Introduction: Using Your Singstar Microphones on a PC (and Record in Audacity)
Hi everyone, and welcome to this Instructable !
With the release of open-source alternative to Singstar Ultrastar, as well as the tendency of a certain librarian (yours truly) to come up with projects for his school that require cheap hardware and software solutions, it occured to me that it might be interesting to some to have a quick, step-by-step Instructable to how to setup your computer to work with a pair of Singstar microphones and their USB adapter.
Interested ? Then grab a cup of something to drink, and let's take a look at the next step and the list of requirements ! If you spot anything that could use some clarification, let me know once you're done reading and I'll do my best to update it and make it better as soon as possible.
- I am SO not responsible if anything bad happens to your computer and/or your microphones. Try this at your own risks !
- The title image is just a placeholder until I can make one a little more Creative Commons compliant !
- To MasterCheese, for helping confirming my theories about these microphones and their adapter, and keeping me company during testing.
Step 1: Requirements and Preparation
Let's start by making a list of what we're going to need for this little project :
- A computer running Windows Vista or 7 (sorry, haven't had the time to try it under Ubuntu or any other Linux flavours) ;
- A pair of Singstar microphones, along with their USB adapter ;
- A copy of Audacity.
That's it ! Start the computer, install Audacity - but don't start it yet - and let's move on to the next step !
Step 2: Plugging in and Setting Up the Microphones
Let's get started with the serious business :
First, plug in the USB adapter into whatever USB port you have available ;
Second, plug in the microphones into the adapter. Make sure they're in all the way - mine sometimes require some slight effort;
That was easy ! Windows should have installed the necessary drivers for the USB adapter after you plugged it in, but chances are that your computer, for now, only acknowledges the presence of one of the two microphones - most probably the blue one. The reason why ? The USB adapter is treated by Windows as just one microphone - but a Mono one. Let's sort that out.
[Note : All screenshots have been taken on a machine running the Windows 7 number 7100 Beta - but things shouldn't be ''too'' different under Vista]
We're going to click on the speakers icon at the bottom right part of your screen, and select the menu for recording peripherals.
Once the window listing all the recording peripherals present on the computer show up, you should see somewhere in the list something along the lines of "Microphone : 2-USBMIC Serial#XXXXXXXXX" : that would be the USB adapter for your microphones. Double-click that, and...
Once the Properties window for your USB adapter open, go to Advanced statistics and pick a default format that features 2 channels. As you can see, I decided not to be shy and picked the best it could offer : 2 channels, 16 bits, 48000 Hz. Probably an overkill !
I'd like to take a second to thank the people who put up a tutorial for that same purpose in the French Ultrastar forums - it really helped me a lot !
If everything went fine, Windows should now be able to understand what to do with these two microphones. Let's fire up Audacity and see if it's the case !
Step 3: Setting Up Audacity and Recording
It's time for us to make use of the program you installed earlier, Audacity. Once it's started, open the Edit >> Preferences menu and set it up as can be seen in the first image, by choosing (Microphone 2 - USBMIC Serial #) from the peripherals list, and 2 (Stereo) from the Channels list.
As an audio editing program, it's able to manage several audio tracks, Stereo or Mono, much in the same way that, say, Photoshop manages layers in an image. Which means, of course, that you need a track to be able to put sound on it !
In our case, since we're going to use what Windows sees as a Stereo microphone, we're going to add a new track that can deal with. Click the Project >> New Stereo track option, and the new track will show up in the main window, ready to record. All that is left for you to do is press Record - and if everything went fine, your Singstar microphones are now both active and recording !
Step 4: Conclusion
Now that everything's set up correctly, yours are the joys of recording with your USB microphones ! They're pretty good quality for the money, and now you can do whatever you like from recording yourself playing the yukulele to recording your own podcasts - who knows, a few years down the road you might end up making your own cheap recording studio like funnystuffinc taught you to in his Instructable !
Deslivres, logging out.