Sunday, July 13, 2008

Picking a fight with Tekzilla - Home Recording Gear Edition

This isn't like serious grudge match or anything, just wanted to throw out some thoughts, and get some feed back.

Before I jump in, I'm a HUGE fan of Patrick Norton's and Tekzilla. I'm still boycotting Monster Cables pretty much from his say so.


On episode 40 of Tekzilla, a viewer wrote in asking about setting up a decent dorm room recording/podcasting setup. His budget was about $1100.

Here's the episode (segment starts at the 9 minute mark):

To recap, their advice was to buy the following:
-Skype (free)
-Shure SM58 ($100)
-Pop Screen or Sock ($5 - $30)
-M-Audio Fast Track (Veronica's fave? at $130)
-Audacity (free)
-Headphones (Patrick usually recommends sub $50)
-Audio Hijack Pro (to record skype, about $35)
Total = $345 (at the high end)

My problem isn't with their advice. The SM58 is classic, and I love Audacity, can't say I like the Fast Track, but on the whole it's all pretty good...

For some one with a $400 budget, not an $1100 budget.

Some moderate stepping up to, say a Fast Track Pro and an M-Audio Nova, or even an AKG Perception 220 would be a huge improvement in sound, for not a lot more cash. It would also allow him to route audio (like a Skype interview) without needing an additional piece of software to record interviews. Total, an increase of maybe $100, or still roughly half of what his total budget is.

So what would you do?
You're starting from scratch, and you have $1100.
What do YOU buy?


  1. I am with you all the way on your observations and suggestions. A point to ponder may be the "dormatory room" invironment. Maybe spend a few dollars more for a Heil dynamic PR-20 or PR-22 for its noise rejection and good quality.
    What would you think of the direct converter plug-ins like the MXL MicMate Pro and CEntrance MicPort Pro? They may only save a few dollars but could be really handy.
    Oh, don't forget the headphones.
    Now...about that $1,100 budget.

  2. The Heils are a GREAT IDEA! Especially if you have noisy neighbors. I was thinking of something like an SM7, but even that has a pretty wide pickup.

    I like the MicPort, haven't used the MicMate (though can't imagine it's any much different). I think at this level though, a stereo interface would make more sense. I hate using software to try and route skype calls, and if he ever wanted to add a small mixer, or just a second mic, the MicPort would be a hindrance.

    What do you think about headphones? I think for cost, a pair of Senny CX300's are the bees-knees, though nothing really unseats a good pair of Beyer's or my HD-25's.