Holiday Gifts - Recording Equipment Advice

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ColleenMc
Posts: 1773
Joined: April 9th, 2017, 5:57 pm

Post by ColleenMc » November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm

I'm updating my Amazon wishlist at the request of family members, and I'm wondering what, if any, recording equipment I should put on it. When I jumped into this a few years ago, I didn't know if I'd like it so I went with the most basic -- the Fifine $20ish USB microphone and added a generic foam cover for it. (This one: https://www.amazon.com/FIFINE-Microphone-Condenser-Recordings-Games-Windows/dp/B01D4HTIOY/ref=sr_1_9?dchild=1&keywords=fifine+microphone&qid=1605904083&sr=8-9) It's been perfectly fine as a starter but I'm wondering if I could improve the quality of my recordings if I upgraded my microphone to one of the cardioid style ones, most likely the Fifine blue yeti knockoff (https://www.amazon.com/FIFINE-Microphone-Recording-PS4-Headphone-K678/dp/B085WRN1VD/ref=sr_1_6?dchild=1&keywords=fifine+microphone&qid=1605904203&sr=8-6) as it's about half the price of a blue yeti and has good reviews comparing it favorably to that microphone. So my questions are:

1) Does anyone have/use this microphone and recommend/not recommend it?

2) I use my current microphone with the little stand it came with, and the microphone I'm looking at comes with a similar stand, but I also see people using it in a sort of hanging configuration. Any reason to do that?

3) I do notice my plosives a bit when I'm editing now -- not horrible but could be better. Will the microphone upgrade help with this, and would it be preferable to get the foam cover or a pop screen or...both?

4) The cardioid advantage is supposed to be its ability to pick up the main noise and less background -- for those of you with this style of microphone, do you find that works for you? I live close to the airport and have an issue with plane noise when it's cloudy and the airport is busy, the sound seems to be louder and more reflected to the ground and comes out in my recordings as a sort of rumbling or thundering sound. I frequently have to stop and let the louder planes finish passing over, as well as louder cars on the street nearby, and trains coming through on the tracks about 2 blocks away. If this style of microphone would cut down on those issues I'd definitely want to upgrade!


Finally, I am also thinking about getting a "portable recording booth" screen to set around the microphone on my desk where I record...something like this one: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q2FYXT4/?coliid=I163FQRAL893O8&colid=3AFZUXSBV38ZG&psc=1&ref_=lv_ov_lig_dp_it
I don't have a large amount of echo (I hang some blankets in my room over walls/door/bookcase when I'm recording to absorb some of the sounds) but I am often in other houses for a week or so at a time and some of those have too much echo to record. I'm wondering if I had a portable screen like this if it would help.

I would appreciate any thoughts/advice/specific product recommendations anyone might have on these items or anything else that is on the low end of price ranges to make my dinky little recording setup just a bit better.

I also thought this might be a good place to make general recommendations on basic equipment and "next step" upgrades for anyone else making a wish list or doing holiday shopping this year!

Thanks!

Colleen

Algy Pug
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Joined: December 26th, 2009, 10:07 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Post by Algy Pug » November 21st, 2020, 10:07 pm

What you call a "portable recording booth" is a reflection filter. V/o podcaster Booth Junkie has done an informative review of these devices:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFRhQG-I5L0

Apart from being unwieldy these units do not work very well. To reduce echo, it is much more effective to put the sound absorption behind the narrator rather than behind the microphone.

Regarding microphones, to an extent, you pay for what you get. The YouTube Podcastage channel posted the following video in 2016:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mx-UBF3RpIg

Models and prices will have changed since that time.

Here is a link to a more recent Podcastage video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=efHViVT0YU4

And finally a general video on choosing microphones:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-6z93SqEO0

It is always worth investing in a stable desktop stand or a boom arm ("hanging configuration.") Many cheap microphones come with dinky little stands which have the following problems:
1) unstable - it is easy to knock the mic over;
2) they are not adjustable;
3) they often not allow the fitting of a pop filter;
4) they provide no absorption from bumps and knocks in the audio

Desktop stands and boom arms need not be expensive and some mic packages have them included.

Cheers
Algy Pug

My Librivox page

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realisticspeakers
Posts: 1584
Joined: December 6th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Post by realisticspeakers » November 22nd, 2020, 12:23 am

Algy Pug wrote:
November 21st, 2020, 10:07 pm
The YouTube Podcastage channel posted the following video in 2016:
Bandrew has the best reviews for mics. He is a legend.
Truth exists for the wise, Beauty for a feeling heart: They belong to each other. - Beethoven
Disclaimer:
"Kind reader, if this our performance doth in aught fall short of promise, blame not our good intent, but our unperfect wit."

realisticspeakers
Posts: 1584
Joined: December 6th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Post by realisticspeakers » November 22nd, 2020, 2:28 am

ColleenMc wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
I'm updating my Amazon wishlist ...
https://smile.amazon.com/Rode-Condenser-Microphone-Full-Size-Headphones/dp/B01N55VTV3/

This is what I started with. It's clean and crisp and easy to use without other equipment.
If you get a non-usb mic with an xlr connector then you also need an interface, as you know, which opens up a Nother discussion.
Another discussion yet about the best cable.

I hung moving blankets on the walls in back of me and used one of those Japanese room dividers also draped with a moving blanket on a side.
It made a difference and it was cheap and simple.
Then a moving blanket on the wall in front and it was like wow - pro sound. lol

I can't attest to the headphones in that deal.
Truth exists for the wise, Beauty for a feeling heart: They belong to each other. - Beethoven
Disclaimer:
"Kind reader, if this our performance doth in aught fall short of promise, blame not our good intent, but our unperfect wit."

realisticspeakers
Posts: 1584
Joined: December 6th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Post by realisticspeakers » November 23rd, 2020, 8:34 pm

ColleenMc wrote:
November 20th, 2020, 1:41 pm
I live close to the airport and have an issue with plane noise
...but I am often in other houses for a week or so at a time and some of those have too much echo to record.
This is not a perfect solution but...if you can surround yourself with two or three of these...

https://www.vocalboothtogo.com/product/vb-80-group-product/
Truth exists for the wise, Beauty for a feeling heart: They belong to each other. - Beethoven
Disclaimer:
"Kind reader, if this our performance doth in aught fall short of promise, blame not our good intent, but our unperfect wit."

KevinS
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Post by KevinS » November 23rd, 2020, 9:06 pm

Entirely by accident, I saw a YouTube video today where a fellow seemed to insert his head and shoulders into a kind of box (with mic) to record for voice-over work or commercials or something. He claimed that one fellow recorded work in New York's Central Park with no unwanted noises entering into the recording. Strangest thing.
Sunday is a good PL day for me.

jennlea
Posts: 790
Joined: February 10th, 2019, 9:44 pm

Post by jennlea » November 24th, 2020, 9:15 pm

I don't have a recommendation for recording equipment but I do have one for editing. It is called the Shuttle Pro V.2. It is a little on the expensive size but I cannot rave about it enough. It is a programmable editing tool (I don't know what the official term would be). The software for it comes preloaded with many programs and their common shortcuts but I have adjusted mine for my own keystrokes and macros. I have issues with my hands and joints in general, but using this and a vertical mouse (also on the pricey side) have allowed me to edit pain free. Plus I feel it is actually quicker now when I edit. I literally keep my hands on the Shuttle Pro and my mouse and really only use the keyboard when I need to type.

https://www.amazon.com/Contour-Design-00498-0-Shuttle-Pro/dp/B0032XQP1K/ref=sr_1_4?crid=281A45ZTXAFJ5&dchild=1&keywords=shuttle+pro+v2&qid=1606276958&sprefix=shuttle+pro%2Caps%2C207&sr=8-4
-Jenn B.
My Recordings

realisticspeakers
Posts: 1584
Joined: December 6th, 2010, 5:15 pm

Post by realisticspeakers » November 24th, 2020, 9:58 pm

jennlea wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 9:15 pm
...have allowed me to edit pain free. ... I literally keep my hands on the Shuttle Pro and my mouse and really only use the keyboard when I need to type.
Do you "punch and roll" when you record? Does this thing make clicky noises when you hit a button?
Truth exists for the wise, Beauty for a feeling heart: They belong to each other. - Beethoven
Disclaimer:
"Kind reader, if this our performance doth in aught fall short of promise, blame not our good intent, but our unperfect wit."

jennlea
Posts: 790
Joined: February 10th, 2019, 9:44 pm

Post by jennlea » November 24th, 2020, 10:12 pm

realisticspeakers wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 9:58 pm
jennlea wrote:
November 24th, 2020, 9:15 pm
...have allowed me to edit pain free. ... I literally keep my hands on the Shuttle Pro and my mouse and really only use the keyboard when I need to type.
Do you "punch and roll" when you record? Does this thing make clicky noises when you hit a button?
Sure do, but my laptop and the shuttle pro are outside my “booth”. I only use it for editing. It does make a distinct clicking noise. I have an external monitor, wireless keyboard, and mouse I use when recording.
-Jenn B.
My Recordings

JordanN
Posts: 75
Joined: April 13th, 2014, 2:18 pm

Post by JordanN » November 25th, 2020, 7:06 am

This Christmas, I’m hoping for my first set of proper studio monitors.

I may build a PVC frame this week to support moving blankets to provide better isolation at my desk.

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