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Simple Microphone/Interface For Remote Recording.
Old 30th July 2020
Here for the gear

Simple Microphone/Interface For Remote Recording.

Hi friends.

I'm working on about a dozen audio dramas in the Fall, upcoming. Will be recording over Squadcast, Cleanfeed, Garageband, Quicktime, or a similar situation.

We'll be shipping out microphones to performers. I'm eyeballing the Audio-Technica ATR2100X-USB for the following reasons:

•Dynamic Microphone with a Cardioid pickup (I fear a Snowball would pick up too much room reflection).

•Onboard USB interface. No gain knob.

Would be counterintuitive for a professional, but while working with a large amount of non technical performer, I can't risk them having knobs and dials that might bog down time, or ruin a take. Conformity and consistency might be worth an exchange for quality. Though I would like to minimize that tradeoff.

Question: It feels a waste to buy a dozen microphones which I won't necessarily ever want to use again in the future, be either for stage or studio. I would much rather ship them an SM58, plus a simple plug'n'play interface that'll work without any driver nonsense. Though I'm not sure a quality one exists

Curious if anyone has thoughts, or see's an obvious solution / warning sign.

TL;DR: Is there something like one of those stupid-simple Behringer "Mic Pre Interface in a cable" products, but less bad? I assume the answer's no, but thought I'd ask before burning money on a dumb "USB mic".
Old 31st July 2020
I am pondering some similar questions myself, albeit for slightly different reasons.

Personally, I think that looking for an interface with no knobs might well be a mistake. Anyone can learn to turn a knob or two. They especially will need a tactile, physical knob to control their own monitoring levels, so I would argue that if they can handle that, then in principle they should be able to handle an input gain knob for one mic. It won't be as daunting as looking at a mixer if it's just one or two knobs, and physical ones they can turn are a lot simpler than abstract ones inside the computer.
There are the same two knobs on the AT mic you linked, only the headphone knob is miniscule there. They would still have to deal with the same concept of input gain and output volume. I'm saying this as someone who has worked in AV with nincompoop clients who couldn't navigate their way out of a paper bag.

If you are working with a whole group of performers then it makes sense for it all to be uniform equipment and to perhaps make some sort of faq/troubleshooting documentation or video or them all to have access to. It could save you a lot of time and effort.

Another question would be whether you have time to be able to test your chosen rig yourself?
Old 31st July 2020
Here for the gear

I actually don't believe that AT mic has a gain dial. Is there one I'm not seeing? Though you're right about the monitor dial.

Regardless, it looks like that AT mic recently went out of stock on both Sweetwater & Amazon. Uh oh. I can't quite lean on it, if availability isn't reliably replaceable.

Make me nervous that it seems like the accessible "USB" microphone market is dominated by manufacturers I wouldn't trust in other professional gigs. Samson? Fifine? Neewer? no thanks.

I'm almost now split between this (+ an SM58) or something like this

Worth noting that everything being "one unit" is helpful, as there will be some shipping around from artist to artist. I can't quite tell if that MV5 is likely to pick up more room reflection than an SM58. Though the fact that it has "mode" buttons has me looped back around towards "no wait, this is consumer junk".

It almost feels like the obvious answer is a 58 & a Scarlett Solo. Though anyone with a Windows machine then has to install some drivers, and while easy for you and me, I can so easily imagine losing an hour of rehearsal because someone's PC has garbled the install, or something similar.
Old 31st July 2020
Gear Maniac

This mic has been getting good reviews here and as you can see they have a good deal going right now. You could get 4 for the price of one sm58.

The big thing though I think you're going to run into though is if people need to install drivers and recording software. That could turn into a nightmare time sink. I'd seriously think about 2 other options: a portable recorder with built in Mic like a Zoom H1n (or even one with XLR inputs) or an interface that can plug into a phone (finding one that supports iPhone and Android and multiple port types is the challenge). Once they've recorded on the Zoom they can plug into USB and it'll look like a USB key they can drag the files to an upload/email. With the Zoom (or another brand but I've been happy with Zoom) you can write up a standard guide in a couple pages. With interface drivers and various recording software be prepared countless variations. The more I think about it the more I say get a self contained recorder. If someone gets really stuck they could even mail you the SD card.
Old 2nd August 2020
Here for the gear

Hi Mr Kahuna! Thanks for helping me brainstorm.

Originally Posted by MrKahuna View Post
This mic has been getting good reviews here
With a dozen 58's in the basement, I'm certainly not looking for a new dynamic microphone with an XLR output. The interface aspect is what's got me stumped.

Originally Posted by MrKahuna View Post
a portable recorder with built in Mic like a Zoom H1n (or even one with XLR inputs) or an interface that can plug into a phone
You're totally right that there's merit in something self contained, like a Zoom, though the recording process will be a group session, over something like Cleanfeed, and we'll be monitoring/recording them that way.

As someone who has worked with a team of festival recording engineers entrusted to record podcasts using Zoom's and upload them... I'm simply not convinced in people abilities to:
A: Not clip
B: Hit record
C: Know how to upload.

At least not consistently, in mission critical situations, especially if their primary career focus isn't audio.

Originally Posted by MrKahuna View Post
If someone gets really stuck they could even mail you the SD card.
I think you've just given me a heart attack.
Old 2nd August 2020
Gear Maniac

Gotcha on the mics, didn't know you had a bunch of SM58s already.

If you're going to be using Cleanfeed I guess you need something to make the mic visible to the browser. Honestly, in your shoes I'd order one of those Mic2USB cables and see how it sounds, mainly because it looks like it doesn't require any unique driver installation and it's pretty inexpensive.

I have a Behringer UMC and the nice thing about drivers for Macs for that it's class compliant so all you do is plug and play, no software installation needed. I think the drivers for Windows are a pretty straight forward install.

We also have an AT2005USB and if I remember correctly the install on Windows kicked off automatically when it was plugged in and didn't require downloading anything. Looking at the Audio-Technica website looks there there is nothing to download so that's a plus. It sounds decent enough on spoken word but haven't tried anything really loud with it.

I didn't mean to scare you but having dealt with non-technical people trying to use this stuff be prepared to spend some time debugging computers with some hopefully small percentage of people.
Old 3rd August 2020
Lives for gear

I know a guy who dj's for Sirius XM who does his show from his home studio.

He has a U87 and a 416 and full radio type recording studio but never connected any of it to the outside world before and when he started with XM radio he couldn't manage to troubleshoot noise problems getting the studio connected up with them.

The quick fix for the problem was that they mailed him an AT2020usb mic and now like a year or something later he is still using it while the U87 and all his other gear sits there looking great and the 2020 is simply plugged into a laptop on the desk.

It's a $150 and it's good enough for Sirius XM, it might just work for you.
Old 3rd August 2020
Here for the gear

Haha - that's a great story.

Knowing that your friend had success with an Audio Technica USB mic definitely helps with the decision making. Though for this specific project I'll likely stick with their dynamic microphone.

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