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Using your Singstar microphones on a PC (and record in Audacity)

Picture of 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.

[Disclaimers]
- 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 !

[Thanks]
- To MasterCheese, for helping confirming my theories about these microphones and their adapter, and keeping me company during testing.
 
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Step 1: Requirements and preparation

Picture of 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

Picture of Plugging in and setting up the microphones
Instructable Singstar Audacity - Opening USB peripheral setup.png
Instructable Singstar Audacity - Advanced statistics configuration.png
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

Picture of Setting up Audacity and recording
Instructable Singstar Audacity - Creating new Stereo track.png
Instructable Singstar Audacity - Created new Stereo track.png
Instructable Singstar Audacity - Stereo track with sound.png
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.

Can you link please an audiotest on youtube???

CharlotteB26 months ago

Great idea.

Deslivres (author)  CharlotteB26 months ago

Hi CharlotteB2,

Thanks ! Actually a while ago, a friend of mine was talking about his podcast (The Little Metal Dog Show - http://littlemetaldog.com/) and it turns out that's actually just the kind of setup he was using when it all began. This is a really sweet setup when you're starting out a podcast on a budget, and Instructables is full of tutorials like the 12$ microphone stand, or the Microphone shock mount to step it up a bit more.

djzeratul5 years ago
For people not able to get both mics to work, check your recording sample rate and make sure its set to 2 Channels - CD Quality (44.100 KHz). XP, 7, and Vista all set microphones to 1 channel by default so in that case you will only get a doubled up mono signal (doubled to stereo) from one microphone (blue). Setting it to Stereo 2 channel input will allow you to record a separate L and R channel from Red and Blue mics separately. This is also the way to get it to work with the UltraStar open source SingStar port.
Hi djzeratul My sample rate is correct but still only the blue mic records. I've never done anything like this before so in layman's terms, the 2 different charts/graphs appear. Each graph has 2 bars. The one for the blue mic has the blue line running through the middle of each bar and it reacts to sound. The one for the red mic doesn't have any line running through it, regardless of whether there is sound or not and is not recording anything. Any suggestions?
Deslivres (author)  paulsydney9 months ago

4 years later :p

Reading about your problem Paul, it really looks a lot like what Djzeratul is describing - namely not setting the microphones to 2 channels, which results in only one of the two mics being active in the recording program. I will check to see if I still have these mics somewhere (I replaced them with a desktop mic a while ago for podcast recordings) and see if I can look into it. But do let us know if you've found a solution to your problem since you posted !

enhos3 years ago
With the singstar microphones you can record in adobe audition?
Deslivres (author)  enhos9 months ago

Hey there !

I don't have a copy of Adobe Audition to try it out, but it should be able to record using this program as well : the microphones with their base are recognized as a soundcard, you will need to check the Adobe Audition user manual to see how to set up audio sources.

Mark Gorman2 years ago
Hi, is Audacity required?
And have you used with Skype or WebEx with this setup?

thanks for the info!
Deslivres (author)  Mark Gorman9 months ago

Hey there :) Audacity is not required per se - it just happens to be a really good open source, free audio recording and editing program that's available for just about anyone with an Internet connection. You can probably use that same setup in other audio editing programs as the microphones are recognized by Windows as an independent USB audio card : you'll just need to follow the user manuel of your program of choice for such setup.

As for Skype, the answer is yes ! It does recognize USB mics - I've used several USB microphones with it over time, including my latest desktop mic from manufacturer AKG.

Sorry I didn't comment earlier, I hope it still helps you !

Pulgas_NLA11 months ago

Clear

Quick

Easy

Very good explanation, 10/10. Congratulations.

Deslivres (author)  Pulgas_NLA9 months ago

Thanks :)

callumfarley9 months ago
changed the box and mic casing a bit abd it looks almost professional
temp_1530468823.jpg
Drawgasm5 years ago
Hello there, I've bought these mics but I'm having trouble having bothmics be picked up. Your guide is very useful but I'm using XP and Icannot find some of the features you are talking about. I wondered ifyou knew how to do the same thing but for Windows XP?

Thanks in advance! :)
Deslivres (author)  Drawgasm5 years ago
Hello Drawgasm, and thanks for your question ! Sadly enough, I donot use Windows XP at the moment - at least not on my homecomputer. I do use it at work though and I'm going to bring themikes over there next week for some testing. I'll try to give youthe information you need then !

Until then, good luck - here's hoping you figure it out on your own !
All the best, T.
Thanks, I'm gonna try my best but any help you can give me would begreatly appreciated. Have a great day :)
Neilgal5 years ago
Good stuff! Thanks for posting this. Does anyone know if there is music-tuition software to make your PC go one step further and actually mark you as you play a particular bit of music on an instrument? I.e., behave like Singstar does to your voice?
Deslivres (author)  Neilgal5 years ago
Thanks for your comment, Neilgal !

I'm afraid I do not know of such a program. There is however, a free open-source alternative to SingStar called Ultrastar. Maybe you could derive something from their code, or ask the developers team if they can help you with this or point you the right way ?