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What do I need to record an acoustic guitar and vocals ?

Discussion in 'off topic' started by steveinspain, Sep 4, 2019.

  1. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    A young relative is playing guitar, piano and himself singing.
    He has a loop pedal and some sort of amp and so far has used his phone to record him playing.
    I'd like to get some sort of very cheap equipment so that he can make better recordings, but have no idea about this at all.
    Obviously a mic, though 2 would be better so he can play and sing. Then some sort of way to input it into his laptop (I think its a mac of some sort)
    A quick search says an audio interface and some software.
    So, any pointers or suggestions would be much appreciated - budget is as low as possible, more than happy to buy used - many thanks !
  2. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    This sort of thing has got harder over time. Michelle Shocked recorded an entire album on a Walkman Pro, in a field.
  3. Dave***t

    Dave***t Revolutionary relativist

    As a very basic setup, you can get a microphone, a cable from the mic which has a USB connector at the other end, and Garage Band, which comes for free as standard on the Mac.

    I’ve used that sort of thing (a Shure mic, a XLR-USB cable from amazon, and my iMac) to record basic vocal demos.

    Not sure if that would allow simultaneous recording of two tracks if you used two mics etc (it might, I just don’t know because I haven’t tried), but he could certainly lay down the music and then go over it with the vocals afterwards. And that might actually be better experience for him because it’s how a lot of ‘proper’ recordings are made.
  4. Jim Audiomisc

    Jim Audiomisc pfm Member

    If you just need stereo / two inputs at a time, something like the Scarlett 2i2 USB ADC should do the trick as it can accept mic and line inputs. So work with a mic on one channel and a guitar on the other I think. Then add other things later if he wants to build multitrack. You can then use software to 'pan pot' stereo for them or add effects, etc. Choice of mic is something you may find a range of opinions on...
  5. stephen bennett

    stephen bennett Mr Enigma

    I disagree Steve, it's got a lot easier!

    As he has a Mac, he should get one of these (better than the Focusrite IMHO) or if really pushed financially, this.

    He'd be better off getting one good mic now and another when he can afford it. Something like an AKG 414 or a good clone.

    But again, if pushed, something like this for vocals and this for guitar.

    He can use the free Garageband software and upgrade to Logic Pro X when he can afford it.

  6. Seeker_UK

    Seeker_UK Waiting for the streetcar..

    I'm glad this thread has popped up as I'm interested in extending my recording options from just DI-ing into a mixer / USB interface (+1 for the Scarlett, I have a 2i4).

    I'll look into the Rode - could the 208 work for guitars as well?
  7. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    Fantastic - half a million replies in just a few minutes...
    I'll take a proper look as soon as I'm back home - thanks!
  8. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    OK, I've taken a look and........
    Many thanks for the replies, but, it'll be me who's paying for this, and I'd hoped to spend way less, maybe £100 max. Hey, I don't like him that much !
    I think Dave***t is closest with his reply, and just in case I've got it wrong and he doesn't have a mac laptop what is the Windows equivalent of garage band ?
    I know quality will suffer, but at this stage it's meant as a gesture to encourage him. I've done a little searching and maybe I can get away with just one mic
    So, any thoughts ?
  9. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    A focusrite interface comes with free software - a stripped down version of something more powerful called Ableton Live Lite. A Focusrite solo (the new 3rd gen) comes in at £89 and is all you need for voice and guitar. That just leaves a mic - I'm sure there's plenty on the used market, you can get a bundle with a Solo but the price is edging up
    steveinspain likes this.
  10. LecsonQuad

    LecsonQuad Member

    There are Scarlet Solos at £64 refurbished by the manufacturer. That would leave you £36 for a microphone stand and cable. At the level you are working at look at Behringer microphones which are fine at the price point for this purpose.Then if the lad really takes to it you/he can spend as much as you like ...
    You should be able to have fun with this set up and if he doesn't like it you can sell the kit on Ebay to get a large proportion of your money back.
    PsB and steveinspain like this.
  11. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    Was going to say this. ID4 >>> Focusrite.

    EDIT: Although this assumes one cares about sound quality. Basically the Audient preamps are better than the Scarlet ones.
    stephen bennett and steveinspain like this.
  12. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    More that twice the price of the Solo though...
  13. LecsonQuad

    LecsonQuad Member

    You are absolutely right about the relative qualities of the equipment but this is a relative giving something to a lad as a gift to see if he takes to it. There may be no commitment from the lad in which case it's best to keep the initial spend low and the cheaper kit will do the job perfectly well at starter level.
    steveinspain likes this.
  14. matthewr

    matthewr spɹɐʍʞɔɐq spɹoɔǝɹ ɹnoʎ sʎɐld

    Fair point.

    Although it does come with excellent software bundles : https://audient.com/arc/ Not sure how this compares to the Scarlett. I am soured on Scarlett as mine broke so I bought an Audient and was immediately stuck by the better sound.
  15. steveinspain

    steveinspain pfm Member

    You are spot on - he recently wrote a song about a bust up and sent me a clip of it recorded on his phone, outside in the wind, so I could hardly hear it. He didn't want to play it to his parents for a while. I feel that with a little encouragement he may get a lot more into it, so that's what I'm trying to do.
    I'll have a look at the Solo in a mo.
    Very much appreciated !
  16. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    FWIW my youngest just uses her iPhone to record her own compostions singing and playing the piano. Its surprisingly good. I wouldn't bother with stereo for such a simple performance as mono can be very good indeed. You can get a pro calibrated mic to plug into the iphone/iPad. I use a MicW i436 that I picked up s/h. You may find something similar for less.


  17. gavreid

    gavreid pfm Member

    They do iOS interfaces too if that's your thing

  18. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Personally I’d definitely go for a stereo interface as there are just so many times one would need a stereo interface. I’ve got the very first version Focusrite 2I2 here and it does everything I’ve ever needed and does it very well regardless of whether I’m plugging in a mic, guitar, bass, synth, or for that matter recording from vinyl via the hi-fi. Its just a great simple interface with very nice sounding mic preamps. A lot better than those on some very expensive mixing desks I’ve used to be honest.

    I’m a bit too out of touch to recommend specific mics these days, but they are usually plentiful second hand. As ever I’d buy good ones used rather than crap ones new. Really a lot depends on whether he wants to close-mic the guitar and vocal as separate entities or record as a single event.
  19. paulfromcamden

    paulfromcamden Baffled

    £100 is plenty. You can buy a used Focusrite for £60 or so. Ebay is awash with used budget condenser mics. Far from perfect sonically but recording technique and the room will probably have a bigger impact on the sound anyway.

    Use cheap gear to learn how to record then enjoy upgrading when the cash is there.

    Reaper is a pro quality DAW that can be downloaded for free and used indefinitely on eval (though consider paying for it if you find if useful!)
  20. Aethelist

    Aethelist pfm Member

    Behringer UCA202

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