Why should you care about microphones for your webinars?
We've talked about this in the past already. Having a good webcam and good video is essential but not as essential as the sound. You can watch a video with an ok-resolution but you cannot watch a video with a terrible sound.
In the end, it's all about sending the right message, make people hear and understand whatever you have to say. There are a lot of parameters to take into account such as the bandwidth. But if you have a good sound quality, your webinars (and videos in general) will look a lot more professional.
If you have a good sound quality, your webinars (and videos in general) will look a lot more professional.
Plus, if you invest in an external microphone, it will capture only/mostly your voice. Usually, people using their computer mic get an echoey sound, as if they were talking in an empty room. This is due to the fact that the sound from their voice bounces on the walls before going to the microphone. An external microphone should help. You can also, soundproof your "webinar room" using acoustic foam.
Take this video for example (I absolutely recommend this channel by the way in you're into microphones):
You can probably tell that the sound does not reverb on the walls and the presenters sounds loud and clear. This is mostly due to three things: a good microphone, proper sound capturing system and a sound proof room (see the foam on the walls and all the furnitures?)
USB vs Non-USB vs Jack
Now to be honest an external microphone can as simple as your iPhone earphones. Those are actually pretty good. And they use a mini-jack port. But if you want to step up your sound game then you can look for podcasting microphones.
Some like the Yeti, uses USB ports. You plug them into your computer, refresh your browser, and that's it.
If you want to step up your sound game then you can look for podcasting microphones.
But what if you are hosting a webinar like a physical roundtable, or an interview? Most of the time, you will see interviewers using hand microphones or lavaliers (the ones that you attach to your shirt). Those do not plug in USB. They use a different kind of inputs, called XLR inputs.
For instance, at Livestorm, we use the AKG Lavalier C417PP.
Now how do you plug that to your USB port? This is where the Scarlett comes in.
Scarlett: convert any microphones to USB
The Scarlett is a small box that transforms any "traditional" XLR inputs into USB inputs. Making any "professional" microphone discoverable by your browser, and thus Livestorm.
Plug your microphone(s) into the main inputs. Then connect the Scarlett to your computer using the USB port. When testing the sound, make sure to increase the gain if needed. Finally, click that 48v button. It will turn on the power for the microphones from the Scarlett. That's it!
How to use the Scarlett and external microphones with Livestorm
In Livestorm, like any browser-based conferencing software, your browser needs to detect it.
Go to your webinar room, and check the external devices. In the audio menu, choose the Scarlett USB option (see screen above).
There you have it! Now you can host webinars with lavaliers microphones (like we do!) or hand microphones for your live interviews!
Which model should you choose
We went for the 2i2 (read: 2 inputs / 2 outputs). But if you need more microphones at the same time, you can go up to 16! Prices go from 150€ to 700€ depending on your number of inputs.
I hope that helped, and let us know in the comments if you have any questions or feedback on this device!