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Joined: Jan 2022
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Tony Lu Offline OP
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Hi everyone,

As a continuation of my post on online teaching audio equipment, I was wondering if there’re any recommendations for a USB mic that I can use for both (which is important) talking and playing? Perhaps a USB mic with a built-in compressor? I tried Blue Yeti and it did not work for talking and playing. I use a grand piano. So either my talking was too soft while piano playing volume was fine, or the other way around. I would not want to purchase XLR mics with an additional USB audio interface. if the mic has a built-in stand, that would be a plus. For example, I have also tried the AKG Lyra. While the stand was good, it did not have a compressor so sometimes the audio clips.

Thanks.

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I have this one and like the sound quality. You may need to experiment with positioning to capture both the piano sound and the voice well:

https://www.amazon.com/Shure-MV88-Digital-Condenser-Microphone/dp/B08G7T3Q9S/ref=sr_1_5?gclid=Cj0KCQiAraSPBhDuARIsAM3Js4o_qO6RgQCCl8AxjHQ5bvmlWuvjIP1Y_YgUwrnE3BVkYyC2o04fB10aApExEALw_wcB&hvadid=390259979926&hvdev=c&hvlocphy=9011913&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=11700080655022593084&hvtargid=kwd-625550069896&hydadcr=18881_9696004&keywords=shure%2Bmv88%2B&qid=1642689639&sr=8-5&th=1


Talão

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I have friends and colleagues who are satisfied with the Yeti for speech and instruments, and I myself use a basic USB mic that was something like half the price. Have you tried looking into software settings, raising/lowering mic input volume, testing mic placement, etc.? I'm not that savvy about tech details but from what I understand, USB mics have the "audio interface" built into the hardware(?) and are just going to be less nuanced than the higher end options with separate interfaces. And do you mean "condenser" not "compressor"?

If you're using Zoom, one of the most basic troubleshooting steps is to set background noise suppression to low and disable "automatically adjust microphone volume". You do not want Zoom to register your music as "background noise" and try to filter it out, and if you are playing or saying something quiet intentionally, you do not want Zoom to automatically make you louder, only for the next louder thing you play or say to be clipped because it exceeds the expected input and then the mic adjusts again, etc.

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Thanks for your reply. I actually meant "compressor" I am well aware that Zoom does not have the super high end audio settings. But let's say I am demonstrating a Rach prelude and the passage is marked ff. This is when a typical usb mic goes "wild". Students either hear the piano clipping, or can't hear my talking well enough. So that's why I asked if there's any usb mic with a built in compressor so the audio doesn't clip. I know Zoom F6 has this built-in but it is not a USB mic.
Originally Posted by mostlystrings
I have friends and colleagues who are satisfied with the Yeti for speech and instruments, and I myself use a basic USB mic that was something like half the price. Have you tried looking into software settings, raising/lowering mic input volume, testing mic placement, etc.? I'm not that savvy about tech details but from what I understand, USB mics have the "audio interface" built into the hardware(?) and are just going to be less nuanced than the higher end options with separate interfaces. And do you mean "condenser" not "compressor"?

If you're using Zoom, one of the most basic troubleshooting steps is to set background noise suppression to low and disable "automatically adjust microphone volume". You do not want Zoom to register your music as "background noise" and try to filter it out, and if you are playing or saying something quiet intentionally, you do not want Zoom to automatically make you louder, only for the next louder thing you play or say to be clipped because it exceeds the expected input and then the mic adjusts again, etc.

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Tony - different angle:
I've been studying remotely for some years now. (I also taught theory remotely some years ago). If you're teaching remotely, you might change some of the teaching format, i.e. it doesn't have to be a poorish replica of in-person lessons. For example,
(a) create a recording of that Rach passage
(b) have your students create recordings of passages
You can have a joint Dropbox file, mutually accessed, for example. For recordings or short videos, you'll have more accurate listening.
In fact, if you know you'll be teaching that Rach passage, you could have it pre-recorded, during the lesson tell your student to listen to this clip (mute your mikes, both of you) - after listening (unmute) and discuss it.

Mike-wise, since I have a high end digital, the audio of my piano goes via cable into a mixer: a clip-on mike for my voice also goes into a mixer; only my voice goes into my room, but the teacher hears both my voice, and my piano. I don't know if there is a perfect solution.

Another idea
I interfaced with a fellow student in another country and we played each other's pianos. This was an interface where when you played your piano, the digital signals went to the other person's piano, and thus your student would hear your dynamics, on his piano. Among other things, it requires some sophistication at both ends. If your student barely knows how to plug in a computer and get on-line, it might be difficult to get a bunch of students managing that kind of system, one after the other.

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The problem of "wide dynamic range" will be with you, whether you're using one mic, or two.

You might want to Google:

. . . compressor vs limiter piano

and see what the alternatives are.

Your best bet might be to turn down the mic gain manually, when you get into FF passages. Clumsy, but effective.


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Originally Posted by Tony Lu
Hi everyone,

As a continuation of my post on online teaching audio equipment, I was wondering if there’re any recommendations for a USB mic that I can use for both (which is important) talking and playing? Perhaps a USB mic with a built-in compressor? I tried Blue Yeti and it did not work for talking and playing. I use a grand piano. So either my talking was too soft while piano playing volume was fine, or the other way around. I would not want to purchase XLR mics with an additional USB audio interface. if the mic has a built-in stand, that would be a plus. For example, I have also tried the AKG Lyra. While the stand was good, it did not have a compressor so sometimes the audio clips.

Thanks.

with the yeti; start where the piano was fine and voice was soft and move it a little closer to your mouth - repeat


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