Vidac wants to build a podcast/voiceover studio in his den. Does Yamaha make good soundboards for around $500? Leo says Yamaha makes good gear. It's probably overkill, but a good choice. Vidac is also using Shure SM58s. Leo says that they are great mics, and practically indestructible. A great, economic choice at about $150. But he'll also need some form of a digital interface in order to get the mixed feed into the computer. Vidac also uses a Shure SM7B. Leo says that is a condenser mic that requires phantom power. But the board should provide that.
Jerry wants to record webinars and wants to know if he can use an external microphone to do it. Leo says he could, but you'd need an adapter for the minijack on the phone. He recommends just using the microphone on the phone. It'll work fine for that. He could take the direct out of the computer using the PC's headphone jack, and then plug that into the jack on the phone. That should bypass it altogether. One other option is to get a directional mic that will plug into your phone as well. Or even a parabolic mic. RODE makes great models with minijack connectors.
Jose is getting a buzzing interference in his USB mic. Leo says that's usually noise created by the USB cable. So try a different cable. Leo also says a cheaper microphone may also be the culprit, depending on how cheap the mic is. Leo uses a Heil PR40 with a SoundDesign USB Pre2. But the FocusRite Scarlet also works with an XLR mic. Leo also says the SHURE SM58 is an affordable mic that gives more bang for the buck. It all comes down to circuitry.
Mark wants to know how to connect a Neewer XLR mic to a laptop. Leo says that if it's a condenser mic, then it'll also need power. So an adapter won't really help. Leo recommends a Focus Rite Scarlet to power it and converter it to USB. However, some like the Newer XLR mic cannot work with Mac computers. That's only a $20 mic, and you'd be better off getting a USB compatible mic that works with any computer. If it's only for video conferencing, then Leo recommends the Blue Yeti or the Blue Snowball. It's decent.
Todd wants to know why Leo chose the Heil PR40. He's planning to do a podcast and wants the best mic he can get for the money. Leo says that Bob Heil is a legend in the music industry, having created the quadrophonic sound for the Who, and the Vocoder for Peter Frampton. Bob invented the Heil PR40 originally for HAM Radio, but it's gotten very popular with radio and podcasters. Leo likes how his voice sounds. The PR40 is also a dynamic mic; it doesn't need phantom power or requires isolation like a condenser mics.
Jake's friend wants to get into music recording and is looking for a good USB microphone. Their budget is between $100 and $200. Leo says there's a lot of choices in that price range. Blue is best known for this category. The Blue Yeti is the top dog. He should avoid the Snowball, though. It has no headroom. Audio Technica's ATR2100 is very nice as well.
Carl wants to start up a podcast running four different XLR mics through a mixer. He wants multiple channels for each one. Is the mixer what he needs? Leo says that while condenser mics are more accurate and hear everything, he really wants a coiled diaphragm mic, which doesn't pick up everything - just the voice. Leo uses a Heil PR-40. But for a budget, the Shure SM58 mic is very forgiving. Leo says for a mixer, the Behringer XR18 is great. He can control it from an iPad, it has great mic pre-amps, and is simply a good choice.
Since the instructor is currently using a handheld mic, a better solution would be a wireless lavalier mic. The challenge here is that a lavalier mic picks up more ambient noise and there is a higher potential for feedback with the PA system. It will be important to make sure there's enough distance between the mic and the speakers to avoid this. A lot of companies make lavaliers, but here's a few to choose from: