Viet Duc Le
The Importance of a proper Microphone
The voice can be a useful tool. If you are an expert in your division and own the necessary rhetorical skills, it can be even more powerful. But since Covid-19, it is not that easy to deliver the sheer strength and volume of your speech through the robotic-sounding microphones which are built in your laptop. I would like to show you several options on how you can improve your audio input quality.
A Short Comparison — Laptop Mic Vs. Earphones Vs. Headset Vs. Large Diaphragm Mic
To compare the different audio devices I made a short video
Using the microphone of your laptop is the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to communicate with other people. But even if the audio quality is okay, in some cases most users will have the problem that anyone can hear what is going on at their place because the range is mostly wide and missing noise-canceling features. Construction works or a crying baby, as heard in the video, can really disturb the conference.
Laptops are capable of doing almost everything except isolating environmental noise.
Barking dogs are funny at times but they will distract you and your conference.
Your voice sounds mostly thin and is mostly concealed by the background noise. I do not recommend using your laptop microphone, if the online meeting you are going to have, has a certain degree of importance. It does not matter if you are a great speaker or choose your words as wisely as a Greek philosopher. The laptop microphone can make you sound tiny and meaningless.
Headsets usually do not only have good speakers.
A high quality headset can be an all-round solution for audio issues.
An example of such would be the Sennheiser PC360. As a headset that is constructed for competitive gaming, it comes with a high-quality microphone and 7.1 audio which can be used for online meetings perfectly. Even though you will look like a pilot or a call center agent (no offense against these professions, all the love to you!), your listeners will be rewarded with sufficient stereo sound. Keep in mind to do some research before buying a pricy product.
Large Diaphragm Microphone
A large diaphragm microphone can boost your audio quality a lot. There are some cheaper products like the Samson Gtrack we used in the demo that guarantee good sound. It can be directly connected with the computer via USB which means that an audio interface is not quired. In some cases, you will still hear your surroundings so either choose a quiet location or pick a directional microphone instead.
Large Diaphragm Microphone
A recommendation would be the Shure SM 7 B.
If you are a musician who is about to apply for a reputable music school or already a musician, it is unarguable to be well prepared with music equipment.
The current situation does not allow us to go to auditions and perform live for most of the cases. Using a large-diaphragm microphone does not only prove the jury that you are serious about the audition but also enhances the quality of the performance.
Earphones are usually factory-shipped with your mobile phone and have an in-built microphone in most of the cases. Depending on the product the quality can vary between bad and okay. In comparison with the headset, it’s a more inconspicuous solution but lacks in terms of sound quality and canceling of surrounding noises. For spontaneous situations, it can be beneficial to have a pair of high-quality earphones in your pocket but for a firm workspace, other solutions might be better. You can use earphones as an audio output device but if you are having an interview that will be uploaded online, it can be helpful for you and your company to attend the session with a good large-diaphragm microphone.
Apple’s senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi is using AirPods Pro as an Output Device but uses a Large Diaphragm Microphone for his voice.
We do not know if he is an audiophile person but as a part of the Software Engineering team, he is aware that AirPods Pro do not deliver sufficient audio input quality to represent an almost 2-trillion Dollar worth company like Apple.
Craig Federighi in an interview with the Youtuber Marcques Brownlee
The Perfect (and Expensive) Solution
The best Allrounder for audio is the Zoom H6. With more than enough recording channels, you are ready to go for any kind of online conference. The sound quality is clear and the adjustable microphone guarantees good audio in almost any situation. It comes with a recording feature and a lot of flexibility as well as compactness.
I really enjoy the convenience of my Bluetooth earphones and I am no one who actually needs a better audio device. If I will ever plan to make a podcast or anything that requires good audio input quality, then I would reconsider. Headsets can deliver better audio quality than the earphones but are almost as big and chunky as an actually large-diaphragm microphone. The large-diaphragm microphone has the edge in this comparison and people who do professional work with their voice should get one. If you want to have a compact microphone that is also easy to carry, I recommend going with the Zoom H6 which, unfortunately, comes with a price. Avoid using the laptop microphone.