Audio Recorder Advice

I want to learn how to make videos. I can’t afford a video camera yet, but I have Adobe Premier Pro and Adobe Audio, so I can at least make audio recordings (e.g. podcasts).

I bought a Snowball/Blue mike which plugs into my MacBook Pro with a USB device. I can then talk into the microphone, using Adobe Audio to record my speech.

However, my understanding is that the highest quality audios are achieved by completely separating your mike and recorder from your camera or laptop.

My ultimate goal is to buy a video camera and a portable recorder. There are many models to choose from, of course, but I’ve seen a lot of reviews praising a model made by Tascam that sells for about $130.

However, I don’t understand exactly how the process works. If I buy a battery-operated portable audio recorder and use it at home, would I simply plug my mike into the recorder instead of my laptop? I’m assuming most portable audio recorders have USB ports for mikes and power cords in case you have access to an electrical outlet.

And if the recording process doesn’t involve my laptop, then does the audio recorder simply create a file that I can copy to my laptop? In other words, would I simply push a button to stop recording, and that would trigger the creation of a file?

I guess another way of asking the question is… which would be the best way to go, just record with a Snowball mike plugged into my laptop or record with a mike plugged into an external audio recorder? I should emphasize that I’m not recording music. I’m mostly just recording myself talking into a microphone.


I’m not the right person to answer this, but I have looked into it a bit. You can do amazing things with a decent USB mic connected to your laptop—which often comes with free software (e.g. GarageBand) that can be used for editing and mixing audio just fine. Of course, there’s a lot of fancier software, but I think it’s worth seeing what you can do with what you’ve got first.

As I understand it, those external devices actually connect to your computer, and just provide a more sophisticated interface between the mic and the computer. But don’t quote me on it. Those external devices also enable you to use non-USB, more traditional mics, which can get a much better sound.

There are tons of professionals out there writing and podcasting about this, though.


Thanks for the tip; I’ll give that a try.

I’m not so sure. How good does the quality need to be, if it’s just voice. There will be a few factors that determine the quality. First, is your actual recording environment, how much background noise and reverberation. Then the quality of the mic. Then you audio hardware, be it recorder or sound card. I would think a decent pro card would be quite adequate. Though an external recorder can be handy if you need to record out and about. Lastly the audio file creation and encoding quality. It could be uncompressed WAV or MP3 at any rate of compression.

Again I think you are making work for yourself, when you do get a camera, its audio recording, with optional external mic should be quite adequate, otherwise you will be getting into syncing your audio, needing to use a clapper and suchlike, much simpler to use the camera’s audio.

Depends on the recorder, but I would think most would connect to the mic via jack-plug sockets or XLR on more heavy duty stuff. Some have USB for the data connection to your computer.

Most digital recorders will create files, some will give you a choice, uncompressed WAV for best quality, or MP3 with possibly varying settings for the rate of compression according to quality requirements or the length of recording.
The thing is to give it a try, recording direct to the laptop and see if it’s good enough, if not consider the options, a recorder or better hardware.

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