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  1. #1

    Christmas help.....

    Not sure if this is the right place for this. My daughter is 13 and spends several hours a day playing acoustic guitar and singing. She would love to have a some equipment to use in the garage so she can take her craft to the next level. I do not know anything about music or audio. This is what I would like for her: a handheld mic for when she is singing without guitar, a stand for her mic so she can sit on a stool and play guitar while singing, and any equipment needed for those mics to work and put out sound. My budget is $1000.00. Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    It's the perfect place for this

    Don't buy anything designed to look like a toy. There are a lot of mics (microphones) and other "equipment" on the market that appeal to young singers; for example, Barbie microphones that are pink with feminine decorations all over them. In my experience these things are terrible quality and will surely disappoint, especially if your daughter is serious.

    You're on the right track though. You need a mic, a stand and an amp (amplifier). The amp is what the mic plugs into and creates the sound. Technically speaking you need an amp and at least one speaker, but in your case you're probably best going for a "combo unit" which is an amp and one or more speakers all in the same box. This is still generally referred to as an "amp" even though it contains an amp, speakers and possibly other processing equipment.

    Is there any way you can get to a local musical instrument store? It would make sense to spend some time with a salesperson looking at the options and have them explain exactly how to plug the mic into the amp and use it all properly. Another option could be to talk to a music teacher who knows about these things.

    Your budget should be enough to get some pretty good starter gear. One thing you'll want to consider is the 2nd-hand vs new debate. If you can find good 2nd hand gear you'll get much more bang for your buck, and if it's in good condition there's really nothing wrong with 2nd hand audio gear. Unfortunately, not being an audio person yourself, it's going to be difficult to make that call. You may prefer to get something new for peace of mind.

    For the mic, you can't really go wrong with the venerable Shure SM58. These are robust, versatile mics that will last for decades (barring accidents or serious abuse). You can use them either hand-held or on a stand, so you only need one mic (for now - as she progresses she might want more).

    The mic stand isn't quite as much of an issue. As long as it doesn't sag or collapse under a little weight, just about any mic stand will do for starters. For using while seated and playing a guitar you really need a boom stand rather than a straight vertical one.

    The amp is probably the hardest choice and most expensive item. Perhaps you could have a look around, see if you can inspect a few at local shops or something, then get back to us with the brand and models that fit your budget.

    One last thing... this page might help clarify how sound systems work a little:
    http://www.mediacollege.com/audio/01/sound-systems.html
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  3. #3
    Thank you so much Dave. You have started me on my way to understanding the very basics of audio. I had never even thought of used before, but we do have a used store near us (Music Go Round) and I have been told that they have a very helpful sales staff. I will compare what I can get there to what I can get new. But first, I will read about how sound systems work! Thank you again for your time.

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