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Old June 22nd, 2009, 01:58 PM   #16
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I stopped by my friends house yesterday to see what he had and he told me that he plugs his mixer directly to his computer via the on board microphone jack. Then plugs his guitar, microphone etc. into the mixer and records to a program called Pro Tools. Rigged I know..

Sence he has a mixer and is able to record using simply his mixer and Pro Tools, how can we transform what he currently has for as cheep as possible? First off I suppose a sound card correct? He does have a decent Shure microphone however I don't know its dynamic range.

I like everyone's suggestions thus far however i'm not sure he will spend the money unless I have a good explaination. He sort of goes by the rule that "well it works now doesn't it?"

We do plan on building a mini sound booth no bigger than a closet. Infact, it is a closet.
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Old June 22nd, 2009, 03:40 PM   #17
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Interesting - this thing looks precisely down to the last visible detail the same as the Mic Port Pro I suggested in an earlier post.

It probably is the same thing - and i like mine a lot.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 02:48 AM   #18
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Interesting - this thing looks precisely down to the last visible detail the same as the Mic Port Pro I suggested in an earlier post.

It probably is the same thing - and i like mine a lot.
It looks startingly the same, and it's about half the cost. Perhaps the AD converter is different?

In any case, I know several people using the MicPort Pro, and they are very happy with it for voice recording in a variety of situtions.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 03:55 AM   #19
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I think the one I posted only does 16 bit at 44.1/48k but that is fine for video work.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 11:02 AM   #20
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I use a Samson C01U USB Microphone and Sony Sound Forge. The mic sounds great, is sturdily built, is inexpensive, and works like a charm.
Second this, if you want to go simple and cheap, works great. We have a C01U on one of our Final Cut stations for doing VO matched to the video track, and it works very nicely. As someone else pointed out, the speaking voice is really not hard to record. There are other USB mikes now, from MXL, Rode and Blue. The really easy way to go is just plug one into your computer, fire up your audio program (Sound Forge works nicely, as Gene points out) and let 'er rip.....Battle Vaughan/miamiherald.com video team
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 07:55 PM   #21
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Well like I said we already have a mixer by which we can hook our micrphones to however I'm not sure I can hook the mixer to the computer via USB or Firewire. I'll have to figure that out tomorrow. What we are trying to shoot for is making it work with what we have currently. He is able to record music as is. However I want to make sure we are doing everything right without having to buy new microhones and mixer.

what I am confused about is where the interface comes into play. Like the tutorial I was watching said, you need a good interface. But how does that differ from the mixer if you can go straight from the mixer to the computer? What my friend does is plug a cable from his mixer to the audio jacks. I understand that approach isn't exactly the best and a cheap sound card can make this alot easier.
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 10:09 PM   #22
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A mixer is only needed when mixing multiple sound sources that need their volume separately adjusted. A VO is one source, your voice.

Sound Mixers - Overview
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Old June 23rd, 2009, 11:18 PM   #23
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It looks startingly the same, and it's about half the cost. Perhaps the AD converter is different?

In any case, I know several people using the MicPort Pro, and they are very happy with it for voice recording in a variety of situtions.
And just to prove that the original Centrance has done so well - no less an audio warhorse than SHURE now has their own version. Check the Markertek splash page.

I have to admit that the control layout with rotary thumb pots in a line looks a bit easier to operate than the tiny ones on my Centrance unit. I hope the phantom power button isn't as crowded either - but it certainly proves that as a proof of form factor concept, Centrance got it right the first time.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 01:17 AM   #24
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what I am confused about is where the interface comes into play. Like the tutorial I was watching said, you need a good interface. But how does that differ from the mixer if you can go straight from the mixer to the computer? What my friend does is plug a cable from his mixer to the audio jacks. I understand that approach isn't exactly the best and a cheap sound card can make this alot easier.
The "interface" is what takes the analog sound and converts it to a digital signal/file.

The sound card your friend uses is the interface. The analog mixer is plugged directly into the analog input on the sound card. Just the same as plugging a little microphone into the sound card.

So if you want to used what you have, just talk into the mic that is recording the music. If the quality of the sound is what you need, your done.

Pro Tools is a high end audio program. So you can use this to edit the sound, then put it into your video editor.

As I mentioned before, Audacity is a free multitrack sound editing program that would also work.

In your case it sounds like you need the mixer to accept the microphone. The mixer then outputs a signal that can go directly into the sound card.

The better audio "interfaces" for computers allow input of the sound into the computer in different ways. They all have analog/digital (A/D) converters (of varying quality) that output the signal in different ways: some through firewire, some through USB, some through a proprietary cable that connects to a sound card that plugs into the computer. Many of the interfaces also work as mixers, allowing multiple inputs of different kinds and levels. Many have an ADAT interface, and most have SPDIF, etc.

But in your case, the sound card in the computer is the interface and the A/D conversion takes place at the sound card. If you can already record music, you already have everything you need. Just talk into the mic instead of playing into the mic.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 01:25 AM   #25
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And just to prove that the original Centrance has done so well - no less an audio warhorse than SHURE now has their own version.
Here is the Shure version at B&H -- a dvinfo.net sponsor!
SHURE X2U | B&H Photo Video
In the first case, matched with a Shure SM58 mic.

However, just like the English version, the Shure version is 16 bit.

The Centrance Micport Pro is 24 bit:
CEntrance Inc. | MicPort Pro USB Microphone Preamp | CE1801
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Old June 24th, 2009, 01:29 AM   #26
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Just to add that 24 bit is great for best quality but as most video is 16 bit 48k you may be spending money you dont need to.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 01:53 AM   #27
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By the way, Vegas in spite of being a video editor is also a pretty capable multi channel audio package Of course if you already have Pro Tools you're set.
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Old June 24th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #28
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in a pinch I've used a Griffin iMic usb interface, only about $35 and sounded pretty durn good. (obviously need mixer with phantom power to use condenser mike, but with a simple xlr-mini adapter you could go direct from a dynamic mike. though that is probably not the best way. )
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Old June 25th, 2009, 12:44 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Jack Walker View Post
The better audio "interfaces" for computers allow input of the sound into the computer in different ways. They all have analog/digital (A/D) converters (of varying quality) that output the signal in different ways: some through firewire, some through USB, some through a proprietary cable that connects to a sound card that plugs into the computer. Many of the interfaces also work as mixers, allowing multiple inputs of different kinds and levels. Many have an ADAT interface, and most have SPDIF, etc.

But in your case, the sound card in the computer is the interface and the A/D conversion takes place at the sound card. If you can already record music, you already have everything you need. Just talk into the mic instead of playing into the mic.
Hey Jack Thanks for the reply. Thats the kind of explination I was fishing for :)

Well he is currently running his mixer to the onboard sound card. I'd like to get away from that because I think it is hurting the quality of recorded sound. Get a better sound card or get an interface that connects via USB? Soundcard would be the cheapest rout. I know thats not always the best rout to achieve quality but we have to make this happen on less money. However I am curious as to what an audio interface, such as a Presonus Firebox (PreSonus | FireBox Interface | FIREBOX | B&H Photo Video) can give us as an advantage given that we already have a mixer. The reason I ask is because I guess the interface can also act as a mixer?


Final question on this subject and we'll be underway with the recording studio.. Diffusing. We have a 12 foot square room and obviously need to put up some diffusing material but we don't just want to slap it up on the wall randomly with no idea of what we're doing. How can we get a better understanding of how to diffuse a room?

Thanks :)
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Old June 25th, 2009, 04:00 PM   #30
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Hey Jack However I am curious as to what an audio interface, such as a Presonus Firebox (PreSonus | FireBox Interface | FIREBOX | B&H Photo Video) can give us as an advantage given that we already have a mixer. The reason I ask is because I guess the interface can also act as a mixer?
Using the Presonus you link, you don't use a mixer. You record all the tracks into the computer. The software mixes for you.

How many microphones or other inputs are you going to record at once?

If you are doing narration it is easiest to record the voice alone, then mix whatever music or sound effects you want inside the computer.

The MicPort Pro and the similar products linked in this thread allow one microphone input, but also allow monitoring and they have phantom power for powered mics.

The Presonums has two mic inputs and 4 additional inputs, all which can be recorded as separate tracks at one time inside the computer using the supplied Cubase LE software.

The Cubase software allows you to add effects (compressor for example), mix, etc. all the tracks you want to put together.

If you are doing voice over, one of the barrel interfaces (such as the MicPort or the cheaper 16 bit Shure) is ideal. You can use it anywhere, on any computer, with any microphone. Once recorded, you can mix, add effects, etc. using any software you want, including your NLE if it has the capabilities you need, and all NLEs have basic audio capabilities and some (like Vegas) have extensive audio capabilities.

As far as sound treatment, that is a science and an art in itself. However, if you are recording voiceover, you just want to block reflections. Blankets, bookshelves, odd angled surfaces, insulation, etc. all can work in a make-shift situation. You can also build a box and but the mic in side as shown here:
portable recording studio - Google Videos

I would say there are three surprises most people discover then recording into their computers:
1. Computers are really noisy
2. Condenser mics pick up stuff you can't even hear.
3. Low sounds outside are picked up too will (which is why many condenser mics have a low-frequency roll-off switch which should usually be engaged)

One of the best "sound booths" for voice-overs when there is no money and no sound booth is the back seat of a luxury car.

The two best low-cost options for making the recording are:
1. A portable recorder that has a quality mic or you can plug one into (such as the MicroTrack recorder)
2. A laptop computer with a MicPort Pro or similar and an appropriate microphone for the recording surrounding (e.g. a good quality dynamic mic when you want the surrounding sounds blocked out because the sound recording location isn't ideal)
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