Equipment to record a meeting

Great forum with lots of information. I am thoroughly confused. :laughing:

I am part of a non-profit (read “poor”) organization. We have about 200 members, but only 20 attend the meetings. I want to record the meetings and stream them on our web site (48-64k). What would be the best value set up (not necessarily the cheapest, but close) to record acceptable-quality sound for this purpose.

I am supposing I need two microphones, one for the main speaker, the other for the audience. We are set up in a horseshoe, so maybe three microphones would be better. I guess I need 1) mixer, 2) microphones (dynamic or condenser :laughing: ), lavalier for the main speaker, maybe. Anything else?

I have experience making my own podcasts at home, but I have never done a remote set up. THANKS!!

I record a meeting each week (up to 80 people) using two microphones, a simple analog mixer, and Audacity on a Mac PowerBook. You are using a Mac, right?

You can go a very, very long way to equipment simplicity by holding your meetings in a very, very quiet, echo free room. If you do that, two microphones arranged on the table in the middle will do it for you. The instant you throw echoes and air conditioning noise into the mix, the complexity goes way up.


I regularly use a Zoom H2 recorder.
It will easily record everyone in the room, although depending on the room you will get a certain amount of reverberation (echoes).
Cost is a little under $200 US, but that includes microphones, recording media (flash memory), headphones, power adaptor, and wind shield. It can be held in a standard microphone stand, or stood on a table, and can record in WAV or MP3 format. You can also use it as a USB microphone and it is compatible with PC, MAC and Linux. It is also very easy to set up and use. Sorry if this sounds too much like an advert, but I love my H2, it’s just so convenient.

Thanks, Koz. Well, no, I’m not :blush: . I’m using a Dell D610 with a Pentium M @ 1.6 GHz with 1 MB RAM. I read on one of your posts that live playback is difficult on a PC. Is that the only issue? I am thinking of a new laptop, but was thinking PC because of the cost. Any tips on microphone brand/type? Omnidirectional, right?

I’d go with STF’s suggestion of the Zoom H2 (it gets recommended by many people, not just Steve). It should provide the simplest solution to your needs - simple, small and very portable.

Just upload the files to PC later for editing and distribution.


Thanks, Steve and WC! I have looked at the Samson site and read a number of reviews on Amazon, and the H2 looks like the solution for my particular needs–and I don’t have to cough up the cash for a PowerBook!

PC’s and Mac both have their own strengths and weaknesses.
Vista has various problems all of its own that can cause trouble for recording, so at present if you want to do recording on Windows, XP is a better option (although soon to become obsolete ).

The third option is Linux, although initially setting up the sound system can be a bit tricky. Linux is developing fast and becoming a lot more user friendly. If you are used to working on Windows, then switching to Linux will probably be no more difficult than switching to a Mac. If you are interested in trying Linux, you can download “Live CD” versions that will run directly from the CD without any installation (although somewhat slower than an installed to hard disk version).

Laptops have certain limitations for recording. PC laptops generally have low quality microphone inputs, and while (some?) Mac laptops have a high quality audio input, it is line level, so you need to use a mixer or pre-amp if you want to plug a microphone in.

You just posted before me geebo, making this post redundant - oh well :smiley:

They’re just different. There’s a spirited discussion about how to get the posters to tell us the computer they have before they get to the problem. We were on the fourth message before we could narrow the conversation down to be useful.

Don’t lose the commandment that thou shalt record in a quiet room. The number of microphones necessary in a noisy room or echo filled gymnasium will push you right out a Zoom in a hurry.

If you’ve never recorded anything before, it’s easy to underestimate the amount of noise you have to contend with. We tend to tune it out. “How long has that air conditioner been broken?” “What? I can’t hear you very well [over the air conditioner noise].”

Know anybody that has a small personal recorder like a PearlCorder? Just set one on a rolled up towel in the middle of the table in the next meeting and listen to the tape. Can you understand what’s being said without seeing the lips move? Can you suddenly hear that MetroBus start up outside the window?

If you’ve never done live recording in that room before, that can be a surprise.


It cannot be over emphasised. The recording environment is one of the most important factors.

I’ve read that PZM microphones will give better results in echo filled rooms, though I do not have experience with these and have doubts as to how much improvement they will give.

The best results that I have got in echo filled rooms is to use a separate microphone for each speaker and use a mixing desk (console) to mix the signals together. The output of the mixing desk can then be plugged into a recorder (tape/minidisk/laptop/Zoom H2/other).

(The Zoom H2 has inputs for a stereo microphone, and a “Line in” socket - if using a mixing desk, you would plug the output of the mixing desk into the Line In socket)