In this post I’ll offer some info on my journey to finding a good, budget-friendly, broadcast-style mic and boom solution to up my game for online meetings, online streaming concerts, podcast interviews, and voiceovers.
Note: I’m not an affiliate. Just passing on a solution that works well for me 😀
My Use Cases
I needed a broadcast-style mic and boom solution to satisfy the use cases below.
1 – Zoom and Online Meetings
Of course, we’ve all been on a zillion zoom meetings by now, and I wasn’t really happy with using what I had on-hand (more on this below).
In particular, I’ve been hosting a lot of meetings for the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet and coming up this week, I’m a guest presenter on anther online event – Subs Up & BAUG present: Using the Launchpad Pro MK3 w/ Ableton Live and Hardware on Monday the 18th.
2 – Talkback mic for Online Streaming Concerts
I’ve started to get booked for online streaming multimedia concerts such as Boulder Experiments in Art & Technology meetup – Creative technology Performances and Demos meetup on Friday the 22nd.
I have my sit / stand IKEA desk on the right and my live streaming Elektron rig with Resolume on the left, so that with a boom I can use one mic for multiple applications.
BTW – here is a 3 minute teaser of my online multimedia set, which continues to evolve.
3 – Podcast Interviews
I’ve had the pleasure of being interviewed for podcasts such as Darwin Grosse’s Art + Music + Technology Podcast #23 and #139, and Brian Funk’s Music Production Podcast #99. I have a few pending invites, so I thought I’d up my game.
4 – Voiceovers
It’s been a number of years since I’ve done video tutorials and I’ve been thinking about doing them again from time-to-time. For this use case I wanted to have some sort of standing boom, broadcast-style mic setup that wouldn’t pick up much room noise.
On a related note – here is a classic from 10 years back that is still relevant today.
My Recent Journey on Zoom Meetings for the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet
Prior to the pandemic, I was already working on plans to take the Rocky Mountain Synth Meet online. Since March 12th, I’ve hosted 9 online events. My first step was to use what I hand on hand.
In the first few weeks of being constantly online, I started with a Sure SM-57 with a foam windscreen on a mic stand that has a boom arm. The natural thing to do is have the mic pointing up at you so as to not block the screen.
This didn’t work because, of course, that then makes it hard to see what you are doing on your computer keyboard. I tried putting this set up off to the side to speak across the mic but it just didn’t sound great due to the mic’s pickup pattern.
Next, I tried using a RØDE NT1-A on a mic stand with a boom in a spider shock mount with a foam windscreen (I don’t like having the big pop filter for the meeting use case.) The spider mount allowed me to have the mic hanging from above, out of the way, and it sounded great.
Two problems arose for me at this point. First, the mic pickup pattern is broad so it was picking up sounds like my heater coming on. Also, at this point I was really over the mic stand with the boom option because I kept bumping into it or stepping on the legs which send a loud “bang” noise through the meetings.
RØDE PodMic and PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm FTW!
I started down the path of sifting through piles of reviews, YouTube videos, product pages, and specs of mics and boom stands. Talk about overwhelming 😯.
At some point, I said to hell with it and decided to take a chance on RØDE since I was already a fan of the NT1-A and they had a fairly affordable pairing of mic and boom arm.
RØDE PodMic – $99
I love this mic! It has a built-in pop-filter, and the mic pattern works well when you talk across the mic, yet it doesn’t pick up all sorts of background noise. If you get up on the mic you get a proximity effect giving you a nice broadcaster’s tone. Coming in at 2lbs, it’s beefy.
Here are some specs:
- Broadcast-quality dynamic capsule
- Optimized for speech applications
- Internal pop filter to minimize plosives
- Robust, all metal construction
- Designed for use with RØDECaster™ Pro Podcast Production
On a related note, now that I have this mic, I noticed it’s the same mic that Nick Batt uses for the Sonic Talk Podcast 😀.
PSA1 Professional Studio Boom Arm – $99
I assume this stand is designed for use with this mic as the balance is perfect, even though the PodMic is beefy.
Here are some specs:
- An ideal studio boom arm for radio, broadcast, and home use
- Supports most broadcast-style microphones weighing between 1.5 lbs. and 2.4 lbs. such as the RODE Procaster or Podcaster
- Full 360-degree rotation makes positioning your microphone easy
- Maximum horizontal reach of up to 32″ and maximum vertical reach of up to 33″ provide ample desk coverage
- Supplied hook-and-loop wraps keep your mic cables tucked neatly out of the way
- Desk clamp attachment provides mounting to desks as thick as 2.16″
- Insert attachment provided for use with standard desk inserts up to 2.75″ thick
Attaching the mount to the desk is just a few turns of the clamp screw. Then, you just pop the boom into the desk mount and mount the mic. Installing the boom and mic took all of 5 minutes.
So far, I’ve tested this setup in online meetings and for test streams with talkback mic. These use cases are similar enough to the others I mentioned that I feel confident this solution is going to work really well for all my use cases.
Transitioning from other use cases to the Talkback mic for Online Streaming Concerts use case is great. As I mentioned, my studio is setup so that my sit / stand IKEA desk is on the right, and my live streaming synth rig with Resolume is on the left. If I swing the boom to the left, I have a talk-back mic for live performance. If I swing it to the right, I use it for online meetings, video tutorials, and podcast interviews. When not in use, I move the boom and mic up and over the monitor and it sits out of the way.
For $200 bucks it ticks all the boxes for what I was looking for. From my perspective, the solution offers great quality and value for the money.