What Are the Best Microphones to Record Narration?

The question below came up in the Articulate Storyline forum.

Question - best mics

It’s a question I get a lot — many of you have asked the same question, as well.  So, I thought I’d share my answer with you below.  Make sure to see the reference links at the bottom.  There’s also a pretty useful primer produced by Andre Costa about getting good audio quality.  I think you’ll find it useful.

The Answer

Hi Luis,

I’ve used the Samson condenser mic you referenced.  It’s good. I’ve also used Blue’s Yeti microphone.  Both are very good.  If I had my druthers — and assuming your recording environment is relatively “clean” of ambient sounds — I’d opt for Blue’s Yeti, with the pop filter you mentioned.

The thing is, they’re so good that they will also record any ambient sounds in your recording environment. In fact, I now only use the condenser mics when I’m recording from my home office where my environment is better controlled than my business office — where there are a/c vents and non-padded / hollow walls.   It’s very noticeable.

Interestingly, when I record audio from my business office, I get better audio quality when I record using a plain ‘ol Plantronics headset with a boom mic and then follow that up with a little noise and bass filter processing using Audacity software (free). (Related reference:  How to Remove Background Noise From Your Screencast Audio.)

The Bottom Line

If you’re environment is clean of ambient sounds, I’d go with either of the condenser mics mentioned above. (Depending on your budget.) But, if you have limited control over your audio environment, I’d opt instead for a good headset / boom mic.  

“The Boom” headset mic is one I’m shopping for now.  It’s a bit pricey, but seems to be getting good reviews and is one a friend has recommended.

Also, I thought you might also find this funny, yet informative tutorial that was produced by Andre Costa about sound quality and microphone selection.

[Off Topic – 4th of July Bonus] Freedom Resistance Cooperation – What I Valued From SERE School

July 4, 2012

This is an off-topic post. I wanted to take just a couple of minutes to wish you a happy fourth of July / Independence Day celebration and to also share a few of my thoughts about the values I reflect upon on a day like today: freedom, resistance, and cooperation.

SEREIn the video, you’ll hear me mention having spent some time inside a mock prisoner of war camp. This reference is to the military’s SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance and Escape) program. A few friends and I had the pleasure of “vacationing” there for a week a number of years ago as part of our naval aviation training program.

But, the gist of the story is that, it is at SERE is where some of my strongest memories about the themes of freedom, resistance and cooperation were formed. And, while the idea of freedom is a value we each share with each other in the U.S., as is the notion that our payment of it is rooted in resistance, it is the point of cooperation — a value that I think is just as important in the ideals of independence — that I regret seems sorely missing in the state of our nation today.

My hope for today is simple: I’m glad that freedom is valued in all corners of our society. I’m encouraged that we celebrate the active resistance that sparked the embers of our independence. And, though others governing our nation today seem to have lost the spirit of cooperation, my hope is that it isn’t lost at the grassroots level — where the rubber meets the road — where you and I — my friends — live.

Freedom, resistance, cooperation: I wish you a happy day of celebrating our nation’s independence.

Beyond YouTube 101 – Eight Factors To Juice Your Viewer-Influence

Gawd!  Fifteen minutes isn’t a lot time.  (Especially when you put me at the front of a room with about 100 attendees and then put a microphone in my hand.)  🙂  But, fifteen tiny little minutes is what each of us speakers had at last Friday’s Social Media Day event here in Orange County (#SMDAYOC).

Check out the video above; I was speaking a tad faster than I really wanted.  (Though my wife would suggest, “Eh, that’s about par…”)  But, while I had to abbreviate the topics quite a bit, I did manage to get the high level descriptions out, as well as giving the attendees a few actionable takeaways for YouTube videos that relate to each of the six psychological factors of persuasion:  Social Proof, Reciprocity, Like-ability, Commitment & Consistency, Authority and Scarcity.

In fact, I even managed to squeak-in a couple of important additions to include the role of  Truth and Transparency.

Related posts:

Download the Mindmap Presentation and MP3 Audio File

If you’re reading this post before 5:00 p.m., Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, then there should be a “sticky post” at the top of the main page that includes a link to an “attendees only ‘secret’ page” that will let you download the interactive mindmap presentation.

But, I’ll be taking the sticky post down after 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday.  So, if you’re hitting this post after that cut-off, then just head over to the downloads page (after the free subscribe page) and you’ll not only be able to download the mindmap I use in the presentation, but you’ll also be able to download the MP3 audio file, as well as the transcript of the presentation.

Are the Six Factors Exploitative?

Otherwise, what do you think about me championing those six factors of psychological persuasion?  Am I being naive?  Do they have potential to open us up for exploitation?