Cheap Mic for Recording Spoken Word?
July 16, 2008 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for suggestions for a cheap mic I can plug into my MacBook to record spoken word into GarageBand or Audacity.

I'm new to podcasting and so don't want to shell out for a massive set-up right away. Can I spend under $30 and get a recording that'll sound okay as a podcast, or am I deluding myself? What mic would provide the best bang-for-buck?

(This question was asked on MeFi in 2005, but I imagine mics have changed!)

Thanks much.
posted by airguitar2 to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried using the built-in mic? It isn't much, but if it can do acceptable Skype for a friend of mine with a cross-Atlantic relationship, it might well be enough for your purposes.
posted by Tomorrowful at 8:27 AM on July 16, 2008

How about the Logitech USB Desktop Microphone. I haven't used it myself but they sell it at the Mac store (or you could get it somewhere else cheaper) so it should work when you plug it in.

On a side note, only powered mics work with the audio input. Macs have no built in power for mics so if you want to use an unpowered mic you have to connect it to an amp or preamp and then connect that to the Mac (has this changed?). Good luck
posted by crios at 8:49 AM on July 16, 2008

Hm what's wrong with your built-in mic? Works well for me (recording in GarageBand).
posted by Xianny at 8:54 AM on July 16, 2008

The built-in mic seems okay, but I'm looking for something just a little higher in quality, if possible. (I'm going to be recording poetry-- looking for something to cut the background fuzz.)
posted by airguitar2 at 8:57 AM on July 16, 2008

Quite honestly, the built-in mic provides better sound than most other mics I've run into. I've done a collaborative podcast with a friend, and he said it sounded better than anyone else's segment; I've recorded using Audacity at home and then used a fairly professional setup with Vegas at school (including a full soundboard and good mics), and the MacBook still came out on top.

Just find a good place, do a couple test runs to find a good distance, and you're off.
posted by Madamina at 9:24 AM on July 16, 2008

I have a Blue Snowball that I bought here.

I bought this based on the recommendations on the Garageband forums about a year ago and I've found it records voice much better than the built-in mic. It filters out more background noise than the built-in.
posted by slo at 10:38 AM on July 16, 2008

I'm getting good results with my tad-over $30 Plantronics Audio 400 DSP. The headset arrangement makes great sense; impossible to get too close or too far from the mic no matter how I move. Arrange the boom so the tip is below your mouth to reduce PPPPops and SSSSes.
posted by dpcoffin at 10:40 AM on July 19, 2008

the snowball is adorable, but too pricey for me. i got the logitech, and it seems to be working fine. thanks, everyone!
posted by airguitar2 at 8:35 PM on July 19, 2008

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