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Oh internets... know anything about USB microphones? - Zer Netmouse
August 25th, 2008
04:40 pm

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Oh internets... know anything about USB microphones?
Subpress has hired me to do an audio version of a story and I want it to sound good. Yanni recommended I get the best USB mic I can find but... I'm lazy and don't like shopping. Anyone here know what I should get?

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From:mishamish
Date:August 25th, 2008 08:43 pm (UTC)
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What's wrong with a standard mini-RCA microphone? I recorded an audiobook (which never got published for COMPLETELY unrelated reasons) with a mini-RCA headset Mic and it sounded pretty good...

ya know, after I passed it through Adobe Audition and edited out a bunch of stuff...
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From:dd_b
Date:August 25th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC)
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Using a mic plugged into the sound cards means you're dependent on the A-to-D converters on the sound card. Those converters have to run in a truly hostile environment, in terms of electrical noise at a huge range of frequencies, there inside the computer case.

A good ordinary microphone plugged into an external USB/Firewire sound interface gets around that problem, as does a "USB microphone" since it has the A-to-D built in. Of course then the question of how good that A-to-D is becomes relevant.

For recording human speaking voice, you don't need wonderful equipment, and keeping actual background sounds down probably makes more difference than picking equipment carefully.
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From:netmouse
Date:August 26th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
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mm, I hadn't heard of this "external USB/Firewire sound interface" of which you speak. I have some decent mics that SFOHA uses. They certainly have more range and better response than the built-in mic on the computer. But plugging them directly in seemed to have a noise/translation issue.

Can you recommend a particular USB/sound interface for a standard mic?
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From:dd_b
Date:August 26th, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
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I know Sound Blaster makes one, and M-Audio make several (some of which can also serve as untethered stand-alone recording stations). Seth mentions using an external digital recorder for the reduction of background noise, which makes excellent sense. People should prefer audio recording advice from Seth to advice from me by a big margin, he's done a huge amount more of it.
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From:mishamish
Date:August 26th, 2008 01:38 am (UTC)
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Wow... that makes a HELL of alot of sense, and I wish I'd known it when I was recording. Still, a couple of friends who run a LARP want my help recording/mixing/cleaning up their Bard songs (not because I know HOW... just because I have the software), and that will come in WORLDS of handy.

THANKS!
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From:netmouse
Date:August 26th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
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Right then... What are you doing Thursday? ;)
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From:netmouse
Date:August 26th, 2008 11:13 am (UTC)
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well, so far the biggest comment has been to find someplace quiet, so I was thinking my basement would be good, but if you have a quiet room, I would be up for trying that.
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From:netmouse
Date:August 26th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC)
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Or next week may turn out to be better. I need to finish editing the book I'm doing right now. I have at least 10 hours' more work on it and I want to finish by Friday.
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From:mabfan
Date:August 25th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
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I think the microphone gnomi got is the Snowball, and it's rather good.
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From:gnomi
Date:August 26th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
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It is the Snowball, and I am quite fond of it, indeed.
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From:matt_arnold
Date:August 26th, 2008 01:10 am (UTC)
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Stop into an Apple Store and pick up a Snowball.
From:sethb
Date:August 26th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
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Any decent microphone should do fine. I'd recommend using something like the Zoom H2 recorder, because it lets you get away from the noisy computer.

Doing the recording in a silent room makes a big difference. One without echoes is even better, if you can get one. (You can always add echoes in post-processing. Removing them is a different matter.)
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