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I have an awesome Korg MKii 1600 recording device with a fairly cheap (I must admit) microphone.

I was recently thinking about getting a USB mic because it seems so easy to record "whenever". It can be cumbersome to attach all the cables then transfer the song to my pc etc.

I play a lot of instruments (sax, guitar, flute) and I also use it for voice acting.

Are USB microphones (for instance condenser mics like Yeti blue) suitable for this or do you recommend a normal condenser mic and possibly an external soundcard (more hassle though).

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2 Answers 2

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It really depends on what type of quality you're looking for. I would highly suggest an audio interface with a good condenser mic, and possibly a pair of cardoid mics.

The convenience of a USB mic is good, but audio interfaces are quite small and are not a hassle at all. It's better to record with the audio interface, because you can potentially record at a higher bit depth and get better quality. The other upside to using an audio interface, is that if you get one that supports multiple mics, you can connect more than one mic and capture your instruments from different points simultaneously, which usually helps to create a richer sound, especially for an instrument like a guitar.

You should look into the focusrite scarlett audio interface series. They have different models that come with a different number of inputs. The focusrite scarlett audio interfaces are affordable and produce excellent results. They're USB powered. As far as condenser mics, good ones will run up high in cost pretty quickly. However, a decent condenser mic paired with an audio interface can still produce some impressive results.

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While is definitely possible to use multiple USB microphones for recording multiple tracks at the same time, this setup is software dependent and may not be very trivial. Here there are some talks relevant to Audacity, for Garage Band you need to create a "composite device" as well.

However may be attractive, as then you do not need a mixer of any kind as long as you have enough USB ports on your machine, and with USB hub probably all mics of symphonic orchestra can be connected no problem.

To lower the risks, I would suggest to get one USB microphone (can be low quality/cheap) and try to combine its input with an audio interface you already have. If this works with your software and hardware, multiple USB microphones should work as well. You will also check if all user interfaces are good enough to work.

Then you can buy first one, then others high end microphones you actually want to use.

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