Here is what appeared (again:)) on Yahoo! Answers regarding home recording questions. My answer was voted "best answer" for this home recording question.
I am deciding whether to purchase an Audio Technica AT2020 USB condenser microphone or to purchase the XLR version of the AT2020 and run it through a Mixer/PreAmp and connect to my computer using the line in port (with a 3.5mm to RCA cable).
I am using a Macbook Pro and Logic Express 9 for my vocal editing and am looking to do some vocal recording for original music in my home studio. Which option would result in the best sound quality? USB or Line-in?
USB will give you better quality if you're going to use the built-in sound card on your computer, which it sounds like you are. You will really lose a lot of fidelity/audio quality if you run the signal from an XLR mic like the AT2020, through a decent mixer/PreAmp, and then into the line-in port of your sound card.
However, you'll get better quality than USB (most likely) if you pick up an audio interface with a USB connection. That way you can use XLRs to their potential. One example is the Focusite Scarlett Solo, which is just under $100. Hope that helped! -Ken
Debra says: Hi, Ken,
I just bought a xenyx 802 mixer and SHS Audio OM-50 microphone. I am wanting to record a fairly professional quality recording of a song I wrote for possible selling as a download to the public.
Song was very popular a few years ago, but I did not perform it. I am being encouraged to re-record it with my vocals and guitar only.I guess my question here is: What would be the best recording software possible on limited income!
I have checked out so many of them, I am clueless. I have no idea what all of the functions are...I just want a good quality recording! lolI liked your down-to-earth approach to everything, especially keeping everything super simple and cheap!
I am frugal. I did invest in the mixer and mic, but i do not regret that! I like gadgets. Just am really confused at this point as to how to use these, and what software to use now!Thanks for your help! keep up the good work on helping everyone!Debra
Ken says: Hi Debra,As for software I wholeheartedly recommend (and I get no commission for this or anything:)) Reaper (by Cockos - http://www.reaper.fm). I recorded our last several albums using Reaper, plus everything you hear on our site...anywhere...that was recorded by me, was using Reaper.
That includes the harmony demos on the front page. And one of the great things about it is that their "30-day" trial is not only completely 'uncrippled" (meaning you get full functionality for the trial, unlike other programs that limit certain features until you buy), but also after 30 days it doesn't stop working! YEs, you'll get a pop up that says it isn't free (though we'll get to that in a minute), but they understand it can take more than 30 days to evaluate.
Now as to price. You can use the personal license for only $60. They ask that as if you start making serious money with Reaper (like $20,000/year), you should pay for the professional/commercial license. But there is literally no difference between them. It's all on the honor system!As for how to use the software - for now you can get pretty far for what you want to do if you see the video on this page: https://www.homebrewaudio.com/reaper-tutorial-video
Let me know if you have any questions when doing this and I'll see if I can't give you some guidance. If you don't like the sound of the mic, I recommend trying a condenser mic instead, which is usually much better for recording vocals and acoustic guitar than dynamic mics like the one you have. One example would be the Audio Technica AT2020 which runs about $68.Good luck! - Ken