Homeoffice became more popular during the pandemic. As a result, I started with my laptop and just sitting at the kitchen table. However, it was not the best experience for my colleagues and me. In my opinion, the audio setup was lacking. Therefore, upgrading to an XLR microphone will sound more professional or like a podcaster.
Starting with the old audio setup
After almost two years of using a corded USB-Headset1, I wanted something new. In other words, I want to improve my voice quality, generate more presence in ZOOM-Meetings2, Slack-Calls3, and other now so popular conference call software. Therefore, I decided to split the input and output.
Get some inspiration from YouTube clips
I started to watch several YouTube videos for inspiration. For instance, I liked the clips from Tom Buck4. As a result, I decided to get an XLR microphone along with an audio interface. In other words, I started to like the Rode PodMic5 along with the Røde PSA16 and wanted to mount it at the table.
Starting with the boom arm installation
I mounted the XLR microphone using the included equipment and used a hole saw9 to drill a hole into the table. Besides, I needed to disassemble the table to fasten the mount. So, I used a multifunction tool10 to add some more space for the union nut.
Optional step: Integrate XLR microphone cable into boom arm
Compact XLR microphone – The Røde PodMic
Doing daily conference calls. Above all, I strive for the best audio quality. I’m mostly sharing my screen. Therefore, a good-sounding microphone more impactful than video quality. Besides, to reduce plosives I added a pop-filter16.
- Audio example with pop-filter (with eq-enabled)
- Audio example without pop-filter (with eq-enabled)
Picking an audio interface
An audio interface is needed to get the microphone connected to the laptop. I had three requirements for the interface. Firstly, I want a loopback function to mix the XLR microphone and pc-sound into one source. Secondly, the audio interface should operate as a configurable standalone equalizer. Also, it needs to fit into the closet with a microphone connected. I came along with the Yamaha AG0317 as a perfect fit for my requirements.
Configure the equalizer to sound like a Shure SM7B18
I connected the audio interface to my laptop and installed the Yamaha AG DSP Controller software19 to configure the equalizer and compressor settings. I did not find good examples to do this for my setup, but there are always some YouTubers20 who did something similar. He set up an equalizer for the GoXLR Mini21. However, I translated the settings to match the Yamaha AG0317.
Yamaha AG DSP Controller compressor and equalizer settings for Røde PodMic
- Audio Example EQ / no EQ
Unlock the full potential of the PodMic using a Cloudlifter CL-122
While everything works fine without a preamp, I had to be very close to the microphone and max out the volume and the gain in the audio interface. Fortunately, there is a solution to it. With the help of the Cloudlifter, it adds up to 25 dB of clean gain to the microphone output. Therefore I was able to reduce the volume and gain in the audio interface to normal. Besides, while it is not very noticeable, there is a slightly better audio quality resulting while the audio sounds more dynamic.
In my article, I guided you to my journey of how I upgraded my microphone quality by replacing my USB microphone with a dynamic microphone while still having an ergonomic working space.
- Logitech 960 USB Computer Headset
- YouTube – Tom Buck – Make Your Rode PodMic Sound Like a Shure SM7B
- Røde PodMic
- Røde PSA1
- IKEA NORBO
- IKEA BESTÅ body
- Wolfcraft Hole Saw
- Dremel 3000
- YouTube – Mike Russell – Røde PSA1 Cable Management
- YouTube – WORKSHOP XLR NF-Kabel löten
- Neutrik NC3FRX
- Neutrik NC3MXX
- Sommer Cable SC-Stage 22
- Rode WS2
- Yamaha AG03
- Shure SM7B
- Yamaha AG DSP Controller Software
- YouTube – DanielVidalesYT – Best EQ Setting For The Rode PodMic On The GOXLR
- GoXLR Mini
- Cloud Microphones Cloudlifter CL-1