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Old January 25th, 2011, 03:16 PM   #1
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Recording audio to a computer...

I am recording powerpoint presentations using camtasia on a computer and wanted to know the most practical way to record voice. I thought of using my Octava MK012 but I guess since it requires phantom i would need to run it through a mixer then to the computer, but I have a concern whether windows will recognize the mic that way? Is there a simpler way? should I just get a mic with a 3.5mm and go straight into the computer? I tried a Logitech USB headset but it was a joke... enormous amount of hum... I also considered recording to a Zoom H1 but the audio would have to by sync'd up...

Thanks!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 03:50 PM   #2
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Have done a lot of voice-overs using a USB mike, which plugs directly into the computer. Lots of quality choices at very reasonable prices: Audio-Technica, Marshall, Rode, Blue, and Samson come to mind....we were doing vo into Final Cut Pro with reporters and such, worked nicely. We had one weekly feature done by a reporter in her laptop at home; we gave her a quality, expensive dynamic to run directly into the mike input; never worked worth a darn. Gave her a $75 usb Samson, perfecto......
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Old January 25th, 2011, 04:20 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
Have done a lot of voice-overs using a USB mike, which plugs directly into the computer. Lots of quality choices at very reasonable prices: Audio-Technica, Marshall, Rode, Blue, and Samson come to mind....we were doing vo into Final Cut Pro with reporters and such, worked nicely. We had one weekly feature done by a reporter in her laptop at home; we gave her a quality, expensive dynamic to run directly into the mike input; never worked worth a darn. Gave her a $75 usb Samson, perfecto......
Thanks for your input... I've heard mixed reviews on USB. Some say it's great and some say you'd be better off connecting a non-usb mic.... I've considered these options:

Option 1 ($93): Audio-Technica AT2020USB (I was told that it was better than the Samson G Track - any thoughts?)
Audio-Technica AT2020USB - Condenser Microphone AT2020 USB B&H


Option 2 ($130): Peavey PV6 USB Live Sound Mixer with 6 Channels with USB and Effects Processor and connect my Oktava to it.
Peavey PV6 USB Live Sound Mixer with 6 Channels with 03513300


Option 3 ($40-$100): An inline interface such as: Blue Icicle ($39) or Shure X2u ($99) or MXL USB Mic Mate ($39)
Blue Icicle - USB Microphone Interface ICICLE B&H Photo Video

Shure X2u - XLR to USB Microphone Signal Adapter X2U B&H Photo

MXL USB Mic Mate - Preamp and USB Interface MIC MATE B&H Photo


Seems like the mixer might be best way to go since I already have an Oktava and it probably is much better sound quality? However, it would be cool to have another mic to play with!
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Old January 25th, 2011, 07:02 PM   #4
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I've never heard of this company, but according to all the reviews online it's the best USB mic out for the money:

Blue Yeti THX-Certified USB Condenser Microphone YETI B&H Photo
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Old January 25th, 2011, 07:41 PM   #5
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There's a lot of ways to do anything ... there are xlr to usb and xlr to firewire interfaces, and they seem to work ... my youngest, who dabbles in music production, uses a m-audio interface with his Shure mikes and likes it fine. I have had good luck with straight USB, which seems simplest. Sample attached.
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Old January 25th, 2011, 09:15 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
There's a lot of ways to do anything ... there are xlr to usb and xlr to firewire interfaces, and they seem to work ... my youngest, who dabbles in music production, uses a m-audio interface with his Shure mikes and likes it fine. I have had good luck with straight USB, which seems simplest. Sample attached.
Cool... thanks for all your help Battle!.... I think I will try the Blue Yetti and see how it does. I agree with you, that the ability to just plug a USB mic in and go is the simplest and probably smartest way to go....
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Old January 25th, 2011, 10:23 PM   #7
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I like my mic port pro xlr to usb. Works fine and lets me use better mics.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 05:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael LaHatte View Post
I am recording powerpoint presentations using camtasia on a computer and wanted to know the most practical way to record voice. I thought of using my Octava MK012 but I guess since it requires phantom i would need to run it through a mixer then to the computer, but I have a concern whether windows will recognize the mic that way? Is there a simpler way? should I just get a mic with a 3.5mm and go straight into the computer? I tried a Logitech USB headset but it was a joke... enormous amount of hum... I also considered recording to a Zoom H1 but the audio would have to by sync'd up...

Thanks!
Computer sound cards tend to have lousy mic level inputs and so-so line level performance. Consider an external interface. If you want to go first class, combining some of the features of a good mixer and high quality preamp with the functionality of a USB interface with fully professional quality, take a look at the new USBPre 2 from Sound Devices.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 11:10 AM   #9
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The key overlooked ingredient no matter what equipment you pick is the ability to monitor what you're recording without latency.

Since monitoring the recorded audio feed live without any latency is difficult for most average laptops and average software, it's very important to have a means of high quality direct monitoring from the USB mic or USB interface as the signal is going in.
For example, that's one reason why the Centrance Mic Port Pro with its built-in headphone amp costs so much more and is so much better to use than the MXL Mic Mate.

You can also use a small mixer both for monitoring and to feed a simple USB interface and other devices. Using a mixer allows you to use any mic you want.

If you do use the laptop's built-in analog mic jack, it's important to match the need for mono or stereo connectors depending on the mic and the jack, as well as the need (or not) for Plug-In Power on the mic jack. All of those variables as well as the quality of the mic itself can lead to poor audio and/or hum, crackles, etc.
I've also used a BeachTek into the computer just as you would with a mini-cam.

I haven't used Camtasia, but instead use the free version of Debut. It works well and essentially turns the laptop into a "3rd Camera" during multi-cam shoots when fed with live audio to get a great quality synced capture of the PowerPoint presentation.
Even if you don't use the actual screen recording, you now have a synced record of when each slide was used to allow for their easy replacement with .bmp's generated from the PowerPoint show after the fact.
It also gives you two more audio recording tracks to use without setting up an extra recorder.

Any screen recording software is a substantial extra burden on the average laptop. So if this is an important live presentation and the PowerPoint show is playing back other media or animation, I've opted to get the recording after the event, by sitting with the presentation operator while they listen and watch the edited video of the presenter on stage and activate each slide as they did during the live show.
If the computer hangs or chokes during post-production, at least it isn't happening live in front of the audience.

For just generating an instant finished recording of the screen combined with audio (and no other visuals like cameras) screen recording software is a great tool to have in your arsenal as long as you can feed in good audio!
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Old January 26th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #10
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Agree with Jay about the ability to monitor without computer latency - that's one reason I like the Mic Port Pro - it also provides phantom power and takes up next to no room in your bag. It does get quite warm in operation, but so far no problems. Would have said all this last night, but I was web surfing and looking at the forum on my iPhone while flying home from a meeting.
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Old January 26th, 2011, 08:01 PM   #11
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If you already have the Oktava mic and mixer that powers it in your possession try those out first. Go from the output of your mixer into the line input of your sound card. If you find it sounds fine for what you're doing there's no need to get anything else. If you don't like it then you can go with other options.
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Old January 27th, 2011, 10:27 AM   #12
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I know NOTHING about this device, but I found it while searching for something else.

Pyle 2 Channel Mini Mixer With USB Audio Interface PAD10 in Mixers and Consoles at JR.com

I'm just posting it to illustrate how widely available USB interfaces with phantom power and a headphone output have become.
I can find no indication of what voltage level of phantom power it outputs, so I'll assume it is LESS than 48v but I could be wrong.

Anyone used it or found a reliable reviewer good or bad?
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