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Looking for a Microphone for Podcasting
04-01-2012, 04:48 AM, (This post was last modified: 04-01-2012, 07:00 AM by Easy Skanking.)
RE: Looking for a Microphone for Podcasting
Well, your first clue is that the words "USB" and "Professional" cannot go together in the same sentence. hehe

No matter what mic you use, you will pick up ambient noise. The more sensitive the mic, the more you pick up. You have to use a gate (whether hardware or software) to "gate" the mic input when no one is speaking. You set it to a level so that you don't hear the ambient noise but you can hear when people are speaking. It takes some playing around to do that. Audacity can use VST plugins (there are some decent ones available for free) so that you can use a gate on various channels along with whatever other things you may need (compression, EQ, de-esser, limiter, etc.)

The problem with a one mic setup, is that people speak at different levels and that is further complicated by the distance they are from the mic. Using more than one mic into a multi-channel interface or multi-channel mini-mixer, allows you the ability to control the volume of each mic. When you have all kinds of different speakers, that kind of control is a must. Losing one person in a one mic setup due to volume can ruin your podcast.

You also need to know the pickup patterns of mics.
For a mic used on one source, you need either a cardioid or super-cardioid.
For a multi-source mic, omni-directional or a stereo X-Y is what you use. Since you are doing podcast and it's most likely mono, you can rule out stereo mics probably.

I think you would be unhappy with the results of a one mic setup for many folks talking at one time.
I think your best bet would be to get an inexpensive external USB (or firewire) audio interface that will allow you at least 2 mic inputs. (M-Audio, Lexicon, and so on) You can get those for around $60US.
Then go with a couple of inexpensive mics like the Sure SM48 (around $50) or other comparable. These have an XLR connector as do all good quality mics. 1/4" mics are cheaper and lower quality in make and sound. USB can be okay but if the A/D converters are shit (like they invariably are) the sound is junk. Good quality A/D converters are easily several hundred dollars for two channels. That is the big bottleneck with digital audio recording. You can have great outboard gear but loose it all with cheap converters.
If you want more than 2 mic inputs, you could get a slightly larger interface (4 channel and up ) for a little more or you could get a small mixer like a small Mackie or Behringer. Plug more mics into the mixer and use it as a sub-mixer into your 2 channel audio interface. Behringer makes some for around $100 US that is a mixer with 4 XLR mic ins and some other line ins (CD, tape, keyboard) that is a USB to your comp. It only outputs stereo or mono not individual multi-track outs.
There's lots of flexibility in those configurations.

I uploaded this book to help you with some of what you need to know:
“Today’s scientists have substituted mathematics for experiments, and they wander off through equation after
equation, and eventually build a structure which has no relation to reality. ” -Nikola Tesla

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace." -Jimi Hendrix

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RE: Looking for a Microphone for Podcasting - Easy Skanking - 04-01-2012, 04:48 AM

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