Recommend a microphone/usb setup for recording voice to accompany piano
January 3, 2015 5:35 PM   Subscribe

My son is trying to record his voice along with his piano and he needs a microphone/usb setup to record his voice. He wants to sing covers of songs by Coldplay or Adele, if that helps. (this question is eight years old so it seemed like it was time to re-ask.)
posted by carlodio to Technology (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So here's the thing with USB microphones (and really any recording/audio equipment): price ranges from $25 to $3200. I mention $3200 because that is the cost of the mic Mr. Arnicae is recording with this week, I'm sure the price can go well above that.

Since we don't know what your budget is, Mr. Arnicae (a musician who gets a little geeky about equipment) says to purchase whatever BlueMic you can afford. Here's an amazon link, the amazon offerings are quite affordable and range from $35 to $179.

He also says that the BlueMic is only for vocals, your son will need something else for the piano. Hopefully you already have that handled because he says that piano mics get very expensive and there is nothing very good (for piano mics) that is USB. All the real mics are XLR, but BlueMic is a solid choice for podcasts and amateur home recording.
posted by arnicae at 5:43 PM on January 3, 2015

I see you're in L.A. - if you want to kick it up a notch in terms of quality, you could also consider renting a microphone. The fancy mic Mr. Arnicae is using this week is a rental and there are a ton of places that rent pro audio gear in the L.A. area.

If you want to go in the professional direction, you can get something like this to connect your computer to the microphone (it turns the mic signal into USB).
posted by arnicae at 5:49 PM on January 3, 2015

I think the best answer from that old question more or less still stands. A Shure SM-57 (or SM-58, which is an SM-57 with a screen) + a USB audio interface to serve as the pre-amp is probably how I would go. These days there are a _lot_ of small USB audio interfaces to chose from but a focusrite scarlett 2i2 or solo would be a good starting point.
posted by advil at 5:54 PM on January 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

I might have misread the question slightly -- my advice was mainly about miking voice. I'm not sure that a SM-57 would be that great for recording piano (I don't know what would).
posted by advil at 5:59 PM on January 3, 2015

Response by poster: sorry, to clarify - it's only to record voice. The piano is USB and we're good there. Thanks for the answers so far - very helpful!
posted by carlodio at 7:05 PM on January 3, 2015

Again, it would really help to know your budget, but if you can spend $200 I would recommend the Apogee Mic
posted by doctord at 5:26 AM on January 4, 2015

A mic must also match the voice. Only certain microphones such as a Neumann TLM 170R are good for just about any voice, but then again, that's an expensive mic that doesn't really help the voice. So it would be great to try out a few with your son that are within budget. Sometimes music stores can be very helpful in this regard. The Apogee mics can be very good. If he has a loud voice, a Shure SM58 might work, but for more subtle singing I would go for a large diaphragm condenser mic. Maybe an MXL V67i if you already have some input/pre-amp that provides 48V phantom power. If that's not an option, I would try out different USB microphones, such as those from Samson or Apogee.

Good luck!
posted by hz37 at 11:12 AM on January 4, 2015

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