After some recent reflection, I have a few general questions about equipment designed for streaming and multi media platforms.
Here is a little back drop with getting too astray……
I have focused for the past year on acquiring equipment to perform live, and I’m in much better shape there. I would like to provide a shortlist of a few of the things that I know or think I need to acquire. Please correct me if I’m wrong.
Get a decent laptop. I have been using an iPad for everything so far but need a proper laptop to take streaming, video and sound quality, programs (I definitely want to get Guitar Pro), the added capabilities with a DAW, DJing versatility, etc etc.
Get a mic. I had the Blue Yeti recommended to me. What mics do others prefer?
Settle on a DAW. Probably a whole other conversation, but that should eventually, theoretically, enhance things.
Are there any other recommendations that people have for getting full control and quality out of online sound?
Travis kudos for trying to improve on your setup, although I must day your quality tonight was really great considering it’s only an ipad!
I would say yes for pc or laptop, it is way easier to set everything up using laptop. Also all depends where would your destination be - do you want to record tracks with BT with studio quality? Do you just want to perform live? Lots here to consider.
I have two mics - dynamic where strumming is loud and guitar might be bleeding into mic and condenser for gentle live playing and recording to AVOYP. Shure SM58 I used tonight and Mackie EM-91C for instance in Nutshell (and many more) singing recordings. Any of those are fine and plenty more options others will recommend.
DAW I guess most popular is Reaper around here although any should be fine really.
You also need audio interface, Scarlett 2i2 is a great pick but again so many good options on the market that you can cherry pick hope this helps!
Related enough to put in here rather than a separate post, can anyone recommend a decent pair of monitoring headphones that won’t break the bank? I just wasted a load of time fiddling with microphone position/settings, thinking that I was getting noise & clipping, turned out to be rubbish headphones, played back through speakers no problem at all!
Only thing I would think about here is the laptop.
the laptop will have a limited life span but custom built pc will not, only parts within. Any part is easy to change these days and can be acquired quickly. It’s easy enough if you follow the motherboard instructions to build it. At 58 I’ve changed a motherboard the same day so not really a hard job.
The area lacking in laptops is ports, pc win hands down for equipment hook ups but fair about the same for speed or better if you think of portability is read.
The Blue Yeti is a decent podcasting mic. It is a USB mic which means it has an audio interface built in which makes it simpler to use, but it also limits it to simple tasks.
My suggestion is to avoid USB mics because they will limit you. Get an audio interface (AI), like the Focusrite or Behringer ones, and get a conventional mic to plug into it.
You didn’t mention what guitar you have but if you have one with a pickup, you can also connect that directly into the AI and use amp simulation or effects, or if you have an amp you can usually connect a line out from the amp into the AI.
If it’s acoustic, then you would record with a mic. You can use the same mic for guitar and vocals, but this can be tricky, so it’s best to plan for at least a two input AI so you can connect the guitar and mic, or two mics, at the same time.
More inputs may be useful, but will cost more
Also, for live streaming, headphones are pretty essential for monitoring in most circumstances. These can be connected to the AI.
Travis, you don’t mention the operating system running on your laptop.
That may be relevant for consideration of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). If an Apple laptop then you should have GarageBand available which will tick that box.
You also don’t mention how you connect the acoustic to your amp. I assume you have electro-acoustic guitar(s) based on what you have said in the past.
In which case I think a relatively simple solution for participation in Community Open Mics or Live Streams, is to obtain the AI as others have mentioned, a dynamic mic (assuming my assumption about electro-acoustic guitars is correct) and then use the OBS software to receive the audio singnal from the interface and route it to either Zoom (our current OM platform) or StreamYard.
You can also use this setup to make home recordings for AVOYP or produce your own Live Streams should you wish to do that.
If in time you wish to make home recordings that make use of recording multiple guitar parts, backing and harmony vocals, even adding other instruments like drums using midi and digital instruments then you’d need to make use of a DAW.
I just have an iPad so I guess IOS is the operating system?
I have messed around with garage band a little, but mostly just tor adding some drum beats to play along with tor fun.
I have not placed any of my recordings into a DAW yet to make serious changes or enhancements to.
The guitar that I play the most right now is a Martin acoustic-electric that I plug into my Boss Katana MKII 100 amp, then I send that out to an unpowered Yamaha mixer that I just got new not long ago.
I don’t have a laptop yet, I need to purchase one.
I will attach the specs for my mixer. I went with an unpowered mixer because my gig speakers are powered (instead of passive). I might not be saying some of these things properly either, but from what I understand, this is considered an unpowered mixer.
Travis, thanks for clarifying, that makes sense. This was my lack of understanding of what is meant when talking about ‘unpowered’ in this context.
I did a little reading and spotted this here though no idea how that would actually work but looks interesting.
Works with the iPad (2 or later) through the Apple iPad Camera Connection Kit / Lightning to USB Camera Adapter
I also see that the mixer has a USB output and the user manual leaflet states 'the sound of the stereo bus is output to the computer. Perhaps with a suitable USB cable you can use this to connect to the iPad?
I assume that you connected to StreamYard (and could also connect to Zoom) using the iPad.
If this all works out then maybe all you need right now is a dynamic mic for your vocals that can plug into the mixer. You can also plug the acoustic guitar directly into the mixer or continue to go via the amplifier if you are using the amp and it’s fx to work on the tone of the acoustic.
Once you have the mic then I guess you’d want the amp silent so as to avoid excessive bleeding of the guitar sound with your vocal picked up on the mic. I assume that is possible but have no knowledge of the capabilities of that amp.
The mixer looks and reads very similar to my Behringer Xenyx 1204 and will have a “blended” stereo output across to channels, effectively left and right. So does not provide single track processing in a DAW. So when recording with Gtr and Vox together and FX added in the DAW will be applied to them both simultaneously. ie no multi track tweaking. I would also suspect the onboard FX is applied across the board on all input devices and can be dialled in as required, a common feature on this type of mixer. But similar to mine, it does have an AUX send receive so a separate FX pedal could be used, like my Zoom multi-stomp. That would allow to us the onboard FX on say vocals/mic and the Aux/FX loop pedal to the gtr or vice versa.