Recording Audio with a USB interface

Tuesday 17th July, 2018

Lets talk about Recording Equipment

Being relatively new to recording myself playing music. I have recently done quite a bit of research. Into the different ways to getting the best sound recording I could in my ‘home studio’, aka the garage.

Anyone that has used their PC, Tablet or phone to record themselves. Will quickly realize that it does not exactly sound ‘great’.  The ‘built-in’ microphones are just lacking the quality to record audio that sounds ‘professional’ enough to use. If you want to sound good, you need a good mic And sorry but if you want to sound great, you need a really good mic and “a little Talent”.  I have now seen dozens of ways to get every thing from Good to Great audio recording. The big factor for me, was price. We all have a budget, some have bigger budgets than others. And I have found that there is something out there to fit everyone’s budget.

You can find solutions from as little as £30, but regardless of how much you are planning to spend. I think we all want value for money. Realizing that if the system that you buy, does not perform to the stander that you need, then you’ll just end up having to spend more money buying something better.

As I was looking around, the same name kept coming up.

The Focusrite Scarlett, from musicians to Vloggers to Pod casters.  So many people where talking about these units I just had to take a closer look myself. There is the older Scarlett Studio first generation version and now their relatively new 2nd Generation. I really don’t know what the difference is in the performance between the old and the new. But as I was buying new, I did not spend much time looking at the older version.

There is a lot of choices with the Scarlett range, if you already have a microphone or if you just want to plug in an instrument, You can just buy the USB Audio Interface by itself. But after looking at their bundle packs, I thought, I need “everything” and that’s what you get in the Studio Bundle pack. Everything, you get a good quality diaphragm condenser mic, the usb interface, the cables and leads, even a nice set of headphones.

My decision was do I get the cheaper Scarlett Solo Bundle or the Scarlett Studio 2i2 Bundle.

Well, being on a tight budget. I went for the Solo pack, and was very impressed. I had tried a few times to record myself with the PC mic and then spent hours playing with the recording in my ‘free’ to use software. But still could not get it to sound anywhere near decent. I set the Scarlett Solo system up,  plugged it into my PC and recorded a quick track of me playing my Tin Whistle. And wow, I had never heard myself sound so good. Even as a raw audio file And once I did some mastering in the Pro Tools First software that comes free with the bundle packs. I was so please that I had chosen the Scarlett system.

After using it for a week, I decided that the 2i2 with it’s ‘combo’ sockets might be better in the long term. As I grow, the system would be more versatile. So lucky for me my local Music shop is very good, and although the manager had told me that with Microphones, once you have used them you could not return them (for hygiene and health reasons). but when I went in and asked if I could upgrade to the 2i2 system, she was very accommodating. She was happy to swap the interface and the boxes. I just kept the mic and headphones, and the leads that I had used. And paid a little bit more…

Now, I mentioned the £30 solution.

So I think I should tell you about it, else you will just message me to see what it was. I found quite a bit about a system made by Neewer, actually if you look around you will find loads of microphones that look almost identical to the Scarlett CM25 studio microphone. And the predominant one that I kept seeing, and the one that had loads of good reviews on YouTube was the Neewer NW-700. I have already bought the Neewer swing mic arm, so I new the brand. Their little bundles don’t always come with a USB interface. Most just come with a XLR to 3.5mm jack cable, and a 48v phantom power supply to power the mic. Unfortunately you can’t just plug this 3.5mm mic jack plug in to your laptop or phone.

So with a PC or Laptop you will need to buy a little cheap USB interface. Or I have a “Y” adapter that plugs into my phone and tablet, that splits the jack into a mic jack and a headphones jack.

To do some testing I have just ordered the Neewer NW-700 bundle as I wanted a second mic for my Scarlett 2i2 system, but I ordered the one with the 48v phantom power supply (that can be powered by a 5v USB feed) so that I can test it out. I have managed to run my Scarlett USB interface with my Tablet using a OTG Adapter, but the only App that I could get to work with it, was rubbish and not worth buying. (I bought it and then got a refund, it was that bad)

Hope this helps, I am still learning myself so feel free to offer up your ideas or ask any questions.

I am just learning myself,

and I personally find that it is easier to learn tunes, the ‘Karaoke’ way. Either having an indicator move to the next note. Or more like the ever popular ‘Guitar Hero’ game. With the notes moving across the screen so that you are ready for them. There is a huge benefit to having them in rhythm so you play each note at the right time. I did start making these videos just for myself. But I decided that as I was putting so much effort in to them. It seemed a shame not to share.

So I set up my YouTube Channel and this Blog/Vlog site to keep everyone up to date with my progress, Also for that people could comment and help me, and help others to get better. My aim is to share my mistakes, as much as my ‘lucky’ moments.

I like all sorts of music, from them good Classical tunes, through the oldie Folk tunes and the more modern Folk tunes. And of course the best tunes of now, Rock, Pop, Blues, R&B, the list goes on. If it’s good, and lasted the test of time, hopefully I will get to it.

Have fun….
Fiddling with my Whistle

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2i2 Audio Equipment Focusrite interface Recording Scarlett Solo Studio USB #My Gear #My Hardware and Software