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USB mic for my wife’s online zoom flute lessons?
Old 3 weeks ago
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jnorman's Avatar
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
USB mic for my wife’s online zoom flute lessons?

My wife has a flute studio, and has had to do her teaching online for the past several months. She is asking about getting a usb mic as an improvement over her laptops internal mics. Some people seem to be using the blue yeti. Is that a reasonably decent mic for this purpose?
I also wonder if most of the problem actually stems from the fact that the zoom/Skype apps (as well as any other signal that goes through the laptops audio system) is adversely affected by the automatic gain control (AGC). Is there a way to turn off the AGC, or an app that lets you manually set audio levels that would work with zoom and Skype?
Old 2 weeks ago
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Bruce Watson's Avatar
🎧 10 years
Originally Posted by jnorman ➡️
My wife has a flute studio, and has had to do her teaching online for the past several months. She is asking about getting a usb mic as an improvement over her laptops internal mics. Some people seem to be using the blue yeti. Is that a reasonably decent mic for this purpose?
My wife also does some teaching (not music) over the 'net and as I result I've been tasked with pretty much this same problem in past years. What I found in a cursory look at USB mics is that they are pretty much all geared toward voice (not music) for the podcasting market, which means just what you think it means, as in limited top and bottom end frequency response, less than wonderful mic preamp, usually no limiter, usually little or no control over mic sensitivity. OTOH, usually not pricey either.

IDK for sure, but I'm thinking you want something that sounds good enough to inspire the students to greater heights. And I'm thinking there are better ways for you to get there than a USB mic.

What worked for me (in part because I had all the parts already) was a used SD MixPre-D and a used Neumann TLM 107. The MixPre-D has a USB out, so it plugs into her laptop and looks like a USB mic to the laptop.

Yes, this is overkill for what it's being used for. Your application is more demanding than mine, but I suspect it would work just fine for your application too.

As to automatic gain controls... Clearly the MixPre-D doesn't have such a thing. But software like Zoom and/or Skype probably does. I'm thinking that I remember something about later versions of Zoom (say mid-2020 or so) have some way to limit auto gain controls because people were using it for group music classes. I seem to remember there were like five steps to turn it down/off, but I don't remember what those steps are. Sorry.

Isn't there a remote ensemble music application yet? There should be.
Old 2 weeks ago
Here for the gear
I teach sax on online using zoom.

I run a Rode Nt3 through a Focusrite clarett and it works extremely well at a very high quality. I have much more expensive mics and preamps for recording, but for the zoom teaching thing this setup works extremely well. You just select the sound card as the input and output on zoom and the you go
Old 2 weeks ago
Gear Nut
Online teaching (violin and viola) was responsible for me to go findo my old Zoom H2 and use it as my USB microphone. It has been working well for that — definitely an improvement over my laptop’s internal microphone. I have a few students that made the investment on the Blue Yeti and I definitely heard the difference. I know a couple of flute teachers that are using the Yeti and, AFAIK, they like it.

If you have a spare interface and one mic that doesn’t get much use, I suggest you go that route! Also, Zoom software allows one to choose between having original sound in or off — you want it on! And they released a “Music Settings” menu that is worth looking at!
Old 2 weeks ago
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Tommy-boy's Avatar
🎧 10 years
My son needed to buy a mic for his trombone / band lessons for school. So he asked me what to get and wanted to keep it simple.

I picked up a beyerdynamic usb mic for him. here is a link for the package we bought (comes with headphones, which I wanted). I believe the mic is also sold separately without headphones

Seems to work reasonably well and simple to operate. Band director liked the sound. I like that it has a mute button on the front which clearly indicates if the mic is on or muted. Also, the over profile of the mic is slim/small.

I tried to talk my son letting me buy him a yamaha AG06 usb mixer (and using a mic from my locker), but he though it was too complicated. It's a nice little usb mixer with the ability to get some mics, line ins, and headsets, connected to a computer.

However, he balked at the apparent complexity. Naturally I bought that one too (for myself) so that I could fiddle with it and try it on my laptoip. I haven't had it long and haven't put it through it's paces yet. So I have no opinion on it yet.

I'd offer to run your some sound samples on the Beyer from home, but I'm not sure I have anything that would compare / translate for flute.

Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear
🎧 10 years
Here's a summary of Zoom and general info that i found from online research.
Please feel free to comment with additions or corrections, also the general info at the bottom is useful for sharing with non-engineers:

Here's an excellent step-by-step YouTube video guide for the best audio settings for playing music in Zoom Meeting:

On A Computer, ,one of the easiest ways to get to the settings page to adjust audio settings is to click on any Zoom link that someone sends you.. Then click on "Test Computer Audio" which opens the Audio Settings page.

1. First Deselect "Automatically adjust microphone volume" and adjust mic volume manually to be in good range

2.Most important is to SELECT Music and Professional Audio, Show in-meeting option to "Turn On Original Sound":

(NOT recommended in noisy backgrounds or for general meeting use)

-Disables Zoom noise suppression
-Removes High pass filtering
-Removes automatic gain control
Better for use with good mics, good speakers/headphones or audio interfaces.

The following are less important but may be desirable if your bandwith and computer processing are good enough

3. Select " Disable echo cancellation" ( Best to select ONLY if using Headphones which prevents sounds getting back into the mic)

4.Select "High fidelity music mode" (Select ONLY if you have an Ethernet or VERY High Quality WiFi Connection for your computer. and your computer processing is not too slow)

5.Select "Use Stereo Audio" only if you have a stereo mic and stereo source and good Internet connection.

On an iPhone.

Open the Zoom app
Click on the "gear" symbol in the upper left corner
Click on "Meetings"
Scroll down and Select " Use Original Sound"
(no other options are possible)

When you attend an actual "meeting" you will need to be sure that the "Turn on original sound quality" is clicked (upper left of computer Zoom Meeting window) or on iPhone click "More" and then "Turn on original sound quality" Note that after selecting it the label will now read " Turn off original sound quality"

Attending a ZOOM Meeting through the Zoom app is generally better quality than via a browser.
General Audio Quality Considerations:for Zoom, Youtube, Facebook, etc.
Use an external mic if possible (almost always better than the built-in computer or phone mic)
Be sure the external mic is close as possible to the sound source (voice, instrument, etc) as possible.
Being close reduces the generally "yucky" room sound of the generally small rooms in our houses/apts
If you have to use the internal mic of your phone or computer, try to get no more than 2 ft away.
To get good sound the video picture may have to be closer than ideal which is another reason to use an external mic if possible since both the audio and picture distance can be optimized.
Avoid having a flat reflective surface such as a desk or table between the mic and the sound source.(sound can get to the mic directly and with slight time delay by bouncing off this surface which results in a "yucky" hollow sound quality called comb filtering).

Last edited by Folkie; 2 weeks ago at 12:56 AM.. Reason: additional info
Old 2 weeks ago | Show parent
Here for the gear
I’ve never used the Yeti, but the Apogee Mic (whatever the current version is) does a pretty good job for a USB mic.
Old 2 weeks ago
Lives for gear
jnorman's Avatar
3 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I wound up getting a zoom q2n-4k on the recommendation of a Oregon symphony flutist and it works great. Small, very capable, and huge improvement in both video and audio.
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