I quite enjoy recording myself singing and playing guitar and it's a useful way to get feedback on my progress. I'm not after a professional recording setup, just a good way to get decent recordings.

I have a simple 2-channel mixer => USB and currently I use my acoustic guitar line-out for the guitar, and an SM58 for vocals. I'm loath to mic up the guitar but I wonder if I should consider changing my vocal mic and if so if I can do that without spending $100s. I'm aware the SM58 is a good mic but is tailored to performance so is very position/direction-sensitive - I'd rather not have to be distracted by microphone technique when I'm singing.

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    You will always have to have mic technique, whatever mic you use. I use 2 grand's worth of U87 & I still have to pay attention to where I am in relation to it. – Tetsujin Oct 14 '16 at 11:37
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    Only omni-directional mics have no discernible proximity or on/off-axis effect - not a common choice for a vocal mic. For everything else, there's mic technique. – Tetsujin Oct 14 '16 at 12:31
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    I'm having a hard time not seeing this as a gear recommendation question. What's your actual question? The SM58 is actually not "tailored to performance" and has been used on countless big budget Grammy winning records. Is there some problem with your current setup that you want to solve? Why not just keep doing what you're doing? – Todd Wilcox Oct 14 '16 at 12:32
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    Mic technique and singing using a mic should go hand in hand. – Tim Oct 14 '16 at 13:30
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    SM58s are suitable for your environment. So are literally hundreds of other mics. Personally I don't match mics to anything but what I want to do with the mix. "Environment" has nothing to do with my mic choices. – Todd Wilcox Oct 14 '16 at 16:32

Using a stereo mic in a decent sounding room will be all you need. I still use minidisc with a Sony stereo mic for simple vocal and single guitar recording. Quality is fine, all I need to do is be careful where the mic gets placed. You could do the same on computer. I.e., you don't need the vox in one channel and the guitar in the other, certainly for what you describe.

  • Can you explain the benefit of a stereo mic? – Mr. Boy Oct 14 '16 at 12:29
  • Since the recorder is going to produce stereo - we have two ears! - there might as well be some separation. Recordings always sound better and fuller to me in stereo, although if you prefer, and have mono facilities, use that instead. I'm assuming an acoustic guitar here, but if it's electric, it won't be picked up well without an amp, but again, with careful mic placement, that could work stereo or mono. – Tim Oct 14 '16 at 13:25
  • I definitely prefer to record the guitar separately if only so I can balance the volume... but only one or two steps more fancy than that – Mr. Boy Oct 14 '16 at 17:05

Unless the acoustics of your bedroom are unusually good, close-micing with a directional mic is the way to go. And that's the sound we expect for pop/rock vocals, particularly when they will be mixed with a direct-recorded guitar. Sorry, you can't cop out of mic technique!

Another approach is to go for a fully 'live' sound. Don't plug in anything except a stereo mic pair, and position it a few feet in front of you and the (unamplified) guitar. It will pick up what you sound like, playing and singing in that room. If you are the sort of singer who would consider performing without a mic, it's worth trying.

  • Why a stereo pair out of interest? In terms of recommending a close directional mic, is the aim there​ to get a deliberately dry signal so reverb can be added afterwards? – Mr. Boy Jul 7 '17 at 12:20

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