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Throw away your studio microphones - there's a better mic inside your computer!

There's a right way and a wrong way to do most things. But in recording, can you do it any way you like?

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Comment from a Audio Masterclass visitor...

Hello David,

I would like to start by saying that you have a great site, and keep up the good work.

We all know that miking techniques are always a big issue, and I have found that surprisingly, the microphone built into my eMac has given me wonderful results as far as vocal recording, when used in collaboration with a pop filter and slight gating via Cubase.

I have been engineering for around 11 years and have tried various condensers and dynamic mics, and still I often get better results with this internal microphone. It is very convenient as well, as it is right in my control room, and makes for a fast setup, while still obtaining great results.

I know that I am not the only one who records vocals in the control room, for Alan Moulder stated that Trent Reznor recorded vocals for The Fragile in such a manner. And who's going to tell Trent how to produce a great album? I believe partly has to do with the fact that I can completely bypass my USB interface. (How I long for a MOTU FireWire interface!).

Have there been any similar comments pertaining to this? I bought my eMac in January 04 and it is quite quiet and compact little devil.

Thanks again for the great newsletters.

Jon Austin
MasterMind Studios

David Mellor responds...

Clearly Trent Reznor has sold his soul, and that's how he gets such good results.

Seriously though, if a USB interface causes so much degradation that the internal mic of an eMac is better, then something is definitely going wrong and a reputable interface should show a marked improvement.

However, I am often surprised how good internal mics can be - I'd take as examples the internal stereo mic on my old Hi 8 camcorder which gave surprisingly good results at a distance, as does the internal mic on my digital camera (which records movies too).

I doubt whether side-by-side comparison between internal mics and 'old school' mics will show internal mics to be more accurate, but if you want a new and original sound, then any means of capturing or creating audio is up for investigation.

Does anyone else use odd microphones, or standard mics in an unusual way?

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By David Mellor Sunday November 20, 2005
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