Microphone Recommendation

demiro

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I'm looking for a mic to record vocals on to a MacBook Air. It only has USB-C, but I have a dock with standard USB. Any recommendations? This is mostly for fun, not trying to make the charts or anything, so not looking to spend a ton of cash.

If anyone is using something that provides a nice improvement over the built-in microphone please let me know.

This seems like a tough ask, but thanks in advance!
 
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I suggest you consider getting an audio interface such as a Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd Gen) along with a dynamic XLR microphone. You can simultaneously connect instruments to the audio interface, and decent quality dynamic XLR mics are remarkably affordable.
 

junkyardsparkle

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I would tentatively agree with the suggestion to just get an audio interface, into which you can plug any old used mic you want (or whatever else), unless you just really don't like the idea for whatever reason. Used SM57/58s practically grow on trees by now. A real audio interface will allow you to adjust gain properly for the sound levels. The Focusrite interfaces are great bang for the buck, and use standard USB Audio last time I checked, which means you don't have to deal with keeping working drivers on whatever OS you're using (this would be a good feature to look for on any USB audio product you end up looking at). There's really no such thing as a "USB microphone", it just means that there's a (possibly not great) preamp and A/D converter built into the package. If you really just want a toy to fool around with, this can make sense, but it lacks flexibility and gets weird if you ever want to add another mic or instrument input, because then your operating system is basically juggling multiple sound cards. Just a few things to consider, may or may not be important for your use case.
 

demiro

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  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
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@stratokaster @Neil Harris @junkyardsparkle Thank you for the replies. While "a toy to fool around with" is probably all I really need, the gear-head semi-recovered audio geek in me likes the idea of buying a Scarlett. Maybe it will creative incentive for my aspiring "musician" to pick up her guitar as well...

Thanks for helping me spend more cash than I had planned. :) This forum can always be counted on for that.
 

junkyardsparkle

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Thanks for helping me spend more cash than I had planned. :) This forum can always be counted on for that.
Well, to be fair, there wasn't a lot of information in the original post about exactly what you're hoping to accomplish. :D

As a counterpoint in the other direction, if all you really want is a better way to record your voice than using the built-in microphone on a laptop, you might be surprised at how much better the results get just from using a cheap external lapel mic, the kind that plugs directly into the 1/8" microphone jack (if your macbook has one). Just decreasing the distance from sound source to microphone will help with reducing the room reflections, etc, which is a HUGE part of perceived recording quality; you could try that first, along with experimenting with the recording location itself. A cheap electret mic used well beats an expensive one used badly... seriously. If it's just for fun, focus on the having fun, not the gear.
 

Carbonman

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@stratokaster @Neil Harris @junkyardsparkle Thank you for the replies. While "a toy to fool around with" is probably all I really need, the gear-head semi-recovered audio geek in me likes the idea of buying a Scarlett. Maybe it will creative incentive for my aspiring "musician" to pick up her guitar as well...

Thanks for helping me spend more cash than I had planned. :) This forum can always be counted on for that.
As the saying on a headphone website goes, "Welcome to Head-Fi; sorry about your wallet." :biggrin:
 

Bif

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Here's what I use: Studio Projects VTB1 pre-amp with any inexpensive mic. It has both solid state and vacuum tube sections and a control that lets you blend both. I've used it with a Sennheiser dynamic mic (very similar to Shure SM58 or it's cheaper cousin SM57) and that sounded rich at about 50/50 blend setting, an MXL large diaphragm condenser mic I got on sale, and right now a Rode NT3 large condenser mic bought used.

All sound full and rich. This pre-amp can be had for around $120 or even slightly less from many music stores. I've had mine for several years, used it for voice over work on videos and now for video conferencing. Watch this video: (His voice on the handheld condenser mic sounds like he may be driving it a bit hard, mine sounds cleaner but I keep gain turned down low).

 
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