Shure X2U XLR to USB Adapter
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About as simple as it gets, the Shure X2u translates the audio signal from any microphone to a USB feed to your computer. The big difference here is that the X2u also converts the computer audio coming back over the same USB connection into playback audio. Essentially you have an audio interface that will work with any computer--laptop to big tower.
Just to prove it, I connected the X2u to my old office computer, a flat panel iMac running OS 10.3.9. I booted up a free program called Audacity, set Audacity and the Mac's Sound preferences and I was recording and overdubbing straightway with no big whoop! It sounds wonderful with better than CD quality and is super-easy to configure and use.
The X2u, available in bundles with either Shure's SM57 or SM58® microphones, it is about the length of the body of those mics. Actually a portable recording studio that includes Velcro straps to tie it to the mic stand, the X2u comes with all cables (except XLR mic cable) and is powered from the USB jack. It has a standard USB connector (and not one of those pesky mini USB jacks) at one end and an XLR female mic connector ready at the other. There is even a +48-volt phantom power on/off with indicator LED for condenser mics plus a signal presence LED. (Nice feature!)
The X2u has a Mic Gain control (record level in essence), a Monitor control for mixing your live audio with the track audio without latency, and an over all volume control for the ear bud or headphone mini jack output.
If you're into self-recording or Podcasting, this is one of the best rigs I've seen. X2u is compatible with Windows Vista, XP, 2000, and Mac OS X 10.1 or above. It sells for $154 MSRP, The SM58 or SM57/X2u Bundle is $298 MSRP. Check www.shure.com
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