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Customer Discussions > Home Recording forum

What do I need for recording voice overs for presentations - ie. just recording voice not music or singing

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 27, 2010 11:46:46 AM PST
Rocky Maddex says:
I'm getting a bit confused over what I need for recording. I started with just my usb headset, and the voice quality is quite bad.

However, when I went to my local guitar store they are trying to talk me into pre-amps with a good mic, a min of $4 - 500 to get started. I saw a couple USB mics (MXL 990, and MXL 990 Stereo, AT2020 USB), but again the guitar place said to stay away from them.

I will sometimes be recording one person talking and sometimes 2.

Thanks for the help!

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 4:06:30 AM PST
If you want to record more than one person, then you will need more than a USB microphone, as they appear to your operating system as a standard audio device. AFAIK, you can only record audio from multiple sound devices with special software. There is a mic (the Blue Microphones Yeti USB mic) that says it can record two people (I assume using an omni-directional pickup pattern), so that *might* be an option.

I have a setup that will allow a few mics/instruments to be hooked up and hot. If you get a Behringer XENYX mixer, those come with built-in mic preamps, and are relatively cheap anyway, so you could cut costs there (some people don't like Behringer mixers, but the one I use is really good as far as noise). Many of them also come with a device that will allow you to hook the mixer (and any connected instruments) to your computer via a single USB connection - although I recommend stepping up to at least an audio interface with headphone monitoring, so that you can actually hear what's going into your PC.

As far as mics are concerned, my experience is a bit limited - all I own is an Audio-Technica AT2020 standard condenser mic, and some 10-year-old el-cheapo Radio Shack dynamic mic. I will say that your best bet is to go to the guitar store and ask to try some out and find out which mics sound best to you.

$400-$500 is a pretty reasonable amount (pro audio recording gear is expensive; no ifs, ands, or buts about it) for a decent setup. Here is a list of the bare minimum you will need to start recording on your computer:

A mixer (and mic preamps, unless your mixer has them onboard)
An audio interface (USB or FireWire... if you have a desktop, you might also opt instead to get a PCI card)
- And let's not forget the cables!
Mic (XLR) cables - you can get Hi-Z (XLR-to-1/4") cables for dynamic mics, or Lo-Z (XLR-to-XLR) cables for condenser mics. (Condenser mics require external power, but dynamics do not)
RCA audio cables if you decide to record into a Behringer-style audio interface
1/4" cables or additional XLR cables to record into one of the 'fancier' audio interfaces

Here is my setup:
Mixer: Behringer 1204FX (with XENYX mic preamps) (~$150)
Microphone: Audio-Technica AT2020 condenser microphone (~$100)
Audio Interface: Behringer UCA222 (~35)
And after the cables, it comes to just over $300 total.

It's not a high-end system by any standards whatsoever, but it gets the job done - on a budget. You could actually come out cheaper if you get a less feature-rific mixer (mine has 12 inputs, effects processor, etc.). The best part is that if you want to expand on your setup, you can always do that... and if you decide to drop the recording thing altogether, you're not out of a down-payment on a house. :)

Hope this helps, and be sure and post back if you have any comments or questions!

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 10:46:43 AM PST
E. Potts says:
When I first started out I used a cheap condensor microphone, into a MAckie Mixer and into a Sound Blaster worked but the sound was very dirty. I have since updated to better equipment that you can see here

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 11:34:29 AM PST
drewcp says:
The AT2020 USB is AMAZING for the price. If you are a smart shopper you can find it for around a hundred bucks. My little brother is an aspiring singer/rapper. He had found a deal for $150 that included a pop screen, shock mount, and a mic stand. It records voice very well. There are plenty of people with example videos on YouTube that show it's quality.

I don't know where you shopped, but a lot of chain music stores pay people on commission. Consider this when shopping. Sometimes they don't have your best interest in mind, only their wallets.

The AT2020 USB has good sound and is easy to set up, easy to use. As an amateur musician and tech junkie, I'm kind of jealous of my little brothers newest toy.

Posted on Mar 1, 2010 5:34:04 PM PST
Andrew Wipf says:
If you are using a Mac, Garageband is able to record audio from up to 8 sources at a time so I am fairly sure you would be able to connect one or two or eight USB microphones up to a USB hub and have pristine audio from each person without all the extra equipment Clint recommended. Yes that equipment would sound nice and leaves a lot of space to grow and record other things, but if you are looking for a basic voice recording setup, USB is the way to go.

As for mics, you can't go wrong with Blue Microphones Snowball USB Microphone, White, or even some Logitech ClearChat Pro USB Headsets if you want to record many people while still sounding decent (it's not going to be Blue quality but will be better than a dinkey little lapel mic) and keeping costs down.

This is a tutorial I found to walk you through the steps to get Garageband to work with multiple USB headsets.

Hope all this works out for you.

Posted on Mar 2, 2010 10:55:15 AM PST
S. Martin says:
Samson makes a couple of very good condenser mics that are great for recording voice work. You could also get something like the M-Audio FastTrack Ultra and use standard XLR or TRS mics. The FastTrack Ultra will even provide phantom power for a condenser mic.

Posted on Mar 2, 2010 11:44:16 AM PST
Rocky Maddex says:
Wow, great input, thank you everyone!

I forgot to mention, I'm on a PC, not a Mac. I do have Adobe Soundbooth, and our presentations are probably going to be through Adobe Captivate. I don't mind getting other software if absolutely needed, but I am on a severe budget at the moment.

I have the complete Adobe Elearning Suite and the Adobe CS4 Premier Package.

Thanks again,

Posted on Mar 3, 2010 1:25:15 AM PST
tensity1 says:
I took several voice acting classes from a former voice actor/ad producer from New York whose son is an actor in Hollywood. I never did get a career off the ground, but she's the real deal, and this is what she recommended to get started:

1. As another person already mentioned, the Snowball by Blue Microphones got her vote--USB connectivity-which usually doesn't cause too many problems-and good quality for the majority of voice work. Build your own pop screen out of pantyhose and a coathanger, if needed, and build a small isolation box around the mic to minimize room noise--basically a cardboard box with foam lining the inside (acoustic treatment foam being the best, but egg-crate mattress toppers would work). You probably won't even need the box. $80-$100 for the mic.

2. Other than that, just need some audio recording/mixing software. You can download trial versions off the web for most DAW (digital audio workstation) brands out there, and large music stores usually have free demo versions on DVD. What she recommended is Audacity, a free-but-powerful DAW that should handle your needs if your Adobe software doesn't cut it. Audacity is popular, quality freeware, so don't sweat that it's free. I don't think it handles MIDI, but I don't think you'll be needing that if you're mainly going to be doing voice-overs for business presentations. And unless you plan on getting into recording music or serious voice-over/podcasting, you don't need a mic preamp/audio interface at this point, if you go the USB mic route.

So, USB mic, free audio recording software, and you're set for under $100. Hope that helps.

Posted on Mar 9, 2010 2:49:56 AM PST
Dad of 3 says:
I would say just to keep a few things in mind about your voice overs. Try the "in" position, which is holding the mic 2 inches away (or leaning so that you are close) and then the "out" position which is six inches (or the length of your thumb to pinky roughly). Listen closely for plosives and sibilance and also which one you like better for your voice. There's a lot of good USB mics out there now, one I saw in Musician's Friend had headphone outs ON the mic. USB mics also do the digital conversion of the audio without an expensive sound card. My Digital Audio Production teacher uses Audacity to record his own podcasts and has a USB headset I think. You might just need a better one than you have. Altec Lansing has some good ones that are pretty cheap now, I bought four of them over a year ago and still use them even for just recording and mixing audio.
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Discussion in:  Home Recording forum
Participants:  8
Total posts:  9
Initial post:  Feb 27, 2010
Latest post:  Mar 9, 2010

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