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Looking for a good and inexpensive way of recording voice

I have been investigating several microphone and recorder options (some probably a little unorthodox) in order to help my clients as they enter the world of podcasting as well as actually recording podcast for some of them. My basic criteria are as high a sound quality as possible, without spending a lot of money. I would also ideally like something that is portable and self contained, more about this later.

So far I have investigated:

  • A Beyer M58 microphone (which is the sort of microphone that TV interviews use on outside broadcasts) connected via a Presonus TubePre preamplifier, which provides in input to the line-in of my VAMP MP3 player/recorder. I will describe this set up in a future blog.
  • A Logitech USB headset and microphone connected via a USB connection to a laptop.
  • A Radio Shack Lavaliere type microphone connected to a Camcorder
  • A Samson C01U USB Studio Condenser Microphone connected to my laptop via USB

This post looks at the Samson C01U. I will talk about the other options in future posts and I will also create some audio samples.

Samson C01U USB Condenser microphone

The major advantage of the USB microphone is that it plugs directly into a USB port of a PC. No need for an additional preamp or recording device. The image shows the microphone in an optional spider mount which in turn is screwed on to my Radi Shack microphone stand. The spider mount isolates the microphone from vibrations. I also added an optional pop-filter. This is fine netting stretched across a frame. Its purpose is to stop the familiar popping noise that you sometimes hear when people say words beginning in ‘p.’

The microphone I tested came with an USB cable, SONAR LE and Cakewalk software. I loaded the software which is rather complex – and so until I have the time to get to understand it a little better, I have been using the Open Source Audacity.

Audacity, which is very easy to use, enables me to record and edit sound. It also provides a few special effects.

The microphone can be used with a software based pre-amp.

Samson C01U USB software based pre-amp

Unfortunately, Samson warn that this cannot be used when you have other USB based microphones installed, and this appears to be the case. I was able to record by modifying the levels in the normal Windows audio settings and was able to record some very acceptable results.