Some help from the PRO’S

What i need n-Trac for is very simple.I have several family members that would like me to take some of the sound trac’s that I use, add my vocals and put them on a CD.
I pesume that i can import my sound trac from my CD drive into n-Trac.(easy enough)
My main question is about the vocal trac.
In an experimenting mode I will be using a shure SM58 mic.As you know upper grade mic’s are low/imp XLR.I use Sound Blaster Live as my sound card.The mic imput is 1/8".
What is the best way to make this conversion?? With out killing the sound of this mic???

Ideally you need either a microphone amp or a mixer (you can get pretty cheap versions of either nowadays) as you will need some way of controling the mic volume.

If you want an ultra-cheap solution to experiment with, maybe you have an old tape deck (cassette or reel-to reel) with a mic socket? You could plug the mic into that and connect the line-out into your Soundblaster.

If you start getting into it, you might want to upgrade your soundcard - I understand the Soundblasters cannot record and play back simultaneously at high quality and so the backing track you are singing to will sound pretty rough (not conducive to a good performance!!).

If you don’t mind spending a tiny bit of money… get an m-Audio 2496 soundcard (about $100 – it’s got RCA ins & outs) and either a
cheap mixer

or a

cheap mic pre-amp

and an adapter cable (1/4" mono to RCA) to hook the two together.

You’ll be set.

350 bucks, one of the little Behringer mixers.



Hey Tom… I’ll sell you as many of those mixers as you want for half that price! :D

Most don’t suggest using the mic input, but it will work in a pinch, and may be acceptable for what you want to do. It will be a LOT cheaper to start. If you are planning on doing much more recording or aren’t happy with the noise of the mic input you can always go the preamp/mixer route later.

EDIT: When I said “a LOT cheaper” I was looking at $350…considering that is a typo, I’d say $35 for that Behringer looks pretty good.

The idea is to adapt the lo-Z balanced XLR of the mic to unbalanced h-Z 1/8" mic input on the SB Live. The A3F XLR Jack-to-1/4" Plug Adapter/Transformer (RadioShack
Catalog #: 274-016) handles that pretty well, though it seems to be out of stock on-line.

The all you need is a 1/4" jack to 1/8" plug adapter.


In any case, if you use your soundblaster card, you’ll have a technical problem to deal with. Your CD is recorded at 44.1kHz sample rate. The SB card works internally at 48kHz. It allows you to use it in 44.1kHz mode, but that will cause synchronization problems (that issue comes up here all the time).

So, the best bet would be to rip the audio file from CD to a .wav file, and use Voxengo r8brain (free) to convert it to 48k. Then record your vocals using SB-Live at 48k.

For the next step, the easy way would be to continue at 48k and mix, and then convert the final result to 44.1k.

But the result would sound better if, instead, you convert your vocal track to 44.1k and then mix it with the original 44.1k wave file. Not nearly as easy, because there are some synchronization issues to deal with. But in this case, you haven’t up-sampled and then down-sampled the music tracks, muddying them up considerably. Instead, you’ve just done one conversion on the vocal track. Being a less complex waveform, it’ll convert better, and you’ve only run it through the mill once.

I’d try the first option and see how it sounds, and if you’re not happy with the results you can always try the second option.