What microphone(s) do you recommend?
Well…? Yes! That’s a question for you. What microphones do you use when you create your screencast, web video or e-Learning projects? And, would you recommend it?
Quality audio is a never ending quest isn’t it? The topic of recommended microphones comes up fairly regularly. It came up again recently in this LinkedIn thread. (Note: Login might be required.)
For my part, I often switch-off between…
- Blue Microphone’s Yeti (desktop USB condenser microphone)
- Samson CO1U (also a desktop USB condenser mic)
- Audio-Technica ATR3350 (a wired lapel mic which you see me using in a lot of my “picture-in-picture” + screencast videos)
- A $35 Plantronics headset with boom mic (I can’t even find a link to it anymore because they’ve probably stopped making whatever model this is that I have)
And now I’m waiting for a Shure FP Wireless pack. (FP5 is the receiver. FP1 is the transmitter. And it comes with a WL 183 Lavalier microphone.)
Why all the different microphones?
I couldn’t really tell ya. Other than to say that, over time, I just sorta woke up one morning and realized these different mics were littered across my two offices.
But, here’s the thing. I don’t think the holy-grail-microphone-quest thingy is all about just the microphone. As a matter of fact, I’m on record suggesting that it’s worth considering the heinous act of “dumbing down” your microphone in some cases. (Hence, my trusty $35 Plantronics above.) Here’s my response to a recent discussion about all this:
“…What I’ve found is that while microphone quality is (important), the overall quality of your audio is the end result of the interaction of both microphone AND the acoustic quality of the room you’re recording in. If your options are limited in regards to office acoustics, it might actually be better to use a lower-end headset mic since their sound capture patterns tend to be more directional.
Like you, my (Blue Mic) Yeti records much better at my home office than in the business office. The thing is, all the rooms in my business office location are pretty much the same — acoustically crappy: AC vents all over the place with hollow drywalls comprised of metal framing and populated with furniture made of “acoustically bouncy” components. (I.e., faux wood, and weird plastic composites.)
All this serves to help sound bounce really well ALL over the place.
Ironically, a great microphone will do really well in capturing all that bouncy sound.
(Then I digress a bit to suggest a few settings on the Yeti folks might try in different acoustic environments.)
Yeti has 4 settings on it — try the most directional setting you can. (Omni and Cardioid will probably be too wide in an acoustically bouncy room. Stereo or Bidirectional might work better.)
(And here’s the main thing…)
But, even this might not be enough if the room just won’t cooperate. In those instances, I’ve actually found better results by “dumbing down” the microphone to accommodate the room I’m forced to work in, then relying on a couple of handy sound filters in post-production.
Don’t get me wrong. A better solution is to find a better room. (i.e, smaller–think “booth” or coat closet — with heavy carpeting and heavy wood furniture.) If the project warrants it, you might look into purchasing acoustic curtains to drape over the dry walls.
But, if options are limited, then my Plan B is, ironically, an old $35 Plantronics headset AND application of a couple of sound filters in Audacity during post. (Using Audacity, I apply the Noise Filter on the first pass, then the Bass Boost filter on a second pass to my Plantronics-recorded audio.)
For e-Learning projects, that combination actually ended up working really well — much better than using the Yeti in my acoustically bouncy office.”
So that’s my story. What’s yours?
What microphone(s) do you recommend?