You could try using a different microphone, at least as a comparison. But once you open up this topic of "which microphone is best for elearning" you end up with a million different opinions.
In days gone by USB mics weren't regarded as very good quality, but nowadays they' can be excellent, almost recording studio quality. A lot depends on your computer's sound card as well, so no matter what people tell you, remember that your mileage may vary. I have two different USB microphones. A Rode Podcaster, and a Blue Snowball. Both are good microphones for voiceover recording for elearning. The Blue Yeti is also highly recommended but a bit difficult to get hold of here in Australia. These are just a couple of well-known brands. You can spend anywhere from 30 or 40 dollars up to several hundred dollars on microphones alone.
I'm not sure how close you're getting to your microphone but you may need to be further away. I listened to your voiceover and I would suggest you need to get a good (or better) quality Pop Filter to place over your microphone as you are getting too many pops from certain 'plosive' sounds. I use a Rode pop filter, which has a metal mesh that deflects the breeze from my voice away at an angle so that the sound still reaches the mic but the wind doesn't. I find this allows me to project my voice more powerfuly without risking pops.
Condenser mics that are designed for singers are often intended for you to almost eat the microphone. The closer you get to the mic the more bass you get. But when doing voiceover I find it better to be two to three inches away, with the pop filter halfway between. You need to speak up and enunciate clearly. You can always add more bass later if desired via editing software. If there is too much variation in the volume of your recording, try using the Captivate Normalise function in the audio editor, or else process your voiceover track through afterward using Soundbooth or some other audio editor that can normalise. It's a lot easier to adjust and smooth out volume than it is to get rid of pops and clicks.
I have used headset microphones in the past with decent results, but I find you need to try many different headsets before you find a brand that gives good clean sound. Try to avoid headsets that are just designed for internet chat. Some of these have very "tinny" mics that sound awful and seem to magnify "s" sounds. Oddly enough, it was sometimes the cheapest headset mics that had the best sound. Make sure you get one with foam covering the microphone. This tends to help a lot with the de-essing.
The problem with headset mics in general is that they can only have very small audio sensors a few milimeters across, whereas the larger studio mics like I have can have sensors that are much larger and therefore pick up richer nuances of your voice. But most people wouldn't notice the difference unless they were listening with good quality headphones.
Thanks for that information, that is helped me immensly and saved me months of confusion.
Seems I have the wrong type of mic, being its a condenser, yes, I have to be on top of it, soon as I am more than about 5 cm away the volume has dropped dramatically, so i hovering over it, trying to get a happy medium between to close and puffing the microphone or two far back and going soft in speech..
I got the pop kit you mentioned on my fav place ebay, so will see if that helps..
I think the mic will defeat me though,and I will have to buy another one, perhaps one of the ones you suggested, see how im feeling for my tax return and might right it off there ...
Anyway I will compare the difference.
I'll have to investigate soundbooth a little more and see how to smooth out the sound files, as I was not aware of that being an option. Once again, you have saved me months of hassel with that, I have a clear direction where to go.
Good to see another Aussie on here too!.
Cheers mate, will investigate this further and post back when I have a result.
I did a search in ebay for blue snowball mics, i got the above link, is this what you mean you use?
Yep. That's the one. But the Blue Yeti is rumoured to be even better because you can adjust it to receive sound from two directions at once. So you can use it as a monodirectional mic when recording your own voice but also use it as a bi-directional mic as well, which is very useful if recording a conversation between two people. See it here: http://www.bluemic.com/yeti/
The issue is that there are no suppliers stocking it in Australia and not many suppliers in the US are willing to ship it here.
This is the Rhode Podcaster: http://rodemic.com/microphone.php?product=Podcaster
But I use a Rode boom arm with my Podcaster and liked it so much that I bought another one to mount snowball:
The boom makes it much easier to find a good position for the mic that still allows me to view my Slide Notes (voiceover script).
One last thing, I saw the boom arm you had for the Rode, that is awesome, I see how you would enjoy using that while doing the other items at the same time. Does any microphone fit into the boom arm? or is it only for rode mics?
I'm assuming the blue yeti mic can detach from its stand and be slotted into the rode boom arm?
Thanks again mate,
really a big help here.
Yes the Blue Snowball microphone also can be attached to a Rhode boom arm, though they don't fit into the Rhode shockmount. I believe Blue make a shock mount for the Snowball but it ends up being about a foot across. Way to much in the road when you're trying to see past it to a monitor.
I have two boom arms. One for the Podcaster and the other for the Snowball. Both have a fairly standard screwmount that is compatible with the boom.
I have yet to buy the Yeti but it doesn't look promising for it to fit on the same boom. The Yeti seems to have a totally different mount.