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I have been reading a lot about microphones lately and I still feel a little overwhelmed. So, please forgive, if my questions sound a bit "noobish", but I have been unable to find an answer to a specific question...

The problem: I have been doing screencasts for about one or two years now (using a Blue Yeti) and, so far, have been (more or less) happy with the audio quality. The problem is (and has always been) that I'm running performance-heavy applications while screencasting and I'm also recording the screencast in Full HD at the same time. So, in some cases, I noticed that the internal cooling fan starts running loudly, and the mic picked up that sound.

So, I have been thinking of getting an external (non-USB) microphone, which would have the added benefit of (further) improving the sound quality. I'm currently thinking of getting a digital recording device like the Zoom H4N, in addition to a microphone... and I'm now wondering what to look out for in a microphone.

In a nutshell:

  • I will be recording mostly alone and would like to reduce background noise.
  • I will also invite other (two or three) speakers to join the recording at times, so there will be two of us speaking (like in an interview, but with a static mic).
  • Ideally, I would like to get only one single microphone, and not buy one for each speaker.
  • I would prefer not to use lavalier microphones, but will take them into consideration, if absolutely necessary.

Can anyone help me understand, what kind of microphone (cardoid, omidirectional, figure eight) to get for this setup? Also, what else will I have to look out for (condenser, XLR...)?

Note that I'm not asking for specific mic suggestions here (wouldn't mind, though ;)), but more for suggestions as to what to look for in a microphone.

Any help would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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    I would suggest editing this down to one specific question that can be answered without becoming an opinion thread. – Tyler Stone Jan 22 at 17:22
  • Hmm, it's actually one specific setup (one or more presenters doing screencasting in front of a static mic) that I'm interested in. I was hoping I had made it clear that this was actually one question, framed in a few different thoughts. Thanks for the suggestion, though, I will edit my question a bit. – Marcus C. Jan 22 at 17:34
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    TBH, it's not really a new mic you need, it's a desktop computer with longer cables that you can get out of your broadcast environment. The best way to record nothing but your broadcast is to have nothing but your broadcast in the studio. – Tetsujin Jan 22 at 20:10
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Let's take the elements of your question in order:

  • Background noise - as @tetsujin said, move all noisy equipment out of your recording studio. Ideally, run your noisy PC in another room and just use longer cables. If you can't move it out, can you convert to silent cooling (water, or a ducted vent with a fan in another room)
  • a single mic will be omnidirectional so will pick up noise from anywhere in the room. A mic per person can be directional, dramatically improving the off-axis noise floor
  • You shouldn't need to use Lavalier microphones if you manage to sort those two aspects, but for your use case they would be a good idea.
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    A rather special case is a figure of 8 mic, whose noise rejection is very good from the side. This can be used as a mic between two opposing speakers, while suppressing noise from the side. Good figure of 8 mics are fairly rare, however, as they are a bit of a speciality. – sh- Feb 8 at 12:58

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