Since March 2020 when PMN began hosting monthly online song and poetry swaps for members via Zoom, many PMN members have been asking about what kind of external USB microphone works best for conveying quality sound on a zoom meeting. There are a vast range of audio devices that will improve your sound quality, but PMN doesn't purport to endorse any individual product. That said, we do want our members to be aware of the options out there, how different models compare in terms of cost, ease of use, versatility, and more. Please post your experiences here about the microphone you are using and how it is working for you.
I am currently using the Zoom H2N Handy Recorder. I see that this unit sells for about $170 at Sweeetwater. I know there are less expensive options out there. There are a huge number of features on this device, although the interface to get to them feels a bit clunky to me. I am happy with the sound quality I get. When I make home recordings though, the sound quality is better than the sound quality that comes across on one of the PMN online swaps hosted via Zoom (not the audio device but the online video conferencing platform).
Here is a link to me singing in a PMN Song Swap while being recorded by the Zoom H2N Handy Recorder: https://www.facebook.com/Peoples.Music.Network/videos/2846954158704194/?t=1046
Here is a link to the Zoom H2N Handy Recorder:
I have a ZOOM Q4 video camera with stereo microphones that works fairly well for streaming video and audio via USB but alas, it was orphaned when Micro$oft moved the targets and won't work on Windows 10 machines.
Their new model, the Zoom Q8 may work with Windoze 10.
I use the Q4 to replace the terrible camera in the laptop I use.
I "cheat" for audio - Rode K2 Studio Condenser Microphone for vocals and my guitar(s) and loops added by mixing it all with a Behringer mixer with the output routed to a Roland Octacapture AD/DA converter and then into the computer via USB.
And then my rather slow, VERY high latency satellite internet ruins it all. Rather unusable. :-(
I'm going to have to experiment with my cellphone as WiFi Hotspot to see if I can get better results for May 1st. Otherwise, I may have to consider posting a video on my website for you to broadcast when my turn comes up...
On the advice of my local music store, I purchased a Buhne Industries BU-1SB podcast microphone. I don't have a lot of experience with sound quality, so I can't say how good it is. But I can say that following a PMN song swap, two people wrote to me to ask what mic I used. It should cost you about $70-$80. It comes in a handy carrying case and is easy to use. Hope this is helpful.
After lots of the PMN conversations on the topic, I looked up the Zoom USB mics and they seemed a little pricey, so I asked my recording engineer friends, and he recommended the audio-technica AT2020USB+....purchased online....
Does anyone know if a MacBook pro can take a USB mic? Is there some adaptor cable needed. I don't see a USB port on mine.
I have been using a Blue Yeti Microphone, which I have been pleased with ($129). These get a lot of use in the Podcaster world. I am working with a Focusrite Scarlett interface to be able to use some of my recording mics. I will keep you posted.
I've been using a Blue Snowball for a couple years to record demos and do live streams. It does a pretty good job - as good or better than most set-ups I've seen - and I bought it for about $30 at target, if I remember correctly.
Getting it positioned well is a bit of a learning experience, as it's a 360 degree mic, but frankly I've got more time than money so it was worth it to me!
I would like the to play Barry McGuire’s “Eve of Destruction” at the May 7th Song Swap.
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