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Hardware Thread, Wanted: USB Microphone in Technical; Hi there, I'm looking for a USB microphone to use for recording Oral exams. Thus it has to sit between ...
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    Wanted: USB Microphone

    Hi there,
    I'm looking for a USB microphone to use for recording Oral exams. Thus it has to sit between two people and record both sides of the conversation when they are sat a distance away. Any suggestions?
    I've been through a number of standard mic's and I can't get any decent pickup (might be due to basic sound cards, thus the need for a USB)

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    We bought some Olympus digital dictaphones for this: they record to MP3 and then if there's any editing required we shove the result through Audacity.

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    flyinghaggis's Avatar
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    As above we've found digital MP3 dictaphones were a better solution than trying to attach mics to PCs. Our language dept use the ones below thoughyou may want to buy something a bit better if it's for exams.

    TTS - Easi-Speak

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    soveryapt's Avatar
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    If you wanted to go down the USB Microphone Route, you'd be wanting to look for a conference/boundary microphone along the lines of Samson UB1 Miniature USB Boundary Condenser Microphone | DV247

    The ideal solution that I would go for (money permitting) would be something along the lines of Zoom H4n Handheld Digital Recorder | DV247 which I use at one school for doing group podcasts and radio club. Give a nice quality and you could always couple it with 2 mics with table stands if you thought it was needed.


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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    We brought some USB wired singstar mics and record through audacity

  6. Thanks to rush_tech from:

    Stuart_C (25th March 2010)

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    Whilst I looked at dictaphones I believe they are out.

    "..Blah blah must use the AQA autio recorder (preconfig version of Audacity) blah blah blah..." - AQA oral gudance notes thingy.

    I'lll have a look at the products when I get back into work tomorrow. Cheers.

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    powdarrmonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    Whilst I looked at dictaphones I believe they are out.

    "..Blah blah must use the AQA autio recorder (preconfig version of Audacity) blah blah blah..." - AQA oral gudance notes thingy.

    I'lll have a look at the products when I get back into work tomorrow. Cheers.
    hasn't stopped us

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    Quote Originally Posted by rush_tech View Post
    We brought some USB wired singstar mics and record through audacity
    This seems OK. Though I note that you do have to be reasonably close to the mike, is this a problem for your student's examiners?

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    laputa01's Avatar
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    Tried using a Mobile/Smart phone?

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    rush_tech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart_C View Post
    This seems OK. Though I note that you do have to be reasonably close to the mike, is this a problem for your student's examiners?
    No it seems to be OK the MFL dept had some mic stands so they use them a few tweaks of the levels everything's good they have just finished there first full run of GCSE orals without even a phone call to us gotta be good.

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    Good. Having said that the last mike that I used (which wasn't that good) I told the external examiners to stay close to the mic and he kept leaning back when I was there!

    Now I just have to explain to the Bursar WHY I am buying SingStar mic's

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    krisd32's Avatar
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    we got one of these for our music department and they love it. also using audacity to record.

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    AQA recommend this microphone by name in their literature:[ame="http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-980186-0914-USB-Desktop-Microphone/dp/B0000ATCOR"]Logitech USB Desktop Microphone[/ame] so we just went ahead and bought one of those, if it's not up to task then that's their fault for giving us duff advice!

    They use a slightly tweaked version of Audacity to record, tweaked in the sense that they have just hard-coded some settings into the installer to ensure even quality throughout.

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    I'm in the same boat here. I did see one of these though which I think will fit the bill.

    Blue Microphones Snowball review / Blue Snowball microphone review | Peripherals | Reviews | PC Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    AQA recommend this microphone by name in their literature:Logitech USB Desktop Microphone so we just went ahead and bought one of those, if it's not up to task then that's their fault for giving us duff advice!

    They use a slightly tweaked version of Audacity to record, tweaked in the sense that they have just hard-coded some settings into the installer to ensure even quality throughout.
    These did not work very well last year when we had to do this.
    Last edited by ninjabeaver; 26th March 2010 at 09:31 AM.

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    Condenser mics are the best for this kind of stuff, but you need one that does omnidirectional or figure of 8 polar pickup pattern so it picks up both sides, unless you position it above the two people and face it down...should pick up enough. much better when they are directing straight at the diaphram.

    Trouble with condensers is that they require 48v phnatom power..however, the samson c01u (usb condensor) should do the trick pretty well...other than than, a behringer b1 with a small mixer/mic pre-amp is good enough.

    your usual tandy (remember them) mics just won't pick up a normal conversation even if its a few feet away.

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