The past 18 months has been an audiovisual adventure that requires many of us to improve and perfect our home technology settings for virtual meetings and remote work.
Just when we thought we had figured it out, we suddenly discovered a new scenario: mixed work, some people are in the office together, and some people are dialing at home. Making things work seamlessly in these situations is not easy.
This is especially challenging when you are trying to get a good sound. We have been working hard to solve this problem on the GeekWire podcast. Before the pandemic, we recorded almost exclusively in the studio. During the pandemic, we were completely in remote areas.
Now, we are everywhere, for example, there are many people in the studio, and others join us remotely.
We mainly solve this problem through a lot of trial and error-emphasizing mistakes. We will share some hard-earned lessons in the behind-the-scenes footage of the GeekWire podcast, including details of the hardware and software we have been using.
Even if you don’t record audio or video, or make your own shows, these insights may be helpful for your own hybrid meeting.
We use some of our favorite microphones to record shows so you can hear the difference in quality. In addition, we also discussed the microphones that should be avoided based on our experience.
Some new Microsoft headsets and microphones have also appeared, and we have been trying to borrow them from the company.
Coming out of the virtual booth to participate in this episode is Curt Milton, who edits and produces GeekWire podcasts every week.
Listen to the show above, or subscribe to GeekWire in any podcast app, and continue reading notes and links.
space: Our “studio” is the room in the GeekWire office. We use sound-absorbing foam panels to prevent sound from bouncing off the walls. However, the room is not soundproof, and we often deal with external noise, such as sometimes stopping to let the plane fly overhead.
computer: Our main studio machine is the Dell Alienware Aurora R7, equipped with 16 GB RAM, 256 GB solid state drive and 2TB hard drive and NVIDIA graphics card, running Windows 10. It’s generally reliable, but hesitated about all the microphones we connected for this episode, so we turned to the reliable Lenovo Thinkpad Carbon X1 laptop in this meeting. We also used an older MacBook Pro, as shown in the picture above.
Studio microphone: our The preferred microphone is Electrovoice Re/20 condenser microphone. These are standard configurations of many public broadcasting stations. Their price is about $450, although we found them at lower prices on Amazon Warehouse Deals. These are dynamic cardioid microphones, which means they pick up sound in isolation mode, avoiding external noise. These use XLR audio connections.
USB microphone: We like 99 dollars Rod NT USB Mini And recommend it to anyone who needs a (relatively) cheap but high-quality microphone for podcasts, etc. It also sounds clear and crisp in the meeting.
Despite the built-in p-pop filter, it is not perfect in this respect. We avoid the best luck of p-pops by placing it close but close to the side of our mouth at a small angle to avoid p-pops. Or you can get an external microphone screen.
USB/XLR microphone: We also used some microphones with both XLR and USB output, including $80 Audioechnica AT2005 USB with 70 USD Samson Q2U. According to our experience, although the audio quality is not as good as the NT USB Mini, it has good versatility.
Audio hub: Connecting multiple XLR microphones to the computer to link to remote visitors is probably the biggest challenge we face when we move to hybrid recording.
We solved this problem $220 Zoom PodTrak 4 portable recorder It accepts multiple XLR microphones and connects to the PC via USB, with four headphone jacks, so everyone can hear it without echo.
Microsoft audio equipment: We used some different Microsoft microphones and accessories integrated with the company’s Teams software.
- Curt is using $50 Microsoft Hyundai USB Headset During this recording.A sort of The wireless version costs $100We have found that these microphones are of much higher quality than many other common headphones. Some of these microphones tend to be affected by extreme silence, harsh “ss” and “sh” sounds, making it difficult to listen to others.
- We also tested 100 USD Microsoft modern USB-C speakers, It doubles as a microphone and is our favorite among the Microsoft devices we have tried. You will hear it when the show is broadcast to the studio microphone, which does not match the face-to-face audio quality. It has a neat and flexible base that allows you to roll up the rope for storage.
Software and services: The following are the main tools and services we use.
- We have already set Squad Broadcast Used to record our programs remotely. It is like Zoom, the difference is that it can record higher quality tracks separately. Squadcast also provides video recording, but we currently choose not to use it or pay for it.Several other services, including Zencaster with Binjiang.fm, Provide similar remote recording function.
- we like Bold Used for audio editing. It is free, open source, and cross-platform. We found it completely sufficient.Many audio professionals prefer Adobe Audition or professional toolsWe are fortunate to synchronize Audacity files between Mac and Windows PC via Dropbox for collaborative editing (although, ironically, the poor internet connection made the synchronization chaotic when editing this episode).
- We also like Leveling machine, A free tool that automatically balances the audio level between speakers. It is still available for download, but is no longer updated or supported, and the official page looks more and more clumsy, so use it at your own risk.
- we use Omni Studio Distribute programs and insert dynamic advertisements to automatically put new advertisements into current and past episodes.