This is the 2nd post in the Articulate 101 series. It was written by Articulate Sr. Customer Support Engineer Justin Wilcox.
Recording your first, second or one hundredth presentation doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, Articulate Presenter makes it easy to get up and running with adding narration to your presentation. This is the first of two entries to help you get the most out of recording your narration.
Today I will discuss the purchase of your microphone.
Your very first consideration should be what kind of microphone should I use? We offer some recommendations for you depending on your operating system . You have the choice of a headset or desktop microphone. However, there are advantages and disadvantages to each.
- Headset microphones are relatively inexpensive and generate acceptable quality.
- The distance between your mouth and the microphone is usually consistent.
- Installing a headset microphone typically requires very little effort and once you have set up the volume levels, you will most likely never need to change them again.
- A headset microphone is a multipurpose tool. You can use your headset microphone for other applications like Skyping your grandmother, playing Halo 2, or other Internet applications.
- The Yuck factor. Headset microphones are basically for one person. I would not ask someone else to use my headset microphone as the location of the microphone to your mouth makes for a rather unsavory environment to ask someone else to jump into (not to mention the fact that the headset will be in your hair).
- The Pop factor. If you have ever stuck your mouth right up to a microphone and said the word â€œlollipopâ€ and it sounded like â€œloliPPHHoPPPâ€ then you know what I’m talking about. Headset microphones are very close to your mouth. This may cause popping, which can have an adverse impact on your overall audio quality. Headset microphones typically come with a windscreen, which does help with this issue. So if you have a headset microphone, don’t lose the windscreen!
- Solo authors. If you plan on recording more than just yourself then I would stay away from the headset microphone.
- Like the headsets, desktop microphones are also relatively inexpensive and generate acceptable quality.
- You have freedom to place your desktop microphone where you want.
- Installing a desktop microphone typically requires very little effort.
- Can be used by multiple authors without the Yuck factor.
- Desktop microphones do not have a built-in mechanism to make sure you maintain a consistent distance between your mouth and the microphone.
- Many desktop microphones do not have a windscreen, thus increasing the chances of the Pop factor.
- Desktops microphones can also interfere with your recording session because you have to place them in front of you. If you use a laptop or have limited space, this might make it awkward to talk and control your computer.
- Multiple authors. If you plan on recording more than one person then a desktop microphone is ideal.
- A desktop microphone gives you the most latitude for improving your audio quality.
Once you have decided on what kind of microphone to purchase, there are a few things to consider to narrow down your decision-making process:
- Noise Cancelling. If you purchase a microphone that has a noise-cancelling feature designed to eliminate background noises, make sure you can turn this function off. Noise cancelling, while great for Internet applications, can cause the volume of your voice to fluctuate and is therefore not desirable when recording narration.
- Direction. There are two basic types of microphones: omnidirectional and unidirectional. Omnidirectional microphones record sound from all directions. These microphones are ideal for recording instruments when you want to pick up room acoustics or as a secondary microphone when recording the human voice for the same reason. For best results, you want to choose a unidirectional microphone for recording the human voice. A unidirectional microphone has a narrow focus that will allow you to record only your voice and not all of the background noises. It is essentially a noise-cancelling feature without processing the audio!
- Line-in vs. USB. The last consideration you really need to make is whether you want a line-in or USB microphone. Without purchasing additional hardware, you have two places you can insert a microphone into a computer and that is the line-in input or a standard USB input. For optimal quality, I would recommend purchasing a USB microphone. I have found that USB microphones tend to be less noisy and produce better sound.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look at how to record the best narration possible for your Articulate elearning courses.