I am occasionally interviewed via teleconference platforms (sometimes Zoom, sometimes through web interface applications). I need to improve the quality of my audio. I have a high-end (fast) Mac, and a variety of USB and 3.5mm microphones. The USB microphones tend to stutter (lose parts of the audio). The 3.5mm ones have a subtle hiss under it. I've been reading a bunch but am confused about phantom power and what exactly I want to have, between the microphone and the computer. Should there be a separate amp? If so, what kind? And if I want to control the bass and remove the hiss (use an equalizer on the audio signal before it goes out to the teleconference apps), is that hardware or software that I need? Can someone advise me on the terminology so that I know what I should be looking up. I can spend in the hundreds range (ideally not thousands). My goal is very reliable, good-sounding audio for speech.

  • 1
    Zoom is really not conducive to high quality audio. Check what any of your mics sounds like when recorded internally on the Mac. Compare to the test voice service on Zoom, Skype etc. Essentially, this is a conflation of your three questions on Ask Different.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 23, 2021 at 15:43
  • 1
    Also - you keep saying you have a 'fast Mac' without ever qualifying that or adding specifics.
    – Tetsujin
    Oct 23, 2021 at 17:15

1 Answer 1


I have figured out what I needed to know, mainly through trial and error with different devices and adapters. An XLR microphone - the AT2035 cardioid condenser microphone, plugged into an a Shure XLR-to-USB Signal Adapter, with the +48V Phantom Power switch turned on, works perfectly - nice clear sound, very low background hiss. I also tried it with the Focusrite Scarlett Solo (3rd gen) but the ratio of mic audio to hiss isn't as good.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.