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USB Mic Recommendation

I’m working in a noisy room (street noise + A/C + other people talking). It is becoming an issue on conference calls. I’d like a high quality mono-directional mic that would be good for streaming or VO recording as well. Something with a retractable arm that I can clamp to the desk with or without a pop filter.

Not sure about budget yet until I know what the trade-offs are. I want to see the price-is-no-object option(s), but probably looking to spend no more than ~$300. Also if there’s an option that gets me 90% there for much less, I’m interested in that too.

Thanks to all in advance!

I’m no mic expert, but IIRC cardioid mics pick up audio from a very specific direction, so noises from outside the pick up pattern are minimized. Sounds bouncing off of walls may be picked up though.

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Would recommend something like the Shure SM 48 LC and a cheap audio interface (eg: Behringer UMC 22).

Edit: For an untreated room, dynamic mic beats condenser. To reduce ambient noise pickup, cardioid pick-up pattern mics.

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Rode Podcaster.

But please be aware that no mic in the world can fully fix your room noise.

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Thanks, that’s great info.

100% understand.


What about something like this? Intended for outdoor use, might handle ambient noise?

No idea what interference tube means.

Can you set up an ambient mic to help with the reduction of ambient noise?

Shotgun mic indoors is asking for trouble. I wouldn’t unless you can’t have a mic attached to a guy wandering arround on stage or so.

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But can you set it up to define the noise to be removed? Or some kind of omni-directional mic?

IIRC, that’s how laptops and things perform noise rejection, with a second mic?

Shotgun is more intended for the sound guy dangling it over you. The Podcaster is intended for being close and that is what you want.

That’s all software. I’m sure there are ways to do that but I would stick to a solid mic first and go from there.

Oh, doesn’t nvidia have something now running on their GPUs to process audio? Can’t remember the name but Barnecules had a video on it, I think.

Found it:

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Great thumbnail


Ok, so I think I’ll go with the podcaster. I watched a video from Rode and they had the pro caster on an arm called the PSA1, but I can’t find this on amazon. Will that arm work with the podcaster?

Yes, do you have a processor to do that?
Unless you do, you are overbudget by 400-ish.

The cheaper way is a “noise gate” or “expander” between mic and interface (like the DBX 286x, which is a 10/10 device, and puts you over budget).

Mics either have a 1/4"-20 or 3/8"-16 thread.

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Yeah, I think I agree with @noenken, I’ll get the mic and then if there are issues go from there.

Ok, I think I’ll get a shock mount actually. The mic is just suspended in that case right? No real compatibility issues to worry about? Nvm, looks like is still screws into the bottom.

Bam, exactly on budget, though unfortunately backordered… I don’t mind waiting though.

https://www.adorama.com/rdpodcastra.html

The rode comes with a normal holder that you can put on any mic stand. The shock mount I have was separate and obviously that raises the price. It is worth it though.

Yeah, if you want an arm like that the rode is fine. Actually given the price of the podcaster alone on Adorama that seems like a good deal.

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Yeah, they’re in NYC too, so probably one day shipping once it arrives.


Thanks Germans! You came through for me on this.

Shock mount is a must on a large diaphragm condenser, else you pick up ALL the noise.

This is a Samson Meteor without shockmount. The arm noise is obvious, the mouse clicks transfer through the table and arm.

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I’m sure not as much of an issue for a dynamic mic, but mainly want it for if the stand is bumped.

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Yeah, it is still true. Desk noise, typing on keyboard and the likes… shock mount gets rid of that stuff.

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Oh yeah, definitely need it then. Box jades on the main board over here.

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I just want to clear up something, a dynamic microphone does not pick up less background noise than a condenser. This is a misconception stemming from the fact that they are naturally much quieter than condenser mics, so people instinctively move them closer and speak louder. This makes the signal to noise ratio better. However, you get the exact same effect with a condenser microphone set to lower gain, and moved closer. Microphones can’t tell what is coming from far away vs close up, just what is actually reaching the mic.

Other than that I’ll second what has already been said. What you want is a cardioid pickup pattern (but not a shotgun mic, since your voice reflecting off the the walls will enter the slots for rejection and can cause some grossness), a shock mount, a pop filter if the mic of your choosing doesn’t come with a satisfactory one like the Shure SM7B, and get that sucker up close to your face. Within fist-distance.

What?
WHAT?

Dynamic mics pick up less of their surroundings because they are less sensetive, yes. This increases signal to noise ratio to a point where you can amplify the mic signal without ending up with tons of noise.

Condensers by comparison are more sensetive and very good at picking up small vibrations.

You could make a worse suggestion in case there is a surface that can reflect noise behind the mic (like a computer screen) by using a ribbon mic. They are 10/10 for voice recording and their typical pickup pattern will ensure the others think you sit in a ballroom.

Note: Mic sensetivity and what kind of mic it is have very little to do with each other.

For more info on microphones, I suggest this here:


You usually want a popfilter when recording voices. Even when your mic has an inbuilt one.