“They sold you this microphone saying that it had ‘everything you needed inside the box to get started,’ and they gave you that crappy little microphone stand.”Andrea Klunder
Black Friday, Cyber Monday… you are probably super busy tooling around the internet looking for the best deals on podcasting gear… I know you have heard me say so many times in the past that it’s not about the microphone — the success of your show, the quality of your show is so not about the microphone. And I’m going to kind of take that back a little bit.
Gear is important.
You are doing something that requires gear, that requires equipment, that requires a tool to get your message your thought leadership, your ideas, your insights, your wisdom, your incredibly amazing conversations with other people out into the earbuds of listeners everywhere.
I have used a lot of different audio gear of different levels and different qualities over the years of podcasting. I have helped many, many podcasters to get their own shows started and to improve the quality of their shows. I have listened to so many podcasts. I listen to podcasts like it’s my job. Well, it kind of IS my job. What a cool job!
And I have recorded in so many different recording environments, different spaces with different people and different speakers. And here is one place where I am going to draw the line.
Ready for a Podcast Boss rant?
Read on for more…
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“Well, if you are too far away from your microphone, you ARE the ambient noise.”Andrea Klunder
Though there is no singular perfect microphone for all applications, there are some microphones that I tend to recommend depending on the situation. One such microphone is the Samson Q2U.*
*No, this episode is not sponsored by Samson. Nor Amazon. Nor is it sponsored at all!
Why do I love the Samson Q2U?
Well, number one, it’s dynamic.
This is good for most podcasters, specifically podcasters who are recording not in a studio or a sound treated room or even a sound controlled room, people who are recording in an office conference room, or in their personal office with tons of windows and industrial carpet and high ceilings, or even in their own space, in a loft, and for whatever reason, they just refuse to record in their closet like I recommend.
I have a soft spot in my heart for condenser mics, but they are problematic when you are not recording any sound treated room or studio, they pick up a lot of ambient background noise and dynamic mics have a tendency to be a little less sensitive and pick up a little bit less.
No, that does not mean you can record outside downtown Chicago in rush hour and expect there to be no background noise. No, that does not mean that your dog can be barking in the background.
No, that does not mean that your husband can be doing laundry while you’re podcasting and that we won’t hear that very hypnotic, repetitive white noise that makes us want to sleep, but it does help minimize some distractions.
Also, the Samson Q2U has two different connection options: USB is perfect for plugging directly into your computer or laptop and recording on a service like maybe Squadcast, and also an XLR connection.
An XLR connection is brilliant if you’re going to be doing a lot of solo episodes or if you’re going to be recording with someone in person becasue you can use a standalone digital recorder like a Zoom H6 and ditch your computer or laptop completely, thus making life much simpler and less complicated for yourself or whoever it is that’s going to be doing your editing.
What do I NOT like about the Samson Q2U?
Finally, we get to the point — and this is not to pick on Samson — this goes for the AudioTechnica ATR 2100 it goes for most Blue microphones and really most consumer grade microphones.
It’s that crappy little desk stand that looks like a little tripod and a little stick that comes with those microphones.
What is up with those little tripod microphone stands? They are worthless.
I cannot tell you how many clients, colleagues, people in Facebook groups, etc I see trying to use those shorty little stands with their microphone so that when they are recording, sitting at their desk, their mouth is like a foot above the microphone and they’re sitting back 2 feet away from the microphone. The microphone is not anywhere near their mouth!!!
What happens when you record like that is that you get all this extra echo.
So remember I said that these mics were good for rooms that were not sound treated because it picks up less ambient noise?
Well, if you are too far away from your microphone, you ARE ambient noise and the mic is having a harder time picking you up. And so it’s going to also be picking up all the echo of your voice bouncing off of walls and tabletops and getting absorbed by the ceiling and hardwood floors… these sands are crap.
Everyone needs to invest in some kind of a boom arm, preferably a boom arm with a shock mount.
I say boom arm because it allows you to control the position of your microphone, to elevate it to the proper height for your mouth so that you’re not speaking directly over your microphone and you’re not leaning down to try to talk into the microphone. It allows the microphone to swing away from the edge of the desk so that you can position it again closer to your mouth, and you do not have to lean over your desk to speak into it.
Why a shock mount? Because people like me have a tendency to wave our hands around when we’re talking. We have a tendency if we’re sitting to cross and uncross our legs and shift around and move in our seat. And what happens is we bump the desk and then you get these annoying thuds that your editor cannot remove.
But I’m not blaming you!
They sold you this microphone saying that it had “everything you needed inside the box to get started,” and they gave you that crappy little microphone stand.
In fact, the reason why I’m picking on Samson is because they have a product video on their Amazon page. And in that video, they show you everything that’s in the box. When they get to the part about the stand, they say, “a desktop stand that puts the microphone at the optimal height,” and then later they say the thing about everything you need to get started right out of the box.
It’s a dream come true… except that it’s a lie.
And they know it’s a lie.
Do you know how I know they know it’s a lie?
Because by the end of the video, you see the guy doing the voiceover for the video, wearing headphones, talking into a Samson Q2U and he says…
“In fact, all the audio for this video was recorded on a Samson Q2U.”
And you and you know what? He is NOT using that crappy little desk stand. He is using a boom arm. If that stand puts the mic at the optimal height for your recording needs, why on earth would the person doing the voice over for the product video be using a boom arm?
Just put a boom arm in the box already!
I mean, come on. Yes, it makes the box bigger. Yes, your product might be a little bit more expensive, but every podcaster needs to be using a boom arm for their microphone.
I will give you one caveat.
If you’re traveling, you’re on the road, you’re doing remote stuff, and you don’t want to lug a ton of stuff around with you, fine. Bring the tiny little tripod, but then find something to prop it up on in the space to bring it to your face at the right height, and yes you might have to lean forward a little bit to get close enough.
My friend and fellow podcaster, Clara Harris, once said…
“Make a hang 10 sign with your hand. Put your thumb by your mouth, put your pinky finger by the microphone, and that is how close you need to be.”Clara Harris, Yoga With Clara
I like that advice.
And if you don’t know what a hang time sign looks like, look at the photo above.
That’s me making making a hang 10, with my EV RE20 microphone on my lovely boom arm with shock mount.
Ooh. And wearing my new fancy headphones from Beyerdynamic — happy birthday to me!
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