Usb microphones for online lessons
I've been taking online lessons for a while and I want to upgrade the sound quality.
I can't buy the Blue Yeti microphone because it's outside my budget but Blue has a mic that's called Snowball ICE. It has good reviews and the audio quality seems quite good.
There's also Samson C01u pro and it also has good reviews.
So, if anyone has used this microphones tell me what do you think and the pros and cons. Also if you use another mic that has worked well or you have another suggestion please let me know.
(My budget is around $80)
Any cheap USB mic is going to be better than the one embedded in your laptop. You do need to make sure your laptop has the right kind of USB to go with the mic you buy, as Xuanyuan has wisely mentioned.
Some folks may have already mentioned this here...I was just looking for something for my kids' piano trio's violinist to use for videos and it looks like the cheap Zoom and Tascam recorders can also double as a stereo USB interface with mics. The H1n is $85 B&H, Tascam even less. And you get a decent hand held recorder too. Haven't tried it myself though.
Oh my that Blue Yeti is expensive! I have been using a Logitech headphone with mic that looks like the Logitech H390. It is handy because the microphone is in the right place to get the violin sound; the price now is $39.99 at B&H. There are less expensive headset/mic combos.
Some webcams and laptops have really good enough microphones, don't need to waste extra.
I’ve been using a Blue Yeti and my teacher notices the difference in sound quality between my mic and other students. I imagine this helps in assessing the quality of my tone as he is able to hear some pretty fine nuances. One of the other teachers at the school uses a Blue Snowball and says it works quite well. The Blue mics are not cheap, but they are high quality. Between the built-in mics on my laptop and phone or the external $20 Fifine K668 mic I use for phone calls at the studio, the Yeti is in a different league, but the Fifine is honestly good enough for online lessons.
Amazon sells a FiFine USB mic for about $40 which is pretty good. I bought one to have as a backup for my Audio-Technica 2020USBi and when I did a comparison of both by recording my voice into Audacity I found them both fairly comparable. The AT2020 was a bit richer in sound, but the FiFine will be very good if something happens to my AT2020.
My teacher has just bought a snowball ice. She hasn't had time to try it out, but I assume she bought it because it was recommended.
Is a USB mic the best way to go? I have no experience either way for computer linking, but I'm wondering why not use an XLR ended condenser mic through an interface like a Focusrite Scarlet (for example) instead. Then you'll have that XLR terminated mic for performance or studio use too, while the USB mic would be less flexible in its applications. The interface would mean a bit more hardware complexity as a price to pay for greater versatility. I'm asking this here because I'm trying to decide about whether to get an interface right now myself. (Admittedly the overall cost of a mic plus interface would exceed our op's budget.)
That's what I'm doing Mark but the OP wants an $80 solution.
I thought of this too.
The poor sound of ZOOM doesn't negate the value in buying a good XLR terminated mic and a USB interface, because you would still have that high quality mic for applications like sound reinforcement or studio recording, or even digital recording sans ZOOM or SKYPE, should you ever have the need. If you're certain you won't ever have that need, then maybe not.
Zoom shouldn't sound poor if both people have good quality microphones.
$80 is a pretty low budget to be getting an XLR mic and a USB interface. I thought I was cheap getting a PreSonus Audiobox USB 96 interface ($100) and an AT2010 mic ($120), those are Sweetwater's prices. They've both been around a while, you might be able to find them on the used market. The PreSonus comes with a nice DAW interface, probably they all do, and there are oodles of YouTube videos to get you started. If you give piano lessons (I have one piano student) then it just occurred to me that I should be able to plug my Yamaha stage piano right into the interface.
My question deviates from the OP's original question a bit, but I figured that it's close enough and didn't want to start a whole new discussion. As I understand it, there are a couple of knowledgable people on this website when it comes to sound engineering. I have a decent understanding of photo and video editing, but absolutely no clue about sound, and I got a Tascam DR-07X to record concerts with, hoping for a better sound than my phone would provide. These days, with all my lessons being online, I'd like to use it to my advantage, too.
the t.bone Ovid System CC 100 , excellent price/sound ratio; poor man version of DPA 4099. I did a group buy for my son's youth symphony players which lowered the cost of shipping from EU to USA.
Benjamin, I have a Tascam DR-07mkII, which is the predecessor to your DR-07x. Mine lacks the ability to function as a USB microphone, which is regrettable. Anyway, I'd urge you to get some closed back headphones that you can plug into the recorder to monitor what the recorder is hearing, while isolating yourself from the direct sounds of your instrument(s). You can put the TR-07x in record standby mode and move around in relation to the mics, while hearing for yourself through the headphones. A standard rule-of-thumb in recording a violin is to place the mic(s) about a meter away, pointed at the soundholes. It's helpful to put the recorder on a mic stand while doing this. Your recorder has a reverb function that can be employed while monitoring/recording, or added to the mix after the fact, which I find very useful. Those are my non-expert recommendations to get you started.
I just got this from Amazon and my initial impression is that it's very good. The scissor-arm stand and the mic itself both seem to work very well, and with my Windows laptop it was entirely plug-and-play. It was easy to adjust the settings within my software to choose the USB mic.
I have the Fifine T669 too. My sister has the Blue Yeti but thought something lower-priced would suit my needs, and I didn't bother to research, figuring she already did. It's much better than my laptop's built-in mic, of course.
"Looks like the cheap Zoom and Tascam recorders can also double as a stereo USB interface with mics. The H1n is $85 B&H, Tascam even less. And you get a decent hand held recorder too."
DR-05X says it does on their site:
You're right. I missed those Tascam "X" models. :o
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