TagShotgun 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.

 

The recording gear you need to start your Podcast

A lot of people ask me what recording gear would I recommend if you are starting a podcast.  Now to be completely honest, simply using the recorder on your iPhone is a good start!  But what if you want to take it to the next level.  Here is a list of recording gear that could be on your shopping list

  1. Hardware voice recorder

    For the perfect balance of robust recording capability, as well as the flexibility to have more control over your recording when you improve your skills… the Zoom H5 Four-Track Portable Recorder is a great place to start.  It has a great on-board microphone, as well as the ability to add specialist microphones via the XLR inputs… or as a capsule attached directly to the recorder.
    is a great place to start.  Recorders like the H5 make it easy to record anywhere!

  2. Microphones

    My “go to” microphone I use now for almost every podcast I record – whether I am out in the field interviewing people in their office, or at home connected to my PC… is the Audio-Technica AT2005USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone.  Great sound quality, with the flexibility of an XLR input (for your hardware voice recorder) and USB connectivity (to connect it to your PC or Mac).  I now have a couple of them which enables good quality two person recordings.If you are using the Zoom H5 and you want a great way to capture voice in crowded or public spaces whilst minimising the need for bulky microphones or cables, I really like the Shotgun Microphone Capsule you can attach directly to the Zoom H5 (or the Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder).  It is small, portable and doesn’t draw attention — and enables you to capture great voice from yourself or your talent

We are all looking forward to hearing your podcast!

Creating a Blockbuster Podcast – Alex Blumberg on the Tim Ferriss Show

This evening I was listening to the Tim Ferriss show – and for anyone who is interested in creating podcasts I highly recommend you listen to this episode. Alex recently started Gimlet Media, and before that was on the team at one of the most popular documentary style radio/podcast shows – This American Life.

Tim’s interview with Alex goes under the covers of the long form documentary style of production – which includes great insights into how to structure, edit, and ultimately produce very high quality shows. Early in the episode, Tim and Alex discuss podcasting equipment. Whilst Tim uses the ZoomH4n
voice recorder (as I mentioned in the post about recording my first podcast), Alex uses the TASCAM DR-100mkII Portable Digital Recorder
. Bottom line from the discussion is that the recording device at that level of quality doesn’t really make a difference…. They are both equally as good! As Alex suggests, the more important focus is the microphone you select. For example – make sure you use a uni-directional microphone, not an omni-directional microphone to ensure that you capture a better recording in the field. Specifically Alex uses the Audio-Technica AT8035 Shotgun Microphone
, which is a different style of Microphone from what I use for recording my podcast about Yammer Community Management (and also different from what Tim uses for the Tim Ferriss Show).

The advantage of a shotgun microphone like the AT8035 is that you can focus in very closely on your interviewee’s voice and drown out all other background noises. It gives you more control over what you are recording.

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