By Rudolf Boogerman |
You have that wonderful and rather expensive external mic with XLR connection and discovered it doesn’t work on your computer? Yet, you bought an adapter for the XLR connection to fit into the sound board of your computer and it still doesn’t work? Chances are that your mic needs a lot of phantom power. Professional mics need that extra power and most computers, including Mac, are not configured to work with this sort of mics. Most good quality sound cards do not provide phantom power either. Therefore, what you need is a little external mixer or audio interface. Preferably a firewire mixer if you have firewire on your computer, otherwise USB will do a reasonable job as well. Below I discuss a firewire mixer and an external USB audio interface.
Alesis Multimix 8 Firewire
Alesis has a very good entry level mixer that exists in 2 flavours: Firewire or USB 2.0.
You can find this device for as low $165- $200 USD and it is very easy to operate.
It is plug and play, meaning that it installs very easily and if you follow the instructions of the non technical manual, it is set up in minutes. It comes with Steinberger’s Cubase LE for Mac/PC and it has 4 female XLR ports and lots of stereo jack ports, including a headphone port. On your mic, you will need a male XLR jack to connect to the mixer. You can use regular mics as well on this mixer too, as long as they have either a stereo jack or XLR connection. Mini jack- or usb headsets don’t fit. As the mixer has many options, it might take a bit of time getting used to all the options, but the manual is written with beginners in mind, so that helps a lot. The reviews about this device are mixed. Some adore it, others just hate it.
In my personal opinion, I think this device is OK, although the mixer tends to overheat after an hour or so. This results in crackling noises in recorded audio. It could have more sturdy buttons as well, but this is a very low priced mixer, so they have to economize on some points.
XLR jack(female version)
The mixer is compact, so it won’t take too much space on your desktop (it is like half the size of a laptop). Yet, it weights heavy enough so that it doesn’t slide easily from the desk to the floor by accident. Just don’t buy this device in order to use it with a cheap mic, it makes no sense if you do not work with good material.
The rule of the thumb is: your sound is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.
How do I record using a microphone?
I'm trying to record some music onto my computer by trying something along the following lines - getting a microphone that I can connect into my computer and using it to record sounds from my un-electric acoustic guitar and some finger tapping/creative drumming. I know it might sound like a stretch but I have a good idea of the sound I want. I've been doing this for some time while just jamming, I just dont know the technical details concerning recording it like what kind of microphone (condenser or stereo I dont really know much about any of that stuff), or what kind of cables or if I need a mixer or what ever the heck an XLR is that my roommate was telling me about, or the software that I would need
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