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USB Microphone suggestions

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I would like to get a mic for a couple purposes. In this order, i'd like to be able to EQ my room, test my speakers, test my headphones, and use the mic for regular day-to-day stuff like skype or recording a class lecture or conversation or something.

I think I need a combination of 2 devices, a high quality USB one that can accept a mic (or multiple mic) input and act as an ADC, and the microphone itself. i dont see any other way to get all the usage listed above without going this route unless I scratch the headphone testing part or unless the mic has an external microphone option.

I think the mic definitely needs to have both stereo and omnidirectional capabilities but again, i think this depends on if I get 2 distinct devices or one device that can do everything. I havent ever dealt with this stuff though so I have no idea what i'm getting into.

I dont really have a price range as of yet. If it is a worthwhile investment and I can record school lectures and stuff with it, and if it is pretty accurate in recording the audio signals it receives, i'll be more inclined to save up and splurge on it as a proper investment as both a research tool and a learning tool (some teachers make you buy hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks and then never reference them, choosing to give tests based entirely off of lectures and notes). However, if this is something that any decent mic plugged into the line input of my laptop can do (highly unlikely, its super low quality, i think) then i'd rather get a decent audio-level mic capable of long range and just live with that. I dont really know what kinds of realistic prices i'm looking at either, obviously I can go out and spend 10 grand on something like this but I feel like this sort of thing shouldnt cost more than 200-400 bucks if I really get some pro-level stuff that is way over my needs level. Perhaps i'm wrong.
post #2 of 7

^ To me, it sounds like you are looking for a high-quality stationary device and also something a bit more 'portable'. I'm not going to comment on the stationary device as I'm not familiar with capturing sound from afar (or at least this being the primary purpose).

 

As far as an on-the-go device, I can't be more pleased with the Samson GoMic. I actually use mine for regular desktop use as well as taking it on the road for my laptop (not to mention that you can choose between cardioid and omni-directional or that it has a monitor jack). They're about $40 almost anywhere.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
It seems that go-mic might get the job done as far as recording lectures or skyping goes, but i feel like it will be pretty much useless for just about everything else listed, and everything else listed is of much higher priority.

I dont care about the portability so much and i'm almost always situated near an outlet in class. I'd rather be able to pick up the professor's voice from an inconvenient location than have to sit front and center to pick him up. The go-mic's range kind of worries me. How do I tell how far away the mic can pick up volumes from? Speakers have a sensitivity rating like SPL, I'm sure mic's have a similar thing?

Sorry, capturing sound from afar is about 99% of what i want to be able to do and being able to record lectures on something other than my cell phone is just a nice side effect i'm looking for.

Thanks for the input though. I appreciate the suggestion because at least its a brand name to look at/research.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Alright guys, I did a bit more research and asked the local radioshack guys if they could get me caught up with some basic microphone knowledge. From the looks of it, the best option is to get a high quality USB Analog to Digital Converter and then hook a fairly high quality microphone into it. The microphone doesnt seem like it will cost that much by itself, maybe 40-100 bucks if I really want to get expensive without getting into pro-recording gear. The ADC though I have no idea. I'll check Behringer's website to see what they have to offer but i'd love some suggestions, especially DIY suggestions.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

Alright guys, I did a bit more research and asked the local radioshack guys if they could get me caught up with some basic microphone knowledge. From the looks of it, the best option is to get a high quality USB Analog to Digital Converter and then hook a fairly high quality microphone into it. The microphone doesnt seem like it will cost that much by itself, maybe 40-100 bucks if I really want to get expensive without getting into pro-recording gear. The ADC though I have no idea. I'll check Behringer's website to see what they have to offer but i'd love some suggestions, especially DIY suggestions.


That seems a little redundant - why not go with a usb mic that has the ADC already built in and eliminate the additional hardware (not criticizing as I'm certainly no microphone expert, just trying to gain a better understanding)?

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
If you read the original post, the main points of the microphone(s) is to do room equalization first, then act as headphone/IEM testing (for which i need a dummy head and dual mono microphone), and then as a regular old microphone for recording lectures and skyping and such. If I get something like the Blue Yeti Pro or Blue Yeti, I'll have the room EQ ability and the recording/skype ability but i'll not be able to test headphones/IEM's without some kind of weird complicated rig. Because of this, the best option is to use an analog to digital converter of high quality and then get standalone microphones for room EQ and headphone testing purposes.

An added benefit to this is that ADC's generally dont have just a single mic input. They usually have 2 or sometimes 4 if you go with a slightly higher end model. This would mean that with more microphones, I can easily take multiple measurements from multiple locations. I dont have to buy a microphone permanently either. I can always borrow one from a friend or buy one temporarily and return it once I am done. This also lets me somewhat control the portability/quality of the recordings during lecture. The ADC wont be a gigantic pro-level device, i'm thinking something like the M-audio mobile pre. That will let me either carry a very compact cardiod microphone or use a full on 40 dollar omni mic in cardioid mode. It doesnt really matter to me how ridiculous I look in a lecture as long as my equipment is getting the job done well. At the end of the day only results matter.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by shrimants View Post

If you read the original post, the main points of the microphone(s) is to do room equalization first, then act as headphone/IEM testing (for which i need a dummy head and dual mono microphone), and then as a regular old microphone for recording lectures and skyping and such. If I get something like the Blue Yeti Pro or Blue Yeti, I'll have the room EQ ability and the recording/skype ability but i'll not be able to test headphones/IEM's without some kind of weird complicated rig. Because of this, the best option is to use an analog to digital converter of high quality and then get standalone microphones for room EQ and headphone testing purposes.
An added benefit to this is that ADC's generally dont have just a single mic input. They usually have 2 or sometimes 4 if you go with a slightly higher end model. This would mean that with more microphones, I can easily take multiple measurements from multiple locations. I dont have to buy a microphone permanently either. I can always borrow one from a friend or buy one temporarily and return it once I am done. This also lets me somewhat control the portability/quality of the recordings during lecture. The ADC wont be a gigantic pro-level device, i'm thinking something like the M-audio mobile pre. That will let me either carry a very compact cardiod microphone or use a full on 40 dollar omni mic in cardioid mode. It doesnt really matter to me how ridiculous I look in a lecture as long as my equipment is getting the job done well. At the end of the day only results matter.


Alright, pretty cool. Thanks for the info. I'm curious how this works out for you, if you don't mind, post back once you work this all out. Too bad you can't get the professor to clip on a lavalier.

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