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 Post subject: Another microphone question - Answered Here's what I bought
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 3:40 pm 
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Location: Germantown, MD
I would like to know more about what the best type of mic is for recording whistle, flute, keyboard, etc. Is there merit in getting a cardiod mic? Is there some other type I should get? Any recommendations on a USB mic. I assume a USB mic would be the best for reducing noise and hum. BTW I ain't rich.

Image

It is a Samson Q1U USB dynamic mic with a cardiod pattern. I plugged it in and it works with everything I have used it with. It comes with the table top stand shown and Cake Walk LE software for $59.95.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
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Last edited by RonKiley on Mon Sep 03, 2007 6:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:51 pm 
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Location: Perth, WA, Australia
Hello Ron,

I've been attempting to reply to your question but I've not been sure where to start and what to say. Warning this is a long and slightly technical post so feel free to fall asleep at any time...

Some background about me. I have enough gear to provide the sound for seminars put on by an organisation we are members of and to record those seminars for those that want CD's of them. It would be way over the top for just recording a single instrument so I won't give you a list of that gear.

There are three components that are important for capturing the sound and maintaining quality. The first is the microphone and this is important because, if the microphone makes you sound awful, then there's nothing you can do to make it better. My personal choice is to use a good quality electret microphone. As you have identified already the use of a uni-directional (or cardiod) microphone is a good idea because it will pick up more of your instrument and less of the surrounding noise.

The next component is an amplifier to take the low level signal from the microphone and make it loud enough to go into the computer's sound interface. It is important that the amplifier (or more correctly pre-amplifier) doesn't add noise to the signal from the microphone because you'll hear that noise in the final recording. It'll sound like hiss or rain in the background of the recording if it's bad enough.

The final component is the sound card or audio interface for the computer. This takes the audio signal and converts it into a digital signal for recording on your hard drive. Some computer sound cards have been built down to a small budget (a kind way of saying cheap) and don't do a very good job.

Now the inside of a computer is very noisy electrically and some of this noise can get into the audio signal before it gets converted to the digital signal. This is especially so if the microphone amplifier is inside the computer because the signal from the microphone is so small.

So the solution is to move all of the audio signal to a box outside of the computer. There are various types of external boxes that plug into the USB interface of the computer, some of which have built-in microphone amplifiers. You can then plug your microphone of choice into one of these boxes and you end up with a good solution for producing quality recordings.

Now a USB microphone simply combines the external box and the microphone into one unit. I was prompted by your question to have a quick look around the Internet and discovered the Samson Audio C01U. It looks like it would be an ideal solution and may be within your price range. Note that I haven't tried one so I can't comment about their performance but they seem to be OK. It would be best to buy the optional SP01 "Spider Mount" at the same time if you are considering buying one and your budget stretched that far.

It that the sort of thing you were looking for? If you have any more questions please let me know and I'll try to answer them. ;)

Shalom,
Ian

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:44 am 
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Ron, I bought the MicFlex USB microphone. It cost ~$50 including shipping & handling from Canada. Works nicely for me. Only downside is that it registers with my laptop as a head set. I had to reset all the audio in & out settings to get it to work right. And if the dumb thing gets unplugged, I have to reset all those settings again.

Connie bought the same mike and might give you a more precise description as to it's capabilities.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 9:22 pm 
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I do have that microphone and have been very pleased with it. I can't leave it plugged in since I carry the laptop from place to place. It wraps around its base nicely so I can put it in my case....but that's not what you were asking.

It cost me about what Judy paid. Very reasonable. Sound quality is very good for a non-condenser mic. It works nicely for woodwinds. It really shines with stringed instruments.

It does register as a headset on a PC (I don't know what it would do with a Mac). My computer tried to send all sound back out to it. :roll: No harm done, just no sound. So I went into the control panel and taught my computer to send sound out the normal way and receive sound from the "headset." Now it always works fine when I plug the mic in.

Audacity (a commonly used free sound editor) will record from it, but you can't use Audacity's volume levels to control it. So I go to the control panel, get the audio record slider from the computer's internal controls, and just keep it open as a window to control the volume while I'm recording to Audacity. It's really not that big a deal, but if you don't want to mess with that you might want to consider another microphone.

But for the money, it's the best I've seen, and I work in radio.

I haven't had any trouble with my PC adding sound to the mix with this microphone. With my last mic, an omnidirectional condenser mic built for PC, the internal noise was terrible. This is a nice-looking, nice-performing, nicely priced piece of equipment. I give it a geek's thumbs up.

Take a look for yourself.
http://www.mac-pro.com/s.nl/it.A/id.189 ... tegory=334

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 23, 2007 7:28 am 
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Location: Germantown, MD
Thanks for the responses. I have looked at each of these and am undecided. I did do one other thing though. I edited some of my recordings with Cool Edit 96. I used the noise reduction function and took most of the noise out of the recording. This may be all I need. I have two mics now. One is a USB and one plugs into the sound card. I don't see much difference in my audio. I will keep looking.

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This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
Psalms 118:24


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