Inexpensive microphone for Zoom lessons?
My teacher is probably moving to a 3 Zoom + 1 in-person lesson monthly structure moving forward. He is waiting on a test microphone to see if it fits the need. Are there any USB microphones good for both Zoom and instruments that are <$100?
You already know the name. For Zoom meetings I use a Zoom H1 recorder (no relation) in place of my laptop's microphone which is defective. However the H1 is now superseded by the H1n and I'm surprised that the technical details on Amazon don't mention whether it can function as a USB microphone or is strictly stand-alone so I'd advise checking that
I posted about this a few weeks ago, the H1n works well for stereo mics with a built-in USB interface. Manufacturer info notes this as well at
I use a blue yeti but I know many people like the snowball which is a a little cheaper.
I am using the Fifine T-669, and I really like it. I bought it for $60 (Amazon) and now it's $75. Better get yours before it goes up to $90. My unit came with a scissor stand and some other accessories, it's got good sound. (It won't replace your Telefunken U47.)
Thanks everyone! I've asked my teacher what he has ordered so I can check it out as well.
I would tell you to get a good webcam if you don't have one, the microphone will be good enough (some better than others, check reviews). I think at the end of the day it will matter most how you will be able to SEE everything you need to show each other. Especially for the teachers, we need to show our fingers, more detailed, etc. There's not much point in having a very good mic if the video will be lagging half a second behind the audio. I'm using a Logitech C270, if all my students had one too it would be great.
A better microphone is good. However, check you have Zoom settings such that it doesn't hear music as background noise and try to suppress it. There are Youtube videos around that tell you how to set up Zoom for music lessons. Headphones help too.
The cameras built into laptops these days are pretty good. The microphones are generally pretty lousy. If you're doing music lessons via Zoom or Skype, upgrading your microphone is a higher priority than a webcam unless you've got "disposable income" to spend on gear.
My camera is fine, the mic...and speaker....very different story and we have optimized Zoom settings. My teacher found a USB mic that sounds reasonably priced and is designed more for instruments than voice. He's testing it himself before he sends out info on the model. Apparently many microphones are designed more for voice than music - guess I've never thought about it.
If your speaker is crap too, I recommend this item:
Most laptops this days, maybe the better ones, but I notice that everyone seems to have old laptops. All my students have old laptops or only a smartphone.
Steve, I have a Zoom H2 (a successor to the H1 series, and again no relation!). On pp73-77 of the 92 page Operation Manual (very professional, in English and printed) there is a discussion on using the H2 as an audio interface for a computer by connecting the H2 and the computer with a USB cable. There is a choice of 44.1 kHz or 48 kHz sampling frequencies in 2-channel stereo, which is more than adequate for most purposes.
I have three possible microphones that plug directly into the computer via USB (I have several others which require a separate audio interface):
David, thank you for your careful, and needed, explanation of potentially confusing instructions such as "Turn Off Original Sound", which at a quick screen glance could easily be misinterpreted as "Original Sound Turned Off". I feel fairly sure that in industry and elsewhere accidents or malfunctions have been caused by similar potential ambiguities in wording.
I've narrowed my choices down to two - I still haven't heard from my teacher which one he has ordered (he probably wants to give it a good test before he says). One breaks my $100 budget but not by much:
Some years ago, I bought the Blue Yeti for $80 via an Amazon lightning deal, then resold it when it became apparent I was never actually going to use it...little did I expect.
Good points and I appreciate your input
"From what I understand, microphones might be 'better' for vocal vs. instrumental depending on the frequencies that they are designed to enhance or not enhance?"
I forgot about the speaker component. My sister said she plugs headphones into her laptop, not the Yeti (I don't know if laptop is better or she just never bothered to try it).
Thanks, I figured I was making it up. Is there a basis to mics being for voice vs. non loud types of instruments then, if you can do the audio processing later? (Average users aren't likely to get into the equalizer, so makers specify what the presets are?)
I'm seriously overthinking this, obviously. I will pull the trigger on something after my lesson - probably the Yeti because of the ability to plug into my computer audio if needed but time will tell. I looked for online and YouTube reviews but couldn't find any that didn't focus on voice/podcast/singing applications - nothing on a solo instrument.
The USB condenser microphone is overwhelmingly used for podcasting -- college professors like me who were redirected to online teaching were consuming them like popcorn over the past couple of months. (My laptop mike just wasn't getting the job done.) That's why the reviews tend to focus on that application.
Thanks Paul, that is the same point I've reached, more or less. Unless my teacher has a compelling reason to choose something else other than cost I will order it tonight!
My wife and I are both using Yeti microphones to teach and do play-in sessions. For the price, they are excellent, and having the headset on the device itself eliminates any monitoring latency that one would get by plugging it into the computer.
In Zoom be sure to enable the option to "Turn On Original Sound" -- It's in the Settings dialog, on the Audio page, click the Advanced button at the bottom and the next screen has a check-box to enable that. Make sure that is checked.
I ordered the Blue Yeti - the challenge was to find it in stock (even from Blue.com)! It seems that pretty much all lower priced decent USB microphones are out of stock most places and that isn't a surprise.
Why is "monitoring latency" an issue when you're doing a Zoom violin lesson? Surely you can hear your own violin in real time. It's right there under your ear. I've got to be missing something here ...
The headset jack allows you to hear your computer audio (incoming) rather than what I'm transmitting. At least that's what I've read and is one of the reasons I chose the Yeti.
When you are in a Zoom or Skype meeting you don't hear what you're transmitting. You just hear your own voice or your own violin as you ordinarily would. Your teacher hears what you're transmitting. I'm sure the Yeti will be fine, though, and doubtless there is some use for the little headset jack. :)
I've read different things regarding the headset jack, time will tell. That wasn't the main reason I chose this microphone.
The Blue Yeti has landed, and while my next lesson isn't until Monday I am impressed so far with the ease of use and quality of materials.
@Mark Kliesen "I use a blue yeti but I know many people like the snowball which is a a little cheaper."
Not sure how to a semi-lol with ASCII-character emojis.
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