TagOne Microphone

Picking the best microphone

Now that you have the best voice recorder… usually most buyer’s attention goes to the next piece of kit in any producers arsenal – the microphone (or microphones).  There are so many options when it comes to picking the right microphone for the job.  Is it for a studio?  Is is for in the field?  Are you connecting it to a computer, or are you just connecting it to your recording device?  What is the difference between uni-directional, omni-directional, cardioid or dynamic?  USB or XLR?  Shotgun or Lavalier?

So many questions that you need to answer, and so many choices to sift through to find the best microphone for the job.

To help you navigate the microphone market, we have set up a sister product review site just for microphones.  The Best Microphone is all about helping you find exactly that – the best microphone for the job.

Check them out once you have picked the best voice recorder for your job!

Review: Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone

My school needed a “boom mic”. My club was given the assignment of finding something that was lightweight enough for anyone using it to hold, but still give us broadcast quality. We also couldn’t spend too much money, so we had to keep costs low. After looking around locally, we decided we could do better online. Seeing that the Rode NTG2 Condenser Shotgun was used for video engineering, and was light enough to mount directly to our video camera we selected this one. We were also interested because it said this one had rugged construction, so when out recording we didn’t have to worry about it getting broken when someone jostled it, or it got dropped.

From what we have seen this is a good mic, and it’s tough. It’s already been dropped once, but worked fine afterward. It’s mounted on the school’s Canon 7D with no problems, and does give us the broadcast quality we were looking for in the mic. It’s light which, makes it easy when other students use it, which was important for us. It’s also helped that it uses only one 1 AA battery that aren’t expensive.

The only problems we have are with keeping it in on the stand when there’s a lot of movement nearby. The windshield is hard for some people to get on and off, and it’s not effect in the high winds we have here. It does cut out the background noise, but some people have trouble holding all the gear and using the controls on the mic as well as the camera. While it’s great that it runs off a battery, it would be better if it lasted a little longer with each battery. We use a rechargeable, but it does die, if we don’t keep enough on hand.

 

Portable Digital Voice Recorder Buyers Guide 2017

A portable recording device is useful for on the go recordings of any kind. These are usually handheld devices that can be used to record music, cialis sounds of any kind, pilule conversations, buy and thoughts – just about anything. Of course professionals require it to tape interviews or to record their music. So what are the top three essential things which you should be looking out for when buying these digital recorders?

  1. Internal or external microphone: Do you want an internal microphone or an external one is more appealing to you? Take a closer look at your work field and find out which one your nature of job requires more. Some devices have both internal and external microphone while some have only one. Others have built in microphones so you don’t have to worry about carying additional gear.
  2. Memory: How much memory do you need? Do you use and store a lot in your device? Again, assess your requirement to come to a conclusion about it. Pay attention while buying though, because many come with microSD or SD card support, while others do not. It is always good to have some additional features. Not having a microSD or SD slot may be a disadvantage.
  3. Accessories: Do you need a tripod, a Pop Filter or windscreens for better recording? Make sure all your necessary accessories are present in your device before purchasing it. If you need only one accessory then pick any one that has it, but we suggest you always pick the ones which come in a wide range of accessories.

Top 3 voice recorders which have these features:

  • Etekcity Dictaphone/Pen: This device is on the lower budget end and has all the basic features including 8GB memory drive. If you want a simple voice recorder with just plug and play feature, then this is the best one. It costs only 16 USD.

 

 

  • Zoom H4: The Zoom H4 is our favourite portable recording devices in the 200 USD price range.  and comes with prominent features such as noise cancellation, windscreen, etc.

Portable field recording at a conference with the ZoomH4n

I had a great opportunity to travel from Australia to Singapore to deliver a presentation this week.  At the conference I wanted to capture some field based interviews for my Yammer podcast.  As I was only going to be in Singapore for about 47 hours, illness I decided to travel with carry-on luggage only.  The small and light nature of my Zoom H4N
and my two microphones made traveling and recording a breeze.

I have taken the ZoomH4n through airport security at least eight times now – I thought due to the design of the voice recorder (and specifically the stereo microphones on the top of the audio recorder which look similar to the silhouette to a stun gun) my bags would be stopped for closer inspection more regularly.  To be honest it has only been picked up once, and that was by a trainee xray machine operator.

At the conference I wanted to capture a few different pieces of audio.  Firstly, I captured some background noise – the vibe or buzz of the conference room that we were speaking in.  To do this I turned on the Zoom H4N
and then used the built in stereo microphones.  After pressing record, I checked the levels and notice they were a little low, so I used the “rec level” button to push up the sensitivity of the recorder.

After I had captured the ambient noise of the room, I decided to record my the introduction / preamble / monologue for the podcast.  To do this I switched from the built in stereo microphone on the Zoom and instead used my Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
connected via its XLR connection.  The sound was fantastic – despite the loud voices in the room from the 10 tables of 8 people working on desk exercises in the room – I could talk with my normal voice into the Audio-Technica Microphone and get a very good recording.

Finally I plugged in another Microphone – my Behringer XM8500
– to do some 1 on 1 interviews with some of the conference organisers and attendees.  Again some great conversations were captured with next to no issues.  Despire the loud background noise of all the people speaking in the room the ZoomH4n coupled with the two microphones did a stellar job!

You can check it out for yourself – listen to Episode 8 of The Yaminade at http://www.theyaminade.com

Recording a quick voice over with the Zoom H4n

Recording a voiceover with the Zoom H4nToday in the office we had a bit of an impromptu request from one of our Executive team.  “We have a video from one of our partner organisations – we have permission from them to add our own audio on top of it – can we do it, and if so how?

Luckily I had the Zoom H4nand my Behringer XM8500 Microphone
on hand.  We found a quiet room in the office, and whilst the “talent” rehearsed their 90 second script, I set up the voice recorder and microphone in about 30 seconds.

 

  1. Plug the XLR cable into the Microphone and into the bottom of the Zoom H4n.  Note it doesn’t really matter which XLR port you plug it into – generally I pick the one of the left – #1
  2. Place the Behringer XM85000 into a microphone stand.  The one I use happened to come standard with my other microphone – the Audio-Technica AT2005USB– but any desktop microphone stand will do!
  3. Turn on the Zoom H4n and wait for 15 seconds for it to boot up
  4. Check to see that you are using the right inputs.  In this case we were using the #1 XLR input, so I had to ensure it was lit up.  If the “Mic” light was on, it would have used the built in stereo microphones and picked up a lot more ambient sound in the room (the last thing I needed for a good quality voice over
  5. Hit the record button once to check the levels.  In this case I watched the LCD panel on the handy recorder and noticed that the levels were a little low – simply because the microphone was a little too far away from our “talent”.  We couldn’t really change the distance unfortunately, but I could increase the input level slightly by using the input switch on the right hand side of the voice recorder.   Normally I have it set to 80, but in this case I bumped it up to 90.
  6. (at this stage I should have put some headphones on and checked the sound that was coming in via the Microphone, but I didn’t have them handy.  Luckily in this case it turned out alright!)
  7. Hit record again and wait for the mandatory 3-12 run throughs until your hastily arranged voice over guy or girl gets it right (or close enough)
  8. Hit stop when you are done!

Behringer XM8500 with the Zoom H4n Handy Recorder

In this case there was a little editing of the audio required to join a few good parts from different takes together.  So I plugged my SD card reader into my Surface, popped the SD card out of my Zoom H4n into the card reader and transferred the .wav file across.  I then opened up Audacity to do the edits.

In Audacity I did a few things to ensure the final audio was of as high a standard as possible.

  1. Noise removal.  Select a bit of “dead air” on your track.  Goto the effects menu, and then click on Noise Removal.  Click “Get Profile” and then click ok.  Select the entire track, then go back to the Noise Removal effect via the effects menu.  Click ok to apply the noise removal effect across the entire track
  2. Whilst the entire track is still selected, go back to the effects menu and then click Compressor.  This gives the voice a much better “radio” sound.
  3. Finally, in this case as the microphone was a little too far away from my talent, I used the amplify effect to add an additional 10db to the audio.

Once happy, I simply exported to a .mp3 file, and handed the audio over to the Exec who did his best to add it to the video using none other than Windows Movie Maker.

Total process from “we should do a voice over” to “voice over applied to video” was less than 60 minutes.  With a “broadcast quality” voice over that we could not achieve with a standard USB microphone/built in laptop microphone.

//Track outbounds