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Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters
Contact: podcasting at mikephillips.me Twitter: @mcphillips
Curated by Mike Phillips
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FEATURED ARTICLE: Audio Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. The only mic a podcaster will ever need.

FEATURED ARTICLE: Audio Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone. The only mic a podcaster will ever need. | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The ATR2100-USB from Audio-Technica is a fabulous microphone as either a main mic for a casual podcaster or as a mic for use by guests or in the field. It includes an XLR connector for studio use and a USB connection for stand-alone use. There is even a headphone jack to hear the return audio as you would want with Skype. Best of all, the microphone is available for less than $50US. It's not a Heil PR40, but it's a lot more useful than a Shure SM58. 

 

UPDATE: April 14, 2012. Leo Laporte has just discovered the awesomeness of the ATR2100-USB microphone. At one point during his show, he did an A-B comparison with the fabulous Heil PR40. The difference was not as dramatic as you would think. 

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TopDawg's curator insight, March 10, 2013 1:13 AM

I purchased this the ATR2100-USB after reading this article by Mike Phillips. Thanks!

Erik Marshall's comment, July 10, 2013 12:09 PM
I love this mic. Cheap and versatile and sounds good.
JudyHalle's comment, September 7, 2013 4:28 AM
fantastic
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Interfacing Skype with a Mixer | IAIB

Interfacing Skype with a Mixer | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you're having problems interfacing your Skype computer with your mixer, take a look at this article at the IAIB. If you have any questions, my contact information is at the end of the article.

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Understanding Aux Sends for Mix Minus | IAIB

Understanding Aux Sends for Mix Minus | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you use a mixer to create a mix-minus feed to include Skype guests with your Internet broadcast or podcast, make sure you understand the difference between pre-fader and post-fader auxiliary sends. Not every mixer gives you the opportunity to designate whether an aux send is pre-fader or post-fader. Failure to differentiate between the two can cause a lot of headaches.

 

If you're buying a mixer, read the specifications clearly before you make your final decision. For example, the Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 has a button on each aux send that makes it pre or post. The Presonus StudioLive 16.0.2 requires that you change the aux send in the System settings in the firmware. (The default is pre-fader.) The Behringer 1204 mixer has one pre and one post aux send. The Behrringer X1204 (notice the "X") has one switchable pre/post aux send and one fixed post aux send. That's why I always recommend the X1204 over the 1204 even though it is a little more expensive.

 

Most Internet broadcasters will want post-fader sends. While pre-fader sends can be useful for some applications, those applications are very specific. You really have to know what you're doing to use them effectively.

 

Behringer, Mackie, Alesis, Yamaha, and Presonus mixers are designed for live sound reinforcement and music recording. We adapt them to use as broadcasting and podcasting mixers. If you understand what goes on under the hood, you will have a better chance of making these mixers work the way you want.

 

If you have any questions, or if I can help, follow me on Twitter at @mcphillips.

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TopDawg's curator insight, March 10, 2013 1:20 AM

I own a Mackie ProFX12 and the Behringer 1204USB. This information provided better insight on Mix Minus. Thanks!

SouthernGospelStation's comment, August 29, 2013 2:50 AM
This was good. question- are aux sends the way to also use the same mixer and computer (with multiple sound cards) to both do production work or live voicing on the same equiptment? IE: an aux for skype...and aux for live voicing, and one for producing spots, commercials, voice overs, voice tracks etc - so it doesn't go over the air?
Mike Phillips's comment, August 29, 2013 6:49 AM
Yes, but I recommend the M-Audio Audiophile 1010LT PCI sound card. It has four usuable stereo channels (five, including SPDIF) that allow you to use one computer four channels. The main audio requires a channel as does each mix-minus. If your mixer has a USB output, you have five usable channels. If you need more information, contact me on Twitter - @mcphillips.
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Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam

Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

A fellow scoop.it curator suggested this announcement about the new Logitech BCC950 ConferenceCam. Since I haven't used it, I can't recommend it and do not know any more about it than what I see at the product's web page. The camera has a nice extension arm for proper positioning. Plus, the built-in microphone is supposed to be more of speakerphone than just a microphone. Speakerphones rely heavily on automatic gain control (AGC) of the audio. For Skype calls, it's usually best to disable AGC. It will be interesting to see if AGC can be disabled on the BCC950. For direct broadcasts, the AGC can be quite useful.

 

The ConferenceCam lists at $249. Street price is about $189. It's hard to believe that the video quality could be much better than the Logitech C920 ($80 street price). Hopefully a comparision review is forthcoming.

 

Here are the specifications of the camera:

 

Motorized pan, tilt and zoom
Integrated full duplex omni-directional speakerphone with 8-foot range
On-board H.264 encoding
USB video class (UVC) supported applications
Full HD 1080p30fps video calling
Camera and speakerphone controls, speakerphone and remote control
10-foot range remote control
Pan, tilt and zoom, Volume, Audio mute, Answer/Hang up
Carl Zeiss Optics with 9 point auto focus
78-degree field of view
180-degree pan, 55-degree tilt
3.5mm analog headset jack
USB 2.0 compliant
8-foot USB cable
8-foot universal power adapter
9-inch extender stem for elevation / eye level camera angle

 

Compatibility: USB video class (camera and H.264), Microsoft Lync, Skype

Windows 7, XP, and Mac OS X 10.6 and higher

 

Thanks to Randy Resnick for the recommendation.

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New Facebook Group on Internet Broadcasting

New Facebook Group on Internet Broadcasting | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you use Facebook and you want to interact with other Internet Broadcasters, join the "Internet Broadcasters" group. It's closed, but requests to join are processed promptly. Tell us what you're doing, or ask for help.

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Phantom Power and Bias Voltage: Is There A Difference?

Phantom power and microphone bias voltage are not the same. This brief article explains the difference between the two.

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USB-Isolator

USB-Isolator | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

USB isolators eliminate ground loops and protect equipment from noise, electrical surges and transient voltage spikes. Sometimes it is almost impossible to eliminate a ground loop caused by a device, such as a mixer, connected to a USB port on a computer. This device is a commercial-grade unit that sells for $99US. If every other attempt to eliminate a USB ground loop fails, this unit may be your answer. (Disclaimer: I've never used this unit, but an engineer friend I trust, has.)

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Ground Loops

Ground Loops | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

This post will only briefly touch on the complex subject of ground loops. The short story is that when you connect a mixer to a computer to a sound system, there is an excellent chance that you will get a ground loop. A ground loop manifests itself as a high pitched whine superimposed on your audio. They can be hard to diagnose, but they can be simple to solve. Contrary to what you may think, the whine is not coming from the computer or the mixer; it is created by interconnecting them.

 

The device at the link is from Radio Shack and is called a ground loop isolator. It's really nothing more than a pair of audio transformers. What's good about these units is that, unlike a lot of Radio Shack merchandise, they are good quality. Transformers can be very expensive, as in a hundred dollars or more per channel. It's amazing how good these are for about $18US.

 

Assuming you're using a mixer, the simplest way to diagnose a ground loop is to monitor the sound with headphones while you can clearly hear the whine. Start unplugging the audio connections to the computers and amplifiers until the whine disappears. In brief, if you disconnect the audio to and from your computer and the whine goes away, you need a ground loop isolator between your mixer and your computer. In this case, if you're recording and playing computer audio in stereo, you'll need two of these Radio Shack units. 

 

The reason you have to have two units is that the ground loop is created when the GROUND of the mixer is connected to the GROUND of the computer. Since the ground on the input is the same as the ground on the output, connecting either one will cause the problem. Unfortunately, you're going to have to do some trial and error. 

 

The Radio Shack ground loop isolators are in stock in most stores. However, if you have some time and want to save some money, check out this eBay seller: http://goo.gl/KECVH The isolators are surplus, are sticky, and have to be cleaned with lighter fluid, but they work great for podcasting. 

 

If you're having a ground loop problem, you can contact me by email at podcasting at mikephillips.me. I'll try to help you solve your problem. All I ask in return is that you follow me on Twitter (@mcphillips) and that you tell others about this site.

 

 

 

 

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Brian Benitez's comment, January 25, 2012 4:12 PM
There's a simple free solution to ground loops, which may not be possible depending on your physical location and power setup: plug all devices that connect with your audio system into the same power circuit. When devices share the same ground, you generally won't get that audible buzzing sound.
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Audio-Technica AT8410a Microphone Shock Mount

Audio-Technica AT8410a Microphone Shock Mount | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The Audio-Technica AT8410a microphone shock mount is one of the best I've found. Almost any mic less than 30 mm will fit in it. (It will not work for the ATR2100-USB.) The isolation provided by the elastic bands is excellent. Street price is $48US. Mine have lasted more than 20 years. 

 

EDITED TO ADD: One of my 8410a shock mounts turned out to be an early model for which replacement bands are no longer available. AT offered to swap it for a new one for $29. The offer seemed like a good deal at the time. However, by the time I paid shipping on the old unit ($5), paid for the replacement ($29), and paid for return freight ($9.50), I had $43.50 plus a trip to FedEx invested. In retrospect, it would have been easier to throw the old one away and buy a new one for $48. Nevertheless, this shock mount is my absolute favorite. 

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Allen & Heath XB-14 Mixer

Allen & Heath XB-14 Mixer | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

I may be one step closer in my quest to locate the perfect podcast mixer. Quite by accident I discovered the Allen & Heath XB-14. You can click on the link to read all of the specifications, but several features are worth mentioning.

 

There are two mix-minus channels built in (they're labeled Telco). For a podcaster, those channels are probably used for Skype 1 and Skype 2 (or Google Voice, Paltalk, TalkShoe, or a SIP client). There are four stereo input channels, but the fourth one is a USB return for your computer audio. Most mixers have a USB return on a small rotary fader, and sometimes it's hard to get the USB audio back into the mix.

 

Since the mixer was designed for live broadcast, there is control room speaker muting on the mic channel as well as some other logic switching options. There are mutliple headphone feeds so the host can have a separate feed from the guests.

 

What keeps the XB-14 from being perfect? The ideal podcast mixer would have four mix-minus channels and more than a single aux channel. (I'm not clear how the aux is connected to the Mix B function.) 

 

Amazon has the XB-14 for about $950US, which is the lowest price I've found. I've never touch one of these mixers, so my observations are based on reading the specifications. Do your homework before you spend your money.

 

So, you ask, why doesn't Behringer or Allen & Heath make the PERFECT podcasting mixer? Unfortunately the sales would be too low to justify the product development and manufacturing. It's possible to do almost anything you want to do in podcasting with a mixer such as a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 or 16.0.2, a Mackie 1640i, or a Behringer X2442USB, but with those mixers, you have to understand, create, and manage your own mix-minus feeds.

 

If I ever get the opportunity to evaluate one of these interesting units, I'll report back. If you have or have used an XB-14, please comment below or send me an email with your observations.

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DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 19, 2013 8:57 AM
I have my eye on this one. In fact they just released or announced the MkII update earlier this August 2013.
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Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Handheld Microphone Reviewed

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Handheld Microphone Reviewed | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The ATR2100-USB has been chosen as Videomaker's Best Handheld Microphone of 2011. Here is text from AT's Facebook post about the award:

 

"Turn the ATR2100-USB over, and in addition to the usual single XLR connector, you will also find a Mini-B USB port, an 1/8-inch headphone jack and a volume control dial. While it functions as any other XLR mic, the USB port allows it to connect easily, in true plug-and-play fashion, to any computer - Windows or Mac. Plug some headphones directly into the mic for instant audio monitoring, adjust the volume and wail away. And the quality? Excellent! For versatility and quality, the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid USB/XLR Mic is our choice for Videomaker's Best Handheld Microphone."

 

You heard it here first.

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TopDawg's curator insight, March 10, 2013 1:27 AM

Awesome review!

Justyn Magarotto's curator insight, January 23, 1:00 AM

This article first delves into the fact that this is a great microphone and that is is great for any connection becuase it has a multi pulg which makes it very much useful for many recordings. The article continues to talk about it's set-up and best uses but does not call it a universal microphone that is great for every situation. It is a very well endowed equiptment and it is obvious but it does not fill the full spectrum or recording requirements.I found this article greatly useful because it hit the questions head on without a dodge or fake answer. I think the uses of different microphones are useful.

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Behringer 1204USB and X1204USB Mixers

Behringer 1204USB and X1204USB Mixers | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

A recent question on Twitter prompted me to write this post about a subtle difference between the Behringer 1204USB mixer and the X1204USB mixer. The number system is confusing since many people think the "X" is an abbreviation for "Xenyx", but it's not. The 1204USB and the X1204USB are very different.

 

While the X1204USB includes digital effects that the 1204USB does not, the effects are not the most relevant benefit. (We NEVER use effects.) Both mixers include two auxillary sends per channel. Aux sends are typically used to create mix-minux feeds for Skype, Google Voice, Google+ Hangouts, TalkShoe, Paltalk, and other online interactive sites and services. With the aux sends on the 1204, one is pre-fader and one is post-fader. With the X1204, both can be post-fader. Why do you care?

 

With a pre-fader aux send, the audio from a channel is sent to the aux output even if the channel fader is down. With a post-fader aux send, when the channel fader is down, there is no output from that channel to the aux output. So, if you're using a pre-fader aux send for a Skype mix-minus feed, if you lower your mic fader to cough, the Skype caller will hear the cough. If you're using a post-fader aux send, when you lower the channel fader on the mic, the aux send from that channel is muted, and the caller does not hear you.

 

This seemingly subtle difference between the 1204USB and the X1204USB totally justifies the cost difference. The pre-fader aux send is usable, but the post-fader aux send is sweet. There are other differences, but you can read about those on the Behringer website. 

 

NOTE: If Behringer made both aux sends on the 1204USB switchable or permanently post-fader, I'd recommend it over the X1204USB. 

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Mike Phillips's comment, November 27, 2011 11:21 PM
Pre-fader sends for Mix-minux channels
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Blue Microphones XLR to USB Converter

Blue Microphones XLR to USB Converter | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you want a less expensive alternative to the Shure X2U converter also listed on this page, check out the Blue Icicle. The last one I bought was about $35US. While it doesn't have the bells and whistles of the X2U, it does the job. It even supplies phantom power if you decide for some unknown reason to use a condenser mic for podcasting.

 

If, like me, you have two side-by-side computers for which you want a professional-sounding mic on each, get the ATR2100-USB (on this page) and connect it by USB to one computer. Get the Blue Icicle, connect it through an XLR cable to the ATR2100-USB, and connect the Icicle by USB to the second computer. You now have one mic simultaneously feeding two computers. (While the ATR2100-USB may technically not a professional mic, I challenge you compare it in this arrangement with a professional mic, such as an SM58.)

 

The only caveat is that you might pick up a ground loop by connecting the grounds of the two computers together through the mic. Make sure both computers are connected to the same electrical outlet or UPS. You'll know you have a ground loop if you hear a high-pitched whine in the background of your audio. But that's another topic.

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Radio Guide May/Jun-2014

Radio Guide May/Jun-2014 | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

An article I wrote about microphones appears on Page 38 of the May/June 2014 edition of Radio Guide magazine, a trade magazine primarily for terrestrial broadcasters. You might find it interesting.

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IAIB Spotlight Ep. 14 - Mike Phillips Interview 9-13-13 - GFQ Network - Podcasting Network

IAIB Spotlight Ep. 14 - Mike Phillips Interview 9-13-13 - GFQ Network - Podcasting Network | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Here's a guest appearance I did on the IAIB Spotlight with Andrew Zarian, warts and all. You might find some useful information here. 

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nativemedia's comment, September 25, 2013 12:22 AM
it's great
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No More Skype Ducking | IAIB

No More Skype Ducking | IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you use Skype to bring in audio from a co-host or a regular guest, are you having problems with Skype "ducking" the audio during the call? That is, when the guest and the host talk at the same time, is the lower volume audio suppresed in favor of the louder one? 

 

The reason you have the issue is Skype is a half-duplex communications system. Only one person can talk at a time. While Skype does a great job of balancing the callers, if you as the host try to play music over Skype for your guest, such as theme music, the ducking problem will become blatantly obvious.

 

There is a quick solution. Take a look at this article on the IAIB (and become a member.) If you have any questions or comments, you can reach me on Twitter (@mcphillips) or in the Podcasting Technology Resources Community in Google+ Communities.

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Rob Tacey's curator insight, February 5, 2013 1:35 PM

This is really handy if you're recording interviews for your show.

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TS, TRS, TRRS – BALANCED, UNBALANCED

TS, TRS, TRRS – BALANCED, UNBALANCED | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

There are several types of plugs typically used by Internet broadcasters and podcasters to connect their computers, MP3 players, and microphones to their mixers and recorders. Two of the most popular connectors are the 1/8” mini plug and the 1/4” phone plug. People often confuse these plugs, so they are discussed in this article I posted on the IAIB blog.

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Rob Tacey's curator insight, February 19, 2013 3:11 PM

A great write up.  Covers all the major points.

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Heil Pro Set 3 Stereo Headphones

Heil Pro Set 3 Stereo Headphones | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Here's a review of the Heil Pro Set 3 professional stere headphones on the IAIB website. 

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Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops

Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Here is an excellent technical paper written by Bill Whitlock of Jensen Transformers. Click on the image at the link above to download a PDF copy of "Understanding, Finding, & Eliminating Ground Loops in Audio & Video Systems." If you're not familiar with Jensen transformers, they are among the highest quality audio transformers in the world. If you are listening to audio from your computer, radio, or TV at the moment, you're probably hearing through one or more Jensen transformers.

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International Association of Internet Broadcasters - IAIB

International Association of Internet Broadcasters - IAIB | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The International Association of Internet Broadcasters (IAIB) is the principal voluntary trade organization representing the interests of Internet broadcast professionals throughout the world. Considered the most prominent and effective voice of internet broadcasting, the IAIB was founded in direct response to the growing sentiment that this powerful broadcast medium was in need of appropriate representation.

 

The International Association of Internet Broadcasters not only represents independent and corporate broadcasters, but welcomes equipment suppliers and providers of other services to the Internet Broadcasting Industry. The IAIB provides educational resources, representation, and networking opportunities to Internet broadcast professionals, and to all those interested in participating and learning more about this fastly emerging broadcast medium.

 

Membership in the IAIB is free, and grants access to a diverse network of broadcasting professionals, early technology adapters and leading Internet broadcast entrepreneurs, all of whom are dedicated to sharing their expertise, helping new comers to the field, and advancing the industry as a whole.

 

The forums have become a fun and helpful place to share ideas about Internet broadcasting. Become a member, and share your expertise. Click on Join Now. You will need to request an invitation code, which has to be sent manually, so there may be a little delay. (The process is necessary to keep out spammers.) 

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Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone Review

Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Microphone Review | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

At the risk of soundling like a broken record, here is another review of the ATR2100-USB dynamic microphone. It's perfect for most podcasters. Unfortunately, its price is creeping up. They're now almost $52 at amazon.com, and they're much higher elsewhere. Apparently AT has realized they've got a good thing here.

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Sean Shakespeare's curator insight, February 16, 11:14 PM

Pro: XLR and usb compatible

con: they are becoming more expensive 

 

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Audix DCLIP Mic Stand Adapter

Audix DCLIP Mic Stand Adapter | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Many small-diameter microphones are 3/4" diameter including the EV RE10/15/16/18 series, the EV 635A, the AKG D112, the Neumann KM184, and hundreds more. The older EV mics came with a model 310 stand adapter, which was discontinued in favor of the model 311 that allows snapping the mic into place. While I always prefer to have the original adapter that was shipped with a mic, sometimes they are lost or broken and are not available.

 

The EV 311 is about $14US from Full Compass. The Audix DCLIP is about $10US shipped from Sweetwater Sound. Just for fun, I ordered an Audix DCLIP to see first hand how robust this clip is. It's a good one. The swivel locking mechanism works very well in that the thumb screw tights a surface with gripping teeth against a fiber washer to prevent slipping. It's easy and quick to position the mic. 

 

It will be interesting to see how well the clip holds up. Fiber washers don't last forever, although a suitable replacement part may be available at a hardware store. Even then, while the clip is only $10, if you buy a lot of them, it can get expensive replacing them for the sake of a washer. 

 

Sweetwater didn't have the EV 311 on their website, so I was not able to order one to compare. Full Compass carries them, but they are not eligible for free shipping, making it more practical to add them to an order down the road. 

 

The 3/4" mic is also a 19mm mic. Many mic clips are specified for 19-23mm mics. Just for grins, I ordered an Audio-Technica AT8405a stand adapter for a 21mm mic. A difference of 2mm really matters. This AT clip does not fit a single mic I own.

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External Microphones for iPhone 4S, iPad and iPod Touch

External Microphones for iPhone 4S, iPad and iPod Touch | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you really need to use your iPhone as an audio recorder for remote podcasting, take a look at this website. Spend some time clicking on the links and watching the videos. Be aware that the input characteristics of the iPhone 3 and iPhone 4 are different.

 

If you get the wrong adapter, you will NOT be happy with the results. It's all explained here. 

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Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout

Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The author of this article listened to some of the best radio microphones in the world and picked the best two podcasting microphones on the market. Includes audio clips. Decide for yourself which mics are worth their price.

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DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 18, 2013 11:06 PM
The Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout was the most helpful resource I found for selecting my own choice.
Ileane Smith's comment, August 19, 2013 3:49 AM
Congrats Dan. Is your show live?
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dbx 286S Mic Pre-Amp Processor

dbx 286S Mic Pre-Amp Processor | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Podcasting studios are often characterized by poor acoustics. You can buy the best mic, preamp, compressor, and mixer and still have a bad result. It's annoying for your listeners to be able to hear things such as computer fans running in the background of your podcast. Those noises are particularly apparent when your listener is using headphones.

 

While there is nothing better than eliminating noise at its source, a good band-aid is the dbx 286s microphone preamp and processor. While you probably already have a preamp in your mixer, the 286s includes one, as well. Plug your XLR mic into the 286s and plug the line output of the 286s into a line input on your mixer. 

 

The 286s includes a compressor, an enhancer, and a de-esser, but be very careful not to over-process your mic audio. One of the most useful features of the 286s is the gate. While listening to your mic audio through headphones, adjust the Threshold control until the background noise is masked. (It does not disappear!) When you talk, the background noise is still there, but it is not as easy to hear because your voice is hopefully so much louder than the noise.

 

Don't buy the 286s or any processing equipment expecting miracles. Many beginning podcasters think that they have to buy a whole rack full of equipment to get a good sounding podcast. In many cases, just the opposite is true. Keep it simple. Do not over-process. Don't crank the low frequency control on your mixer to 3 o'clock hoping that your voice will sound deeper. Poor application of equalization and processing are a dead giveaway that you don't know what you're doing.

 

The 286s takes some experimentation to find its optimum settings. When it is properly set, it can add a lot of control to your mic chain. They're available for about $200US. There are some other units, such as the Symetrix 528E or the Vorsis M1, but those units are more expensive than the dbx unit and offer negligible improvement for most podcasters. As always, your mileage may vary!

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Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Adapter

Shure X2U XLR-to-USB Adapter | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Almost all professional microphones have XLR connectors. Sometimes it's more convenient to use a USB microphone. So, what happens if you want a professional mic but you also want to use it as a USB mic, at least some of the time?

 

Take a look at the Shure X2U converter. Plug in a mic with an XLR connector (do NOT plug the converter directly into the mic!) and connect the converter by USB cable to your computer. Now your professional mic is also a USB mic.

 

The X2U has a ton of features. Click to read the specs. Street price is about $99.

 

My X2U failed. When I returned it to Shure, I was expecting to get grief from them because the unit was possibly close to being out of warranty, and the receipt was nowhere to be found. To their credit, they replaced the unit - no questions asked - and the new unit works perfectly.

 

The X2U is a great addition to any audio toolbox.

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DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 18, 2013 11:07 PM
Great product and I'm using it right now.