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Microphone for Laptop Recording?


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The problem with and SM 57 is that being a moving coil mic the output is very low, but no phantom power is required. With a good low noise mic pre the results can be excellent, unfortunately good mic pre's cost. Condenser / electret types are higher output but can be more limited on dynamic range, EQ'ing may be required for the best result.

Remember that quality (and some cheaper) condenser mics require a power source. Some use a small battery in the mic handle, some require full 48v phantom power. A mic pre delivering 48v phantom is always useful. And 48v will give a much better headroom for loud sounds!

Note that the SM 57 is insensitive to 48v powering so can be used with a mic pre delivering 48v without damage, although it is better to operate it without if you have that option.

Unfortunately 'cheap' solutions usually give cheap results, so buy the best you can afford and a bit more!

best wishes,


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I've got an SM57, but it won't plug into my laptop. Basically, I just want to be able to record guitar and vocals without it spiking to the max. Something that can give a listenable end result.

Why don't you get a cable that'll allow you to do that (or is there not a mic in socket)? At least that way you can try it out before you splash out on a mic pre-amp and decide if the quality is good enough for your needs. If you don't have a mic-in then you need a pre-amp.

Surely you can put a compressor/limiter on the input and adjust the gain with whatever sound recording software you're using.

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I'm considering getting something like this for on the move and recording interesting sounds:

Yamaha Pocketrak 2G | Dolphin Music

This would probably be a good buy for what you want to do. A little more expensive than a mic on it's own but cheaper than a mic plus an interface. Also appears to have compatability straight in with cubase... again very useful.

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Definitely get as good an audio interface as you can afford and an equally good condenser microphone. Everybody uses SM57 and SM58 and they are ok for guitar but gutless for vocals. Also I would have to say I am a grerat believer in using electro acoustic guitars a la Tanglewood/Crafter/Ovation as the sound is brilliant and background noise and mic thump are eradicated permanently:)

Just use mics for vocals, not guitar

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