How to make the most of your at-home videoconference setup: Microphone edition

The Rode NTG3 is a bit of a budget-buster, however– it’s $699, which is more than even some very high-quality standard podcasting mics out there. Another top alternative that ‘s a popular favorite, and that comes in at a lower rate point, is the Sennheiser MKE 600. These include popular options like the Shure SM7B, which you’ll probably recognize right away from its unique profile. There are a range of other choices, of course– consisting of differently priced alternatives from both Rode and Sennheiser, many of which offer excellent quality for what you pay. Sound is most likely the trickiest part of any videoconferencing or virtual occasion setup to get right– it’s as much art as it is science, and there are a lot of variables that are tough to manage, even with the best equipment, particularly in live settings.

Working from home isn’t going anywhere anytime quickly, and a variety of business just revealed longer-term initiatives to make their remote work practices either extend or long-term. That means for some it’s the perfect time to take their at-home videoconferencing setup even further, so we’re going to take a closer look at numerous core components to build on our initial expedition of what can assist you improve your video call or live broadcasting video game. Today, it’s everything about audio.

Microphone basics

In our preliminary feature, I highlighted some excellent entry-level choices for add-on mics that you can utilize to produce much better noise than what your Mac or PC can produce alone. Those consisted of the Samson Meteor Mic, a longstanding favorite that links straight by means of USB which produces fantastic, full-bodied noise without any personalization needed.

There’s likewise the Rode Wireless GO, a cost effective and easy cordless mic pack kit that you can use on its own, or couple with a lavalier like the Rode Lavalier GO for a bit much better sound. Rode also makes a fantastic USB mic, that, like the Meteor Mic, just works and comes in at around $100– the Rode NT-USB Mini. It features some design choices like a magnetic desk stand that could make it more versatile for use for certain setups versus the Meteor Mic, and the sound it produces is also great.

To improve your Rode Wireless GO setup a bit additional, or to use a wired lavalier-style wearable mic plugged straight into your computer or audio interface, there are a couple of terrific choices offered from Sennheiser that provide subtle but obvious sound quality enhancements no matter how you

‘re utilizing them. The Sennheiser MKE Essential Omni is an excellent lavalier mic that’s typically used in phase productions and other expert settings, with a tiny profile that you can quite easily hide in clothes using the included clip, or perhaps in hair, or in tandem with an earset holder for putting it right on your cheek next to your mouth. You’ll get a little different sound profiles depending on how you wear it, however it generally produces excellent, warm sound and does not cost too much,

at just under$200(on the relative scale of sound devices costs). Sennheiser’s ME 2-II is another, lower-cost option at$ 129.95 that likewise produces fantastic results, and works with wireless transmitters like the Rode Wireless GO, but it’s a bit less present and warm than the MKE Essential.

Getting serious about noise

High-end lavalier mics are currently starting to enter into high-expense territory, but as with a lot of audio devices, the sky’s the limit here. That’s likewise true for shotgun microphones, which is another alternative for rigging your setup for the best possible audio without jeopardizing on things like unpleasant microphones in frame, or some of the trade-offs that feature using extremely physically little microphones like lavalier and lapel mics.

In our initial post, I talked about utilizing a Rode VideoMic NTG as one option, which is certainly a terrific, mid-level shotgun mic to explore, with the added advantage of being excellent for usage on-camera in the field thanks to its integrated in battery, compact dimensions and intelligent compatibility with a variety of contemporary cams.

But for house studio use, there are shotgun mics that are far more suitable to the job. The Rode NTG3 is a personal favorite, and a popular requirement in the broadcast and movie industries– for great reason. The NTG3 is a tubular mic with a standard XLR output, that requires 48v phantom power and that is perfect for video shooting scenarios where you’re staying relatively still in a fixed area with cameras also mounted in repaired positions– i.e. exactly how many people have their house working spaces established.

The Rode NTG3 is a little a budget-buster, nevertheless– it’s $699, which is more than even some extremely premium basic podcasting mics out there. But for the rate, you get a very high-quality piece of hardware that has built-in wetness resistance for shooting outdoors, if that’s ever something you want to do, which sounds great even when mounted out of sight beyond the frame

of your cam’s lens. It’s also supercardioid in its pickup pattern, which indicates it does an outstanding job of choosing up sound directly in front of it, but not sound to either side. That’s an excellent advantage to have actually in a lot of shared office areas, much like it is with on-location movie shoots.

Another leading alternative that ‘s a popular preferred, and that can be found in at a lower rate point, is the Sennheiser MKE 600. At around $ 330, it’s roughly half the rate of the NTG3, and it has a built-in battery in case you wish to take it with you and plug it into your video camera. It also uses XLR, which means you’ll need a preamp like the Focusrite 2i2 or the recently released Audient EVO 4 to make it work with your computer system (or the iRig Pre if you’re running it to a deck like the Blackmagic ATEM Mini, as I was).

The sound from the MKE 600 is still superior, but it doesn’t do quite as great a job as the NTG3 of removing any self-noise, and of recording a deep, abundant tone that’s appropriate to deeper voices. You can take a look at a comparison of both boom mics, in addition to the Sennheiser MKE Essential, in the video below.

Another option is to utilize a pole or boom-mounted mic like you generally see podcasters or radio characters use. These include popular choices like the Shure SM7B, which you’ll probably recognize right away from its unique profile. I’m partial to the Shure Beta 87A supercardioid mic for home recording of audio podcasts, however as you can see from the video below, there are some reasons that you might not wish to use it for live video conferences, events or conferences– even if it sounds terrific even untreated.

There are a series of other alternatives, of course– consisting of in a different way priced choices from both Rode and Sennheiser, most of which use excellent quality for what you pay. The nature of audio is that it’s also an extremely personal preference, with various people choosing sound that either favors the greater end, the low end or that’s basically well balanced, so it’s going to take a great deal of window shopping and listening to samples to find out what works for you.

Bottom line

In the end, staying with quality brands with established credibilities in the movie and video markets is a fantastic way to maximize your setup. Mics like those I use above benefit even more from physical sound seclusion, including procedures that are relatively simple to accomplish, like laying down towels and carpets, in addition to advanced practices, like getting devoted sound-isolating products, including foam pads and mounting them on your walls.

Sound is probably the trickiest part of any videoconferencing or virtual event setup to solve– it’s as much art as it is science, and there are a lot of variables that are difficult to control, even with the best equipment, specifically in live settings. Going the extra mile can imply the distinction in between coming across polished and professional, and appearing unprepared, which is bound to make a difference in our increasingly virtual in person world.

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