Old 01-18-2020, 07:30 AM   #1
dimovich
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Default Basic recording equipment advice

Thinking of buying these things to get me going. Would appreciate some feedback. Thanks!

Shure SM57
https://www.thomann.de/intl/shure_sm57_lc.htm


Shure SM58
https://www.thomann.de/intl/shure_sm58.htm


Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
https://www.thomann.de/intl/focusrit...i2_3rd_gen.htm
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Old 01-18-2020, 09:21 AM   #2
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SM57/58 are pretty much an industry standard mic. Widely used and abused.

The 2i2, I have one and it works well.
If you are considering recording more than 2 inputs (sources) at once then you will need something bigger.

They all will definitely get you going, and definitely won't be money wasted. Although if you can stretch the budget (you never said how much you can or want to spend) I would advise on an interface with more than two inputs. This will be a limiting factor down the track, and there is nothing worse than having to buy a new interface and selling the previous for next to nothing. If you have the funds spare look at something like the 18i20.
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:13 AM   #3
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Totally agree with dimovich. I use both regularly and they just keep on working.
I recently however had cause to buy and test some Prodipe TT1 - a sort of SM58 replacement. Seems I was not alone in being really impressed:
https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/prodipe-tt1
Obviously I can't comment on their longevity but they are decently put together as the review mentions.

They are insanely inexpensive IMHO - you could put some money towards an interface!
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Old 01-18-2020, 11:40 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimovich View Post
Thinking of buying these things to get me going. Would appreciate some feedback. Thanks!

Shure SM57
https://www.thomann.de/intl/shure_sm57_lc.htm


Shure SM58
https://www.thomann.de/intl/shure_sm58.htm


Focusrite Scarlett 2i2
https://www.thomann.de/intl/focusrit...i2_3rd_gen.htm
What are you trying to record?

Heh yeah, 57s/58s are a little squeely and feedback prone in my experience as well. Squeely around 2k, honky around 400Hz. (Sorry, couldn't resist a sarcastic sound guy comment... You said "feedback"...)
Those mics are more about what they don't pick up very well (like screaming drums and cymbals right behind the singer on a live stage) and thus give you isolation and control in difficult live stage scenarios. My quip there is a moot point.

Good choice for general live use. Even on a stage where you might be able to get away with better, you should still be able to get pro results. Save your ass on a loud peaky stage.


If however, you were thinking of recording something at your home studio, you'd be pretty disappointed with the cloudy, muddy, midrange honky sound coming out of those style mics! Probably exclaim "WTF" even.

A single medium diaphragm condenser mic would let you track parts one man band style (one at a time) and capture full unmolested sound.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:03 PM   #5
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What do you want to record? There are cheaper versions of SM57/58 from most manufacturers and they mostly sound just as mediocre. If you won't be taking them on tour, you probably don't need something built like a tank.

For the best value I'd suggest checking out the Zoom portable recorders (or similar(, which include built-in mics and can record independently or as an audio interface plugged into a computer. That would be a more versatile, portable and possibly cheaper option overall.
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:30 PM   #6
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A 58 is like $80 new. Those already ARE cheap mics in price. You can submerge them in a pitcher of beer, try to fight off the cops trying to pull you off stage, drop it in the snow outside as you're being hauled away, and have the cop car run over it. Then the sound guy can run outside and grab it, wipe it off and plug it in and it sounds like nothing ever happened. You can literally do that and there are youtube videos to prove it. For what that's worth. Good investment for club owners for sure.

I hate to suggest it but one of those Rode large condenser USB mics for $80 would probably let you do more at home if you were careful. Make the room/space sound good and don't push the thing too hard. Still don't feel right recommending that kind of gear...

$300-ish would get you something like an AKG 3000. Maybe there's a better choice in that range?
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Old 01-18-2020, 12:40 PM   #7
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No argument there, but if they will never leave the bedroom, then why not save $50?
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Old 01-18-2020, 01:31 PM   #8
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Fair enough.

If we're being cheap...
I bet you could record an album with one of those $80 USB large-d condensers with your laptop. Something feels really wrong about recommending that, like I said! The interface is built in. $80 and that's it. Learn some mic and room technique. Verses that $300 rig and then muddy 58 tracks to deal with.

I haven't shaken down those cheap mic/interface combo thingies. My guess is they fall short with very quiet and very loud. Probably sound a little brittle when you start pushing them.

$500 would get a little interface and a decent medium or large condenser. A decent condenser would let you record just about anything and it would be up to technique to sound fully pro.
I'd shop used gear with a $300 budget and try to hit $500 worth or more.
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Old 01-18-2020, 02:44 PM   #9
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The mid-side mic that came with my Zoom H6 is the most true to life mic I've ever used. The stereo one is far less impressive. I use it mainly for drum overheads, but it works just as well for sampling quiet ambience or loud one-shot samples. Huge dynamic range.

Doubt there is more value for money to be had, since they are mostly under $300 for a record-ready setup. Don't even need to buy cables and it'll mount on any camera tripod. My only complaint is that there is no way to pass audio to the output without digital conversion taking place.

But yea, for sure buy used gear. Always better value that way, since most people buy gear, use it once and then sell it for a discount.
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Old 01-18-2020, 05:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
A 58 is like $80 new. Those already ARE cheap mics in price. You can submerge them in a pitcher of beer, try to fight off the cops trying to pull you off stage, drop it in the snow outside as you're being hauled away, and have the cop car run over it. Then the sound guy can run outside and grab it, wipe it off and plug it in and it sounds like nothing ever happened. You can literally do that and there are youtube videos to prove it. For what that's worth. Good investment for club owners for sure.
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Old 01-19-2020, 05:52 AM   #11
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Grabbed a used beta 58a the other day,
despite being a stage workhorse I think is much more preferable in studio compared to 58. Plus all the bullet proof aspects..
extended range, little smoother less '58y' generally.
Better signal to noise and handling, v focused sensitivity which while great for voice, may be too 'pointy' for a guitar that generates it's sound from a larger area .

Cheap ribbo is a nice friend
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Old 01-19-2020, 09:19 AM   #12
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If I were starting out today, I'd go for the Behringer 4 in / 4 out $100 interface, and an inexpensive multipatterm condenser mic, such as the Studio Projects B3. People tend to keep mics a lot longer than any other type of gear, except maybe instruments, so it's worthwhile starting with a better one than a 57 or 58. It also avoids that "sameness" in all your tracks that you get with a limited freq response mic like the Shures.

The price difference on the interface doesn't reflect a quality difference; the sound quality difference between the Focusrite and the Behri will be indistinguishable to "new ears" and likely to trained ears as well.

Something to consider also is a midi port on the interface. You might not be ready to use it for a while, but eventually you'll likely wish you have one.
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:00 AM   #13
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The only scenario where I would get a 58 as my single only mic would be if I was a singer (I so much am not that that feels awkward to even type!) playing rock and/or roll in the loud clubs at rock volume and wanted my own mic. The monitors are going to be dialed for making '58s loud and a hotter and/or condenser mic would just be a feedback nightmare. (If for no other reason than the eq's are dialed for '58s and there might not be a tech in house that knows how to eq or run hotter mics.)

Beta 58s or 57s? Hmmm... I feel like those emphasize the worst characteristics of the 58/57. They feedback even more than a standard 58 around 2k. Try to eq the mud out and you have instant harsh. Condensers are easier to work on vocals on a loud stage. (Unless that condenser is a Shure beta 87! Possible the worst sounding most unusable mic I've ever run across.)
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Old 01-19-2020, 10:59 AM   #14
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If harsh is the enemy then ribbon is the Ally there - my preferred for studio vocals - needs gain tho.

But yeh mic wars ..
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Old 01-21-2020, 03:10 AM   #15
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Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions!


Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
What are you trying to record?
Folk / acoustic music in my room, with some solo concerts in clubs.
From the comments it seems that sm58 / sm57 are not really suited for that.

The AKG C3000 goes for 150$ at the moment, which seems like a good price.
https://www.thomann.de/intl/akg_c3000_b.htm

Will it work well for both voice and guitar?

Prodipe TT1 also looks nice, with good reviews and low price.

But I need to record both voice and guitar at the same time so I will need 2 mics. For sonic diversity, what mic would pair well with the AKG 3000?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philbo King;
I'd go for the Behringer 4 in / 4 out $100 interface
Something like this?
https://www.thomann.de/intl/behringer_umc404hd.htm

Last edited by dimovich; 01-21-2020 at 03:22 AM.
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Old 01-21-2020, 06:53 AM   #16
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I use a CAD Audio GXL3000 (a large diaphragm condenser) which is very "entry-level" but it's done a job for me for years. if you write nice music and play it well, the choice of mic becomes a lot less important, but an LDC is pretty handy for vocals and acoustic guitars.
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:43 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serr View Post
$300-ish would get you something like an AKG 3000. Maybe there's a better choice in that range?


Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Ghastly mics. About on a par with the AKG C1000. ASame era, same drawbacks. DONT
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:48 AM   #18
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Read what I said about the AKG C3000. I am talking about the original ones, I dont know if they have remodeled them over the years, but I don`t know anyone from back in the eqarly days of digital recording that liked them. That & the C1000 were geared up to negate the inferior treble end performance of cheap reel to reel recorders back in the day. Neither of them play very well with modern digital stuff. Same old advice: try them out before you buy.
You might want to check out the AT2020 at 80 euros. 4050`sa poor relation but the ones I have heard do a decent job. A little more would get you the new improved version of the RodeNT1-A too....

Quote:
Originally Posted by dimovich View Post

The AKG C3000 goes for 150$ at the moment, which seems like a good price.
https://www.thomann.de/intl/akg_c3000_b.htm

Will it work well for both voice and guitar?
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Old 01-23-2020, 07:54 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivansc View Post
Neither of them play very well with modern digital stuff.
I hate the C3000, I have one, never got more than 10 minutes of use. I also have 2 C1000s, they weren't actually 'that' bad for something like overheads - hmmm.. I might break out the C1000s and test them soon... either way check this out...

https://soundbetter.com/kb/why-many-...t-and-sibilant

I might suggest 2 MXL V67N's SDC (20-20 kHZ) - I have two and they are comparable to my much more expensive neumman KM184s and with two you have all sorts of areas covered including stereo.

SM58 or Beta for live vocals - Beta 58 is a fine live mic, being hotter by 4 dB is the reason it will feedback quicker IIRC but it is also super-cardioid to reduce feedback. It also has a tad more bottom end.

Then to graduate from there, get something with multiple patterns (Fig-8, Omni, Cardioid etc.) or at least something in addtion to cardioid so multi-pattern LDC or ribbon etc.
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Old 01-23-2020, 08:07 AM   #20
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I'd get a pair of these:

https://www.amazon.com/Apex-220-Meas...9791840&sr=8-6

I'd also substitute a Steinberg UR22 for the Focusrite, I found the drivers less finicky and the preamps nicer sounding for a potable setup. I'd try the new cheap Motu 2 channel box if I were buying today, though.
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:56 AM   #21
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I wouldn't buy one SM57 and one 58. If you are buying 2, I'd get a "matched pair" in case you want to record in stereo.


And, I'd go with a pair of 58s because they are more versatile with the ball pop filter for vocals.


The 57 & 58 are the most popular mics of all time and they will last you a lifetime, so they aren't "terrible" but a large diaphragm cardioid condenser is the "studio workhorse" used for vocals and almost everything else in pro studios.

The 57 & 58 are probably the only $100 mics you'll find in a pro studio. The "average" or "typical" $100 condenser is probably going to sound worse than a 57/58.


You can use equalization to change/improve the sound of a microphone. But, if you are using a dynamic mic and you boost the highs to make it more "condenser like" you'll also be boosting any preamp hiss. Plus, you'll need more gain compared to a condenser and that will boost the preamp noise too.


On the other hand, dynamic mics are passive so they don't generate any noise themselves. Condensers have a built-in "head amp" and it will generate some noise. (Overall, a condenser with less preamp gain will probably-generally have less overall electrical noise but it depends on the particular noise characteristics of both.)
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Old 01-23-2020, 09:59 AM   #22
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I wouldn't buy one SM57 and one 58. If you are buying 2, I'd get a "matched pair" in case you want to record in stereo.
I have both matched and non-matched mics and I just never notice it mattering FWIW. I agree about the 57/58 thing, they get a bad rap while existing on more records and stages combined than nearly any mic in existence. Personal taste mayyyybbee, actually terrible/bad = myth.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:56 AM   #23
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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Ghastly mics. About on a par with the AKG C1000. ASame era, same drawbacks. DONT
Haha. The C1000 is pure garbage IMHO. I have a pair of C3000's from a long time ago. They only come out when all the rest of the mics are already in use and I need another condenser. Still... I thought they weren't that bad. They are bright though and all the negative comments sound on point. Oh well.

I like my KM 140s, TLM 193's and TLM 103's, and KMS 105's much better but those are gonna be a bit more than $300.

I've seen praise of that Rode condenser around here recently. Maybe I should upgrade my spare mics?

Also still, I think I'd much prefer a 3000 for trying to record acoustic music and voice in a studio setting! They're full range mics and they pick up transient acoustic details. 57's/58's are not. Someone might have a better suggestion for a lower priced condenser. No argument there! But you want condenser mics for recording acoustic instruments. Basically you need full range pickup for that stuff and that's what condensers will do.

Last edited by serr; 01-23-2020 at 11:04 AM.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:02 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karbomusic View Post
Now you know why I am in luuurve with my original Rode Classic, Karbo.
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Old 01-27-2020, 06:11 AM   #25
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I've seen praise of that Rode condenser around here recently. Maybe I should upgrade my spare mics?
I bought one of the very first RodeNTs and hated it. sorta like a slightly fatter but still ice picky C1000. Time passed.
I tried the RodeNT2 & didnt like that, same went for the revised RodeNT1A.
Then I went to do a job for a guy with a very serious home studio fixing a bunch of bass tracks. In the course of the day I erooled over his fantastic live room sound and the fabulous $£$£$£$£$ Monitors he had, but the vocal sound he was getting just blew me away.
Inevitably I asked him was he using the same mic for all of them. Yes. A Rode Classic 1.
I got him to record some of me singing through it.
I had previously done the same in Rockfield Studio 1 using a vintage C12 a Telefunken 251 and a couple of other great mics.
The Rode actually suited my voice better than all except the immaculate C12.

Found one for sale online used but with a new extra long multicore cable & took the blokes arm off.
I cannot recommend highly enough that you see if you can find one & see if it suits your voice.
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Old 01-27-2020, 01:41 PM   #26
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And now I'm even more confused than when I started . Time to analyze and read through all your suggestions, make some offerings to the audio Gods and go pick the right mics .

Thank you All for taking your time and sharing your experience and opinions!
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Old 01-27-2020, 02:18 PM   #27
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To generalize and summarize:

Condenser mics pick up everything. Even further away stuff. The sound is more accurate and natural.

Dynamic mics are more about what they DON'T pick up. Further away sounds are more subdued. The closer sounds will be more midrangy and subdued as well. These are used on live stages for isolation. (An isolated but somewhat subdued and midrangy vocal is a lot more useful that natural but with loud cymbals screaming through the mic! For one example.)

Just about any condenser would be more appropriate for picking up acoustic guitar and voice vs a dynamic. The cheapo choices get thin and anemic sounding as they get cheap. But they're still usually closer to full range sound than a dynamic mic. (There of course would be exceptions. I could probably do more with one of my MD421's than a C1000, for example.) But a pair of '58s would be really bad advice. You'd have spent all this money on a computer and audio interface and then wonder why the recordings all sounded like an old cassette deck.

If you splurged on something like a Neumann and then took the time to dial in your physical recording space and mic technique, you could record an album that was genuinely Blue Note fidelity. Any and all post work, mixing, and mastering is covered by Reaper.
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Old 01-29-2020, 06:52 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dimovich View Post
Thank you everyone for the wonderful suggestions!




Folk / acoustic music in my room, with some solo concerts in clubs.
From the comments it seems that sm58 / sm57 are not really suited for that.

The AKG C3000 goes for 150$ at the moment, which seems like a good price.
https://www.thomann.de/intl/akg_c3000_b.htm

Will it work well for both voice and guitar?

Prodipe TT1 also looks nice, with good reviews and low price.

But I need to record both voice and guitar at the same time so I will need 2 mics. For sonic diversity, what mic would pair well with the AKG 3000?



Something like this?
https://www.thomann.de/intl/behringer_umc404hd.htm
Yes, that's the one.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:54 AM   #29
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Definitely get a Focusrite Scarlett over the Behringer interface.
For the price of a 57, get a Rode M3 to record that acoustic guitar, thank me later. The 58 is ok, but I'd get a Beta 58a over the standard 58 if you're looking for clear-ish recorded vocals.
The rest is skills and experience. But this setup will definitely get you great results.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:24 PM   #30
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MXL V67G for your mic. Extremely versatile and a phenomenal microphone for the price.

Focusrite over Behringer, indeed.


Good mic stand, 25' mic cable or so.

And a download of Reaper, and the free SWS Extensions (google it)... and you're golden.

You joined the forum 15 years ago... hope you'll have some luck with Reaper this time around! I joined in 2009 and didn't start using Reaper religiously until 2013 basically.
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Old 02-01-2020, 10:27 AM   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frood View Post
I use a CAD Audio GXL3000 (a large diaphragm condenser) which is very "entry-level" but it's done a job for me for years. if you write nice music and play it well, the choice of mic becomes a lot less important, but an LDC is pretty handy for vocals and acoustic guitars.
CAD had that whole line of condensers that were slightly cheaper than dirt for a while. I loved them.
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Old 02-02-2020, 12:24 AM   #32
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Berhinger have bad reputation from building a lot of poor quality cheap gear in the past, but sometime they do some amazing stuff. hd interfaces seem to be perfectly ok. There are good tests about it, Phil Zeo did recomand them too.

For the mic, I'd recommand as Karbo said, a dynamic and one or two small condensers to start with. Try to test mics if you can so they suit your voice/taste
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:33 PM   #33
dimovich
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Ended up buying these:

Audio interface -- Steinberg UR22
Guitar mic -- MXL V67N
Voice mic -- Rode NT1-A

Thank you all for suggestions! Fame and fortune, here I come!
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