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Best Microphone for Full Room / Roundtable Recording?

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  • Calvin Powers
    Howdy, I d like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be held in my living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with minimal
    Message 1 of 8 , Nov 30, 2008
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      Howdy,

      I'd like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be held in my
      living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with minimal
      background noise. There will be too many people for me to give everyone a
      separate microphone.

      So I'm curious about the best type of microphone to use in this situation?
      Would you get a wireless microphone and pass it around? That would be less
      than ideal for me because I want there to be lots of back and forth in the
      discussion. Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices in the
      room?


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dan Hughes
      Calvin asks, ....Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices in the room? ... Calvin, use an omni mike. Don t pass around a wireless - besides
      Message 2 of 8 , Nov 30, 2008
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        Calvin asks, "....Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices
        in the room?"

        ---------------------------

        Calvin, use an omni mike. Don't pass around a wireless - besides the
        handling noise, you'll lose all spontaneity as people have to wait their
        turn to get the mike.

        Just put an omni mike in the middle of a table and have everyone gathered
        around it, all approximately the same distance from the mike (and all as
        close as possible).

        Best,

        ---Dan, http://danhughes.net (spiffy home page)

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Richard Amirault
        ... From: Calvin Powers ... For somethink like this the first thing I would try is an omni-directional boundry mic (most boundry mics are omni .. but not
        Message 3 of 8 , Nov 30, 2008
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Calvin Powers"
          > I'd like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be held in
          > my
          > living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with minimal
          > background noise. There will be too many people for me to give everyone a
          > separate microphone.
          >
          > So I'm curious about the best type of microphone to use in this situation?
          > Would you get a wireless microphone and pass it around? That would be less
          > than ideal for me because I want there to be lots of back and forth in the
          > discussion. Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices in the
          > room?

          For somethink like this the first thing I would try is an omni-directional
          boundry mic (most boundry mics are omni .. but not all) It is *exactly*
          what that mic was designed to do.

          Richard Amirault
          Boston, MA, USA
          http://n1jdu.org
          http://bostonfandom.org
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J7hf9u2ZdlQ
        • David Smith
          ... This sounds like something I d try with my Samson Zoom H2. It s intended for portable recording, but it also has 4 built-in microphones, arranged so the
          Message 4 of 8 , Nov 30, 2008
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            It was 30 Nov 2008, when Calvin Powers commented:


            > Howdy,
            >
            > I'd like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be held in my
            > living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with minimal
            > background noise. There will be too many people for me to give everyone a
            > separate microphone.
            >
            > So I'm curious about the best type of microphone to use in this situation?
            > Would you get a wireless microphone and pass it around? That would be less
            > than ideal for me because I want there to be lots of back and forth in the
            > discussion. Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices in the
            > room?

            This sounds like something I'd try with my Samson Zoom H2. It's intended
            for portable recording, but it also has 4 built-in microphones, arranged
            so the unit should successfully cover a whole circle of people, in stereo,
            and potentially in 5.1 surround sound, I gather. Might require some
            fiddling, depending on the size and spread of the group.

            And standard disclaimers apply; I've never tried this. Should work, I
            think, and you also get a portable recorder in the bargain.

            Griz

            --

            Grizzly's Growls Podcast & Stories from the Hiber-Nation:
            <http://grizzlysgrowls.com>
            The NaNaPooPoo Podcast Community Network:
            <http://feeds.nanapoopoo.com>
          • Erk Pod
            What is your basic set up now? Is the table (if you are going to have one) round or square or rectangular? How many people will there be? As someone who has
            Message 5 of 8 , Nov 30, 2008
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              What is your basic set up now? Is the table (if you are going to have
              one) round or square or rectangular? How many people will there be?

              As someone who has had a lot of experience in Round Table discussions,
              the way I do it is to give as many people mics as possible. However,
              you did say that you don't want to give everyone a mic and I can
              understand that because that leads to a list of other things such as
              levels and having enough inputs etc.

              A compromise (assuming you have a square or rectangular table) is to
              have 2 people on each side and share one mic between two people. You
              as the host should have a mic to yourself if you can do so.

              But if that isn't possible, you may have to instruct your guests
              before you start recording. Because they are all in the same room (and
              not like on my Round Tables where there is a mixture of people in the
              studio and on Skype), you should tell them that they'll all get a go
              and if people talk over one another (especially if you only have one
              mic), no one will get heard. It might mean that to start with you as
              the host have to be a bit proactive because at the start, everyone
              will want to rip straight in and lead the discussion rather than a no
              holds barred free for all.

              --
              Erk

              Erk Pod: all Erk, all the time ..... and then some!
              Sydney, Australia
              http://www.erkpod.com.au
            • Andrew Darlow
              I have an H2 and here are a few quick suggestions: I agree that multiple mics are best, but if the room is quiet the H2 can do a fine job (sometimes air
              Message 6 of 8 , Dec 1, 2008
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                I have an H2 and here are a few quick suggestions:

                I agree that multiple mics are best, but if the room is quiet the H2
                can do a fine job (sometimes air conditioning noise can be annoying
                and not noticed until later). I would not place the mic on the table
                because it is very prone to picking up disturbing noises if it is
                jostled. People may have cups or books that they are putting down on
                the table. I would get some type of scissor mount to mount to a table
                and you can then place the H2 in it:

                Here is one for about $40. I have never ordered from this company and
                others may have other suggestions:
                http://tinyurl.com/59oztz

                You should just make sure that the shock mount has enough space to
                hold the H2.

                I would also do a test at different recording levels. I think the
                medium Mic gain setting (right side) is probably best, with about a
                60-80 recording level (not volume level). You probably know this,
                but the record level can be set when you are in "pre-record mode"
                after you press record and while the light is flashing. You can also
                set it while recording, so a good test would be to start at 60 and do
                a 1 min test, then move it to 80, then 100 then 110 and bring it into
                your audio editing program to confirm that levels are OK. The H2 also
                has good meters that can help get you in the ballpark.

                The Rec mode quality will also be important and you may want to test
                a few settings. Setting it to SURROUND 2CH makes sense as well if
                people are on both sides.

                And I recommend a fresh set of batteries (or using plug-in power)
                before you begin.

                Hope that helps,

                Andrew
                ---------------------------------------------------
                Andrew Darlow
                Editor, The Imaging Buffet
                http://www.imagingbuffet.com
                Author, 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques:
                An Essential Printing Resource for Photographers - http://
                www.inkjettips.com





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Rich
                On Sun, 2008-11-30 at 18:26 -0600, David Smith wrote: Or just get a decent omnidirectional microphone (picks up sounds from all directions) and all sit
                Message 7 of 8 , Dec 1, 2008
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                  On Sun, 2008-11-30 at 18:26 -0600, David Smith wrote:


                  Or just get a decent omnidirectional microphone (picks up sounds from
                  all directions) and all sit equidistant from the mic and do your thing.

                  The closer the better so there are less room reflections.

                  Me...

                  > It was 30 Nov 2008, when Calvin Powers commented:
                  >
                  > > Howdy,
                  > >
                  > > I'd like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be
                  > held in my
                  > > living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with
                  > minimal
                  > > background noise. There will be too many people for me to give
                  > everyone a
                  > > separate microphone.
                  > >
                  > > So I'm curious about the best type of microphone to use in this
                  > situation?
                  > > Would you get a wireless microphone and pass it around? That would
                  > be less
                  > > than ideal for me because I want there to be lots of back and forth
                  > in the
                  > > discussion. Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices
                  > in the
                  > > room?
                  >
                  > This sounds like something I'd try with my Samson Zoom H2. It's
                  > intended
                  > for portable recording, but it also has 4 built-in microphones,
                  > arranged
                  > so the unit should successfully cover a whole circle of people, in
                  > stereo,
                  > and potentially in 5.1 surround sound, I gather. Might require some
                  > fiddling, depending on the size and spread of the group.
                  >
                  > And standard disclaimers apply; I've never tried this. Should work, I
                  > think, and you also get a portable recorder in the bargain.
                  >
                  > Griz
                  >
                  > --
                  >
                  > Grizzly's Growls Podcast & Stories from the Hiber-Nation:
                  > <http://grizzlysgrowls.com>
                  > The NaNaPooPoo Podcast Community Network:
                  > <http://feeds.nanapoopoo.com>
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                • Rob Schendel
                  If you are looking for a USB mic, I d highly recommend the Blue Snowball. It can be set to function as omni-directional, or uni-directional, whichever you
                  Message 8 of 8 , Dec 1, 2008
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                    If you are looking for a USB mic, I'd highly recommend the Blue Snowball. It
                    can be set to function as omni-directional, or uni-directional, whichever
                    you prefer, with a switch on the back, and it looks cute, too!
                    I also likes how it brings out the richness in my voice. A great mic, and a
                    great value!

                    http://store.apple.com/us/product/TF238LL/A?mco=MTQ3NTkyOA#overview
                    http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Blue-Snowball-USB-Microphone?sku=279015

                    Rob
                    www.twitter.com/robschendel

                    On Mon, Dec 1, 2008 at 9:57 AM, Rich <wielgosz@...> wrote:

                    > On Sun, 2008-11-30 at 18:26 -0600, David Smith wrote:
                    >
                    > Or just get a decent omnidirectional microphone (picks up sounds from
                    > all directions) and all sit equidistant from the mic and do your thing.
                    >
                    > The closer the better so there are less room reflections.
                    >
                    > Me...
                    >
                    >
                    > > It was 30 Nov 2008, when Calvin Powers commented:
                    > >
                    > > > Howdy,
                    > > >
                    > > > I'd like to set up a recording of a group discussion. It will be
                    > > held in my
                    > > > living room with people scattered about. It will be all talk with
                    > > minimal
                    > > > background noise. There will be too many people for me to give
                    > > everyone a
                    > > > separate microphone.
                    > > >
                    > > > So I'm curious about the best type of microphone to use in this
                    > > situation?
                    > > > Would you get a wireless microphone and pass it around? That would
                    > > be less
                    > > > than ideal for me because I want there to be lots of back and forth
                    > > in the
                    > > > discussion. Is there a microphone that could pick up all the voices
                    > > in the
                    > > > room?
                    > >
                    > > This sounds like something I'd try with my Samson Zoom H2. It's
                    > > intended
                    > > for portable recording, but it also has 4 built-in microphones,
                    > > arranged
                    > > so the unit should successfully cover a whole circle of people, in
                    > > stereo,
                    > > and potentially in 5.1 surround sound, I gather. Might require some
                    > > fiddling, depending on the size and spread of the group.
                    > >
                    > > And standard disclaimers apply; I've never tried this. Should work, I
                    > > think, and you also get a portable recorder in the bargain.
                    > >
                    > > Griz
                    > >
                    > > --
                    > >
                    > > Grizzly's Growls Podcast & Stories from the Hiber-Nation:
                    > > <http://grizzlysgrowls.com>
                    > > The NaNaPooPoo Podcast Community Network:
                    > > <http://feeds.nanapoopoo.com>
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    >
                    >
                    >


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