3 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2006 3:31 PM by jetzmaru

    Recording Equipment

    MikeHud83
      Could someone recommend some recording equipment solutions?

      At least two people in my organization have Captivate installations, and we would like to add sound to demos and computer-based training. Here is what I think we will need:

      1. The Captivate help recommends a preamp, so I guess we will need a preamp.
      2. As desk realestate is limited, I'd like to get a closed-ear headset that includes a good microphone that is compatible (will plug into) the preamp and/or the computer.
      3. Do I need an external sound card? I have a PC with a built-in sound chip, not a separate sound card. If I get an external sound card, something nice from Creative Labs, Turtle Beach, or some other company, would I need a separate preamp?

      Also, is it possible for someone without Captivate to record sound for a PowerPoint presentation, email the presentation to me, and have me import it into Captivate?

      Thanks for any recommendations you might be able to furnish.

      Mike
        • 1. Re: Recording Equipment
          Captiv8r Adobe Community Professional & MVP
          Hi Mike and welcome to our community

          Ummm, can you tell me exactly where in the Captivate help you saw the recommendation for a preamp? I ask because I just checked both Captivate 1 and Captivate 2 and can find no such reference. I'm not sure I've ever seen anyone say a preamp is required. I know there are some folks here that are really into audio, so they may prefer it, but I've never seen it listed as something recommended for the average user.

          I think Captivate does pretty well with recognizing most audio cards and chips. I do know that Captivate 1 had issues with the "RealTek" brand of cards as well as something called "High Definition Audio". (I'm not sure if RealTek brand is Hi Def, but maybe that's the issue there) It seems I saw a post in the last day or so claiming that RealTek cards still have issues with Captivate 2.

          The only other potential caveat is using a USB microphone. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it fails. Sometimes it works for a while and then fails later. Yet it's normally recognized by other applications. Typically we see the mikes with the jack connectors (round connectors that plug into a sound card and are "dimpled" near the end) are the most reliable.

          Of course you can use any application you want to record audio and bring it into Captivate as a separate action later. So long as it produces .WAV or .MP3 format.

          Hopefully this helps and hopefully others will offer additional insights.

          Sincerely... Rick
          • 2. Re: Recording Equipment
            MikeHud83 Level 1
            Rick,

            The documentation recommending the preamp is a manual called Using Captivate. The recommendation occurs in Chapter 5: Adding Audio, and the specific text is: "The microphone input of your computer's sound card probably includes a preamplifier, but it is most likely a poor quality one. When purchasing a preamplifier, you can choose a small mixer or a stand-alone one."

            Thanks for your feedback, Rick.

            Regards,

            Mike
            • 3. Re: Recording Equipment
              jetzmaru
              As a former sound engineer, I completely agree with the need for a preamp. I'm using a regular headset mic, and the sound is very unprofessional. Not only is the quality of the voice so-so, the amplifier of your typical sound card introduces all sorts of hum, hiss, fan noise, ambient noise and other elements that are distracting. Your average sound card has a poor microphone amplifier.

              The problem will be budget. A true, high quality microphone will easily cost $200-400 and up. A good mic preamp can easily be $1000 or much more.

              So where does that leave us educators? Amazon.com carries the Rolls MP13 Mini-Mic Preamp for $69.99. I haven't tested it, but it looks pretty good for simple purposes. A condenser mic has lower output and needs to be amplified, but it'll sound better than a dynamic mic, which can have a "thuddy" sound. The audio technica AT2020 is a good choice for around $100. Please also get a stand and a high quality balanced XLR connector mic cable. You'll then need an adapter cable to plug from the preamp to your sound card input. In this case, a 1/4# phono to 1/8# mini (shielded). Make this cable fairly short, no longer than 3 ft. Radio Shack should carry them.

              In any event, unless you also buy a pop screen, place the mic a few inches from you, below your mouth pointing at your throat, or angled down from above your head, pointing down towards your mouth. The idea is to avoid having the mic where your breath can blow across it. Test which one gives you the best sound quality. Don't forget to turn the mic record volume down on your computer. For a good article explaning home studio equipment, and good recommendations, go to:

              http://www.tweakheadz.com/microphones_for_the_home_studio.htm