Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser Mic (Review - Lutch)
This microphone is so conveniently versatile. It has simplified out recording process by condensing (no pun intended) all our equipment into one little mic. We used to have two XLR mics that plug into a USB mixer that plugged into the computer, but this microphone plugs directly into the USB port of any computer. And the best part is that the whole recording is in stereo, as opposed to one mic going to the left speaker/earphone, and the other going to the right. We originally thought that set up would be best, but as we started bringing guests on the show, it became clear that one mic for each ear would not be that convenient. This USB mic seems to be perfect in terms of picking up the vocal audio that we want, and not picking up any white noise. It makes editing much easier because sometimes one person might be louder than the others and compressing the audio to even out those levels runs the risk of boosting whatever white noise is picked up. Anyone doing any kind of audio recording, this will give you a clean, professional sound and has a headphone jack for sound monitoring directly on the mic. It also comes with a convenient desk stand and the only other thing you need, the USB cable!
Skullcandy SLYR Gaming Headset (Review - Lutch)
Even though this headset was intended for gaming, we use them for recording for one simple reason. Comfort! The last thing you want when your deep into a heady conversation is for the mood to be disrupted by an uncomfortable headset. Because we really only use them for recording, sound quality was not our biggest concern so we could have used any old headphones just to make sure everyone could be heard at a palatable level for listeners, but you almost want to forget that you're wearing anything, and these do just that. The headset has a built in microphone but we don't need it because of our USB microphone, but would certainly come in handy if it were being used for gaming. It connects through a typical 3.5mm headphone jack, both on the headset and whatever it is being plugged into, and includes the cable to do so. These could easily be used for listening to music, but I personally prefer earbuds for music. Check the "Other Electronics" section for my recommendations for music headphones!
Shure SM48 Dynamic Mic (Review - Lutch)
(Frequecy 55 - 14,000 Hz) One of the first Awe, Really purchases was two of these microphones. I first came across Shure microphones back when I was playing with my high school band. We had gone through a few different microphones and being in a rock band, they sometimes took a bit of a beating. In that band, we started out spending a little more money on mics, but when we damaged more than one, we decided that maybe we should go for something we wouldn't mind damaging or having to replace. Much to our surprise, even with dents and being dropped multiple times, the sound was just as good as the expensive brand and far more durable! When it came time to start recording ARP, I knew this was our best option. It isn't the cheapest mic you can find, nor the highest quality on the market, but in terms of getting a bang for your buck, and investing in durable, worthwhile equipment, Shure microphones are the way to go. It connects using an XLR cable which is not included in this particular link, but you can get a bundle that does include one. (see below) This version does not have an 'on/off' switch, but there is one if you prefer. (see below)For our purposes, it is easy enough to just have a microphone that just turns on as it is plugged in.
Shure SM48S Dynamic Mic w/ On/Off Switch (Review - Lutch)
This is the same microphone as above only with an On/Off switch. I've found that I don't really need to turn off the microphone because it is only plugged in when it is in use, but if it is a feature you would find useful, it's only about ten bucks extra. Perhaps you have a studio where your equipment stays plugged in, but you don't want your mic draining electricity while it's not being used. This affordable, durable, quality microphone will definitely make you happy!
Shure PGA48 Dynamic mic w/ 15' XLR (Review - Lutch)
This is not the exact same model as the microphones that we have. The frequency range on this microphone is slightly smaller, but not enough that you'll notice for most vocal projects (70 - 15,000 Hz.) The SM48 is going to deliver a marginally better sound, but this version has the On/Off switch and comes with the 15' long XLR connector cable included so you can get everything you need to plug into a microphone interface with just one click. And as always, Shure microphones are durable in addition to being affordable!
PreSonus AudioBox USB 2x2 Audio Interface w/ Studio One (Review - Lutch)
Unless you have a microphone that plugs directly into the USB port of your computer, you are going to need something that accepts the XLR plug that is standard for microphones. This is a very basic, two port interface that will allow you to plug in two mics (or instruments) directly into your computer. The AudioBox accepts the XLR plugs and then itself plugs into a USB port. If you don't want to spend too much money, but you want to get the job done, this is exactly what you're looking for. In addition, this interface comes with the software for audio recording and editing, Studio One. For ARP, we only have 2-3 vocal sources and there is not much editing necessary, so we use free software to record; it is extremely simple and does not allow you to do real time editing, but it works for our purposes. Depending on what type of audio you are recording and what your finished product is supposed to sound like, however you may want to have access to a bit more in terms of features, editing plug-ins, etc, and Studio One will give you a lot more freedom to be able to manipulate your raw audio and edit the audio as it plays so that you can hear exactly how different manipulations manifest. The AudioBox itself has 2 inputs, each going to one side, giving you full stereo with both inputs in use. We have since upgraded our equipment, needing more than 2 inputs, but this guy carried us for quite a while without a single issue!