Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Full Review: Kingston HyperX Cloud II Gaming Headset with Microphone Test

Kingston's HyperX Cloud II is an ambitious follow up to their first Cloud headset. Not only are they refining and simplifying the cabling, they're adding a USB DAC while only charging $20 more.

Is the HyperX Team biting off more than they can chew? Let's take a listen to the cans and the mic!

Shop the HyperX Cloud II on Amazon.
More info on Kingston products.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Review: Sennheiser Urbanite XL Headphones- Sophisticated Design, Impeccable Build Quality

Sennheiser impressed last year with their high-end Momentum headphones, and now they're positioning the Urbanite line as their mid-range audio experience.

A unique blend of modern design and incredible build quality, do these cans have what it takes to stand up to more established "FashionPhones" brands? Let's take a listen!

Shop the Urbanite XL's on Amazon.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Native USB Audio Finally Comes to Android!

It's been a strange, long, frustrating, trip. No joke. I've been writing about the state of Android recording for years now.

Now with Android 5.0 "Lollipop" we finally have one of the most sought after, and completely neglected features, for those of us looking at project, home, and travel recording. I took a little time to demo USB Audio input and output on an NVIDIA Shield Tablet with the Lollipop update and my Blue Yeti Pro. It's always nice to have another option for recording, and makes Android a LOT more valuable for Voice Actors. Enjoy!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Interview: Monika McMahon chats Noiselace Necklaces - Fashionable Earplugs for Concert Fans!

I got to meet Monika during my recent adventure out at the Firefly 2014 Music Festival with the Microsoft Lumia and MixRadio crews. She's a concert and travel blogger who created the Noiselace Necklace, a MUCH more fashionable way to protect your hearing while out at shows than traditional gummy earplugs. She joined me for a quick chat about Noiselace, concerts, and going Paleo.

Noiselace Necklaces:
Noiselace on Twitter:
Monika on Twitter:

FFC VLOG - Firefly 2014 Music Festival!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Video First Impressions: Noble by Wizard - FR In-Ear Monitors

Taking things up a notch for professionals and audiophiles, we're taking this first look at Noble's FR in ear monitors.

With a switchable driver for accuracy or "full" listening experiences, let's see what a $700 investment gets you in the world of inner-aural headphones.

More info on Noble products.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Next Mic Master Class! Saturday May 31st at The Voicecaster in Burbank!

For those wanting to step up their recording game, we're hosting another Mic Master Class at the Voicecaster in Burbank on Saturday May 31st from 2-6pm!

This one day workshop is designed to teach students about the different microphones you see in studios, why they're used for different kinds of jobs, and what each person sounds like in front of each different mic.

Price per participant will be $250, and you will leave with samples of your recordings to compare at your leisure.

For more information regarding the workshop, and for scheduling and availability, please contact The Voicecaster at 818-841-5300 or "".

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mailbag: Diagnosing Noise Issues on the Zoom H4n

Ask any engineer, and one of their least favorite tech support calls is diagnosing "noise" issues. Wilson writes in with this issue concerning his Zoom H4n:

I recently bought a Zoom H4N recorder. I'm generally pretty happy with it, but I do have a question.
You mentioned in the article "Messing Around with the Zoom H4n" that you particularly like it as a USB mic.
However, I've tried hooking it up to my computer over USB and I get a ton of hiss and noise, both with the internal mics and an external mic (which actually sounds much cleaner, though a lot quieter).
Does it require some kind of shielded USB cable or something to get rid of that? I'm not in a particularly noisy environment, so I think that most of the noise is not environmental.

OK. So there are a couple things to look at first. First of all is consistency. You say there's noise being generated via the built in mics and the inputs. Have you tested the H4n under battery and AC power? When it's recording to the SD card is it generating the same noise? I'm also assuming you've played with the distance between your mic and your computer to rule out fan noise? 

Now, how hot are you driving the H4n? All pieces of audio gear generate their own noise. I think the preamps on the H4n are competitive with most portable and "all-in-one" solutions at comparable price points, but they will deliver more noise than dedicated professional studio-grade gear. If you're having to max out the preamps to get the levels you want you'll be delivering significant noise as well. The Olympus LS-100 for example, has an almost -9dB noise floor advantage over the H4n, but comes in almost $150 more than the Zoom. Ditto the headphone volume you're monitoring with. 

If the mic you're connecting to the Zoom is a dynamic, that would explain why it's a lot quieter. Assuming nothing is wrong with the H4n, if you're making the move from a dynamic to a condenser, condensers will pick up a LOT more of your environment. You might just be hearing the "air" of your room amplified for the first time. 

Lastly you can try swapping out different USB cables to see if that makes a difference. You can also check for electrical gremlins by connecting to a different computer, or a laptop running off the battery. Does the noise stay consistent as you move the H4n to different environments?

If the noise or hiss can't be explained or corrected via any of the steps above, it might be time to contact you're friendly neighborhood Zoom representative to see if a warranty or return is in your future. Best of luck. Noise issues are bummers, and they can require a fair amount of voodoo to properly sort out.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Blue Microphone's Kiwi on ABC's 'Nashville', but set up improperly?

Ok, you uber-mic nerds are going to appreciate this one.

Nashville has become one of my favorite guilty pleasures, chock full of nighttime soapy drama, and some great music tracks produced weekly. It's also just fun as a gear head seeing what fancy recording equipment these fictional musicians will be thrown in front of next.

Like this Blue Kiwi, one of my all time favorite studio mics. I like this mic so much, that even my wife caught it as the show zoomed in on actress Chaley Rose singing in front of one.

"Hey it's that green mic you like!" 

I look up from my laptop, enjoy a "hey cool" moment, and start to look back down until I double take back up to the screen. The mic's pins are still in...

You'd have to know your way around this particular mic, but when shipped, the Kiwi has three pins installed to protect the diaphragm during transport. We can zoom in a bit to see them a little better.

Yeah. They look cool, but those things are supposed to be removed before you use the mic. Out of the box there's even an angry little red tag that instructs you to remove those pins. Which means that setting up the shot, someone had to unpack the mic, set it up on a shockmount, look at the red tag, and remove it, all without pulling those guard pins.

It's a small gaffe, but if you actually work in recording, it's a funny distraction.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Review: The R0DE Classic II Anniversary Edition Tube Microphone

We haven't done a studio microphone review for a while, so it's time to come back with a biggie!

R0DE's Classic II is a modern twist on a vintage-y mic technology. Not only that, the Anniversary edition comes in Darth Vader black, and it's pretty sexy. Let's take a look (and a listen)!
Shop the R0DE Classic II on Amazon.
Save 10% on a Loot Crate by using promo code "SGLOOT" at checkout!