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[#] Wed Feb 22 2012 14:06:22 EST from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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Last week I had the chance to help set up audio and video for a local school event. It was the first time I'd done any real A/V work for a public event, and though there were some issues, I was able to get everything working pretty well.

My son's elementary school decided to do an Iron Chef-inspired competition event as part of a local health-awareness program. Two chefs from local restaurants competed head-to-head, to create dishes that are healthy, taste good, and use local ingredients.

The chefs did all their cooking in the school's kitchen, which, though connected to the cafegymatorium, is physically separate. The event planners wanted both audio and video streamed into the main room for everyone to witness.

The original plan was to use an Apple iPhone and an iPad connected via Facetime.
The iPad would be connected to a projector for video, and a microphone set next to the iPad's built-in speaker for audio. This didn't sit well with me, and, luckily, it turns out the school already had a PA setup in the cafegymatorium (separate from the school's main PA system). I figured I would just patch into that system for audio. I came in a day early to get a look at the system, and, much to my surprise, they had a wireless microphone setup.

Two Shure SLX-series wireless mic systems, to be exact. One with an SLX2 handheld mic, and the other with an SLX1 lavalier mic. This made things incredibly easy, and, the signal was strong enough to reach all the way across the room from the kitchen to the SLX4 receivers on-stage. There was a little trouble getting both mics to operate simultaneously, but after realizing that the group and channel numbers on each mic had to match with each receiver, I got it working.

The night of the event comes and I show up a little early to make sure everything is working. The iPad and iTouch owners try to get Facetime to connect with no success. This goes on for a good 20 minutes before I finally tell them to start downloading Skype. I grab my laptop from my car, fire it up, get it connected to the projector, and, within minutes, have Skype video streaming from the iPad into my laptop.

The event planners decided that, since there was only one lavalier mic, they only used the handheld mic as it wouldn't be fair to have one chef mic'ed and the other not. Unfortunately, the handheld mic didn't do well for picking up what the chefs were saying.

If I can help out with another event, my wife suggested that we could rent an additional lavalier mic for the night and just use a standard corded-mic for any other announcements.
Iron Binder

[#] Tue Feb 28 2012 23:37:52 EST from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Don't forget, if you use an iPhone or iPad, Apple will take a 30% cut of any fundraising that was done at the event.

[#] Wed Feb 29 2012 12:12:53 EST from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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Hehe. I would've preferred to use some real video cameras instead, but I had to work within the allotted PTA budget: $0.00.

[#] Wed Mar 28 2012 22:57:33 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

Subject: New topic: USB microphones.

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I'm going to be appearing on a webcast on May 2 (see the CitaNews room for more info on that) and I'm going to be needing a decent microphone for this purpose. The prep notes specifically say that the microphone built into a webcam isn't good enough, and with my a/v background I've got to say I agree with them.

So I'd like to buy a USB microphone, not only for the webcast but to perhaps record other things in the future (screencasts, the Big Butt Bear show, etc).
Any suggestions? I know fleeb has a really nice one, but for the infrequent use this is going to get I don't really want to break the bank.

People are saying nice things about the Samson Go Mic ($35) and the sample recordings I've heard on the Internet actually sound pretty good, but it's a *small* mic. Does anyone know of any real winners in the under $50 space?

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 10:17:58 EDT from wizard of aahz @ Uncensored

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IG - a decent headset won't do? a good logitech one usually provides some decent voice.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 10:36:53 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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Hrm... dunno about under $50. The Samson Go Mic doesn't look that tiny to me, though, unless you mean compared to a professional mic.

I wish you didn't mind spending $110 or so, though, 'cause the Yeti Blue sounds fabulous.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 13:02:39 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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A decent headset is acceptable, but I'd like to have a Real Microphone (tm) for other reasons.

fleeb is the Yeti Blue what you have?

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 14:05:33 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 14:06:17 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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If you care for a demonstration, we'll have to hook up over G+ sometime.
I use it regularly.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 16:49:17 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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We already did, remember? And the sound quality was quite nice. This is just one of those things where I have to decide how much $$$ I'm willing to spend on something that I'll use only occasionally.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 16:50:31 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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I do remember... I just couldn't recall if I used this mic back then.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 16:54:36 EDT from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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Stupid question, but why not use a "standard" microphone connected to the microphone-in jack on your computer?

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 17:14:47 EDT from fleeb @ Uncensored

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For me, I wanted something of very good audio quality.

You can probably get that out of a professional mic that you've somehow plugged into your standard mic input, but most professional mics require XLR pin connections.
You'd have to adapt that to the 1/8th inch mic jack on your computer, which requires buying some other part to maintain.

With my mic, I just have the stand, the mic, and the USB cord plugged into the computer. I'd be screwed if I needed this mic plugged into a mixer, but for my needs, this is pretty good.

[#] Thu Mar 29 2012 23:06:07 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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The problem with using the audio input on the computer is that it's often wired to the cheapest A/D converter they could get their hands on. A good USB mic is likely to have an A/D that matches its quality.

But I am also looking at components, perhaps an XLR-to-USB A/D plus a decent analog mic. Then I could use it for video projects as well.

[#] Mon Apr 02 2012 09:57:47 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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I decided to order the Samson Meteor Mic [http://goo.gl/Bgyns]. It should be arriving within the next couple of days and I'll post an audio sample after I've had a chance to play with it for a little while.

I'm pretty happy with the sound samples I've listened to on the 'net, and in addition to the USB port it also has an analog output for "no latency monitoring" -- I figure if I ever want to use it on my analog board I can just attach to it there.

[#] Mon Apr 02 2012 21:03:54 EDT from wizard of aahz @ Uncensored

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I heartily approve that mic

[#] Tue Apr 03 2012 17:14:51 EDT from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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I agree about the quality issues. Unless you've got a really good sound card, you may not be getting the best ADC components.

XLR, or more to the point, balanced audio signals, are definitely a must for profressional setups, but is a PITA when having to integrate professional and consumer gear.

I was looking for an external electronic crossover for my home stereo system.
Most of my searches ended up falling into one of three categories.

1. Passive crossover units for car audio.
2. Professional-level electronic crossovers for PA systems or concert venues.
3. Audiophile-level electronic crossovers.

I clearly wasn't interested in anything from the first category. The third category carries a huge price mark-up. That's left me with the professional gear. However, most of that gear uses balanced audio, either using XLR or TRS (tip-ring-sleeve) connetors. My home stereo gear uses unbalanced RCA connectins. It was relatively easy to find cheap XLR-to-RCA or TRS-to-RCA adapters, but everything I had read said that the signal levels are different between balanced and unbalanced audio. That would mean additional eletronics to convert back and forth.

I did finally find a crossover unit that has unbalanced RCA connections.
Just need to save up some $$$'s now.
XLR Binder

[#] Wed Apr 04 2012 13:16:41 EDT from IGnatius T Foobar @ Uncensored

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Well sure, if you want to go XLR and have lots of $$$ to throw around ... there's nothing quite like the high-end gear. If money were no object I would have bought something like an Electro-Voice RE-20, the mic that could make pretty much anyone sound like a radio announcer.

The nice thing about USB mics is that the ADC is integrated, and presumably well matched to the job it has to do. Bypassing the cheap ADC found in a typical laptop or desktop computer is a big win..

Spell what are you doing with an electronic crossover? Are you looking to send different frequency ranges to different amplifiers?

[#] Wed Apr 04 2012 16:35:07 EDT from Spell Binder @ Uncensored

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That's exactly what I'm looking to do.

The speakers I have, a pair of A/D/S L2030B's (see http://tinyurl.com/cgm8jfu for specs and pictures), are designed so they can be bi-amplified. A switch on the back disables part of the internal crossover, allowing the woofers to be driven directly. The mid-range and tweeters are still behind the internal crossover.

The idea is that by limiting the frequency range the amplifiers have to deal with, clipping due to transients will be less likely, distortion can be reduced, and a few other benefits. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bi-amping has some more info.
Spell Bi-amp-der

[#] Sat Apr 07 2012 00:37:56 EDT from the8088er @ Uncensored

Subject: Re: New topic: USB microphones.

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People are saying nice things about the Samson Go Mic ($35) and the
sample recordings I've heard on the Internet actually sound pretty
good, but it's a *small* mic. Does anyone know of any real winners in

the under $50 space?

I know I'm a little late, but I own the GoMic and it's really, really good for the price. I had to take the little hex screw out that holds the Mic in place tho and put some paper in front of it to more securely keep the mic from moving though.

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