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Thread: Audio options for C920?

  1. #1
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    Audio options for C920?

    Hello All,

    I am trying to set up a mini-studio in my office to do podcasts. My first thread was to look into mics that could be 18" out of frame. I got a lav mic and a Scarlett 2i2 because the Logitech C920 webcam I'm using (which looks fine for now) couldn't make much of the USB mic I got. That was an ATR2100.

    The problem seems to be that the C920 just doesn't like any outside audio input. The mic on the device itself is inside a teleprompter. Using the XLR input on the 2i2 with all internal and external controls dimed, the audio was acceptable when the ATR2100 was right in my face. Out of frame -- not so great. The lav could barely be heard. No matter how hot the input, the webcam software knocks it down to weak levels.

    I fussed at the gear all afternoon at work and brought everything home for a stressful weekend. I plugged the lav into my acoustic guitar amp and it worked well enough to be heard in the back of most rooms so it wasn't defective.

    So, it seems the issue if I stick with the C920 is how to mix that video signal with alternative audio sourcing. Please let me know if this is a lost cause and what direction you think I should take.

    This is the stuff I have now:
    Shure 58 and 57 mics, AT 3350 lav and ATR2100,
    Logitech C920,
    2 softboxes,
    teleprompter (still learning how to use that item),
    Scarlett 2i2 audio interface,
    boom mic stands,
    lots of monitors,
    USB port,
    lots of cords, cables, powerstrips,
    Ableton lite (came with 2i2),
    decent speakers on my desk powered by a Topping 2020

    I'd planned to get an AT875r for the boom stand and a pair of headphones for the lady who helps me. She also has a nice Canon DLSR if the webcam idea doesn't pan out. Then I guess the question would be should I get something like a Tascam DR-60D. Right now I'm hoping there is some software out there that can improve the C920 audio experience.

    Ideas, insults, wild hairs, sage advice all welcome. I'm not married to any of it. I'll be sitting at a desk in a fairly quiet room with a computer next to my knee. No exteriors, maybe dialog with a visitor, no FX. Pretty simple stuff.

    Cheers, thanks, sh

  2. #2
    Moderator / IAIB Pro Broadcaster mcphillips's Avatar
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    You're missing something somewhere. The mics on the C920 should not be used. There is no quicker way to announce to the world that you are an amateur than to use a webcam mic for your podcast.

    Did you put the battery in the AT3350? Is the battery good? How did you connect the AT3350 to the mixer? It's an unbalanced mic that requires a 1/8" to XLR adapter that connects to a mic input.

    The output level of the ATR2100 is about the same as the SM57 and SM58. If you use it as a USB mic, you have to make sure that your computer audio input controls are set at 100%. If your room acoustics are horrible, any one of the mics will sound horrible at 18". With good acoustics, any one of them will sound infinitely better than the C920 mic. Amnon uses the ATR2100 in his studio as an overhead mic, and it works fine.

    The output level of a dynamic mic is low. You will really have to crank the level. Make sure you're pointing the mic at your mouth. Pretend it is a flashlight, and you want the light from it shining down your throat.
    Please direct all questions for me to the forum so that all can benefit.

  3. #3
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    I am using the battery that came with the AT3350 but further research suggests they aren't always strong or quality. I'll get another today. What I did was run these assorted mics into the Logitech software:

    -- ATR2100 into USB (every control I could find at max) Acceptable with the mic 6" away from my face but weak out-of-frame
    -- ATR2100 and Shure SM58 through XLR into Scarlett 2i2 with +48v on. Same perceived volume as above in the MP4 video
    -- AT3550 into Scarlett 2i2 with a loose-fitting 3.5mm to 1/4" plug adapter. Very weak can hardly hear it on the MP4.

    Maybe the battery is the issue but I ran the little lav through my Carvin AG100 acoustic guitar amp (a poor man's cafe PA) and it worked pretty well. The handheld mics at the same volume level were very loud.

    I think the issue is the Logitech software. No matter how hot the signal into the computer, it just can't do anything with it. The video picture is pretty good. For me sitting at a desk reading, it certainly isn't the limiting factor. What software do you recommend to take the images from the C920 and audio from anywhere else for the final product?

    Cheers, sh

  4. #4
    Administrator andrewzarian's Avatar
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    Does the Logitech software allow you to select a different source for the audio. I thought it only allows you to select the webcam mic

  5. #5
    Moderator / IAIB Pro Broadcaster mcphillips's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luthierwnc View Post
    -- AT3550 into Scarlett 2i2 with a loose-fitting 3.5mm to 1/4" plug adapter. Very weak can hardly hear it on the MP4.
    You're probably going into a line input in the Scarlett, although I've never used one. At least make sure you have the input switch on Instrument instead of Line, although that's not the right solution.

    I think the issue is the Logitech software. No matter how hot the signal into the computer, it just can't do anything with it.
    I doubt it.
    Last edited by mcphillips; 10-25-2014 at 11:26 AM.
    Please direct all questions for me to the forum so that all can benefit.

  6. #6
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    andrewzarian; You can choose which mic you use. It finds all connected audio inputs. It always has its own and whatever else is plugged in at the time.

    preferences.jpg

    mcphillips; I've tried line, instrument, XLR, 1/4 from XLR through a transformer, usb. This is the line-in recording device on the Scarlett through Win 7 sounds controller. The loudest any of them are is just OK.

    What I think I need (subject to reality) is a way to mix the C920 video with some other recording capability. Either that or a Logitech explanation how to work the input levels. You can see the levels are maxed in the upper graphic but lowering them doesn't make much difference. I thought driving them harder with the amp would boost the levels but it doesn't.

    Thanks again, sh
    Attached Images Attached Images

  7. #7
    Senior Member TommySulivan's Avatar
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    have you looked into https://obsproject.com/ ? Its free and might be good to use to test out what the issue is

  8. #8
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    Thanks Tommy, I'll have a look.

    I got a reply to a related post elsewhere that made me think I hadn't given enough information to this forum. Let me try again and see if it makes more sense.

    What I'd like to do is record a video podcast with me sitting at my office desk. This can't be live for legal reasons. The office is fairly large with a carpeted floor and no noticeable HVAC noise. The long side of the office is all glass with blinds so I have a lot of control over the light. I also got a couple softboxes to help.

    In the original effort I put the C920 webcam into a homebrewed teleprompter using an old monitor for scrolling text. That works fine and the little webcam does a pretty good job of framing the shot. Since the internal mic is behind a plate of glass, I bought an ATR2100 microphone for UBS input although I have some XLR mics from back in the day. I had hoped it would be out of the shot.

    My problem here is that the ATR2100 through USB and every other mic I've tried through the Scarlett is still hardly audible in the Logitech software. The Scarlett does go into the computer through USB as well. When I tested them on an acoustic guitar amp they were all fine -- in some cases, pretty loud. While a lot of people like the video quality of the webcam, nobody seems to be thrilled with either the audio or the software. Right now it seems that no matter how hot I set the input and how hot I send in the signal, it is still very limp.

    If (big if) we assume that the video is good enough, I just need to figure out how to add quality audio. Right now I'm thinking I should get a Tascam DR-60D or maybe a DR-05 to record from the microphones and add that into the video produced by the webcam. My assistant (who will be the director of these things) also has a Canon Digital Rebel T2i and I made a mounting bracket for it when I made the teleprompter. The C920 isn't the only video option.

    I don't want to throw endless money at this project but I don't mind paying enough to make it work right. I mostly want to know how people can use the video from the C920 and edit it with an outside audio source to make things look and sound good. I know a lot of people do it. If I need a different camera, we have the Canon or I'm sure someone will sell me one. A tutorial vid would be great but I've yet to find one where the presenter lays it out for newbs.

    As always, thanks to all for your patience and interest. My forum participation over the years has been more asking than explaining and I always appreciate the effort people take on my behalf, sh

  9. #9
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    My suggestion is that you forget about using the Logitech software, rather as Tommy says look at OBS or vMix Basic HD, VidBlaster Home or Wirecast Studio. These will allow you to bring in both Audio and Video, mix them, record and a lot more besides. The C920 is fine for what you want to do any as Mike Phillips has indicated the microphones are fine. You can download a trial version of either vMix or Vidblaster to ensure a solution will meety your needs, OBS is open-source.

    As for tutorails for newbies. Check out Tom Sinclair at www.easternshorebroadcasting.com or his Youtube channel

  10. #10
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    Thanks Andrew, I'm beginning to feel less like a fish flopping on the deck.

    In retrospect, I probably should have approached this starting with the software since the hardware -- at least camera(s) and mics -- are known quantities. I should have also mentioned I'm using Windows 7 Pro 64-bit. The machine most of this will be done on has an i5 chip, an SSD and a spinner, 8 GB RAM and a discreet GPU that turned-out not to be necessary for my graphics needs. I run three monitors. I pull one of those and plug the VGA into a resurrected monitor that fits in the teleprompter.

    Since the computer is in the room, I've wondered how much I need to put between the signals and the PC. Maybe not much but I think a little mixer would help for controls if it doesn't make much noise. I've also thought that an audio recorder might improve things too. B&H still offers last year's DR-60D bundled with 2 PluralEyes licenses for about the same price as the software (or many competing entry-level packages) alone. I've got the lav. I'm still thinking of the AT875r because I'd like to have a wider frame than some of the face-in-your-face podcasts out there. That can wait.

    Still, software is my next consideration. Since my assistant will end up doing the editing, I may leave it to her. Any more recommendations are still welcome. It doesn't have to be cheap but ease of use is a consideration

    Tom Sinclair has been very helpful. I followed his site from the YouTube vids on a parallel track and both trails led back here. I want to thank everyone again for your patience and solutions. sh
    Last edited by luthierwnc; 10-28-2014 at 05:34 AM. Reason: more information

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