General Question

ben's avatar

What's a cheap, good microphone setup to record on my Mac?

Asked by ben (8770points) December 11th, 2006
So I want to make a comedy radio show and I'm looking for a cheap but decent audio setup. I was looking at USB microphones (Samson C01u) but I got scared off by reviews. USB is also less appealing because I can't use the mic for other stuff. So far the MXL D.R.K. looks best (because I'll also need a preamp, I think)... but I'm wondering if there is a better quality option for between $100-$200. This is on a Mac Book Pro.
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8 Answers

the_donts's avatar
I needed a portable rig so I have two Shure SM58's and an iMic, which is a USB break-out box (sort of). Shure mics are rock-solid and have great pick up, and the iMic is compact and clean and powered by the USB. You'll need an adapter to go from the mic's 1/4" plug into the iMic's 1/8" stereo jack, you can pick one up at Radio Shack. For mine, I got a Y-adapter so I can record two people at once, on different channels, which helps in mixdown. Might wanna get a mic stnd and a pop screen as well.Anyway, if you just need one SM58 and the iMic you'll prolly spend less than $100 and hve a clean, compact system.
bob's avatar
I've used the iMic as well, and it works great and will serve as your preamp, and I can also recommend the SM58. The MXL DRK looks pretty good, and it's a complete package, but is that mic good?
bob's avatar
My other thought is that it would be nice to be able to take advantage of the optical digital audio-in on your Macbook Pro. But that probably wouldn't make any difference.
b's avatar
I would suggest using a firewire audio interface. That way you can use a standard mic, and get really good quality sound. There are many models to choose from, but you are probably looking at around $300, plus at least another $50 for a good mic.
ben's avatar
Update: I sprung for a great deal on an Alesis Firewire interface/mixer with solid AKG Condenser mic, plus stand and cables all for $300. Probably was overkill, but it's a great package, and I'm extremely happy with the setup and the room to grow (it has 8 channels). Got it from and have been very satisfied.
zzztimbo's avatar

I know nothing about microphones, but I do remember Leo Laporte talking about the Snowball (

johns's avatar

check out i get all my music equipment there. the most versitile mic. out there i would say is the shure sm57. crisp, thick vocals, and perfect instrument pickup. it goes for $99 if you want a supper pro setup for not a whole lot, not a fortune for the sound performance. i would go with a rack system…. a small rack($90), rackmount compressor ($150), Behringer 2ch. 15 band eq ($80), cheap mic. tube preamp ($50 or less), 2 ch. mixer ($45 or so), and a usb interface (less than $100). That is setup i want to record stuff for my album… it will work nice. that is everything i could think of for a cheap pro setup. you could probably get by with a cheap mixer, nice mic., preamp, usb interface, and get a noise suppression pedal to void out needing rackgear. furman makes a power conditioner for $22 that cuts out all 60 cycle hum. that is my advice, alot i know. this stuff is my life though…. go to work come home and work on music…. so i kind of know prices and products… what it does / will do. later man.

Tomfafa's avatar

Now post your work on youtube…

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