78 Replies
Eric Bybee

I recently made a microphone purchase to replace the $9.00 Logitech that I bought myself last year.  Initially I went with the Blue Snowball microphone.  It was okay but I could not get rid of the background hum created while recording.  I purchased through Amazon so they were amazing with the return process.  I then purchased the Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Condenser Mic. I have been very impressed.  Even when recording at my desk or a small conference room, this mic does a wonderful job if capturing my voice and significantly reducing if not eliminating background noise.  Our small conference room that I sometimes use to record in has one wall that with windows and three wallpaper covered walls.  There is also the constant hiss of the buildings air handler, but this is barely noticeable using this mic.  As for price, it ran me $113.00 in early January when I bought it but today I see if for sale on Amazon for $109 & change.

Good luck with your search.

Eric Bybee

Brad, I use Audacity to do all of my recording and editing.  I then use Articulates Import Audio tool to bring my work in.  Audacity is just awesome for editing.  And the built in tools/effects are really useful.  While I am no voice actor, between this mic (the AT-2020) and Audacity's Bass Boost effect, I actually sound like I know what I'm doing. 

Rich Johnstun

I highly recommend the AT2020 USB as well. I've got a couple of them and they get heavily used by everyone in our facility. Some people will even use them for VoIP when hosting webex sessions and what not. I did 40 or so episodes of my podcast with one before I moved up to a full mixer setup. It's tough to beat for the price. 

One recommendation I would give is investing a few dollars in a good stand, floating mount and pop filter. The mini-tripod stand that it comes with is OK, but it will still pick up subtle vibrations. With the factory stand, if I had the mic and my laptop on the table next to each other, the mic would actually pick up the vibration from my hard drive spinning (give you a nice little hum in the background). As a result, I would always need to set the stand on a piece of foam or something to insulate it from the work surface. 

Here is a pic of the setup I was running at home with the AT2020 for podcasting. I bought the stand, mount and pop filter as a package deal on ebay and I think it was something like $35...money well spent. 

David Steffek

Chalk me up as another satisfied user of the AT2020 USB. It's a very good mic, especially considering the price.

My company also purchased the Harlan Hogan Porta-booth, although you can achieve the same effect for a lot less using a cardboard box and buying the foam panels on your own. I've even seen/heard of people just duct-taping the foam panels to each other - no box needed! it really helps!

I also use Audacity for my recording. The Noise Removal filter gets rid of the HVAC/air movement noise.

Using this setup, you can't tell that I'm doing my recording in my living room!

Rebecca Fleisch Cordeiro

A couple years ago a colleague (who used to be in radio and does spots as an announcer) recommended the Samson C01U USB Studio condenser microphone to me. It comes in a little suitcase (wonderful when I'm traveling between 2 different "home studios) and includes a floating mount. As Rich did, I purchased a pop filter for it, the Nady MPF6

I've worked used it for many Camtasia gigs, and been hired back . I'm of course using it now with Articulate.

Good luck!

rfc

Rich Johnstun

Kevin Thompson said:

Question for Rich --

Do you know the manufacturer/model info for that stand and shock mount?

Great info, everyone. Thanks.


Eric is correct. Both the stand and mount are Samson but there are many choices out there. 

If you are really budget conscious, check out Q-Mic as well. It's not as well made, but it's still workable. 

Craig Oliver-Walsh

I just ordered this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H1-with-2GB-card/dp/B003Y6S2WU

As I know in the future we will want to use it for enhanced audio recording in videos to and the accesor kit is pretty neat so i can put it into a shock mount in the future if needs be, its portable and will record USB direct!

Rich Johnstun

craig walsh said:

I just ordered this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H1-with-2GB-card/dp/B003Y6S2WU

As I know in the future we will want to use it for enhanced audio recording in videos to and the accesor kit is pretty neat so i can put it into a shock mount in the future if needs be, its portable and will record USB direct!


I'm interested to hear about your experience with the Zoom. I've been looking at them for a long time but haven't convinced myself to pull the trigger on one yet. 

Craig Oliver-Walsh

Rich Johnstun said:

craig walsh said:

I just ordered this

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H1-with-2GB-card/dp/B003Y6S2WU

As I know in the future we will want to use it for enhanced audio recording in videos to and the accesor kit is pretty neat so i can put it into a shock mount in the future if needs be, its portable and will record USB direct!


I'm interested to hear about your experience with the Zoom. I've been looking at them for a long time but haven't convinced myself to pull the trigger on one yet. 

Will let you know, should be landing on Friday, came recommended to me by a collegue who does a lot of A/V work and he uses a H4 for all his work.
Rose T

Hi all,

A few qs about the AT2020USB --

1) I just read in an Amazon review that there could be PPT 2007 issues when using it. I'm new to recording in general and Articulate in particular, so please let me know if you also had PPT 2007 issues and/or level setting issues. What I read is below:

"USB compatibility: PowerPoint 2007 does not recognize this microphone, but Camtasia does (and of course, Audacity). PowerPoint will record with it, but you can't set your levels, so it's a pain (I know none of you are going to record in PowerPoint, but I am frustrated with the spotty USB mic support in it and I just want to let people know). Did not have to install any drivers on my XP box."

http://www.amazon.com/Audio-Technica-AT2020-USB-Condenser-Microphone/product-reviews/B001AS6OYC/ref=dp_top_cm_cr_acr_txt?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1

2) I hear that any latency issues with the AT2020USB can be addressed by recording with a low buffer speed (such as 256) and then mixing with a high buffer speed (such as 1024). Then I heard that recording with a low buffer speed can deteriorate sound quality -- has this been your experience? What do you recommend?

3) If I do use Audacity (which would be new to me), did you find it be user-friendly and reasonably intuitive?

Thanks,

Rose

David Steffek

I use the 2020 with Audacity (and other audio programs) and have never had an issue. I've never recorded audio directly into PPT, though, so I can't speak to that point for you.

As far as Audacity goes, I picked up the basics very quickly. I know there's a lot more lurking under the surface of basic recording, though, and I'm eager to find a reason to learn more!

Mike Mohr

I thought I'd get in on the conversation and throw in a few more suggestions. I'm new to the elearning world & this forum but I've been doing media production for many years now. Blue makes some nice USB mics. We've used a Snowball and it has some really nice features. A good place to get audio equipment is Sweetwater.com. You may not get the equipment at THE rock bottom price but they provide lifetime tech support and they will help you find the equipment you need.

Craig Oliver-Walsh

My toy arrived the other day http://www.amazon.co.uk/Zoom-H1-with-2GB-card/dp/B003Y6S2WU Zoom H1 so useful, can use it as a USB mic but can just take the device and record anywhere, really handy when you may need to get sound bites from CEO's or do a last minute recording to go with your material.

Great device, so glad I went this route!

Marcel Mihulka

Have been reading your microphone reviews with great interest. I am in the situation now where we audio record weekly lectures using PowerPoint's or Articulate's record narration feature, using the built in microphone on the laptop. It works a treat...as long as the lecturer stays behind the laptop which we don't really want to encourage. 

I want to record these in the simplest way possible, so without having to edit with Audacity later or even record just audio and piece it together with the slides in Garageband, Articulate or PowerPoint. I want to maintain the simple process of record narration with the slides through PowerPoint or Articulate. Would any of the microphones you recommended pick up the voice of a roving lecturer, but minimise the background noise of the audience? Are there any Wireless lapel microphones that could do the job, whilst simultaneously recording narration? 

Any suggestions to streamline this process are welcome.