Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters
40.1K views | +7 today
Follow
Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters
Contact: podcasting at mikephillips.me Twitter: @mcphillips
Curated by Mike Phillips
Your new post is loading...
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

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. 

more...
Mike Phillips's comment, November 27, 2011 11:21 PM
Pre-fader sends for Mix-minux channels
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

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.


February 26, 2018: Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the Blue Icicle for dynamic microphones. The background noise generated by the Icicle is just too high for a professional application. It's usable with a condenser mic since the condenser mic has higher output level. Also unfortunately, the Shure X2U is just as bad as the Icicle. If you need an external XLR-to-USB converter, the only one I recommend is the Centrance MicPort Pro. It's expensive, but it's the best one for the application. 


more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

On-Stage Stands MS7920B Microphone Stand

On-Stage Stands MS7920B Microphone Stand | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If you don't have the space or don't want to spend the money on a boom, take a look at this very handy microphone stand from On Stage. The MS7920B is designed to accurately position a mic for a bass drum, but it also works very well for podcasting. The mini boom is adjustable so that you can get the base out of the way and free up your desk space. Most music stores carry the On Stage brand. Street price is $25 to $30.  

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Oscar Sound Tech Lavaliere Microphone

Oscar Sound Tech Lavaliere Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

It's rare when you find a good product at a reasonable price from a company that gives excellent customer service. You get all three with Oscar Sound Tech. Vance Willis bought one of these lavaliere microphones for his on camera webcasts. It's connected to his wireless mic system.

 

The mic is omnidirectional, meaning that it theoretically picks up sound from all directions, including room echoes, but with a little practice, you can get a good sound with it. Almost all TV news rooms use lavaliere mics.

 

Whether to use a lavaliere mic is a question of aesthetics versus sound quality. Using my favorite comparison, a lavaliere mic is not a Heil PR40 in sound quality, but it is very useful when you want to go on camera and not have a gigantic mic, shock mount, and windscreen stuck in your face.

 

The mic is about $80 plus the appropriate connector, which is $15 and up. If you want to use the mic as an XLR mic, you will need to get the power adapter ($60). Contact http://oscarsoundtech.com for all the details. 

more...
Vance Willis's comment, October 17, 2011 6:15 PM
Mike, I did test this microphone against my Heil PR-40 and I was pleasantly surprised. It has a great background canceling ability as does the PR-40. I am very pleased so far with the results.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Audio-Technica AT803 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone

Audio-Technica AT803 Omnidirectional Condenser Lavalier Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

As webcasters and netcasters bec0me more video oriented in their broadcasts, some prefer the aesthetics of a lavalier microphone as opposed to stand or boom mounted studio mics, such as the Heil PR40. There is no way that a lav mic will have the fidelity of a studio mic. However, lav mics are used in TV everywhere, and the quality is sufficient for the application. 

 

The AT803 from Audio-Technica is a good choice for a lavalier mic. Since it is a condenser mic, it requires battery or phantom power. The kit includes a power pack with a standard XLR output. Street price is about $150US. Note that this mic is a wired mic, not a wireless one. Unless you specifically need a wireless mic, a wired mic is much less hassle and is much more reliable.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Sennheiser MKH416 Shotgun Microphone

Sennheiser MKH416 Shotgun Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

You might be interested in knowing that a lot of voice-over artists use a very unique microphone for their productions. The Sennheiser MKH-416 is actually a shotgun mic designed for boom use in video settings, but it became popular when it was used by the late Ernie Anderson ("The Love Boat"). If your voice is resonant, this mic will suck the bass out of your mouth and put it on the air. Unfortunately, it's not very flattering for the ladies. It's a condenser mic, it requires phantom power, and it's about $1000US. However, for the right person, there is nothing better.

 

The Sennheiser MKH-416 is overkill for podcasting, but if you're looking for the ultimate voice-over microphone, you might want to rent or borrow one to see how well it complements your voice. For everyone else, it's hard to do better than the Heil PR40.

more...
No comment yet.
Rescooped by Mike Phillips from Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters
Scoop.it!

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. 

more...
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
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Blue Microphones Snowball Mic

Blue Microphones Snowball Mic | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The Blue Snowball mic is actually a very nice microphone. It's a little awkward to position properly if you're not accustomed to speaking into a mic. Plus, if your room is noisy (room fans, air condititors, lighting, kids), the Snowball will do what it is supposed to - pick up sound. Many podcasters prefer dynamic microphones because they have more restrictive patterns. You can decide for yourself. 

 

The Blue Snowball retails for $99. I bought one for $63 and another for $37 on sale. If you decide to buy one, look around. They qualify for free shipping on Amazon. Even if you don't like it for your main podcasting microphone, it's usable for any application where you need a USB microphone. They're available in white, silver, and black. At any one time, one of the three colors may be cheaper than the other two. Do your homework and save some money.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

JZ Microphones JZ - Products

JZ Microphones JZ - Products | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Here is a new product that you might find useful. It's a very unique microphone pop filter. Take a good look at the surface of the filter. It has a "ripple" surface that claims to do an exceptionally good job of reducing the splosives that cause "P" pops when you're speaking into the microphone. Caution: The JF PF is about $120US.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Atdec VF-AT-D Focus Dual Display Monitor

Atdec VF-AT-D Focus Dual Display Monitor | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

If desk space is a premium on your webcasting setup, you might be surprised at how much real estate you can get back by using a dual monitor arm, such as this one from Atdec. The price seems to be reasonable although you can get some much nicer ones for much more money. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Delta 1010LT 10-In/10-Out PCI Virtual Studio

Delta 1010LT 10-In/10-Out PCI Virtual Studio | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The Delta 1010LT multi-channel PCI sound card is a fabulous device for integrating two-way conversation resources (Skype, telephone hybrids, SIP clients) with a computer. Each two-way resource requires a unique mix-minus signal. The 1010LT allows the creation of four separate mix-minuses. (Technically, the card provides five channels, but the fifth channel is S/PDIF, and most podcasters probably don't have S/PDIF-enabled equipment.) A real benefit is that the 1010LT allows disabling input monitoring so that the caller's audio does not appear on the channel output where it will cause an echo in the podcast. Having four channels on a single computer can save the necessity of adding a third or fourth computer in a podcasting studio.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Festool CXS Cordless Drill and Screwdriver

Festool CXS Cordless Drill and Screwdriver | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

My wife gave me a Festool CXS cordless drill set for Christmas. This drill and screwdriver is one of the finest pieces of equipment you will ever purchase. It should last a life time. The drill is variable speed, but it also has a coarse fast/slow speed adjustment. The torque is maintained at all speeds. Give one a try at your local Festool dealer. Don't spend a lot of time looking for a big discount. Pricing is reasonably well controlled by the authorized Festool dealers.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

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!

more...
Dweezil Baxter's curator insight, April 4, 2015 8:37 PM

I've seen these for as low as $180.00. 

Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

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.


February 26, 2018: If you really need an external XLR-to-USB converter and if you have the money, skip the X2U and, instead, get a Centrance MicPort Pro. 

more...
DAN ORTEGO's comment, August 18, 2013 11:07 PM
Great product and I'm using it right now.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Jing by TechSmith - Instant screenshots and screencasts

Jing by TechSmith - Instant screenshots and screencasts | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Here is an unusual recommendation. TechSmith offers a free screen capture program called Jing. It's a fabulous way to create and distribute screen captures, such as tutorials. The reasonI'm mentioning it here is that the audio setup portion of the program has a neat list of all of the audio sources on the computer. So, if you're trying to figure out where the audio is being fed to or from in your system, load the program, go to Options, and look at the Audio Input, Select Device. Watch the audio. Plus, it does a great job capturing screens with your narration.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

AKG D330BT Dynamic Microphone

AKG D330BT Dynamic Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

Since this microphone has been discontinued, there is not a good webpage to link to. It is very similar in appearance to the AKG D310, but the head is larger. Most people have never heard of this mic, but it was one that the musical group ABBA liked and used. They are prominently displayed in the live concert that ABBA recorded in Australia in 1979.

 

There's not a lot that's particularly outstanding or unique about the D330BT except that it has two switches that can be used to tailor the audio response. One switch controls treble boost, and the other switch controls bass cut. If you look around, you can find one for less than $100, but make sure you get a good one because it is unlikely that AKG has parts for them or will still repair them. 

more...
Sean Shakespeare's curator insight, February 16, 2014 11:11 PM

Pro: if you can find one you can probably do so for under $100.00

con: they are discontinued, finding a good one may be difficult. There's not much unique about their sound for the search.

Tam Huynh's curator insight, September 15, 2015 3:46 PM

Cardioid dynamic microphone with 3-way low-cut and high-cut filters. Conceived for vocals and live, but can also be used to record a guitar amp.

Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

The Heil PR 40 Microphone

The Heil PR 40 Microphone | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

The Heil PR40 is one of the best ever microphones for voice. The EV RE20 was the standard for many years in the radio industry. The PR40 is more durable, less expensive, and better sounding. If you're going to spend $325 on a microphone for podcasting, listen to this one first.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Stereo In-Line Adapter from Radio Shack

Stereo In-Line Adapter from Radio Shack | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

This audio adapter (274-0378) combines the right and left stereo channels from the 1/8" stereo plug into a single channel on the mono phono jack. The phone jack sends a mono signal to both left and right channels of the 1/8" stereo phone plug, which is connected to the LINE INPUT of your computer. The cable that connects to this adapter has an RCA plug on one end and a 1/4" mono phone plug on the other. The mono phone plug connects to the Aux Send on your mixer to create a mix-minus. Make sure that you do not use this adapter to combine left and right OUTPUTS to the input of your computer. You could damage your computer. It's better to run the computer output to the mixer input full stereo (1/8" stereo plug into speaker computer output and 2 RCA plugs into the left and right inputs of the mixer channel).

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Product: DR-40 | TASCAM

Product: DR-40 | TASCAM | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

This recorder is pretty high on on the "I gotta get it" list. Not only does it have XLR mic connectors, but it can also record in mono. While the ability to record in mono does not seem like a big deal, my Sony PCM-M10, which does a STELLAR job, records only in stereo. Recording in stereo unnecessarily burns up twice the SD card space. Since I usually do voice-only recording, it's not a big problem, but it could be on a long session, particuarly if the card was not cleared before the session.

 

I have not tested this recorder. If you have, your comments are appreciated. The PCM-M10 is not often mentioned in podcasting circles, but it is widely used in the remote recording business. One reason is that its analog-to-digital converters are very good. The real test with the DR-40 is whether it has sound as good as the PCM-M10.

more...
Robert's comment, February 28, 2013 10:21 AM
You have have gotten one of these since writing this, but here is my review and some comparison files. http://www.podcastinglife.com/?p=1332
Robert's comment, February 28, 2013 10:22 AM
Also, I recorded this short podcast episode using the DR-40 and an Audix OM2 mic. I forgot my pop shield that day! haha. But it gets are really good sound, and is easy to use. http://www.podcastinglife.com/?p=1444
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Lindstrom 8140 Diagonal Cutters 4 5/16"

Lindstrom 8140 Diagonal Cutters 4 5/16" | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

You may never have heard of Lindstrom diagonal cutters. There are the finish quality wire cutters I have ever used. This pair is 20 years old, and they still look and cut like they're new. They are undoubtedly a premium product. If you take care of them, they should last forever. The US street price is about $45 per pair. There are very few products that truly impress. This one does. 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Blackmagic Design: Intensity

Blackmagic Design: Intensity | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

This card seems to be the perfect solution for getting Skype video from a computer into a PC. We have not tested it yet, but it is highly recommended by several people who we know who use it for the same purpose. Put the Skype video into full screen and capture as a camera in Vidblaster, Wirecast, or Xsplit.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

ATR2100-USB Dynamic USB/XLR Mic

ATR2100-USB Dynamic USB/XLR Mic | 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. 

more...
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
Scooped by Mike Phillips
Scoop.it!

Behringer Shark DSP110

Behringer Shark DSP110 | Equipment and Techniques for Webcasters and Podcasters | Scoop.it

A friend needs to delay his audio feed to Skype by about 200 ms so that the audio feed from his mixer is in sync with his video feed from his Tricaster. He'll be trying one of these units to see if it will do the job. As always, the Behringer products have a fabulous price point. The question is whether it's too good to be true. 

more...
No comment yet.