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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:39 AM   #1
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Inexpensive VO recording setup for Mac

So I need a way to inexpensively and easily record VO's to my mac. I need to be able to do quick VO updates to a project I am working on. I have been going into the camera then capturing but that is a PITA. (I use Canon A1's so to capture I have to unplug everything and record to an internal drive than transfer to an external, that is on another topic in this forum)

I can't really afford a Kona or AJA but after reading in this and other forums I think a good solution that would be about $250 is to purchase a decent mixer

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...A_COMPACT.html

And then run the audio through a Griffin iMic:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Interface.html

Then into my Mac. Note, I already have a good mic or two so that is why I don't really want to go the USB mic route.

Does anyone have any opinions on this? Is there a better solution that would cost about the same or less?

Last edited by Dave Pecunies; June 3rd, 2008 at 07:34 AM.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:59 AM   #2
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Something like this would be your cheapest solution:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Mic_Mate_.html

I'd look in this area of the B&H website-- http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/catego...s_Systems.html You should be able to find something that meets your needs.

Unless your really want a mixer, you don't need one for this application. I'd question the a->d section of that griffin thing.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 12:43 PM   #3
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I use a Samson CO1UCW USB mic. I can understand not wanting to buy another mic when you've got plenty already. I had about 7 or 8 XLR mics before I bought the Samson.

But it was only about $90. B&H has them at this link (http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Condenser.html)

I just keep it connected to the computer at all times and when I need a VO it is simplicity itself to record directly into FCP. I have been very happy with it.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 09:24 PM   #4
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The cheap and dirty way would be to simply plug into your XLR's in the A1 and use it as your recording deck. You can then use FCP to capture the audio-only track/s and import them into Peak or whatever audio-post program you use (or simply do it in FCP) to tweak compression, levels and EQ. That way you're not spending any money at all (except tape) and you already have all the tools you need to tweak the audio for use in the timeline.
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Old June 2nd, 2008, 11:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Pecunies View Post
So I need a way to inexpensively and easily record VO's to my mac. I need to be able to do quick VO updates to a project I am working on. I have been going into the camera then capturing but that is a PITA. (I use Canon A1's so to capture I have to unplug everything and record to an internal drive than transfer to an external, that is on another topic in this forum)

I can't really afford a Kona or AJA but after reading in this and other forums I think a good solution that would be about $250 is to purchase a decent mixer

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...A_COMPACT.html

And then run the audio through a Griffin iMic:

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...Interface.html

Then into my Mac. Note, I already have a good mic or two so that is why I don't really want to go the USB mic route. I also have about every XLR converter know to man.

Does anyone have any opinions on this? Is there a better solution that would cost about the same or less?
Have you tried the VO recording tool in Final Cut Pro?
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 07:56 AM   #6
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The Mic Mate looks like a good product. Once I started looking at other USB solutions I found this from e-MU, the 0404:

http://www.emu.com/products/product.asp?product=15185

It looks like exactly what I am looking for. Has anyone used this?

I haven't yet ruled out just getting another mic that is USB. The problem is that I love the mic that I am using. An EV PL20. I have read posts from others that said that they were not satisfied going from the PL20 to a USB mic.

I have used the VO tool but I mostly record into Soundtrack. If I am not mistaken (however I often am) the input on a mac is line level not mic level so you need to boost the heck out of the mic. I have everything cranked and it still isn't enough.

I may just take one for the team here and drop the $200 on the e-mu and report back on its use.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:39 AM   #7
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I see a note on the e-mu page that says: "Macintosh analog operation up to 96kHz and digital operation up to 48kHz only at this time." This tells me that there might be concerns with the drivers in general for mac. Might be an issue... might not; just a thought.

There are several other USB audio input devices availible in this price range; you might check out m-audio (USB and firewire) or mackie (firewire).
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Old June 4th, 2008, 10:21 AM   #8
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After a fair amount of research for a relatively small purchase I decided to go with the Presonus Firebox. Since I do a lot of my VOs latency could be an issue so I wanted to go FW rather than USB. I also liked the size/portability. I have found that when I do a lot of research before a purchase, then go to B&H's site to check costs, more often than not the product that I decide on is a "Top Seller". This time I narrowed the choices and just went to see what the Top Sellers were. Two of my choices were "Top Sellers", the M-Audio 410 and the Presonus Firebox. The M-Audio was poorly rated so Firebox it is. B&H was out of stock so I did a little looking around and ended up finding one for $230. $70 less, sold. I will report back on its performance.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 08:35 AM   #9
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So far so good with the Firebox. Very good sound quality and easy to use and to set up. I basically plugged it in and started recording. Would definitely recommend it.

While I was waiting for the Firebox I did use my Canon A1 as a preamp and it worked almost as well. I would still recommend going the Firebox route but if you are in a pinch using the camera will work. I ran the mic into the camera then ran the headphone jack from the camera to the line input on my MacPro and recorded into Soundtrack Pro. The Firebox sounds better but like I said, if you are in a pinch this will work and sounds pretty good.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 09:44 AM   #10
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this is what i used... ended up being a pretty good solution for what i like to do.

m-audio fast track pro

http://www.guitarcenter.com/M-Audio-...85-i1126084.gc

Sterling ST51, highly recommended mic. this thing has great reviews all over the net.

http://www.guitarcenter.com/Sterling...04-i1323300.gc

great equipment!
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Old June 19th, 2008, 10:32 AM   #11
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If you really want to get the best bang-for-the-buck and take your VO to the next level at the same time, check into the Voice Channel from ART.

http://www.artproaudio.com/products....9&cat=1&id=133

This little device along with a quality mic (we used a Blue "BlueBird" and a few others) really made vocals pop. Much more than just a pre-amp/mic-in this is a 2-stage TUBE preamp/compressor/limiter with EQ and tons of connectivity. We're using the optical outs directly into the optical ins on the MacPro (or the MacBook Pro).

When you consider this sells for just a little more than the Firebox, it's a no-brainer.
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Old June 19th, 2008, 10:45 AM   #12
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The Art look GREAT! Especially the digital out. I wish I had known a couple weeks ago : (
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