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Good Microphone for Skype

Posted on 2011-09-08
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Last Modified: 2012-05-12
We're using Skype to help reunite residents in a long-term care facility with family members who cannot travel to the campus. The residents will be in a room with a projector and a laptop with Skype and the webcam. The problem will be picking up their voices. They'll be about 15 feet from the webcam and it's not picking up their voices well.

What would be a good microphone that would be able to pick up the residents' voices, without too much background noise, and not break the bank? I'm shooting for around $100. This would need to plug into a laptop or sound card (1/8" headphone jack).

I'd like not to have to move anything but the resident. By that I mean I don't want to have to move one of those cheap-o computer microphones in front of them or relocate anything computer-related. I'm not looking at headsets at this point, although we may need to consider this if a good microphone can't be found.

Thanks.
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Question by:CCLProTech
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burrcm earned 500 total points
ID: 36507389
Google parabolic microphone. These focus sound and achieve effective amplification over a distance. You should find something suitable. There are tutorials re building such a thing using a cheap microphone also.

Chris B
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by:Merete
ID: 36507952
We can offer you lots of good microphones for a tabletop dont have to be expensive at all or high end like the one suggested
 but I think your problem is really down to how you setup your current microphone,  is it on the web cam itself an inbuilt one?
if I may suggest you run the Mic setup again and test the volume from 15 feet and increase this volume for that range. You see that little green level when it picks up a voice from 10 feet away etc adjust accordingly
That may resolve it or determin if it's a problem with that mic on the web cam or the sound card on your system , plugging in a mic to the PC or laptop may not garrantee a good recording if the sound card is a mono laptop low quality type.

May I ask what brand web cam you have?
These folks will need to speak out a little more than normal voice.

5 Types of Microphones, to get you familiar with mics may save you lots of money with  a little knowledgabase
http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/question309.htm
Four Tips for Choosing Pro Microphones for Voice Recording
http://www.webaudioadvisor.com/microphones.html

various web microphones for your browsing pleasure,
http://www.giggear.com.au/home.php?cat=293
Go Mic
Portable USB Condenser Microphone
http://www.samsontech.com/samson/products/microphones/usb-microphones/gomic/
http://www.soldsmart.com.au/l3.aspx?goods=CYRMIC1&cam=26&gclid=CNfdnYuej6sCFaJV4godxigBtA

http://www.nextag.com/web-microphone/products-html
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Author Comment

by:CCLProTech
ID: 36528821
Thanks for the suggestions.

As far as the users "speaking out" a bit, that's going to be difficult. They're all senior citizens and some in poor health. I'll look into the links that everyone has provided and respond back here.

Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:Merete
ID: 36534003
Thankyou, then it may be more suitable to consider table top microphones with speaker for conferencing, do your elderly sit at many tables or just one?
Something like this? It's a flat table mic with speaker The price maybe out of your range however so it's for illistration purposes.
ClearOne Chat 150 Conference Room Microphone
http://www.clearone.com/video-conference-speakerphone.html
specs
http://www.clearone.com/docs/datasheets/802-156-003-DS_Rev2.2_CHAT_CHATAttach150.pdf
prices
http://shopper.cnet.com/headphones-headsets/clearone-chat-150-usb/4014-6468_9-32304683.html

even cheaper however cheaper
Sony ECM-F8 Table-Top Microphone
http://www.myshopping.com.au/PR--113244_Sony_ECMF8_Electret_Condenser_Microphone

Polycom Communicator around 121 dollars in Australian I think.but you can look online this one is designed for Skype and is hands free
http://www.polycom.com/products/voice/desktop_solutions/pc_speakerphones/communicator_c100s.html
http://www.voipalley.com.au/products/Polycom-Communicator-C100%7B47%7DC100S-USB-Speakerphone-for-use-with-Skype-or-IP-softphone-apps.html?gclid=CJmfq6j4m6sCFW1U4god7UG_kA
hope that assists you
Merete
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Expert Comment

by:rathinasamy
ID: 36537142
creative Or IBall is the best microphone

try it out
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