Samson USB Microphones for Digital Communication

So you've just hopped on a video conference call with a new client, but you notice a problem. The picture is great, but you realize that they can't hear a word you're saying. Not good. With such a wide variety of video conferencing tools at your disposal, communication is easier than ever before and using a telephone as a fix is not a solution.

Before you reach the point where you smash your fist through the computer, let's discuss how a USB microphone can dramatically improve the performance of your system. A USB microphone is better than plugging a microphone or headset into the small, analog mic input which relies on your soundcard. Computer soundcards typically don't provide the best audio quality and can introduce issues such as unwanted noise.

In this article, we'll explain the differences between some of Samson's microphone features and which microphone is the right fit for your application.

Different Mics for Different Applications

First, we need to understand how and where you're using your computer to communicate.

  • Are you leading a webinar?

  • Are you arranging a conference call around a large table?

  • Are you calling home while traveling?

  • Are you part of a group chat in Google Hangout?

Not every tool is ideal for every job, but the right tool can make all the difference in the world.

On the Go

If you're constantly on the go, making calls through Skype® or similar programs, you need a solution that's compact, easy to setup and sounds great. Samson's Go Mic fits all of these requirements. Go Mic clips directly to a computer’s display or can sit directly on a table/desk top. It features two pickup patterns, a headphone output and comes with a small carry case. When folded up, Go Mic measures 2.5" x 1" to easily fit in your pocket. From college students to professionals, this USB mic is a great accessory for anyone who works from a laptop and requires a superior level of audio for their group projects or group video chats.

In the Boardroom

Many of today's boardrooms have computers and/or TVs setup for video conferencing. And without investing in a complete audio/video conferencing solution, you're stuck using webcams and built-in computer microphones, which provide average audio quality at best. At worst, you sound like you're in a cave or desert sand storm. Again, not good.

Samson offers two solutions that are ideal for this application: Go Mic Connect and the UB1 Boundary Microphone. Go Mic Connect mounts directly on top of a computer or display and features Focus Pattern Technology™ for control over the mic's pickup pattern to effectively reduce noise and sounds from outside the pickup area, resulting in clear, isolated speech. The UB1 is a boundary microphone that features an omnidirectional pickup pattern that picks up sound in every direction (360°), making placement of the UB1 in the center of a conference table ideal. And it's high-quality mic capsule provides excellent clarity in conference call settings where you're might not be directly next to the mic.

Pre-recorded Audio

If you pre-record a lot of audio for podcasts, webcasts for Twitch and the like, or for product reviews and demonstrations, you'll want to use a studio condenser microphone like Samson's C01U Pro. The C01U Pro's broadcast-quality internal mic preamp and analog-to-digital converter offer significant audio improvement over that producedby the previously mentioned soundcard option. The C01U Pro also features a built-in headphone jack for direct monitoring with zero latency, the time between when you speak and when it's heard.

Mic Positioning

Generally, you should position the microphone roughly 6–8" away from the sound source and have its axis (center line) pointing toward the nose and mouth for the most balanced sound. If you get too close to the microphone, you'll most likely over-drive the input or increase the bass response, resulting in problems with plosive sounds such as popping Ps, Bs, Ds and Ts (more on this in a moment). Being too far from the mic just adds more room ambience, noise and can create an effect of being in a "bowl". The goal is to maximize the signal and minimize the noise.

Removing Echo and Background Noise

First, be sure to arrange your computer speakers so they don't interfere with your audio pickup. If someone is hearing a delay or "echo", it's because the other party's speakers are too loud. In fact, it's best to wear headphones or earbuds to completely eliminate such delay issues. Now, a certain amount of noise is going to be present in any vocal recording, but there are steps you can take to ensure the best results possible. A tried and true method of reducing noise in your recording is to get the strongest signal before distorting or clipping. If your recording is too low and you try to add volume after the fact, you'll only make any original background noise that much more noticeable. Additionally, you'll find fan noise is often a problem anytime you're recording directly into a computer, as well as noisy laptop power supplies adding unwanted buzz/hum into the signal. The solution? Samson Sound Deck Noise Cancellation Software, which brings noise cancellation technology for enhanced VoIP communication and computer recording to most Samson USB microphones.