In an earlier post I described my Raspberry Pi webcam setup and noted I used an external microphone. Having had some comments I thought some may like to know more about the latter.
I had survived on the built in microphone for years, although to be honest it was rare that I would need to use it. What I will describe below is far from a professional set-up, I needed good audio to do some presentations, history talks, remote schooling and work calls. The room I use has an exterior window with a busy road so background noise is a minor issue and I am not looking for studio quality here, so good in this case means it sounds better than the built in microphone.
So I already owned a Boya BY-M1, a small lapel microphone. This has a 3.5mm jack to connect to the computers input and clips to your shirt or whatever you are wearing. I have been using it a while and it is good. However it is a lead and with it clipped on there have been a few occasions I have gone to walk away still wearing it. Thank fully the lead is LONG and so the computer hasn’t been pulled with it.
During 2020 I found myself in more and more online talks so wanted something I could leave in place and didn’t have to keep taking on and off. An XLR microphone with an audio interface, Behringer for example, would be ideal. It would also be expensive and with budget an issue I purchased a Neewer NW-7000.
This is a budget USB microphone that came with a shock mount, screen and desk arm all for only £30. The USB cable that came with it was far too short, but not an issue got plenty of USB cables. The packaging could have been better, but at the same time little wasted so better for the environment. This is able to just sit on the desk, or mounted I should say, and plugged in all the time and I can swing it around when in use, positioned just out of frame if needed.
Sound wise it is far better than the built in mic and I would say just above the Boya. As a sample I have made a short recording below containing the following:
- The Macbook 2015 built in mic.
- Using the Boya BY-M1 connected directly to the Macbook.
- Using the Boya BY-M1 connected to the Macbook via a USB soundcard.
- The Neewer NW-7000.
These are raw inputs with no processing at all. As you can hear the built in microphone sounds terrible and the USB sound card keeps clicking. But the Boya plugged directly into the Macbook sounds good and the Neewer slightly better.
If I continue to make audio recordings and videos, as I hope to, I may well upgrade to an XLR set-up when the budget allows, but for the last year all this I needed was a solution that could sit on the desk permanently and would give better results than the built in microphone. The Neewer NW-7000 achieves that and to be honest I am amazed by what I got for £30, not only all of the equipment but the quality of the audio is far better than I thought it would be.