Recording my classes?


I am fairly green in all of this so please bear with me…

I run workshops and classes (about 20-25 participants)

I have been able to record me - by using a usb logitech headset and recording directly into audacity on my laptop…

I would like to be able to also record my participants questions as well as myself…

I’m thinking I need:

  • A mixer - with at least 2 mic inputs - I’ve been told usb is better? Is there a brand that you recommend (one that doesn’t break the bank? :wink: )
    A lapel mic for me - again any recommendations
    A omni-direction mic for the group (which could be placed sort of in the middle of the group)

As I said I am new to this - so the above is my guess at what I need… Any advice, recommendations are greatly appreciated!

Big Thanks,

One more chunk. Windows? Mac?


Sorry - I have two laptops - the one I was using is Windows XP - I also have a laptop with Windows Vista

That restricts the choices a little. Most Windows laptops only accept a tiny, delicate, wispy, mono microphone signal plugged into the side of the machine. They do pretty well with those. The forum is full of people trying to plug stereo mixers, cassette machines, and home music systems into their Windows Laptops. Almost all fail.

You can go in as a USB digital signal, that works famously – from either a USB microphone or a multi-microphone mixer that can speak USB, or a full analog mixer and a simple USB sound card like the UCA 202 we reviewed here on the forum.

I need to think about where to go from here because multi-microphone setups are not straightforward and it’s easy to design a simple, cheap system that needs custom parts, or an expensive system that just plugs together.

We have several systems here that are exactly what you want, but I had to design and build some of the cable adapters. The jump from one microphone to two (or more) is an enormous leap.


To get you down to part numbers:

The mixer is a Peavey PV6…

It will mix four different microphones into a show. Most of our training sessions use two. The trainer wears a Radio Shack Tie-Tack microphone…

That gets plugged into a custom connector adapter so it will plug into the Peavey. That’s the part I build. The microphone runs from a small internal watch battery and doesn’t need external power supplies.

The audience microphone is an omnidirectional hand-held that Radio Shack apparently no longer makes. It plugs straight into the mixer and we leave it in the middle of the audience – sometimes just on a chair. This takes a reasonably quiet room and I’d probably just use a second tie-tack microphone for this.

The mixer supplies headphone connections so the trainer can listen and tell if everything sounds OK. You can’t always plug into the computer to listen because of delay problems.

The Peavey plugs straight into a Mac or Deskside Windows PC to record the show. If you have a Windows laptop, your choices are a USB Sound Card like the UCA202 or just buy the Peavey with a USB built-in…

We tried cheap “disco” mixers and they tend to only have one microphone channel and it’s terrible. The Peavey has a “real” microphone channel design and will handle many different microphone types and actors with no problems. A couple of other similar sized and priced mixers surfaced on the forum and I have no experience with them.

There is such a need for this particular “product” that techniques have been designed to combine two microphones directly in the computer, but it’s only partially successful, it’s awkward to use, and you can’t do it across all computer types.

They make USB microphone mixers – where everything is USB – and I don’t know a thing about them except I bet they’re expensive.