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XLR to USB adaptors, converters, preamps, etc.

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Before you go and pick up that new USB microphone, (or before you lose the receipt from the one you just kicked yourself for buying) consider the fast growing line of XLR to USB converters.

If you do remote recording, or just want to ease congestion at your workstation I thought I'd introduce some options.

When I show up at a client's office (for lack of a proper studio) and all they have is a computer, do I really want to lug racks of gear along with me?

Here is a way to take hundreds of different studio microphones and turn them into USB mics.


Most of these models with a preamp provide up to 40db of gain.


Take a moment to check out these links and see what's what before you post.


For starters, the Centrance "MicPort Pro"

http://centrance.com/about/photos/i/micport-200-2.jpg the original often copied device complete with phantom power supplied via USB, a headphone jack and knobs for headphone and mic gain.

Zero latency is it's biggest attraction. ~$120-$140 U.S.D

I have heard endless praise for this one from pros on the road.


Next up we have the MXL "Mic Mate Pro" from Marshall (known more for guitar amps).

http://www.mxlmics.com/products/USB/MicMate_Pro/MicMate-PRO_ic.jpgCame out a year later and bears an uncanny resemblance to the MPP above. It also has the same features and a lower price. ~$99 U.S.D. Not much user feedback out there yet.


The most recent entry would be Blue "Icicle"

http://images.dailyradar.com/media/uploads/tech/story_story/2008/11/07/blue_microphone_presents_the_icicle_xlr_to_usb_aud.jpgThis has phantom power, but no headphone jack. ~$50-$60 U.S.D. No drivers required, but they all say that.


Also from Marshall MXL, their "Original Mic Mate"

http://www.gearwire.com/media/mxl-micmate.jpgwhich is a straight-up, in-line preamp with phantom power. ~$40-$50 U.S.D.

A simple converter if that's all you need, with high, med and low gain settings.


On the bottom of the totem pole is the bare bones product, the Soundtech Lightsnake which is hardly pro, but included anyway.

This would in all likelihood be for use with dynamic microphones only, as there is no phantom power. Better than nothing though.

http://www.guitarampkeyboard.com/rs/tn1/tn1_6475032.jpgRetails ~$35 U.S.D. Described as "a soundcard in a cable"



Brand new this Spring may be the one with the most features and the only one from a company that made microphones for 80 years: the Shure X2u

Currently not in stock yet as of this posting (damnit!) but it can be pre-ordered.


What this has that none of the others do is a peak level indicator (tri color) and a dial to monitor mix control for blending microphone and playback audio, plus all the previous brand's whistles and bells. Check out the 3-D demo on their site.


I like that it has a headphone jack on the side. The one complaint users had about both the MicPort and Mic Mate pro was that the headphone jack made it hard to hit the 48v button.


Well there you have it.

Send me reps if you found this thread useful.

Yours professionally,


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Wow, I actually am going to get myself one of these. Seems like it could come in handy for interviews, mobile broadcasts and some recording on the go. Thanks for the post, I'll look into it :)








Jon Bova


"Successful people have libraries. The rest have big screen TVs. - Jim Rohn"

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