Sunday, August 11, 2013


Last month I took the introduction to ProTools course at Citrus College.  After 8 3-hour classes my head was spinning.  I received good value for my money, but my questions about gear were still not being answered in a decisive way.  My question, would a preamp and analog microphone work better for my audiobook recording than a USB microphone? was met with a resounding "maybe."  The preamp that was recommended was the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2.  But the microphone?  All I knew was that I needed a cardiod condenser microphone (some say 'Large Diaphragm', but others say, it isn't necessary.

Finally, the illimitable Pat Fraley answered my question in his terse email manner.  Good old Pat is not terse in person, but his time is valuable, and so he communicates with the fewest words possible and still get his point across:
An USB is not good enough
You need a better mic and a digitizer.
For mic...step up to this:
Neumanns are the Rolls Royces of microphones.  Even at $700, this model is the introductory model.  However, getting the microphone first is putting the cart before the horse.  Even if I were to acquire the Neumann tomorrow I would still need a preamp (what Pat calls a digitizer.  He's a Mac guy).

Guess what I discovered today?  A brand new studio package from Focusrite called the Focusrite iTrack Studio, which includes preamp, monitor headphones, microphone cable and a "studio quality condenser microphone."  Check it out.

This is the same company that produced the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, referenced above.  It only has one channel, but I only need one.  But the BEST PART?  It's compatible with both PC, Macintosh and iPad.  That's right, it will allow me to record on my iPad.  Should I ever want to do that.  The iTrack solo alone is only priced $100 less than the Studio package.  That extra $100 includes the microphone, cable, and headphones.  I need the preamp anyway; so I'm going to give this some serious thinking.  The package is due out in September 2013 (a little month away).  I'm excited.  This will give me an opportunity to practice with a side-address microphone and who knows?  Maybe the quality of my recordings will improve.  Little by little the gear improves.  I'll wait to get the Neumann until I really, really need it (i.e., when a contract requires it).