In my post on Pointers for Successful Webcasting, I mentioned buying a better microphone, and also going one step further and setting up a podcasting studio as ways to improve your podcast and webcast sound quality. This post goes into a little more detail on microphones.
To do a podcast, you need a way to record your voice, and you need a way to turn that recording into some type of usable audio file (usually an .mp3 file). So, let’s start off with the microphone. There are a number of choices:
- Cheapie clip-on mic, like this one. This mic looks alot like the mic that came with my Mac LC a long time ago… it has a 1/8 inch plug, so you’d plug it into your sound card. Cost? $12. This version has a clip so you can clip it on to your shirt or tie, like a lapel mic. That way, it’s out of your face.
- One step up – the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone. It’s a USB mic, so you plug it into a USB port on your computer. The Logitech site claims the mic sounds great… but I’m picky, so I doubt it. But still, it’ll work and it’s simple. Cost? $30.
- Another step up – the Samson C01U USB condenser microphone. It’s cool because it’s still pretty cheap, but it will sound HUGE. It has better internal “guts” and a better-quality diaphram (the little thingie inside all mics that captures your voice’s sound waves), so it will most definitely sound better than the two mics mentioned above. Plus (and this is a big one) it plugs into a USB port, so you don’t have to mess with audio soundboards or preamps (geeky musician stuff). Cost? $ 79.99 at Sam Ash.
- Even better… the Blue Snowball (yes, that’s really it’s name). It’s really much like the Samson mentioned above, but it’s a little better quality, and it looks REALLY COOL. Cost? $139.99 at Musician’s Friend.
- Or… you could just buy a Mac. Most modern Macs include a built-in microphone (all the laptops and the iMac do, anyway). It’ll sound similar to #1 or #2 above, but it’s simple – nothing to plug in. Cost? Free (of course, you have to buy the Mac to get the mic…)