Ext. Soundcard And Microphone For Recording Guitar

Hey all you sexy’n’cool people out there!

My best friend and me are writing some songs with traditional rock instruments (mainly guitar). My plan is to record it into renoise, to layer it with drums and the like, to make some kind of weird mash-up stuff.

But I need a decent microphone and a good external soundcard. My computer is the new aluminium macbook(from late 2008), so it has to USB since it hasn’t got anyfirewire.

The soundcard only needs to have max 2 (audio) inputs. It would be nice to have the ability to hook it up to some monitors, if i get some in the future…
The microphone is for recording the sound of my guitar amp (a Peavey classic 30).

I don’t have alot of money, so preferably something around 300$ max.

What do you guys recommend?

Thanks alot guys,

It’s maybe not what you are searching for… But I have a handy recorder zoom H2 and I love it. It can record being connected (or not) to a computer. You could try…

Actually, my friend has one of these, but I would rather have a set up made for recording guitar.

I don’t do much recording of acoustic instruments, but I have an Audio Technica AT 4040 that I’m very happy with. It’s a very good quality microphone at a price that is quite reasonable for what you get. For soundcards there are tons of options.

I had a E-mu USB 0404USB which worked fairly well, but if you turned the latency below about 6ms it would get crackling. I’m not sure if I recommend it or not, but the audio technica for a microphone I think is a good choice.


a general purpose condenser mic is probably what you’re after. i have an SE1A, which works fine for guitars, instruments and stuff. The are many other options for mics which aren’t too expensive, obviously the more you spend the better quality, but you can get good results with a £50 mic. The most important thing is to get the right type, which will probably be a condenser.

however you can also record your guitar directly into the computer if it is an electric and you have some amp modelling software internally and externally. guitar rig is quite popular for internal amp modelling. there are some cheaper options out there which do similar stuff. however you may have latency problems doing it this way depending how fast your computer is, and/or you need to add the amp modelling after recording the signal clean or with a minimum of effects.

external amp modelling could be done with something like a line 6 pod. or you can record your amp with a microphone as you suggest. however if you want to record vocals simulatenously but don’t want to buy a second microphone you might find direct line recording on the guitar useful.

otherwise you probably want another microphone and stand for vocals. you may be able to use either a dynamic microphone or a condenser for recording vocals, probably best to get one recommended specifically for this purpose. a circular pop sheild in front of the mic will be useful, but you can always make one with some old tights and a coathanger to save money.

soundcardwise there are masses of options. if you also want amp modelling you might take a look at the line6 usb interface which will include their amp modelling software, and is pretty cheap. otherwise any soundcard with a couple of inputs should do the job.

tbh as much as i love renoise, for what you’re suggesting i don’t think it is the best option. instead you might want to look at Reaper, which you can trial unlimited for free. if you want to mess around with the sounds or use drums and samples after you’ve recorded them in with Reaper, you could load them into Renoise for that later on. Or record drums in Renoise and load them into Reaper.

for a condenser mic or two and soundcard you can do that with the budget you suggest. get a microphone stand or stands as it’ll give better results than putting the mic in your trainer/shoe. once you’ve chosen a soundcard just get the best mics you can afford.

I have a Novation Nio hooked up to an AKG1000S. Inc mic and stand came to £150, nice clean sound and has guitar input, MIDI I/O and four RCA outs too. Very nice piece of kit. Alternatively, look at getting a small mixer and send the outs into the H2 set up as an interface.

Thanks for your detailed answer!
About the interface: I think I’m gonna go for the M-audio Fast Track II. It seems cheap but still good, atleast if it is usb 2.0.

I know what you mean about renoise not beeing the best software option for what I’m planning and reaper was actually one of the other daw I was planning on looking at. But renoise will still be at my fingertips for doing all the drums and possible glitch work and what not.

About the guitar part:
I would really prefer to get all the feedback and the “live” feel you get from playing guitar at a high volume from my amp, rather than running it through digital processors on my computer.
I NEED some of my punk spirit!!!

And a condenser mic is probably the best way to go (even though I don’t really know anything about mic’s). Do you have any recommendation for some relatively cheap condenser mic’s, that sound “good”?

And thanks again for taking time to help me out!

  • Dennis