DAW software (Audacity, Garage Band, Reaper, Pro Tools, Cube Base, etc...)  The software is just a computer program that acts like a physical mixing board.  Plug inputs into tracks,  set your record levels,  pan them left or right, mute or solo tracks, add effects to them, etc, just like you would if you were plugged into a physical mixing board.  You have to set all of that with the mouse and keyboard, though, so it's not as convenient as having a physical control surface in front of you.

With the Alesis, you have some of those controls along with the interface.  It offers a two band EQ, pan controls, level controls, and a high pass filter on each channel.  Nice to have stuff.

So if we were to consider trade-offs (I have no experience with either device, so these are purely hypothetical) and pros and cons...

Potential ART Pros:  Smaller and more portable.  Higher quality pre-amps and digital converters because that is all that it does.   Completely USB powered (more portability).

Potential ART Cons:  Only two channel.  Dependent on DAW software for everything (your computer probably isn't as portable as this thing is).

Potential Alesis Pros:  On board EQ and controls.   Four channels.  Usable as a live mixer (separate main and monitor outs, and also a really handy feature).

Potential Alesis Cons:  Lower quality components.  Requires external power (less portable).

So I guess the easiest way to understand it is that we are really talking about two separate kinds of devices here.  The "interface" is what converts microphone signals to something the computer can understand, and allows the computer to understand that it might be receiving more than one signal at a time.   The "mixer" is what blends audio together into the final stereo output that you hear in the speakers.   The ART is only an interface, and you have to provide your mixer (usually in the form of a DAW) while the Alesis provides an interface, along with some basic mixing functionality.

Did that help, or did it muddy it up even more?  smile


*update*

I went and read a lot of reviews on a lot of sites for these two specific devices, and just as an exercise, I think the tradeoff notions are valid.  Lots of people on lots of sites complain about noise problems with the Alesis but praise it for it's flexibility  and utility in live mixing situations.  The ART gets tons of praise for it's quality pre-amps and ease of use.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#31 2011-09-16 03:40:52

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

Lots of reading and shopping to do,I have too wait so I can pay my state its yearly tax on my house then I can get a mixer,maybe I can find one that will hide my lousy vocals.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#32 2011-09-16 03:55:26

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

I have deliberately tried to avoid making recommendations here as everyone is going to have specific needs and goals, but I think at this point in the discussion, I'll talk about my thinking and how I'm going about achieving my goals.  As with everything here, it is not gospel, truth, or "the right way."  It's just what I'm doing.

First, my goal is that I want to be able to record *in a controlled studio-like setting.*  That means I am not interested in mixing live sound for an audience, or recording that.  The band has a Mackie 12 channel mixer and PA system for that.  I'm more interested in what I can do in my living room.

So, how am I going about that?

The route I took was to use my DAW (Reaper) for recording and mixing, and go with straight interfaces for recording.  My reasoning behind this was that DAWs are pretty sophisticated these days, cheap, and there are lots of options.  So I decided to learn to use one well. I picked Reaper primarily because it is easy to install, cheap ($60 if you decide to pay for it, free if you don't) and has a whole lot of support behind it.   This also allowed me to invest in a better quality interface, mics, monitors, and other equipment.   I did buy a "control" surface that is nothing other than a MIDI interface that looks like a mixing board.  It gives me a physical interface (sliders, pan pots, etc...) into my DAW, which while not necessary, is convenient.

My interface decision was based on my drummer.  Good drum recordings all use multiple mics (you can get good sound with two if you set up right) but I wanted to be able to reasonably record him while still giving me the ability to track guitars and vocals.   The Tascam I bought has six inputs, so I can do that.  Two on guitar, two on drum, two on vocal.  I haven't had a chance to do that yet, but at least I know I can.

My mic decisions were based on this premis:  "Best condenser mics I can find that doesn't break my wallet."  The CAD's I bought are really nice, and I'm very happy with them.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#33 2011-09-16 21:23:01

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

You are slowly clearing it up for me, Jerome.  I have a better understanding of the mics, the mixers and the preamp stuff, but then you you throw in the DAWs apps and I kind of get frustarated all over again. Right now I am using one mic and the computer, with no DAWs.  Pretty simple.  I do appreciate all your info, as you are more informed than I.  I realize you are not recommending items, but comparing them for us.  I'm still thinking about the Alesis and the MXL mics.  Have you found any other simple USB mixers that can accept two mics that are around the same price as the Alesis?  Something that might be a good fit for the MXL mics?

Last edited by bensonp (2011-09-16 21:24:14)


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#34 2011-09-16 21:26:48

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

Jerome first of all a big thank you for all the help,your input is giving me a good education,as well as helping me decide on what I want personally down the road. I am sure pete feels the same. I will continue to check out all of your recomendations. Right now I am just teaching my grandaughter the guitar via video mail mabye someday I will do something online.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#35 2011-09-19 18:00:34

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

Pete, when you say "a mic and the computer" what is it you are using to record on the computer?  Audacity?   That's your DAW.   It serves the same function as Pro Tools or  Reaper.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#36 2011-09-19 19:16:52

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

Pete I got my mike today I will let you know if it works when I get time too set it up right.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#37 2011-09-19 20:32:27

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

Jerome, I am using my Logitech Webcam to record on computer.  Is this then considered to be the DAW?  I am using no other software.

dino, let me know what you think of the new mic.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#38 2011-09-19 22:02:57

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

Ah OK.   I was assuming you were going to record and mix the A/V separately.

If what you are recording is going to be the finished product, then I'd go with the Alesis.  You're going to want the on-board mixing and EQ stuff.  If you do decide to edit the audio later,  you still can.

One shot takes are tough.  smile

-J


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#39 2011-09-20 17:01:21

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

Thanks Jerome.  Yes, one shot takes are really rough when you keep making mistakes as I do.  Making a mistake at the end of the recording sucks.  I suppose my next step, somewhere down the line will be using equipment where I can edit the finished product.  For now, I will go with what I got.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#40 2011-09-20 18:38:31

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

True that.   

When you're ready to start working with DAW software to record, you will discover this wonderful tool called a "punch in."  It is where you can tell the software to play back what it recorded, but at a certain specific time in the track (like when you make a mistake right at the end of a session), to start and stop recording again.   

You just play along with the recording, and it will record over the bad part when it gets there.   Almost as good as magic.  smile


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#41 2011-09-20 19:12:15

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

That sounds like what I need.  I actually get nervous before I do a simple recording, just thinking about doing the whole thing right. I need some magic.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#42 2011-09-20 19:17:37

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

I get nervous also pete and my songs only go to my grandaughter on video mail,I got my mic and it helped some but it still catchessome of the poping I may have too get one of the mic filters.

Last edited by dino48 (2011-09-20 19:19:46)


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#43 2011-09-20 19:43:44

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

I haven't had the popping problem.  Hmmm.  I was just looking at the pop filters on Amazon.  I hope I didn't steer you wrong on that one, dino.  I actually love mine, but I still want to try two mics at once.  If it would have allowed me to plug two usb mics into my computer, I probably would have bought a second one.  Let me know how it turns out for you.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#44 2011-09-20 20:52:53

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

What kind of pop sound is it?   Digital recordings will "pop" if you are having buffering problems (more music signal than memory to store it).   Also, check your recording levels to make sure you aren't clipping the signal.  There should be a red light or something similar that would indicate you are recording past peak levels.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#45 2011-09-21 01:49:26

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

It seems to come when I hit the E strings first and sixth,not always pop sometimes slight distortion,I think I need too go back and check my recording volume.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#46 2011-09-21 02:41:12

jerome.oneil
Moderator
From: Bellevue, WA
Registered: 2006-06-15
Posts: 3056
Website

Re: Microphones

Another thing to look at is the frequency response of the mic.  Low E is about 80Hz.   Dynamic mics respond very well above the 100Hz range (where the human voice is) but tend to drop off at the lower freqs.   Most mics will come with a "frequency response curve" that will tell you where the sweet spot of the mic is.  This is particularly important if you have the mic very close to the sound source.  A lot of mics have what is called a "proximity effect" where lower frequencies are emphasized the closer you get to the mic.

It's great for vocals, but not so much for instrumentals.


Someday we'll win this thing...

www.aclosesecond.com

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#47 2011-09-21 19:49:55

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

Pete you did not steer me wrong,I heard you and it worked well.I have a totally different guitar, computer, way of playing etc.I would have got my mic at amazon anyways as it is one of a few sights I trusttoogive my info too. Jerome I will keep that thought when I go back too adjust my record settings.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#48 2011-09-22 00:22:29

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

Check your webcam settings.  Maybe that will do the trick.  I'm getting ready for my next upgrade very soon.  I think I will order them tomorrow.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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#49 2011-09-22 02:23:19

dino48
Honoured Member
From: los banos,california
Registered: 2007-04-06
Posts: 4781

Re: Microphones

cool pete I have been playing with them and got it a little better,I may need a filter though as I am really aware of the sounds and alot of it is happening even when I am not recording. I only paid $50 dollers for my yamaha it is not as forgiving as that sweet martin you have,I will get one some day.


my papy said son your going too drive me too drinking if you dont stop driving that   Hot  Rod  Lincoln!! Cmdr cody and his lost planet airman.

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#50 2011-09-22 02:34:06

bensonp
Honoured Member
From: Tooele Ut
Registered: 2006-03-04
Posts: 3799

Re: Microphones

I hope you get it working dino.  If I could help you get a Martin, I'd do it.  I saved a really long time for it.  Good luck.


You can see all my video covers on http://www.youtube.com/bensonp1000
I have finally found happiness in my life.  Guitars, singing, beer and camping.  And they all intertwine wonderfully.

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