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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
The Behringer MDX4600 dynamics processor is a common choice for podcasters, but it can be a challenge to get good results from this, or any advanced audio equipment.
This is the first detailed explanation I could find when setting up the Behringer MDX4600. Compressors are a headache when trying to adjust the many knobs and buttons. This article will provide you a start when setting up a compressor.
Sharing your scoops to your social media accounts is a must to distribute your curated content. Not only will it drive traffic and leads through your content, but it will help show your expertise with your followers.
How to integrate my topics' content to my website?
Integrating your curated content to your website or blog will allow you to increase your website visitors’ engagement, boost SEO and acquire new visitors. By redirecting your social media traffic to your website, Scoop.it will also help you generate more qualified traffic and leads from your curation work.
Distributing your curated content through a newsletter is a great way to nurture and engage your email subscribers will developing your traffic and visibility.
Creating engaging newsletters with your curated content is really easy.