On mics — I find that iPhone type mics are not really better than modern laptops — they pic up a *lot* of ambient noise, though any headset is better than none for sound leakage.

I got myself a very nice, somewhat directional Rode NT USB mic (and before that, a fancy mic on a boom arm that turned out to need a USB amp thing), but I find that while the sound quality is great, they pick up *every* rustle and external noise etc. I even experimented with a (quite fun) aviation headset and mic — but unfortunately, it turns out aviation headsets have unique format audio plugs (some safety thing ;-)), so I had to pay to change to a normal stereo plug, and unless I got the proper mic/lip location, I sounded a bit Darth Vader.

So now, although using the aviation headset for complete exclusion cans, and the Rode NT mic is the ‘best’ setup, I always use my Plantronics Voyager Focus UC B825 Stereo Bluetooth Headset. I’m told bluetooth induces some delay and I’m sure it’s not the same quality mic — but the directional microphone pays off enormously in cutting out all background noise, and the cans have good noise cancellation and no leakage with that mic.

For recording, I use Audacity both ends as an easy way to get a clean no-internet feed, but really that’s now just emergency backup, because I now use which allows video for better body language comms, but rigorously sacrifices video (which it doesn’t record) for high-quality audio both ends — i.e. similar to Zencastr, but with added video contact. Squadcast has the benefit of running entirely in the browser; it’s beautiful. Zoom is friendly for everyone, but turns out to record pretty lousy audio.

I have someone do basic post-processing; I’d be sceptical of the ability/willingness of many of my guests (who sometimes struggle with headphones, mic, Squadcast links and fiddling with audacity) to do the virtual audio thing at their end… though I now expect you to be an exception! :-)

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