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Mic preamp question


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I figured this might be the better forum to ask in that the knowledge base. Wife wants a decent quality mic for recording a podcast, so I have just bought a used Shure SM58, and will shortly order an XLR cable for it. Ideally it's going to get plugged into a Mac computer via USB, so what is the best inexpensive way to put some power in the mic - are the XLR-USB adapters for £15 quid or so any good or would I be better looking out for a separate audio interface? I see Shure make their own XLR-USB adapter but it's far more than I want to pay.

Basically looking for something to record quality audio on but she doesn't need the mutts nuts. Any ideas?

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Could be noisy if a rally cheap solution. 

CEX have some good second hand deals, could pick up a decent audio interface for £30-£40 for probably best bang for buck.

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2 hours ago, Fully Detached said:

I figured this might be the better forum to ask in that the knowledge base. Wife wants a decent quality mic for recording a podcast, so I have just bought a used Shure SM58, and will shortly order an XLR cable for it. Ideally it's going to get plugged into a Mac computer via USB, so what is the best inexpensive way to put some power in the mic - are the XLR-USB adapters for £15 quid or so any good or would I be better looking out for a separate audio interface? I see Shure make their own XLR-USB adapter but it's far more than I want to pay.

Basically looking for something to record quality audio on but she doesn't need the mutts nuts. Any ideas?

Do you need to do that?  The SM58 is a dynamic mic and shouldn't need phantom power.

I use an Allen & Heath ZEDi-10 - probably overkill for your (wife's) needs, but very flexible (there's a smaller ZEDi-8 too).  It's also "class compliant" which means it works out of the box (no drivers required) with Apple (and Linux) stuff.

Is there no analogue mic (or headset) input on the computer?  A simple adaptor might suffice.

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10 minutes ago, Big Boy said:

Do you need to do that?  The SM58 is a dynamic mic and shouldn't need phantom power.

I use an Allen & Heath ZEDi-10 - probably overkill for your (wife's) needs, but very flexible (there's a smaller ZEDi-8 too).  It's also "class compliant" which means it works out of the box (no drivers required) with Apple (and Linux) stuff.

Is there no analogue mic (or headset) input on the computer?  A simple adaptor might suffice.

Apparently it does need phantom power but you're right it is dynamic - the whole business is japanese to me, so I have no idea! She does have mic and headset inputs, but I kind of imagined that would be poorer quality?

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5 minutes ago, Fully Detached said:

Apparently it does need phantom power but you're right it is dynamic - the whole business is japanese to me, so I have no idea! She does have mic and headset inputs, but I kind of imagined that would be poorer quality?

You've got it with you, but a quick Google suggests it doesn't need phantom power (though doesn't blow up if it is supplied).

The A to D conversion has to be performed somewhere and I'd expect that Apple have used something decent - though the computer input will be unbalanced which could allow some extra noise in the signal.  To try, you'll need a balanced (XLR) to unbalanced (mono jack) conversion cable.  For a few quid I'd be tempted to try it first - though there's a good chance it will be too quiet.  Not quite the same, but I did use the analogue line-in on my old HP computer for digitising some old cassettes and I thought it sounded good.

When that doesn't work, there's something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EK1OTZC/

(I've not owned any Behringer, so this is not an endorsement.)

With an audio interface, personally I would want (at least) some sort of clipping indicator and gain control, so that would rule out the XLR to USB cables I have seen.

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56 minutes ago, Big Boy said:

You've got it with you, but a quick Google suggests it doesn't need phantom power (though doesn't blow up if it is supplied).

The A to D conversion has to be performed somewhere and I'd expect that Apple have used something decent - though the computer input will be unbalanced which could allow some extra noise in the signal.  To try, you'll need a balanced (XLR) to unbalanced (mono jack) conversion cable.  For a few quid I'd be tempted to try it first - though there's a good chance it will be too quiet.  Not quite the same, but I did use the analogue line-in on my old HP computer for digitising some old cassettes and I thought it sounded good.

When that doesn't work, there's something like this: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00EK1OTZC/

(I've not owned any Behringer, so this is not an endorsement.)

With an audio interface, personally I would want (at least) some sort of clipping indicator and gain control, so that would rule out the XLR to USB cables I have seen.

That's excellent, thanks - and I actually understand most of it! xD. I haven't received the mic yet but just read online someone saying it needed phantom power, so looks like they were wrong. Definitely makes sense to try to conversion cable first, so I'll give it a whirl - cheers!

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SM58 is totally passive. It does not require phantom power. You can get an XLR to jack lead from any music shop.

Make sure it doesn't have an on/off switch or you have probably bought a Chinese copy.

Edited by MrPin
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You need a proper preamp.

I've got both Scarlett and U-phoria preamps (both 2 mic input versions).  I can't tell the difference between them soundwise.

The CEX price isn't much cheaper than the new price for that model (UMC22)

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  • 2 months later...
Bus Stop Boxer

Those Audient jobbies look decent and compact for the dosh.

Made in China but if Audient put their name to them then they must be worth a 100 snots.

The quality of tech available to johnny punchclock now, is off the scale really.

And sadly in direct contrast to the "talent" on show using it.

I mean 60 quid....??

https://www.gumtree.com/p/audio-midi-interfaces/audient-id4/1419427890

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