Noob Seeks Advice on Microphone Choice and Recording Setup

I want to do high-quality podcasting. Voice only. It looks like the Samson C01U is my best bet for a microphone, despite some gitchy software. Any yeas or nays on that mike choice? I could spend a couple hundred on a mike if I needed to, but the C01U seems like the best, and maybe the only, in that general price range.

I’m also wondering what sort of surface to set the mike on. My computer desk is glass-topped, so I’m afraid that’ll give me an echo. I’m thinking of using a tablecloth to absorb sound. Any recommendations in that area? Or is the surface important?

Finally, I’m wondering about my PC’s fan noise. If the C01U is as sensitive as they say, it’ll hear the white noise just like I do. It’s not particularly loud for a PC fan, but it’s still there. Do many of you folks worry about that sort of thing, and if so how do you handle it? I’m thinking of putting a blanket over it in a way that won’t block any of the air flow.

My apologies if these questions have been asked and answered many times already. I appreciate your patience.

Maaaaan. I could do pages, and yes, this is Frequently Asked, but not Frequently Answered.

Nobody is going to touch your choice of Samson microphone because if you can get it to work, it’s probably perfect. Most people start the message with “Which Microphone…” and you didn’t do that.

Put a windscreen in front.

You can Google making your own.

The tablecloth isn’t going to make the slightest difference. To get any effect at all, you have to do something like a furniture moving pad–and sometimes more than one.

The room will kill you. The thing that tags “home built” podcasts as amateur operations is they all sound like they were recorded in the bathroom, and the effect is always what you get from the Third Bedroom, now Studio One. Oddly enough, had they used the First Bedroom, the one with the bed in it, that would have worked OK.

I recorded the Left-Right test clip on my bed on top of the quilt…

…If you listen carefully, you can hear my California cottage cheese ceiling, but it’s not obvious, and it would be good to go if I needed to record something serious.

Desks are a problem. I’ve used music stands at an angle with the performer sitting on a bar stool. Cover the music stand with two layers of bath towel. The mic is suspended above the music stand.

The Samson is cardoid which means it doesn’t hear stuff from the rear, but it’s not perfect. There is another oddball trick with desks, though. Cover the desk with a bath towel and suspend the microphone head (the grill–mount upside down) less than an inch above the deck. Less is good, but don’t touch. The desk affect goes away and the volume of the performer goes up–doubles, actually.

You can’t keep the computer in there with you. You will be able to hear the fan noise.

You can’t record in a room with a Metrobus on the street outside unless you do a lot of messy soundproofing. My Lincoln/Venice Metrobus makes the house shake.

One last item. USB cables can only be made just so long before they fail, so no, you can’t put the microphone two rooms away. This is the major downside of USB microphones. They come with a computer and you can’t separate them.

There is a theatrical voice performer in another thread who is killing us because she’s good at this performance thing and we can fix all her recording damage except the room echoes. Those are deadly.

Have a good time.


Oh, one more. I don’t think the microphone comes with a shock mount, so it will pick up noises from whatever you sit it on.

…Or you can get clever with PVC plumbing pipe and Unites States Postal Service rubber bands.


Wow. That’s just the sort of advice I had hoped for. Thanks! I wasn’t sure about needing the pop filter or the shock stand; now I’ll be sure to get them.

My wife loves to collect blankets and soft comforters that should absorb lots of sound. So I’m thinking I’ll put one on the table, and then find some way to suspend another one vertically behind the mike, or maybe even in a slight arc around it, to catch and kill all the noise before it can echo. I’ll be speaking in a very soft, bedroom-y voice, which will help. And I can record to a laptop that’s in a closet, around a corner, and maybe under a blanket unless it overheats.

Is there any way to control Audacity at that distance? I’ll need to be able to take breaks, shuffle papers, cough, etc. I could record everything and take out the breaks afterwards, but that would consume a lot of time. Is there any sort of remote control, wired or wireless, that can make Audacity pause and then resume recording?

Radio/wireless/bluetooth keyboard and mouse.

You can get really long cables for your screen, so you have everything but the fan noise in there with you. This is where laptops rule. The fans in those are much quieter.