Slight OT: Bedroom recording for covers, self-critique, etc

Bullseye_Doc_Holiday

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I was able to take advantage of Zildjians Audio Technica rebate last year and today my pair of Audio Technica AT2020 condensers will be delivered. I've been recording these things so far by just using a Blue Snowball USB mic straight into Garage Band. Now having received a pair of free condenser mics, I'd like to step things up a little bit and this is where I need some help. I prefer more of a natural sound than anything highly processed, I like being able to hear nuance, dynamics, tone, etc.

With that in mind, part of me thinks, "Spend $100 on this little Presonus (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/AudioBoxUSB96--presonus-audiobox-usb-96), buy a couple mic cables and a stand and just roll on with the two condensers."

Another part of me says, "Buy once cry once and get this one instead (https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Scarlet18i8G3--focusrite-scarlett-18i8-3rd-gen-usb-audio-interface) and then you're set to add a kick and snare mic when funds permit."

I suppose a third wildcard option would be to sell/trade the AT mics for a Zoom thingy. I know some of you here have good results with them (@tkillian ). If that's the play, which one?

Honestly, I'm not terribly disappointed with this Snowball recording, and figure it can only go uphill from here. Then again, I don't want to buy short only to have to re-buy again in a year or two. Thoughts?

 

TheBeachBoy

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You're already off to a good start. Personally, I'd go with more channels. Both are nice interfaces but I give the advantage to the Focusrite because it has more channels.

Personally, I'd go with something with 8 channels, because after a while with overheads, kick, and snare, you're going to think about adding toms and hi-hat mics. And maybe an under-snare mic. It's the recording flavor of GAS and it doesn't end either.
 

TPC

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Both the Presonus and Focusrite are excellent units for the price. I agree with Beach that eventually (probably sooner rather than later) you'll want the additional tracks.

I've been using Presonus FireStudios (daisy chained for 16 inputs) and really like them for live recording of my septet. The current Presonus 8-input units are very affordable.
 

vigilante397

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I've been using a Focusrite 8-channel for a couple years now so I'm biased, but that's what I would recommend. I'm fortunate that I'm not very good at mixing so my recording quality hit a ceiling a while ago and I was able to stop buying recording gear :p That being said you will never wish you had worse quality, so I vote for more mics and a bigger interface. I use one mic per drum (4-piece) and a pair of overheads and I get pretty good results.
 

funkypoodle

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I agree with both responses above. I've got both Focusrite & Presonus sound cards, albeit earlier models, though my roommate has the Focusrite 18i20. In terms of latency Focusrite is hard to beat for the price, has much better software for monitoring, routing, adding digital sources from pre's etc. Most importantly, the converters on my Focusrite are definitely superior IMO. One of my best friends & a very good producer has a Universal Audio card worth 4 times the Focusrite 18i20. He recently mixed a project elsewhere using the Focusrite 18i20 and found the difference between his UA card and the Focusrite to be surprisingly minimal, apart from the fact that the UA card has onboard DSP plugin processing.

Since you prefer more of a natural sound than anything highly processed I would suggest keeping the AT2020 and buying a kick mic (that you like) & an SM-57 for snare. Tom mics can wait, even snare for that matter. Once you get into closed miking things get complicated (phase issues, bleed, need for gating and basically a need to start processing, uber EQing, side-chain compressing and a lot of the stuff). I can get a nice, decent "natural" sounding recording with a pair of OHs & a kick mic, a smidgen of compression & EQing in pretty straightforward spots (design low end/kick punch, kill a bit of boxiness around 475 Hz, work snare around 1 Khz, another dip around 6 Khz & fine tune the high end).

The recording using your Blue Snowball doesn't sound bad at all (not a reflection of your playing or drums & cymbals BTW, which are very nice!), but you'll get a much better stereo image (IMO) using well placed OHs and a kick mic.
 
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