Teaching Examples

Three microphone tests for low-cost audio recording
May 9, 2007, 4:28 pm
Filed under: audio, training

Here are the three microphone tests I referred to in my earlier post. If you do not see the audio players below, you need up upgrade your Flash player.

The first is the $20 lavalier mic (54 sec.). It’s a bit LOUD, so turn down your volume. (See note at bottom.) I could have fixed this in the editing, but I wanted to show the raw differences in the three mics. Also, you’ll note how you can really hear the water sprinkler in this one. I sat close to the sprinkler just to see how much ambient noise each mic includes.

The one below is the $10 Nady mic (2 min. 14 sec.). This was recorded in the same spot as the lavalier, using the same recorder and the same settings.

The one below is the EV 635, a $100 mic (1 min. 8 sec.).

The WS-200S recorder saves files in the WMA format. I transferred the files to a Windows computer using the recorder’s built-in USB connector. I opened each one in Adobe Audition and cut out a bunch of extraneous mumbling and blather (me talking to myself). Then I exported each one using the same settings for a mono MP3 file at 22.05 kHz. I didn’t perform any adjustments or normalization on any of the files.

For all files, I sat in the same spot outdoors. The files were recorded one after the other, as three separate files.

Note: After digging around in the cryptic menus in the Olympus WS-200S recorder, I found a Mic setting that can be changed from “Hi” to “Low.” Changing it to Low gave me a 100-percent-better result with the cheap lavalier (32 sec.):

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11 Comments so far
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I just wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog. I wish that my professors would take an interest in keeping up with technology as much as you do…your students are lucky.

Comment by Dominic Michael Bracco II

Thank you, Dominic. The more you take responsibility for educating yourself, the more you will learn!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

My suggestion for the narration on your tutorials would be to hook the lavalier up to the iMic and use that instead of the onboard mic on your MacBook Pro.

Comment by Craig


How did you do the flash audio player? I’ve seen this around on other sites and was wondering how its done.

– Brandon

Comment by Brandon

About the audio player — it will work on any Web site or blog. Read this.

Comment by Mindy McAdams

Mindy I wouldn’t be reading your blog if I wasn’t taking responsibility for my education.

Comment by Dominic Michael Bracco II

I ordered a Nady and record primarily public meetings. I’ve used a WS-100 with no mic for about a year now.

My Nady finally came a week or so ago from Musician’s Friend (ordered it in early March and it was backordered — but it was a good deal at $10 and therefore worth the wait.) I ended up hitting a full council meeting without time to test it in the Civic Center in McIntosh. This kind of concerned me and recorded half the meeting without the mic.

So, my first real recording other than speaking “does this work” into the mic outside Radio Shack was the May town council meeting in McIntosh last week.

I bought a converter plug at Radio Shack for about $3. The guy working there encouraged me NOT to attempt to try to use such a large mic with my WS-100. He said the recorder would not power the mic. But you know, I recorded a three-hour meeting with no power issues. I was also able to use the nice long cord that came with the $10 model.

I set it up on a mic stand ($20 w/shipping but w/o boom) near the council and then ran the cord out into the public seating where I do my reporting.

I ended up amplifying the mic-recorded parts of the audio files in Adobe Audition because they were kind of on the quiet side. But my audio files from this month are far from anything to write home about.

I’m going to fish around in the menu on my recorder – the older Olympus version – and see if I can find a better mic setting. I think this is going to go a long way toward cleaning up the crazy background noise I pick up with my WS-100 in the Civic Center. I’ll let you know if I make any discoveries.

Comment by Cher

Dominic, I realize that. I was giving you encouragement!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

Cher, tell us where you got your mic stand!

Comment by Mindy McAdams

I bought the “Musician’s Friend Low Profile Tripod Base Mic Stand” at


The description says this stand extends to 15 inches. The tripod legs give it a couple extra inches in height. I think the top of the mic stood nearly even with the edge of a standard table top. It’s light, flexible and easy to grab out of the backseat of my car.

Note – it requires a mic clip. I bought the ProLine Rubber Microphone Clip at $5.99, but there were less expensive clips.


Comment by Cher

Thanks, Cher. Those links are:


Mic clip

Comment by Mindy McAdams

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