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Old December 9th, 2007, 10:24 PM   #1
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Input needed - Behringer C1's or Zoom H2 for podcast.

Hey guys.

I'm recording a podcast with 5 people for a non-profit I run, so funds are limited (Aren't they always). I was almost all set to buy an H2, but I found out about the Behringer C1's which are damned cheap. Of course I'd need a mixer with phantom power, but I can borrow one of those from a friend, so I was wondering what would you guys do in this case?

Mic 5 of us with C1's or just plonk an H2 in the middle of the table, deaden the room and go for it? What I like about the H2 is simplicity. Stick it in the middle, hit a button and wham you're recording stereo front and back. Of course what I like about individual mics is the fact that each person will sound goodish and ambient sound won't dominate as much. The thing I'm not sure of is the sound quality of those mics.

Part of me wants the H2, but something inside is saying the individual mics will just sound a world better.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old December 9th, 2007, 11:38 PM   #2
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I'd say mic them individually.

If this is a one time thing or if it's happening fairly irregularly and you can't afford to buy, you can always rent. Mics and recorders as well. For simplicity I'd say RENT the Fostex PD6, that'll give you 6 channels of audio. You can record the 6 channels and then send an out to the camera if you're using it. Renting lavs are fairly inexpensive as well.

If you don't want 6 independent channels and you're doing a stationary sit-down thing, get a 2 channel recorder and just use a mixer for your inputs. You can adjust your levels to your liking. Though with 5 people I'd say independent channels are better you can do a little bit of post to clean and sweeten it up.

Have the non-profit do it. It'll be a write-off for them.

There are so many combinations that'll give you good audio. Is this just audio you're capturing or audio married to video? If it's audio to video, you can use a mixer and send your outs to the video camera and get yourself a stereo mix.

Or you can get/borrow one of those 2 in 1 jammies like the Korg D888 (if it's just audio).

Sorry about all the options, if I was talking I'd be out of breath.

I know people are raving about the Zooms on this forum but I wouldn't touch 'em with a 10 foot pole. And as far as Behringer products NFW!
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Old December 10th, 2007, 01:24 AM   #3
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Thanks Anna.


Couple of things. We're non-profit but not registered so we can't get any write off. Budget is tiny, about NZ$300 =~ US$200 all up, forever, so we can't spend a hundred a month or anything like that.

We're just doing an audio podcast, no video.

I can get a 4 channel mixer reliably, would just need to buy/rent a small audio device to get it into my Mac.

Even then would you still recommend separate micing, and do you think the budget C1's would be adequate?

What is it about the H2 you don't like?
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Old December 10th, 2007, 02:11 AM   #4
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I don't like Zoom 'cause it doesn't sound as natural as I'd like and I do stuff more with time code and I need the extra features that other more pricier recorders offer.

For your budget and if it's a podcast online I'd say go with the H2. Do a trial, I'm sure it'll pick up what you need. Unless you can borrow stuff from friends, don't worry too much about separation 'cause it's a small budget. The H2 also has external mic options which comes in handy.

Overall you won't be disappointed with the unit for what you'll need it for.

I bought an H4 to test and noticed that the unit itself is really sensitive to handling (obviously considering I was using the internal mics) and it was a lot sweeter with external mics. I ran tests all over the city with it and it's a great unit for musicians and people who just want a handy recorder. I sold it a week later.

Also I'm assuming you'll be recording in mp3 format so the 512 card should give you enough recording time.

As far as the Behringer mic, I don't use Behringer products. They're not well made and don't sound that great. I'm talking all across the board from mics to headphone distribution amps to guitar amps, you name it. Besides, given the mic setup on the zoom you'll get more coverage with the internal mic.

The H2 has four mics and they boast about getting 360 degree coverage. The Behringer although is a Cardiod you're not going to get as much pickup. They'd need to be closer to the source and you'd need a few of them to pickup what you need. Already you're looking at spending more than your $200US budget and you only have 2 inputs on the H2.

How big is the table by the way?

Man I wish we were neighbors, I'd lend you some mics and a mixer with a hard disc recorder for the day.

Last edited by Anna Harmon; December 10th, 2007 at 02:45 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 03:34 PM   #5
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The H2 has four mics and they boast about getting 360 degree coverage. The Behringer although is a Cardiod you're not going to get as much pickup. They'd need to be closer to the source and you'd need a few of them to pickup what you need. Already you're looking at spending more than your $200US budget and you only have 2 inputs on the H2.

How big is the table by the way?

Man I wish we were neighbors, I'd lend you some mics and a mixer with a hard disc recorder for the day.
Yeah I realise I'd need 4 C1's (I have one ME66 of my own which I could use) so that's starting to top out the budget, especially if I wanted an audio in device to my Mac from the borrowed mixer.

The table is regular 6 seater dining room table, so I'd imagine 2m x 1 m roughly in size.

You don't think about 12,000kms qualifies as neighbours? :)

Knowing a soundie with gear would be nice. A guy here at work has loaned me his mics and will this time if I need them but I don't want to overstep his generosity and of course I need my own solution.

I guess my main concern is that if I get an H2, sit 2 people on 1 side (120 degree side), 2 on the 90 degree side, that the sound will come out a little hollow or roomy. The room I'm in is a rumpus, so carpetted, curtains and a soft projector screen on one wall. So it's not a live room, but not completely dead either.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:01 PM   #6
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h2

well. considering your budget you really dont have much of a choice. by the time you get stands and cables and the interface or mixer you allready over budget before you even think about mic's. so you either go the H2 or get a bigger budget.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:08 PM   #7
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well. considering your budget you really dont have much of a choice. by the time you get stands and cables and the interface or mixer you allready over budget before you even think about mic's. so you either go the H2 or get a bigger budget.
Hi Gerry, I actually have stands and cables already so that's OK.

It's really just the mic issue, and maybe an audio adapter (I can borrow one once more).

Essentially, the H2 and 4 C1's are around the same price (C1's a little cheaper) if C1's were going to be far superior, then I might be able to borrow an audio adapter for a few more times while I save for my own, something like a simple maudio one. Mixer I can borrow whenever I need it so that's OK, it's just a small cheap Behringer or Tapco(?) one, nothing fancy.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #8
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If you already have the supporting equipment then the individual mics should theoretically work better, but you are also opening yourself up to other problems that come with individual mic'ing. One of the biggest hurdles here are how close are the people participating willing to speak into the mic? if they are just going to sit and have a natural conversation like if the mics are not there or are they goint to sit "at" the mic (like at radio stations) if they are going to sit "at" the mic then you have to consider some kind of windscreen for the mics as part of your budget (to eliminate or minimize plosives ) if they are going to sit back and not realy speak to the mics but rather at each other then you have to take phase issues in to account as the gain on the mics will be greater and pick up more of the room and other speakers, therefore creating phase anomalies due to distances between sources and microphones (could leave you with big empty, hollow bathroom like sound). just something to think about. but if you can control the speakers then youre much better off. if you can manage to get you an interface for your computer with enough mic inputs with phantom, then youre much better off again , because you then can introduce dsp processing (compressors, limiters, eq and so forth) to each individual mic, making your podcast much more professional sounding. not to mention you can then individualy edit individual tracks as necessary, thats where I would head towards, considering limited budget. perhaps you may be able to talk your local rental house into a sponsorship type deal to allow you some loaner gear and in return they get a mention in your website or program. (could happen) when considering your interface perhaps you can borrow untill you can afford the 6 input one, that would help you out a bunch.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:41 PM   #9
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Can you pass a mic or two around? Get those regular windscreens, you know the one that looks like a clown nose (I know, I know, my technical vocabulary is genius). Just have them pass the mic around. I would still not go for the C1's. Shure makes the P58 or whatever they're called. They're cheap and decent. By decent I mean just that.

You can plug the two mics in straight to the zoom, set it to medium and go for it.

You're going to be editing this anyway so you can get rid of the handling noise easy. And realize editing takes some time especially if you're a perfectionist. I have spent many blessed hours getting rid of ums and uhs from speech and helping people sound intelligent.

Last edited by Anna Harmon; December 10th, 2007 at 08:30 PM.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 05:57 PM   #10
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Unfortunately, we can't pass mics around simply because it's an off the cuff podcast where everyone's in a general discussion and at any time could interject. I've tried to find some recordings of the C1, but just can't manage to. It's crazy.

Plonking an H2 in the middle of a table sounds so much simpler ;)

It sounds like you're far more professional than me Anna, editing out the ums and ahhs. I see the benefit but man it must drive you nuts!

Thanks all for the responses, it *IS*helping.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #11
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Thanks Gerry.

As you mentioned, the first podcast had plosive problems, and also the hollow sound. I was lucky with the hollow sound as I was recording to 3 independent channels and so I could just turn down the others in post which gave a much better result.

While the mics aren't miles from their mouths and I did tell them to try and keep close, they do tend to move around a little so on average a mic would sit between 30-60cm from their mouths. The mic I used was a dynamic, so I was basically eating the thing, and it was pops galore :(

Interesting idea with the sponsorship, I might look into that at some point.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:03 PM   #12
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If you have to mic multiple participants on the cheap, try placing one microphone in between each participant. You'll need an audio mixer with EQ on High, Mid, and Low bands to pull this off. Those tone controls appear on 6 mic channel mic mixers fairly regularly. If the mixer only has only high and low tone controls on each channel, set the high to 0900 position and the lows to 1200 position. Adjust each channel gain to start at -50 or 60 db with master gain at 1300 position. With all faders set at 80% work down the line of miccrophones speaking the same words (I use "one", check", and "hey-hey"). All mics must sound identical. Adjust channel tone controls as necessary. I tend to agree with the opinon expressed regarding Behringer, at least in terms of mixers. My 4 ch mic mixer is a miser on tone control while my 8 ch mic mixer is amazingly precise. Can't comment on Behringer microphones since I don't own any.
It is best if all mics are of same model and manufacture (I always used Shure SM-58's because they will pick up audio very clearly up to 18" from the audio source. If you have to mix and match, try to first place the odd mic in the hands of the moderator, then do a test of the remaining mics with particular emphasis on low frequency response. Those that perform better in the low frequencies will be the primary signal carriers so space them appropriately along the line of participants.
In any case, the kind of mic is important. Omni directional mics, like the EV 635 need to be closer to the participants, about 6" from the edge of the table and pointed almost straight up. Directional mics, like the Shure SM 57 or 58, need to be 12" - 15" from the table edge and aimed straight back and elevated up 10 - 20 degrees. Use table stands! If the mic stands don't have shock mounts, place a mouse pad under each mic stand.

Spend the time you need testing before the event. If you are recording directly to tape and not involving a PA system for a live audience your task will be much easier.

Good luck!
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; December 10th, 2007 at 06:19 PM. Reason: Grammar correction. Additional details added.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 06:12 PM   #13
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Thanks Waldemar. We record straight into a computer at the moment, and it's not live, so we can take our time.

I did use my ME66 between 2 people last time and they were pretty good about talking into it, so it came out OK.
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Old December 10th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #14
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you dont have the budget (right now) for a "problem free" solution, but if youre willing to save up for an interface, go ahead and get the mics... save for the 6 input interface, then you will have the tools to get what youre after. yeah Behringer isnt a great brand, but you cant really get a decent "Big Name Brand" mic for that price, period, even a Shure PL48 cost more, so go ahead and get the mics, at least you are on your way to a 'better' than the H2 solution. it will be challenging at first but when you get the interface and whatever multitrack software that comes with , you will have all the tools to achieve very satisfactory results much better that the H2 could ever achieve on its own. when you learn the software and the plug-ins you will have the tools to be able to edit out uhms and uhhs regardless of the C1's or any other mic youll have the tools to be able to automate mutes and volumes and tone and dynamics of individual channels. so you'll be in the process of building a more usable system. later on you can upgrade your mics as money allows , or you might just be happy with the ones you get. but at least you'll have the flexibility to do so. building a recording system is a multi step process, this way you'll have the options to expand and replace the "get me by" gear with better gear one at a time instead of the "trash" the whole thing and start from scratch method.

just my 2 cents
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Old December 10th, 2007, 08:21 PM   #15
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Gerry, he can borrow mics if he really needs to. The Behringers are a waste of money. He wants the Zoom. No budget for a mixer.

The easiest solution is to borrow those mics put the little clown noses on them and ask people to speak into the mic.


Wait a minute! Did you say you record straight into the computer now? Why can't you do that again? Is it via interface? How many mic ins do you have?

This is a whole new ball game.

And considering your budget I wouldn't worry about superior quality. Start making a podcast fund at the "non-profit" even if it's a couple of dollars here and there. Just so you can get better stuff. And don't forget the used market. Though I'm wary of it for electronics 'cause it feels like more often than not they're selling you their "tired" equipment. Used mics are a plenty.

And don't necessarily look for the latest and greatest either. It's a podcast.
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