Audio Microphones

Hi there does anyone have any recommendations on microphones that can be used for recording voiceovers/narration for eLearning? All development is done on articulate and captivate at present so we would like something that connects directly to the laptop/pc and something that ideally reduces background noise. any recommendations would be great thanks

45 Replies
David Anderson

Remember that really cool thread we had last year where folks shared their microphones and demo recordings? I didn't want to lose those recordings so I compiled them into a single Presenter course. http://community.articulate.com/blogs/david/archive/2011/02/17/microphone-demos-from-the-user-community.aspx

If you have a microphone demo you want to share, include it and we'll update the examples!

Glenn Drysdale

hi everyone,

I got a couple of mics, one, a Blue, and another with a headset. They are both USB, and when I connect them to my pc, even after all the checks I can do, while the mics appear to be working...when I try to do voice overs in Articulate, the software does not see them.

My old cheapo mic that plugs into the jack in my pc...works great, but lousy in quality.

Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated!

Glenn

Wayne Vermillion

Glenn,

Here are some suggestions:

1. If you have multiple USB devices, try simply switching ports, say by switching your earphones for your mic connections - believe it or not. When I reboot at the end of the day, I have to do this the next morning.

2. If I infer correctly, you're using Articulate's onboard recording utility rather than an external program such as Audacity. If so, be sure your mic is specifically recognized in Audio Editor - Options. "Yeti Stereo Microphone" is shown as my Default device, and "Recording line" is "Microphone" for me.

3. If you're using Windows, check the settings in Audio Properties, specifically the Hardware settings. In my XP case, "USB Audio Device" is the last item in the hardware list, which is the last tab on the right. When I click Hardware, it confirms "Yeti Blue Microphone" is working properly.

4. You have overall USB connectivity, right? Ports are operating correctly? USB 2.0?

If all settings are correct, but still no joy, try simply rebooting with all settings intact and all connections in place.

If that still doesn't work, try using solid quarters instead of nickels and dimes (I'm a little bit sorry for that old joke.)

Ron Price

Wayne makes some good points.  (except for the joke)  

His audio editor options suggestion could be the ticket, but that is only an option if you are using XP.  The only other thing I might add, is to  confirm that the mic is connected directly into the computer and not through any kind of of USB hub.

Lawrence Tagrin

I bought the Blue Snowball and find that it works very well.  Just make sure your computer recognizes it by going into the control panel and checking the audio devices.

The ability to set different sound patterns is very useful.  I'm planning on building a sound enclosure for it to use on my desk.  I also use Sound Forge to edit the wav file before importing it into my presentation.

Glenn Drysdale

Thanks, everyone. I'm still working on this. Tom K sent me, via email, a few things to try. I've tried most of what you suggest including all the devise settings, proper USB connectivity, etc. Wayne, I did not try the nickel and dime thing ;o)

I must have some kind of glitch...still working, and all suggestions certainly welcome!

Natalia Mueller

Another great item that is relatively inexpensive is a Porta-booth. Tom K recommended it a while back and I really like it. We have the luxury of a pretty nice studio in our building, but it's a large room that picks up noise from the break room just outside the door. This porta-booth has really helped cut down on the background noise. So much that most of the time I just record in my office now.

Link to Amazon

Eric Nalian

Ron Price said:

I use the Samson Go Mic sometimes (good, especially if you need to travel) - Pretty cheap - not bad sound.

I love the Yeti, by Blue. . .  It is really nice.  (not as travel friendly - TSA is always curious about it, and it's big) Here is a pic of mine in its on little portable sound booth (cardboard box line with foam)


At my office, we only have one room that is suitable for recording audio in, all the other rooms have an echo, or the sound comes out funny when published.

How can I correct this when rocording in different rooms?  If the mic is in a 'portable sound booth' like Ron's, would that solve the issue?

Lawrence Tagrin

Natalia Spurgin said:

Another great item that is relatively inexpensive is a Porta-booth. Tom K recommended it a while back and I really like it. We have the luxury of a pretty nice studio in our building, but it's a large room that picks up noise from the break room just outside the door. This porta-booth has really helped cut down on the background noise. So much that most of the time I just record in my office now.

Link to Amazon


While it's a useful item, $149 is quite overpriced.  I could go to any number of places and buy  the eggcrate sound deadening  foam for a lot less and make the enclosure out of a paper box.  Maybe I'll do that.

http://www.foambymail.com/acoustical-eggcrate-foam.html

Natalia Mueller

Yes. If I was paying out of my pocket instead of it coming out my dept budget, I'd probably feel differently. If I ever need one at home I would definitely just make it myself since it's exactly as easy to construct as it looks. But I probably should have clarified that "relatively inexpensive" meant compared to setting up a full size studio.

After watching the demo for David's new mic,  I think I'll be looking for my chance to request a new mic next...

Glenn Drysdale

Thanks for the comments on my mic issue. I have to say that Tom K really IS an elearning rock star! He told me how to solve the problem. It was a software problem with PPT, a program called Sound Max, which is not compatible with PPT. Once I uninstalled it, everything worked great! Kudos to Tom!!

Rich Johnstun

I realize that I'm coming in way after the fact, but I thought I might throw in anyway. 

I've got a pretty wide array of mics and mixers floating around, but the one that gets used the most for simple recording is an Audio Technica AT2020. It's a very good quality cardioid mic with a USB interface. It can be had for $99 or less. It comes with a mini-tripod stand, cable and all the goodies. The echo pickup on them is very minimal. 

Remember when you are recording, you want to be in a room with lots of soft objects. People frequently try to use conference rooms which provide pretty poor acoustics for recording (big flat table, blank walls, exposed glass, etc).

I've got a Blue Snowball, but since I picked up the AT2020's...the Snowball has gone on the shelf.