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I'm a web developer who wants to start making screencasts, with emphasis on quality. One of the things that I have to take care of is the voice quality - I want it to be as good as possible for a reasonable amount of investment.

First - Microphone. Can you please recommend me a good entry-level product?

Second - Mastering. I've never done this before, but I know it's important for the quality and it will make my screencasts sound that much more professional. Can you please point me in the right direction, where to find a good guide, theory, software, tutorial, reading material, or just about anything that will help me get this done.

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2 Answers 2

On the microphone front, you will find that a lot of the better quality microphones have XLR connectors and many require phantom power. Because of this, you can't simply buy a good microphone and plug it straight into your computer without an good audio interface as well. However, for screencasting, where you generally require just one microphone, you can get them with a USB interface built in, which can save you money. Two of the best known are the Samson C01U and the Blue microphones Snowball. Both would be perfectly adequate for screencasts.

As for mastering the audio, the most important thing is getting a good consistent volume level. For this you would need a compressor. Here's a tutorial on how to compress the dynamic range using the compressor that comes with Audacity.

Other things you could look into for mastering your audio are removing background noise (also covered in that tutorial), and possibly EQing a little if your voise sounds too boomy or nasal.

For more reading, I recommend a web search on "mastering podcasts", as that will lead you to plenty of tutorials focussed on mastering spoken word recordings.

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Im also just learning about this. I have two USB microphones, both of which are quite good. My favorite is the AudioTechnica 2020USB, a side-address condenser mic. The other one is a Røde Podcaster, an end-address dynamic mic. They have their differences. The AudioTechnica is more sensitive and sweeter at the top end, but it will pick up room resonance and background noise. The Røde requires talking up close but it is better with untreated areas.

With the USB mics you can do all of your mixing and EQ on your computer. No problem having several USB mics plugged in at the same time, as long as your mixing software lets you assign them to separate busses.

I just wanted to add to the previous post to alert you to some good USB mics.

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