Originally Posted by wayout
I dont know if plugging (with adapters) your SM57 into the side of the laptop is going to work well, if at all... I would bet that you will need a preamp.
ALL PC based recording is easier with a mixing board (of any size) in the bargain. Latency is a bummer! (Delay between the time you make sound and when you hear it.) Laptops due to many factors are very hard to tweak to a very low latency. With a mixer, you can monitor the sound of the pre recorded tracks AND the new guitar/vox tracks @ the board while recording = no latency. AND then you have preamps too.
Good luck with it!
Sorry I have to correct some things here. Latency can show up in different ways, sometimes in your playback, sometimes in your recording, depending on how you set things up, and you will never get zero latency.
Having a mixing board run into your soundcard wont really help this any more than running a mic directly into this as long as you are still using said sound card and the same setup and doing playback off the same unit.
It isnt possible to get zero latency on a computer currently. Just due to the wayt computers play audio, the lowest I think I have ever gotten a computer to is 9 milliseconds, which is pretty dang small in all honesty. If your are doing analog recording I suppose it would be possible to get even closer to no latency, but there would still be a small amount just because electricity is not instantaneous. But for all intents and purposes when you are talking small millisecond numbers you are talking faster than human response time anyways and it becomes a moot point.
And yes you can plug a 57 into a standard sound card with a Mic in, those sound cards already have a preamp on them for dynamic mics, though they are probably expecting much lower grade. Do a google search on plugging professional mics into a sound card and you will find many sites on this, I believe the main part of it is to switch to a TS connector and disconnect one side of the balanced signal if I remember right, but I havent done it in a LONG time.
And in all honesty, if you want to get a good sound you dont want to use a consumer sound card at all, thus why an enternal preamp interface is a better solution for you, since it sounds like you will only be doing a couple of track recordings you should be fine, an MAudio firewire solo for instance would treat you well, lay down your guitar track and then come back over it with vocals. Plugging a mixer into your soundcard still causes noise to be injected into it from your soundcard, which for builtin and consumer sound cards is almost always more than what you will find from a semi-pro to pro external interface.
So really if you dont want to get an external sound card/Preamp interface, your best bet is in fact to just run straight into your computer and save yourself the money. any cheap mixer wont give you all that good preamps(Behringer for example) and to go with the better mixers for this type of work(The Mackie Onyx for example with the firewire interface card) would be quite a bit more expensive(You would be looking at around a thousand dollars depending on your exact setup)