What Microphone for Cubase

Hello,

What is a good microphone (for a reasonable price) for cubase?
I am doing a course and cubase 7 elements is an integral part.
And I need a mic for practice purposes.
I have a windows 8.1 pc.

Thanks in advance!

Earthworks QTC series are really good microphones. Sennheiser MD441 also does nice job. Then Neumann’s U, M and TLM series are real classic ones. Also DPA, Schoeps and some other manufacturers produce excellent stuff. And you can also buy a second-hand RCA ribbon mic from ebay (or AEA equivalent if you rather want a new one).

But I’m afraid these are not what you are looking for. Maybe you should give us more information:

  1. What do you want to record with your microphone? Solo vocals? Choir? Acoustic guitar? Electric guitar amp? Drums? Acoustic Piano? Horns? Something else?
  2. What is your budget?
  3. What kind of audio interface and/or microphone preamp do you have?

Thank you for replying Jarno…

  1. I will use the mic for vocals only. I am just learning cubase and I need it for course purposes in the beginning. I am just a guys who loves dance music and is interested in learning to create and produce. I dont have the intention of becomming the next armin :wink:

  2. Budget is max 100

  3. I am doing everything on my laptop so it has to work on my windows 8.1 laptop. But i do have a traktor s2 controller. Maybe in the near future i will buy a midi keyboard.

If you haven’t got an audio interface then buy a usb mic which is its own interface. Get a pop shield and mic stand too. A Fame cu2 is a perfectly good starter mic and it costs less than 40 quid.
http://www.dv247.com/microphones/fame-studio-cu2-usb-condenser-microphone--200816

The same store will flog you a stand and shield for about £15.

Agree with PeppaPig. You need an USB mic. Unfortunately you budget doesn’t allow USB/XLR combi mic, which would be a good option if you ever want to invest into proper audio interface/mic preamp.

Another USB mic which fits to your budget is Samson C01U. Oh wait … you didn’t mention in what currency your budget is. If it’s US$ it leaves you very little for stand+pop filter unless you find a good deal.

EDIT:
And if you regret buying an USB microphone after several years, don’t blame me … here’s my opinion (rant) on them:
http://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=209&t=79138#p451142
But as I said: unfortunately your budget doesn’t allow anything better.

Taming pops
As Michael Stavrou states in the Piece of Air section on page 109 of Mixing With Your Mind, people don’t sing out of the front of their mouths, but tend to sing slightly out to the side, the bias getting more as they grow older. As Michael writes, it is easy to find the sweet spot just by moving the mic from one side to the other while monitoring the sound. (Read the rest of the chapter for how to place a mic at the right height and distance.)

However, the ‘pop’ blast of air still comes directly out the front of the mouth.

This means that, unless ‘eating’ the mics, audible pops can be avoided by placing it directly in front the part of the mouth where the best voice timbre occurs.

We just have a small piece of mic pop-shield foam covering the area over the capsule, to prevent any saliva spray on it, but hidden from the camera, so our YouTubes do not have a big black shield obscuring the face.

Of course, if your vocalist’s face is all over the place, then a pop shield may help, though you will probably have a lot of other associated recording issues to worry about as well.


Envelope for pops
Pops are actually an interesting sound. When listened to through headphones, they sound like the whole sound stage is swaying from side to side. The waveform has an obvious low frequency waveform affecting the first part of it.

I made up an Envelope preset while took off the front face of the pop, but gradually brought the level back it until the end of the low frequency part. The sound no longer has the pop, but still has the consonant sounding clearly. Once I got the right edit, I usually saved the edits permanently, as there is no need to change it again.


Envelope for sibilance
Envelope presets are handy. I have another for dealing with sibilance. Sibilance seems to be annoying, not because it exists, but because it rises and falls. Cutting it to a flat top about a 1/3 of its former level (like a mesa) allows it to sound without being annoying. The envelope is simply a scalloped parabolic dip in the centre, and is applied from the 1/3 level on the rise to the one on the tail.

I also save it destructively (permanently), as it is ‘perfect’ once done. It is the peak that is the annoying part, so limiting the max level anywhere from 1/4 to 1/2 is fairly OK.

I much prefer to permanently fix up the few occurrences than have a VST permanently in the path affecting all the track and chewing up CPU.


If there are a lot of pops and sibilance occurring that can’t be mitigated by mic placement, the vocalist needs to be given a crash course in how to control their mouths (gently!).

Thanks for all of the great input and information everybody.
It is very much appreciated!

After reading your replies I am thinking of spending a bit more money and do it right!!!

Right now I have ONLY a laptop with cubase LE elements.

After some research i am planing on doing the following:

  1. Buy cubase PRO or ARTIST
  2. Buy an audio interface that i can use with cubase and my laptop
  3. Buy a mic that I can hook up to the audio interface and not USB
  4. Buy a midi keyboard that I can use with cubase.

My total budget is 750 euro.

I was thinking of the following:

  1. The ARTIST edition:
    I have read the comparison chart and I think that for someone who is just starting to learn cubase and making EDM this would be fine for me.

  2. I have seen so many but I just lack the knowledge of making a well founded decision.
    But I have to be able to connect a mic, midi keyboard and my speakers to it.
    Perhaps any of you could give me some info on this.

  3. Concerning the mic. I’ve read some thinks on the internet and came up with the Devine BM-600.
    Again here I would love to hear your opinion on this.

  4. As for the keyboard I saw the M-Audio Axiom AIR 25 USB MIDI keyboard and the Novation Launchkey 25 MIDI-keyboard.
    The importance is the it isnt TOO big and it would be very nice to control (at least a small bit) cubase with is (nobs, faders, drumpads, etc…)

I really hope to hear from you guys.

Thanks a bunch so far

  1. Artist is indeed fine for your needs, you can always upgrade it to pro if you run into its limitations but I use artist as well and it’s great.
  2. There are really many, all with their pro’s and cons. If you’ve got no hardware instruments (and no plans for them in the future) a 2-input 2 output interface will be enough. Get one with XLR inputs with phantom power, and balanced outputs and you should be grand.
  3. No experience with those, they’re very cheap so they’re probably not amazing but your budget doesn’t allow for much more.
  4. I personally can’t work with just 25 keys so I don’t know anything about what’s on offer there. Note that Novation products use automap which in theory sounds great but, going by what I’ve been reading here gives some problems in practice.

Dear Strophoid,

Thank you very much for you reply.
It helped me a lot.

What kind of midi keyboard is a good match for cubase?
32 keys is also a good option.

Now we are talking. With this kind of budget, you can easily create a great setup.

Let’s start:

  1. Audio interface: Steinberg UR22 (125€)
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/steinberg_ur22.htm
    Other good option in similar price range might be Focusrite Scarlett
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/focusrite_scarlett_2i2.htm

  2. Steiberg key (23€)
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/steinberg_key.htm

  3. Cubase LE/AI to Artist upgrade (250€)
    http://www.steinberg.net/en/shop/buy_product/product/cubase-artist-8.html

  4. Keyboard
    Let’s allocate 150€ here. Here’s couple of choises:
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/cme_uf50_classic.htm
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/novation_launchkey_49.htm
    As you can see. I didn’t include 25-key gadgets here. In my opinion 49-keys is minimum. Still not too big even if space is your major problem.

  5. Microphone
    We still have 200€ for a microphone. Not bad at all. This might be a nice set:
    http://www.thomann.de/gb/rode_nt1a_complete_vocal_bundle.htm (you need to add cable there)
    Also others like Audio-Technica AT2020 or AKG C3000 are widly used professional microphones in 100 to 200€ price range.

Don’t treat my recommendations as “Word of God”. This is just example package optimized on your budget and in my mind a well balanced one.

Dear Jarno,

Thanks for the great info!
I will dive into it en do some research tomorrow.

Thanks a bunch!!!

little correction: that Rode mic set actually comes with a 6m XLR cable, so you don’t need to add one. Other than that it looks like a nice setup!
Check if the upgrade from LE/AI to Artist doesn’t already come with a USB dongle. I know mine did, but that was a couple of Cubase revisions ago.

Additionally, by far most midi keyboards have a USB connection these days, so they go directly into your computer, not to your soundcard. This is ugly for audio devices like microphones as we established earlier in this topic, but for MIDI equipment it’s fine!

Thanks for the tip Strophoid!

Good selection there Jarno, that Rode mt1a microphone is nice but for around the same budget you can buy a pretty decent microphone including a sound isolation “booth”: http://www.dv247.com/microphones/se-electronics-x1-studio-bundle--102860

The SE mic is perhaps slightly worse (but then maybe not because the SE X1 is a budget cracker!) - but getting a good sound will be much easier with an isolation filter like the one attached - it kills most room noise and really cleans up home recorded vocals no end. You can have the best microphone in the world but if the room sounds bad and/or you are suffering from poor microphone placement then your recording will sound bad too.

Sony microphone is good for you

Of course that’s correct.

It doesn’t. It’s download upgrade and says clearly: “Additional USB-eLicenser required”.

Great point. Reflexion filter (or similar) is a gadget you should always have.

And budget overrun can (almost) be compensated by choosing a slightly cheaper keyboard (120€):
http://www.thomann.de/fi/miditech_groovestation.htm
But to be honest, Novation looks like a lot better quality one and I wouldn’t save there.

Maybe cheap “iso-booth” solution (50€):
http://www.thomann.de/fi/the_takustik_micscreen_flex.htm
combined with microphone like AT2020 (120€)
http://www.thomann.de/fi/audio_technica_at2020.htm
could be good a combination. Still 30€ left for cable, stand and pop filter, which might be just enough.

Or just use “pillows-and-blankets-iso-booth” for a while and decide later which kind of iso-booth solution to go for.

I have one of those iso-booths, they are nice but not in every case. They also reflect the signal in ways that wouldn’t occur without a booth so be careful with your placement and listen carefully if it actually improves your situation. Depending on the acoustics of your room it might actually make things worse.