USB Mic Question

Discussion in 'Computing' started by MC208, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. MC208

    MC208 Active Member

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    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    We're offering some guitar lessons via webcam for customers. It's not your typical setup where the teacher is sitting in front of his computer and webcam at his desk. The teacher is sitting on a chair in front of a backdrop. About 5-6 feet in front of him is a TV screen sitting on top of a table, that is connected to the computer on the other side of the room so that he can see and hear the person at the other end of the call on that screen and through the TV's internal speaker. I attach the webcam to the top of the TV, and use a long USB cable to connect it to the computer.

    I have a mixer set up for when we record other kinds of videos. Guitar, and MP3 audio track, and mic go into the mixer, and there are monitor speakers that are sitting under the table facing up towards the teacher so he can hear his guitar, and the MP3 track when needed.

    The problem I'm having is that the mic on the webcam isn't doing a good job and I need to get another mic for the audio.

    So I need to get a mic that will pick up both his voice, as well as the sound coming out of the speakers that are on the floor. I'm currently looking at the USB microphones by Blue, the ones that offer omni directional pickup.

    I had a working situation by using a RODE NTG-1 mic, and using the USB out from the mixer as the mic audio source in Skype. It sounded pretty good, except for some reason, the connection would randomly just drop, meaning that sound you hear in windows when you disconnect a usb source, you'd hear that, and then the person on the other end of the call wouldn't be able to hear anything anymore. If I could solve that, it would be ideal, because then the guitar, and the MP3 track wouldn't need to be picked up by a microphone; they'd get sent directly to the computer and I'd just have to worry about the voice part.
     
  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    There is to things playing against you.. USB mics aren't known to give good sound since it's all in one (mic, preamp, converter, interface) and most of the time having a usb cable longer than 15' is just playing with fire. Bad latency, ton of noises etc..
    Also using the sound from the TV isn't a good idea since it will go back to the mic and create loops, delays or even feedback. It's better to use headphones.. or in-ears if you want them to be hidden..
    You say you have a mixer, what holds you from using a good xlr mic ?
    Is that a situation of live streaming and exchange in real time.. Like skype video conferencing ?
     
    kmetal likes this.
  3. paulears

    paulears Well-Known Member

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    USB mics also mean NEVER more than one mic - so it's very limiting. A small mixer, proper audio interface, modest mic and you have everything you need to do it properly.
     
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  4. MC208

    MC208 Active Member

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    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    I picked up one of those Blue Snowball mics yesterday while I was out, the one that lets you change it to omni directional. Haven't hooked it up yet, but I figure it's worth a shot and if it doesn't work, I can just take it back to the store. Didn't have to order it online and go through all that.

    Regarding TV audio, we haven't experienced any issue with audio from the TV going into the webcam's mic, so hopefully it won't do it with the Snowball either.

    The problem with using the audio system and mixer is that something is causing the USB connection from the mixer to the computer to cut out, randomly. I don't know why it happens. When it happened last time, we were using Zoom, not Skype. We switched to the webcam mic and that worked fine, except the quality of the sound was crud. It seems webcam mics are designed to work well when the speaker is only a foot or two away. When you increase that distance to 6 feet away, it gets very muffled, and hard to understand.
     
  5. MC208

    MC208 Active Member

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    See screenshot attached. Under the listen tab, I have listen to this device checked, and I can hear the output of the mixer (playing a MIDI track right now) and it's working fine.

    Should there be any special settings in windows for the USB connection of the mixer to the computer? For example, if using Skype, or Zoom, should the audio format be something other than what I have shown?
     

    Attached Files:

  6. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    Other than using the latest drivers available, I don't see any special config skype or zoom would need.

    Let us know how it turned out with the USB mic...
     
  7. cyrano

    cyrano Active Member

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    Feb 4, 2018
    Location:
    Brussels
    Have you had a look at "Skype for content creators" yet?

    https://www.skype.com/en/content-creators/

    Might just solve loosing your connection and will allow you to connect to multiple users and record every one of those user on their own channel in your DAW.
     
  8. MC208

    MC208 Active Member

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    Location:
    Idaho
    Yikes, that stuff looks way over my head. But I can't imagine that it would help the situation with the mixer's USB losing its connection to the computer. We have another session tomorrow, so I'm going to try again with the regular setup and see how it goes
     
  9. cyrano

    cyrano Active Member

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    It's new. Haven't tried it out yet, but it shouldn't be to hard to get working.

    But finally, a solution for the droves of people that want to record from Skype. Voicemeeter is fine, but this is from Microsoft itself and developed for us! Let's at least hope it's got less bugs...

    I still don't like Skype, but everybody knows it and most people use it. So if you have to interview someone in Tasmania or Timbuktu, chances are they have Skype...
     
    kmetal likes this.
  10. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Distinguished Member

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    80% off loosing connection problems are cured by changing the USB cable or PowerSupply but with the Zed, the quality is very good for the price, I vote for the USB cable.
    Also, unplug any other multimedia USB units while using the Zed. More so, try to power the zed after windows is bootup and try the other way around..
    The 20% left is antivirus or other in memory softwares that eat ressources.

    OH almost forgot, your computer may have USB2 and USB3 ports.. Try both kind and see if it makes a difference.
     
    MC208 likes this.
  11. MC208

    MC208 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2016
    Location:
    Idaho
    Thanks for all those suggestions. Will certainly try and see how we do!
     
    pcrecord likes this.

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