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So What? Can you hear me now?

So What? Marketing Analytics and Insights Live

airs every Thursday at 1 pm EST.

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In this week’s episode of So What? we focus on Audio Content Quality. We walk through how to avoid common audio mistakes when creating content and the best gear to buy so your content sounds great no matter your budget. Catch the replay here:

So What? Can you hear me now?


In this episode you’ll learn: 

  • how to avoid the “can you hear me now” curse
  • how to avoid common audio mistakes when creating content
  • the best gear to buy so your content sounds great no matter your budget

Links to products discussed in show: 

Upcoming Episodes:

  • TBD

Have a question or topic you’d like to see us cover? Reach out here:

AI-Generated Transcript:

Katie Robbert 0:22
Well, hey there happy Thursday, everyone. Welcome to so what the marketing analytics and insights live show this week it is myself and John John, who’s over here, not over here. I will never get that right.

John Wall 0:36
That’s the joy of mere camera. And yeah, that’s a whole thing in itself. Yeah.

Katie Robbert 0:41
So Chris is speaking Content Marketing World this week. So John and I are taking the opportunity to talk about basically your home audio visual setup. So at this point, two plus years of us all working from home, now some of us are moving back into the offices, you really kind of have no excuse to have poor video or audio, like, you know, figuring out zoom first was a thing, figuring out conference calls, finding place in your house, all that sort of stuff, like, at this point, there should, you should have some kind of a game plan. Because I don’t know about you, John, but nothing makes me more nuts, not only just when people are speaking through their computer speakers, but also when they’re using the computer camera, and they’re bouncing a laptop on their knees the whole time. So you’re kind of getting this sort of seasick because everything keeps moving. Like, if you don’t have a way to keep your camera’s static, and have at least wired headphones, like, we’re here to help you out today.

John Wall 1:45
Yeah, there’s a bunch of stuff that we can kick around. And there’s definitely levels to this too. And we’ll talk about this, because there’s kind of like just the bare minimum of what you can do with the gear you’ve got. And then if you want to spend a little bit more, you can take it up another level and then at the top. And of course, you could go fully professional if you want to throw a lot of money at it. But there’s no matter what level you’re at, you can do a few things that’ll get in a much better place.

Katie Robbert 2:09
You know, it’s interesting, one of the things that I always find amusing, and I don’t know that it always works well is the green screen. And so a lot of these conference calling applications, give people the option to use sort of like the green screen effect in the background, which is fine, I understand if you don’t necessarily have a setup in your home that you’re comfortable showing. But the problem with the green screen is the second you move, or if you’re wearing the wrong color shirt, or if someone walks behind it, then it’s it’s distracting from what’s happening on the call, which the purpose of the green screen was to not distract from the call itself. What’s your thought on that?

John Wall 2:52
Yeah, yeah. And a huge part of this is, you know, people, because green screens have been in the movies forever, they’re assuming that this is established technology. And that’s great. But the truth is, if you’re running a green screen feature of some kind on whatever recording software using, well, now, that means your computer is not only managing the call your audio and your video, but it’s also, you know, doing a bunch of processing in the background, to replace that image. And that takes a toll on your processor. And on bandwidth. There’s a number of reasons why it’s bad. And I’ve just seen way too many situations where it fails, because you’re talking about one is when somebody moves, it doesn’t move fast enough. And worse yet is depending on like what you’re wearing, or what you’ve got, you’ll see a halo around their ears, or, you know, between their glasses and their facial see the background. And, yeah, and it’s always when you see somebody in it looks like it’s a professional office setting. And then suddenly you move into the weight of it, they’re actually in a basement, you know, or they’ve got, you know, the garbage all around them. Now, you’re starting to wonder like, well, what’s going on here? Why why do they not just use the regular background? What’s the story with that? So yeah, I mean, I would much rather see people with just the green screen up than having a fake background behind that, because it just doesn’t, you know, unless you’re in a studio and you’ve got somebody managing that for you, that’s not the kind of thing to DIY.

Katie Robbert 4:07
Well, and so I suppose the next question that so what is what’s the solution to that and so, you know, if you are in a situation where you can’t necessarily, you know, have a dedicated workspace, you don’t have an office, you know, if you have to be on a lot of calls, then maybe find a spot in your home or your apartment, where you can like maybe just hang a sheet, or you know, a tapestry or something like that. Consider it like a college dorm where you just hang those things on the wall behind you, and that’s the background. Or you could just get you know, like a drying rack and hang things from it so that it’s sitting behind you situated sort of like covering up whatever it is you’re not comfortable with people seeing. You know, when people were starting to work from home, there was this trendy thing on Twitter which was called what rum Raiders room Raiders, you know, and so people were trying to get the perfect office setup behind them and get rated on it. Did you ever participate in that? John?

John Wall 5:09
I did not get caught on room Raiders. Yeah, they really were on fire for a while. I know. They definitely hammered. Ann Handley, they were not a fan of her office setup. And so I noticed that they gave her a hard time. And then, yeah, it is just amazing how, you know, you’re instantly getting judged on a bunch of things. And it’s funny, they do have criteria that they’re very clear about, you know, it’s having camera dead on you being right size. And then what you’ve got behind you is a big deal. And that’s another thing from from that period of time too. I was on a workshop with a bunch of other executives that were talking about, you know, they were supposedly experts on virtual workplace. And when they jumped on, I mean, I joke about the hostage video, you know, it was just them in a conference room looking down, and a blank background behind them. And it’s like the most horrible looking videos. And so, yeah, a lot of time and effort can go into making sure you’ve got a solid background behind you that works, right. You know, I mean, you’ve got bookcase and plants, those are two big checkmarks that’ll get you room writer points right there. That’s where you want to go. And yeah, there’s a ton of other things to to, to make that I’ll go to. And I do have to say I, you know, we only had a week prep for this, I should have talked to Carrie Barrett, the mavens of marketing, because this is her whole thing is, you know, looking good on video and getting things straight. But yeah, and it’s, you know, keep in mind that you just have this tiny box in front of you, right, like this is all that needs to look good. I mean, I haven’t kind of a studio setup here. And it’s just a disaster everywhere out of frame, you know, there’s junk, everywhere. And there’s a lot of duct tape and chicken wire like to make this work. But again, that’s it, you just need to get this frame in front of you, right, and you’re in good shape.

Katie Robbert 6:49
Well, and I feel like that brings us to the camera themselves. And so, you know, one of the things that at least I’ve seen in John, you are more of a technophile than I am. But what I’ve seen is that webcams have become much better quality and much more affordable. To the point where you can get a decent camera for $100 or less, that pretty much does what you need. So, you know, quick anecdote when I was in college, a million years ago, I had one of the very first webcams, which basically took a still image every 30 seconds, and refreshed it if you had a decent enough internet connection, which was what like a T one line, that was the big deal. And so like, that’s where my experience with webcam started. And now I recently upgraded my webcam. So I don’t use the one that’s built into my laptop, which is actually a pretty good camera. But I recently upgraded from a razor to a Logitech, which gives me a lot more options to Zoom focus, you know, if I pull it up, and I start, you know, monkeying with it, I can change, you know, the setup, I can change the zoom. And so John, to your point, I have the ability to sort of frame myself even if the camera is set, like too high or too low, or I can start to change what people are actually seeing and what angle I want it to be at. But you probably have like, you’ve probably tested everything on the market. I know you have when it comes to audio, we’re not there yet, but we’ll stay on video for a minute.

John Wall 8:27
Yeah, well, and so you’ve got levels of stuff, you know, your laptop cam, actually, a lot of machines, the laptop cam is great. But the big thing with that is you’ve got to put the camera up at eye level. And that’s such a challenge, you know, because you’re not gonna be able to work on it and have it up at eye level. So you just have to set it up there and leave it as is. And then yeah, a goal that you want to have is the status that you should look like you’re about four feet away from the person, like that’s the optimum engagement size that people are expecting now.

Katie Robbert 8:56
And I just switched to my laptop camera. So you can see, it’s not quite at the right angle, and it’s a little too low. And so I opted for the second camera which is here,

John Wall 9:07
right, which is dead on and you just get a much better picture with it. And then it’s talking about testing and you know, running in the field with this stuff is every one of these meeting applications handles the video stream differently. And so even though you know the settings you have over on Zoom, you may look good. When you jump over into Google meet, you may not look as good and so being able to just move it around and zoom in and out is the big deal. Yeah, the next there’s two other levels on that too. So use laptop cam if you got nothing else that’s fine that works. The external cam Yeah, the Logitech BRIO is kind of the king of the game right now. I think those are I don’t know somewhere between Yeah, a Brio PRI Oh, we got that. That’s

Katie Robbert 9:47
the one that I’m using. I just upgraded to the Logitech BRIO. I will say the Razer camera was good. But the challenge that I had and I know Chris had the same problem with this one was that it would try to autofocus So sometimes your image would kind of like, jump in and out. And so for me, that became a problem when I was doing events because the event coordinators were getting frustrated with the camera constantly zooming in and out, even though the setup itself was fine. And so the Logitech BRIO doesn’t do that. So that’s one of the things I liked the most about it. Plus, I do think it’s a better quality camera.

John Wall 10:27
Yeah, there’s no bigger buzzkill than if when someone else is talking, you have to stand perfectly still, so that the autofocus doesn’t change, it doesn’t move like that will just tell you. One thing with the external cams, I have switched over to a Plexi cam. So I’ve got my Brio, but it’s actually mounted on a plexiglass bracket, and it actually sits on my screen. So the the great part about it is I can actually look at the zoom window, and it’s like I’m looking right at the camera. So you get that real time thing. Plus, I can have other windows on the screen. It’s a good substitute instead of a teleprompter, because I can have all kinds of notes right up on here. And then you know, virtual work thing. If you’re in some kind of conference call, where you just have to listen for an hour, you can actually just do work. And it looks like you’re looking right at the camera because you’ve got your work right in front of you. And just, you know, don’t forget that you’ve got the camera going on in the background. I’m totally

Katie Robbert 11:18
gonna have to call you out on this moving forward.

John Wall 11:21
Yeah, right, right. Paying attention. No, that’s the that’s the problem. We get called on too often where our meetings are too small, which is not one of those when you get those zooms where it’s like the the Kinect for you know, you’ve got like 84 people on it, you never get called on that. Those are the snoozers there is a camera called the Center cam, which is even smaller than this plexiglass bracket that I have. But I found that the camera wasn’t as good as the Brio. Like just using the the unbranded bracket with the Brio ended up being better than the center cam. And then top of the pile too. I mean, if you want to get crazy, Sony as the leader, their Alpha cameras, you can get a cinematic lens, you know, you can have something with that they call it’s called bulkhead photography, where you are in focus, and there’s the depth of field is so short that the background is just a little bit fuzzy and out of focus. And that gives you a real movie feel. And you can get kind of a whole teleprompter setup for around three or 400 bucks. But that, of course is not including the Sony camera, which could be anywhere from seven to 1500 bucks. But if you really want to, you know, if you are going to be competing with Spike Lee, and you know, other world class camera, folks, that’s where you’d want to go with that. Yeah, and then another big thing with camera too, is, you know, it’s all about lighting. I mean, that’s the the other big part of it. So in here, and this is another there’s different ways to approach this. One is if you’re in a space where you can use sunlight, you can try and take advantage of that. But you have to be really careful because you know, sunlight can change in the middle of your interview, or whatever the clouds come in, or the clouds clear, and you get burned. And so I do have a fully controlled environment here like I have, there’s Amazon blackout curtains, those run about only 30 or 40 bucks. And then I have a ring light up over my head, because I’ve wear glasses, the ring lights got to be way up. But you know, having that fully controlled environment, it’s it just kind of takes a lot of the questions and problems out of the whole video workflow. So definitely go and it’s insane now, I mean, bring lights, you can get three or four decent rain lights for, you know, 2030 bucks apiece, there are, you know, obviously, if you want to drop a few 100 bucks, you can get LED panels, and there’s a lot of different solutions out there that are all great. But basically, as long as you can be seen clearly and you are the primary lit option. And another interesting one too, is I use Philips Hue light bulbs so actually can control the color and the temperature of the lighting in here if I want. Which is good for depending on the weather and how you want to look if you want to have a summer tan, or if it’s the dead of winter. You can even play with all that. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.

Katie Robbert 14:04
My setup is much more low tech than yours, John. So I pretty much have a camera and I have you know, wired headphones with microphone, but So Todd was also asking, I’ve heard good things about the Brio. Yeah, I’m a big fan and I just checked on Amazon and right now it goes for about 128 bucks. It’s definitely one of those things to keep an eye on, you know, during like prime days and that kind of stuff. It goes on sale all the time. It’s a really good quality camera with a lot of options. And I do use the Logitech software manager and so it’s just a little screen that pops up. I don’t even have to be on a call and it will give me the option to sort of play with the settings play with the color correction, zoom in, zoom out, adjust and I could do all of that before getting on a call but to John’s point, having those options, you know, is really handy because every different every teleconferencing soft or basically, it’s going to act differently. How I look on Zoom does is not how I look on Google Hangouts is not how I look on Microsoft Teams. And so it’s definitely helpful to have that software to manage it. Because when I did have the razor, I didn’t have that option, I couldn’t really do anything with the settings other than what the conferencing software was giving me, in terms of, you know, autofocus, not autofocus, which apparently didn’t work at all, it was still trying to autofocus all the time, in terms of lighting. This sun is, you know, can be a problem. So you can’t see, I don’t know if I can switch my camera. But basically, I have a window right directly in front of me. So if I’m facing this way, I’m actually facing my laptop. So I have a window in front of me, I have a window behind me. And so oftentimes, especially during the winter, the sun will come directly in this window and John and I used to joke about the halo effect that would happen from the window and from me, because everything would start to glow, until I was able to sort of rig up basically a big piece of cardboard that I put in front in front of my window to block out the light while I’m doing, you know, live streams, podcast, that kind of thing. And it really, you know, sort of boils down to what is the purpose of, you know, the video. And so if it’s just to check in with someone, you probably don’t have to worry about it as much. But for those of us who do live streams, and you know, podcasts that are recorded, that’s the kind of thing you want to factor in. Because, John, to your point, as the sun is changing, during the course of your interview or your conversation, it’s going to start to mess with things. I had that experience, but also sort of like a little bit extra. A couple of weeks ago, I was doing a podcast interview for someone. And during the course of the interview, I didn’t have a fan on in my window next to me, and the temperature started to rise. So halfway through the interview, I started to sweat, because the room was getting hot, and there was nothing I could do because it was all being recorded in one take. And that was just one of those extra things of being on camera that you need to factor in, I would rather be a little bit cold during an interview versus too hot during an interview because I’m not going to sweat when I’m too cold. And I can control myself from shaking too much.

John Wall 17:30
Yeah, and that’s something that you know, from the TV world, you’ll hear that, you know, like David Letterman, having the studio below 60 degrees, you know, because it’s just you know that you’re gonna get hot. And because it’s either that or you’d have to be lizard blood, you know, there are newscasters that just don’t sweat no matter what happens. But yeah, I’m definitely not in that, that group. So yeah, you’ve got to try and work it out. But then temperature control can be a huge challenge.

Katie Robbert 17:56
Yeah, so I have a fan that I keep on load next to me almost sort of like a white noise machine as we’re starting to get into like the audio. But it’s also just to make sure that things like my office itself, with all this equipment, all the electrical running can get sort of on the heated side of things. And so that’s something to factor in, as well. Like, it sounds like there’s a lot of things to factor. But once you get your setup, set in a good way it is kind of set it and forget it. But you definitely have to factor in lighting, you have to factor in the temperature, the angle of the camera, those are the things that you want to start with. And then as you get into audio, John, this really is sort of like your bailiwick, this is the thing that you’re even most passionate about, is making sure that people have good audio because I feel like and correct me if I’m wrong, you can forgive that video, you can’t forgive that audio.

John Wall 18:49
Yeah, that’s true. If the audio is annoying, it you will lose listeners, you know, people can tolerate kind of crummy video if the audio is okay. But if the audio is annoying, or problematic, yeah, that will tend to just kill the content completely. Yeah, and there’s, you know, there’s just so much that goes into that as far as how to get it to be decent. The you know, one thing though, for everybody is just when you log into a Zoom meeting, or, you know, Google meet or wherever you’re at, you always want to go into the settings immediately and check and make sure that you’re on the right microphone, because we see this all the time people paying to have great microphones, and they don’t realize that by default, the meeting software is still using their laptop mic. So they’ve you know, spent hundreds on microphones and they’re still using the you know, the crummy microphones so that’s definitely one thing and then Yeah, as far as sound from air conditioning or whatever, that’s one thing that you can pay to make go away you know, if you want to buy better gear, you can get some of that out of your sound. But yeah, back down to the lower level to you know, for the if you’re just using the default stuff. A big thing is Yeah, on most laptops they do at least support you know, a three pole plugs. So you should have earbuds and some kind of either boom microphone or microphone on the cable or whatever. Because you really just don’t want to be using the laptop microphone. Yes, there’s you we’ve got field demo right there. And that’s a perfect setup there. Because this so you don’t have the huge headphone cans, like you’re not a Time Life operator, and you’ve got a smile boom on that, which is perfect. So the mic is right in front of your face. Regardless, if you’re turning or checking show notes, or whatever you’re doing, you’re still on axis. So yeah, that’s like right, where you want to be the problem with the laptop. And what’s funny is that the meeting software companies have given up on this problem, right, they’ve come to a point where all this software tends to have anti echo processing, so that if you’re talking into your laptop, and you’re getting feedback, people are talking to you. So it’s also coming out of the speakers at the same time, it starts to chop off one side or the other. And so you’ll, you’ll be able to notice that if you’re recording online sessions, when you have crosstalk both people talking at the same time, it will automatically duck one or both of the people. And so your recordings going to be all messed up, because you’re not going to be able to hear either of the people. And so yeah, the thing with that is, at least even if you can’t get any kind of microphone, if you have earbuds in, you’re not going to be getting that echo loop, that feedback loop. And so the recording will still be solid, and then a lot of the main software, you have to go in and actually turn off that, you know, Echo control, or noise reduction, or whatever they call it, you go in and get that shut down. So that’s the first thing is earbuds to control that feedback loop so you don’t get stuck. And then of course, writing the mute button is can help a whole lot too, and get yourself out a lot of trouble. And then it’s yet you know, where do you go up from there next level is to have just a basic soundboard of some kind. A good one like the Yamaha ag oh three is like $100 board that allows you to plug in a studio microphone, so you can get a real microphone, it has every type of headphone jack. So you can use ear buds or over ear or whatever you want to use, you know you’ve got your own gain, you’ve got your own knob. So you can actually make yourself louder or softer. You can control how loud you are. And of course you get direct monitoring to you actually hear yourself as you talk into the microphone, even though you’ve got the earbuds on. So those are all things that can really kick it up to the kind of a more professional level. And one thing, if your earbuds if you are stuck, it is fine, where one ear but if you just want to hear yourself and still hear your voice if the earbuds are making it too quiet for you to hear yourself, you can go with one year, that’s fine.

Katie Robbert 22:31
Yeah, I think that that, you know, sort of like as we’re moving up from the basic, if you’re still using your laptop speakers, to hear conference calls. At this point, there’s really no excuse, you know, earbuds, wired headphones, they’re so inexpensive, you can even get a really crappy pair for $10 off of Amazon of just headphones, not even the microphone, just the headphones, so that you’re not hearing all of that feedback from your laptop speakers. So I sort of, I’m gonna draw a controversial line in the sand and say, You have no excuse to not have a pair of headphones these days. I mean, if you travel, they give them for free take those headphones, even though they’re not the best quality, you know, you know, plug those into your computer. And if you’re already going to be sounding better because you’re not going to have that feedback of you having to mute yourself while other people are talking so they get that double audio.

John Wall 23:36
Yeah, yeah, that absolutely kills us. The other thing if you have cord OCD, too, for Wired, you can Amazon sells clips. I mean the idea is you clip the cable and you have it clipped to the back of your shirt so it can run down the back. If you need an extension cord, you can do that. But that’s a good way to do cord management if you’re doing a TV stuff and you need to be called and know what’s going on.

Katie Robbert 23:56
I can’t I can’t tell you how many times Shawn that I’ve forgotten that I’m wearing my headphones and I stand up and immediately get jerked right back down because they are corded for someone like me. I know you also live in a more rural area but I live in a rural area where even though my internet is you know I’m using an Ethernet cord I try not to use Wi Fi when we’re recording it can still cut out and so I don’t want like my bluetooth to cut out or my headphones to cut out so I want them to be recorded so for me personally, that works better is to have corded headphones but you have Bluetooth headphones.

John Wall 24:37
Yeah, you can do Bluetooth as well. So these are corded though to this is the same deal. Just goes up over my ear and then around the back so you can tell them

Katie Robbert 24:45
Yeah, they look like they’re Bluetooth and so that’s a really good trick.

John Wall 24:49
Yeah, yeah, that’s that’s one way to get it and yeah, unfortunately the Bluetooth microphones are much better than they have been and the sound is good, but it’s just the risk of drops is too hard, too high in most situations. shots, you know, it’s just not worth doing. Yeah, I love a lot of Bluetooth gear that’s out there. But for recording, it’s just, it’s just easier to go corded, you just have one less thing to worry about in one place in the chain that’s not going to break on you.

Katie Robbert 25:15
So we have a couple of questions about the specific gear. So the first question, you know, what software are we using for this stream? So for this stream, we use stream yard. For a lot of our other company calls, we use Google meats, but we use stream yard for the In-Ear Insights podcast. We use it for this live stream. And John, I think you now also use it for marketing over coffee.

John Wall 25:40
Yeah, there’s a couple other options out there. Zen caster and squad cast are two other ones. Zen caster, we found that we would lose files once in a while squad cast is actually squad cast has the best audio, but their video is not as good as stream yard here. We had a lot of problems with me having drops in, in squad cast. So yeah, stream yard is solid plus that the huge win with that is it’s I mean, this is streaming simultaneously to LinkedIn, three different YouTube accounts, twitch, twitch, Twitter, you know, it’s live streaming to all this stuff. So it’s like we do it once in post, and it’s all all over the place. So yeah, this is the king of the hill as far as we’re concerned today.

Katie Robbert 26:21
The next is more of an observation, which is correct. So John, as you were saying, Your office is completely, the environment is completely controlled, whereas the light in my office keeps shifting. That’s because I’m sitting in front of the window, and I have the blinds down. But the blinds are not blackout blinds, which is something that I should probably invest in, as John was mentioning, you can get them inexpensively on Amazon. And we keep mentioning Amazon, you can shop wherever makes the most sense for you. Amazon just happens to be convenient and something that people can find things on. But yeah, the sun keeps shifting, and I have trees in front of my window. So that’s something that if I were doing something more high stakes, for example, I would probably invest in those blackout curtains, or something darker so that I wouldn’t get the light shifting all the time and my video quality would be more professional. John, you were talking about a soundboard. What was the what was the soundboard you were talking about was the Yamaha

John Wall 27:23
Yeah, and type Cornett later the agio. Three is the board it’s been around for years and years. It’s an old one. But it’s again, it’s really portable. And and now if you want to kick up another level two, I just picked up this road caster Pro two, which is the cutting edge for mobile audio, it’s got a few things that are huge with it has a built in, basically compressor and noise gate and an exciter. So those are like three things that often you either pay a lot of money to add these devices into your workflow, or you have to do it in post processing, like after you’re done recording, you go and you add these effects. And but so the noise gate is killer in that if I have an air conditioner running or something in the background, or there’s traffic outside, there’s a threshold below which it will not be recording. So if I’m just sitting here and there’s cars going by in the air conditioners running, the mic is actually for all intents and purposes, it’s muted, that doesn’t come through, it’s only when I talk and push the volume above a certain level, that now suddenly becomes active again. And so that filter has a lot of the junk noise in the background. The other is the compressor. And you’ll hear this called an exciter or multiband compressor, there’s a bunch of different answers. But it basically he’s just giving me radio sound, you know, it doesn’t matter if I move in or out, the volume doesn’t go way up or down the device is actually if my voice gets low, it actually pushes it up higher. And if I get too loud, it pulls it back down. So that stays in this consistent volume, which is great for if people are listening in a car, you know, you don’t want that volume going up and down and all over the place. And yeah, it has all this stuff built in real time. I mean, you just plug in the mic and you start talking and you sound more like a radio person than ever this runs. I think this is about 700 bucks. So it’s not cheap. But you know, once you have it, you basically have everything it has the full, you know, I have a full sound pad to I can fire audio cues, or if I have interviews saved or whatever, I just hit a button and they play and it streams and I can run the phone into it if I get interviews with people who can’t handle any technology. So which does happen? Yeah, it’s a you know, especially if you’re not in tech, you know, you’re talking to somebody in some other industry or somebody that’s older than me, you know, get can be a challenge just to get the sound in there and that can make that problem go away for it.

Katie Robbert 29:39
Well, and the other thing too is you’re talking about microphones, definitely check what kind of microphone it is. So you have you know, I know some people choose to wear like a lavalier mic so a lavalier mic is one that typically clips to your clothes, speakers wear them when they’re on stage. The challenge with a lavalier mic is where you end up clipping it and you could get the call constant rubbing of clothes if you’re moving around. So that’s something that you definitely want to test beforehand. an omnidirectional mic is something that is what it sounds, it’s going to pick up sound from all over the place. And so you want to make sure you’re getting the right kind of microphone, for the type of recording that you do for how, you know, if you’re like me, and you talk with your hands a lot, then you want to make sure you don’t have a mic that’s right in front of your face, because when I had one, I would constantly whack it with my hand because I talk with my hands a lot. And so for me, having this, you know, Popstar microphone next to my head kind of cuts down on the amount that I’m hitting it with my hands, and means that I’m not necessarily getting the noise of it rubbing up against clothing or anything like that. And so those are just little tips that you learn along the way in terms of what works best for you. So John, you have, you know, as you mentioned, the radio mic set up in front of you. Whereas I prefer to have something that isn’t necessarily blocking my face. And so that’s another sort of consideration with the audio and visual, when I had the studio mic set up, the way in which my office is set and where my desk is, and my camera and everything, the microphone was here, and it would block half of my face, which kind of defeated the purpose of having, you know, the really good setup. And so that was something that I had to start to figure out a different solution for. Because my office just isn’t set up in a way that I can have that kind of a microphone and not have my video blocks. I could have one maybe sitting lower on my desk, but then I would have to be down here talking at it and then that also isn’t good. You know, video quality.

John Wall 31:45
Yeah, there’s so much that goes into that. And you really just have to trial and error everything you know, to see what you can go. Yeah, cuz my first choice is actually V moda has a boom mic, which I have run and it you know, it is a $30 Gamers mic, and it easily goes toe to toe with 700 $900 microphones. I don’t I have no idea why the heck it is as good as it so you know what kind of deal with the devil they made. But it’s just a fantastic mic. But it doesn’t actually with this road caster setup, I have not been able to get that to work still. And so I’ve got a Shure microphone here. This is actually specifically for podcasting because it can run as a regular microphone into the soundboard. But it also can plug directly into the computer as a digital microphone. And so it kind of solves a lot of things. Chris recently upgraded to the shore, you know, so was it as I was getting mixed up. This is the seventh beat. No, he has the seven v and this is the seven. But if there’s, you know, the one $400 mic that is the broadcasting standard that everybody knows the Howard Stern microphone and everybody’s got, but yeah, now you have the challenge of like, okay, is it in frame? Or is it just out of frame? And how do you make that work? You know, so this is one trick, right? Wearing black with my black microphone, I can get away with a little bit more, it’s less obvious, and people are gonna catch it if the frame is wider. But you

Katie Robbert 33:05
can be farther away from the microphone, you don’t need to be right up on it, where it’s covering your face. And that speaks to the quality of the microphone.

John Wall 33:12
Yeah, well, that’s definitely the soundboard doing its job too. But it’s still if I wanted to get that, you know, full on radio sound would say, Yeah, you know, you, you really had that. And that’s, that is a utility, Howard Stern is always talking to his guests like this, he’s right on top of the microphone the entire time. You know, it gives it a different sound, it really gives it that sound that people want to hear. So, yeah, one thing you can do with that is go on YouTube, you know, pick two or three microphones, and then go to YouTube and search for those microphones. And there’s all these people who have done videos of like, okay, here’s me on microphone a, here’s me on microphone B, here’s me and microphone C, and you’ll get a feeling for like, okay, so this one sounds, you know, this one sounds a little deeper, this one sounds a little brighter, this, you’ll you’ll get a feel for at least what you’re getting into. And then there’s, there’s no substitute for getting them in your own room. But one thing I wanted to hit to you mentioned, you know, omni directional, there’s other options. cardioid is the most common one where it’s kind of catching just in front of the mic, and it rejects sound from the other side, with a lot of microphones you, you have to crack the manual. Or if you’re not even going to crack the manual, at least grab the microphone and put on your headphones and take and talk in different places all around it and see how it sounds and where it works. Because like for example, the yeti is a huge popular microphone for a lot of podcasters and other people that actually has three modes like there’s a mode where you can talk into the front, there’s a mode where two people can talk into both sides. And there’s a mode that’s omnidirectional that captures everything. And so make sure you’ve got the right of course make sure you’ve got the right of those three selected and don’t be the goober that talks into the top. You know if you have a side address microphone and you’re talking until the top that’s when we see people with their podcast headshots and they’re talking into the top and you know that like this person doesn’t get it.

Katie Robbert 34:57
Well, and I think you know, so we’ve been talking a lot about the different tiers. And so, John, as you’re talking more about this more expensive equipment, that equipment doesn’t make sense for everyone. But it does make sense. If you’re doing a lot of audio content, if you’re doing a lot of interviews, if you’re doing a lot of podcasting, then I think it absolutely makes sense for you to invest in those more expensive pieces, definitely get the soundboard. But if you’re mostly just sitting on Zoom calls all day for just, you know, internal things, you know, one on ones team meetings, you know, an inexpensive headset, like the one that I’m wearing that has the earbuds and the microphone attached with, it still gives you sort of free rein to not bump into things. It’s perfectly acceptable. You know, the camera, like I said, it was about 130 bucks off of Amazon, your laptop camera is perfectly fine, as long as you have it set up in such a way that it’s not, you know, looking up your nose, that it’s still and not bouncing, you know, while you’re talking. That’s perfectly acceptable. And so the big thing that you want to try to avoid is having people say, can you hear me now? Because So John, you know, you mentioned sort of as we were talking, the first and foremost is make sure that even if you buy all of the fancy equipment, make sure that you’re checking the settings on, you know, zoom, or Google or stream yard to make sure you’re even catching the right pieces of equipment that probably we all make that mistake. We all do it. Chris, depending on what he’s doing switches, cameras, which is microphones, which just headsets and half the time, you know, as we’re getting set up for a call, it’s Chris, I can’t hear you, Chris, you’re muted. Chris, are you talking? And so it’s just a matter of making sure you’re using the right equipment at the right time, but that the settings within the software are also catching it.

John Wall 36:55
Yeah, have your greenroom routine, you know, before you go on them. When you log in, you’ve got a chance to go into settings or look at yourself, see, do sample recording if you can, because yeah, you don’t want to be that guy.

Katie Robbert 37:08
I think another pro tip and this is, you know, inexpensive investment as well, especially if you’re like us and you’re working from home all the time. And maybe there’s, you know, kids running around dogs barking partners, you know, clattering dishes, invest in a little and they’re, you know, they’re not big, like a little white noise machine that you can sit right outside the door of your office or, you know, like five or six feet away from wherever it is that you’re working just to start to filter out that background noise if you don’t have the kind of filter that John’s talking about with the soundboard. But the more expensive microphone, a little white noise machine can filter out some of that noise. Yeah, and

John Wall 37:49
even if it’s paper heavier on air light, you know, may tell your family to go away or even give them money to go get ice cream. So they’re not in the house. But yeah, controlling the environment is huge.

Katie Robbert 38:01
So John, any other pro tips before we start to wrap up? Today’s episode?

John Wall 38:06
No, I think we covered most of the stuff that we can definitely we’ll throw some links to your microphone, and I can throw it to the road. Definitely feel free to reach out if you got any questions about any gear in the pile? Because we love getting into that. And yeah, no, it’s been good to go over some of the stack and always happy to talk more.

Katie Robbert 38:24
Yeah, and as as people have probably noticed, the light in my office has changed during the course of this conversation because the position of the sun has changed. And that’s something that, like I said, if I was doing something more high stakes, I would probably work harder to control. I might have a desk lamp, or I might use the overhead light, which is actually pretty terrible. But those are things you know, John, as you’re saying, have that green room experience, make sure before every call, if you can, you know, set up five minutes before make sure you’re checking it all the lighting everything. Because you know, this is all we have for a lot of us is you don’t get that you know, human interaction in an office. And so you’re trying to make those connections through the conference calling and so you want to make sure that people aren’t distracted by whatever the heck else is going on. That they can focus on you and what you’re saying.

John Wall 39:16
That sounds good. Now that’s that’s where you want to be. All right.

Katie Robbert 39:19
Well, that is it for this week. So we will see you next Thursday at 1pm. Eastern for another episode of so what.

Christopher Penn 39:30
Thanks for watching today. Be sure to subscribe to our show wherever you’re watching it. For more resources. And to learn more. Check out the Trust Insights podcast at trust AI podcast and a weekly email newsletter at trust Got questions about what you saw in today’s episode. Join our free analytics for marketers slack group at trust for marketers See you next time.

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