I discovered Smule in 2016, but it was just a passing interest. I had never really sang much other than in the car, in the shower, and maybe if we were at a bar that had a karaoke machine. But I loved to sing.

In 2017, I got my Samsung Note 8, which came with AKG tuned headphones. This was my first real improvement in recording quality, and it is also when I got interested in singing on Smule:

Smule Summer 2017 AKG Headphones

Samsung SM-N950UZVAXAA Galaxy Note8 (US Version) Factory Unlocked Phone – 6.3″ Screen – 64GB – Orchid Gray (U.S. Warranty) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07539DSV3/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_6IJABb52AD264

I got a chance in 2017 to sing in the choir and church and started to put my first effort into putting together an actual “setup” for Smule recording. I had never really sang with a microphone, etc. so this was all pretty new to me. Since I already had some camera and video recording gear, I found that my biggest challenge was that I needed to be able to hear BOTH the music AND my own voice WITH NO DELAYS!

So I came up with something that worked for me for a short while:

Smule Fall 2017 Setup

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone (new model) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IT0IHOY/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_tKJABb5F1BB84

Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KCXMBES/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_fLJABbDF831C4

AmazonBasics 3.5mm to 2-Male RCA Adapter Cable – 4 Feet https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01D5H8JW0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_qPJABb6CE9294

3.5mm to RCA Stereo Audio Cable Adapter – 3.5mm Female to Stereo RCA Male Bi-Directional AUX Auxiliary Male Headphone Jack Plug Y Splitter to Left / Right 2RCA Male Connector Plug Wire Cord https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JEBLEIC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_8PJABb8B96544

Maeline 3.5mm Female to 2 Male Gold Plated Headphone Mic Audio Y Splitter Flat Cable https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PYZ2BT4/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_0RJABbD7C4A94

Headphone Mic and Audio 2 in 1 Adapter Cable, iXCC 1 Feet 3.5mm Male to 2 Female Premium Gold-Plated Corrosion-Resistant Y Splitter Cable for Headphone, Headset https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073RXXS4N/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_nRJABbCE45884

Movo WST-R30 Fitted Nylon Windscreen with Acoustic Foam Technology for Zoom H4n, H5, H6, Tascam DR-100 MKII and Sony PCM-D50 Portable Digital Recorders https://www.amazon.com/dp/B012Y85YME/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_ZMJABbDEE97A4

However, I quickly grew tired of not being able to listen and review the songs in stereo without having to change cabling around, mess with levels, etc. I also found that my best time for singing was late at night, and I didn’t want to keep my family awake with my late night singing.

So I worked on a DIY studio / vocal booth setup in my basement underneath our stairs:

Smule Summer 2018 Studio v1

IK Multimedia iRig Pre microphone preamp for smartphones and tablets https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007534LFK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_DSJABbCD2F724

Rode NT1A Anniversary Vocal Condenser Microphone Package https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002QAUOKS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_yTJABb6DFCE04

Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 9.7-Inch, 32GB Tablet (Silver, SM-T820NZSAXAR) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MRDL916/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_5UJABb750EA64

Harbinger L1202FX 12-Channel Mixer with Effects https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00PV6GZG6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_5WJABb9016444

Shure SE425-CL Sound Isolating Earphones with Dual High Definition MicroDrivers https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003NSBKSC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_ZYJABbC36A454

Sterling MX8 Studio Monitor


Neewer Universal Smartphone & Tablet Stand (Sturdy Metal Arm, Padded Holder, Adjustable Mounting Clamp) for iPhone 6 Plus, GALAXY Note 5, iPad Air/iPad Air 2, Samsung Galaxy Tab and More–Black https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016F5HXBC/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_61JABbF447514

Microphone stand


Recently, I decided that I would really like to have a similar level of quality for monitoring while singing, but I would like to be able to take it with me to perform recordings in different locations.

So I have come up with this setup that I am currently implementing along-side my studio setup:

Smule Fall 2018 Portable

I’m also working on plans for a Studio v2.0 to include a nice scissor boom for my mic, acoustic treatment for the room, and possibly a large TV screen that I screen mirror the tablet to for easier viewing and while in the studio. Stay tuned for more improvements.

If you have any questions about my gear or setup, leave a comment below!

Harold “Hop” Ballinger aka “SparkleCityHop”