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EDIT: SOLVED! I'm just going to use a "Plug-and-Play" microphone (the Samson Go Mic in my case). No need for extra hardware, easy to use, good quality, only $30!

I know this exact question was already posted here but that post doesn't really answer my questions very well. So, I'm trying to find a cheap microphone to connect to a PC, just for voice recording. Nothing fancy, just a cheap mic that sounds better than the microphone on a camera.

I looked up a nice microphone with good (video) reviews (Neewer NW-800), and found out that there's something called a "Phantom Power Supply" that's bundled with the microphone (which you can also optionally leave out). I did some research and I guess the microphone requires the Phantom Power Supply in order to function well (as in boost the noise).

However, in my further searches for a phantom power supply and what it does and such, I discovered that there are lots of things that are connected to the microphone and hooking it up to a PC, Audio Interfaces and USB Sound Cards and cables and such. It's just so confusing and mind-jumbling.

As far as I can see, getting anything worth buying will drive up the budget (EXCLUDING the microphone price!) to over $100 or even $200. My question is: Is that really necessary when I'm just trying to record my voice for tutorials and such? Do I really need a $160 audio interface? I'm trying to make the entire budget for the microphone under $60, and the existence of an "Audio Interface" just kills it.

Do I even need an Audio Interface? Can I just buy the Phantom Power bundled with the microphone, and use that with my PC without problems? But most importantly: Can someone please recommend an Audio Interface (if needed) that's low-price and doesn't, you know, totally suck to the point that it's worse than a camera's built-in microphone? (For reference, this is the Phantom Power:)

EDIT: Oh boy. I just found out that microphones (this one, at least) won't work very well without a "preamplifier" (preamp). Do I need that one as well??

The world of Audio Recording is such a confusing, high-budget place; I'd like to just buy a microphone and plug it in to the PC, but obviously that doesn't really work.. If this doesn't work out and I have to spend hundreds of dollars in order to buy a microphone/power supply/interface that actually works well, I guess I'll just have to stick to using the camera microphone and removing the noise with Audacity.

Thanks for reading, I hope this will work out well!

  • Comments are not for extended discussion or to provide answers; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Doktor Mayhem Feb 12 at 13:12
  • @BeardWix what do you want do achieve? To know stuff about phantom, preamps, microphone types, voltages, etc.? Or to do voice-overs or podcasts? Search youtube and the web for the actual thing you want to do, not technical gizmos you really don't know anything about. – piiperi Feb 12 at 13:18
  • @piiperi I was simply looking to record my voice for videos, then when I found a microphone that I THOUGHT was good, I found out that it had all these requirements attached to it. I was curious as to whether I actually NEEDED all these, and if so how could I buy them. BUT, as I have now found out that there are "Plug-and-Play" microphones that don't require additional hardware, I have no need for anything else now. Question is closed! – BeardWix Feb 12 at 16:28
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Okay, basics first: There are two (relevant) kinds of microphones: dynamic microphones, and condenser microphones. Dynamic mics don't need an external voltage supply; you can basically plug them into the mic input of your PC, and you're more or less good to go. On the flip side, they are not very sensitive - to get a good signal, you need to talk directly into the microphone (quite loudly, in my experience). They are more robust, though, and better suited for use on stage.

Condenser mics are much more sensitive and generally provide better sound quality; however, as you found out, they require a voltage supply, also known as phantom power, which is traditionally provided through the microphone cable by the mixer or preamp.

Either way, using the microphone input of the PC is not the way to go for high-quality recordings - chances are that the preamp and A/D-converter built into your PC are of the cheap variety. For serious recording, you'll want an audio interface (which also includes microphone preamps and provides the phantom power), or at least a little mixer with a USB connection.

Fortunately, for amateur applications, there is a convenient all-in-one solution: USB condenser mics, which use the USB connection for their phantom power and have a preamp and A/D converter built-in. Just do a search on "USB condenser microphones", and I'm sure you'll find something usable in your price range.

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Blue Yetis have a good rep among podcasters.They cost about $130, which is more than you specified, yet less than you'll pay for the mic and audio interface that would yield similar results. And it is absolutely plug and play. When you plug it into your USB outlet, it automatically loads it's driver and the computer recognizes it as an audio input device. You should be able at that point to open you software and select it as your input device.

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