Best Microphone for Live Streaming Webinar

Posted by Eliot Miller >

In our previous webinar with Eliot, we talked about Cameras, the different types there are, and how to get the most out of them for your live stream. We broadcast his latest webinar on Audio Basics, principally looking at the best microphones for  live video streaming.

We’ll talk about the best microphone for live streaming, take look at different types of microphones, what works best in each situation, go over different types of connections, codecs, setup and getting the best sound for your broadcast!

In this webinar, we’ll go over the following topics:

Why Audio Matters the most

Best Microphone for Live Streaming Webinar

Types of Microphones

  • Condenser vs Dynamic
  • Omni Mics
  • Cardioid Mics
  • Hyper/Super Cardioid Mics
  • Lavalier Mics

Types of Outputs

  • USB
  • Mini-Jack
  • Jack
  • XLR

Encoder Settings

Getting the Best Sound

Reducing Background Noise

Q & A Session

 

Viewers will watch quite low quality video if the audio is good. If the sound is bad though, people won’t stay for ten seconds. In this webinar we will cover the basics of audio for live video streaming. Specifically we will discuss Microphones, and which types of microphones are best for the live streaming.

rode usb

Most microphones you can buy are typically either Condenser or Dynamic mics.

Condenser microphones are very sensitive, allowing for high quality sound. However, they are more vulnerable to damage from being dropped, interacting with fluids or other sources. They also require a power source. Condenser mics are therefore ideal in a studio environment where you can get the most out of the quality they deliver, and be kept safe.

Dynamic microphones are more robust than Condenser mics. They are your typical stage microphone, and are much better suited to situations where they might be dropped or knocked over. Additionally, they usually don’t require a secondary power source.

These are just guidelines however, you should be careful with all of your microphones and avoid potential damage to them at all time.

Microphones also have different Polar Patterns. This tells us the area where a microphone will pick up sound. The most common ones are Omni-directional, Cardioid, Hyper-Cardioid and Bi-directional.

Omni-Directional patterns pick up in a complete 360 degree sphere. These are great if you want to pick up general sound in a wide area, or if you are unsure where the source of sound is going to come from. They are commonly used on lapel mics as they can pick up all sound coming from the person speaking, without having to be pointed at their face.

Cardioid patterns are the classic handheld microphone. These pick sound in a “D” shape in front of them. This is ideal for only receiving sound in one direction allowing you to isolate a sound, like someone’s voice.

Hyper/Super-Carioid patterns are similar to Cardioid, but they are thinner and more elongated. They are often called “Shotgun mics” due to their shape, and are great for picking up sound in a more specific area than regular Cardioids. This type of microphone is also good for picking up sound from a distance, and are best for mounting on top of a camera, or on a boom pole.

Bi-Directional, “Figure 8” patterns are rarely used these days. Being able to pickup sound from both in front of, and behind the microphone, has limited practical uses. However, then tend to be very good microphones for picking up bass frequencies, if positioned very close to the source.

Output types for most microphones you can buy are typically; USB, Mini-Jack, Jack and XLR. Working back, XLR will usually provide the most professional quality sound. However, there are now really good USB microphones which are often very affordable, such as the Rode pictured here, or the Blue Yeti.

zoom-h4n

USB mics are also simple to connect to a computer. XLR and Jack outputs will need to be plugged into an Audio Mixer or recording unit, like the Zoom H4n, before they can be connected to a computer.

Mini-jacks are the type of plug your everyday headphones will use, and many computers accept this input for microphones. However, if you’ve bought a very expensive mic only to plug it into the default soundcard of your inexpensive laptop, you may be disappointed with the results.

To get the best sound from your microphone though, the biggest hurdle is not your budget, but background noise. To reduce background noise, you can use sheets and blankets to softened the reverb which comes off of walls. A closet filled with clothes can be a great place to record a voiceover, if you can fit inside.

Sound-proof foam can also be bought for your studio, but it is often expensive. “Egg-carton” and other packing foams can turn up in surprising places. Trying cutting up an old mattress if you have one. For more ideas to reduce background noise, check out this  DIY guide from Indy Mogul.

Finally, the settings you should use in your encoder for live streaming are pretty simple:
  • Stereo
  • AAC file format
  • +128kb p/s or more

If you have questions, or suggestions for the next webinar topic, reach out to us on Twitter, or leave them in the comments below.

 

Article and Webinar by Eliot Miller

 

Setup used for Webinar:

OBS encoder

Zoom H4n Audio Recorder

Neewer 14.37 Shotgun microphone

Microsoft LifeCam HD

Neewer 160 LED light panel