Category Archives: audio

Audio comparison: Blue Yeti vs headset, webcam microphone, video

You know how you sound lower-pitch to yourself and higher-pitch to others? (Science says it’s because of bone conduction.)

I sound high-pitch to myself. I’ve always sounded like a kid. Friends teased me about voice-acting for anime. I tried to avoid being self-conscious about it, but you know how sometimes that sneaks in anyway. I found it difficult to listen to recordings of my presentations or podcasts. I ended up paying other people to transcribe them.

As it turns out, this might be one of the things you can fix with money. Here’s a quick comparison of:

  • the Blue Yeti
  • the Logitech H800 headset I usually use
  • the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 I use for video
  • my computer’s built-in microphone

With the Yeti, I can deal with listening to myself. Hmm. That’s something. It’s not cheap, but if this is one of those rare occasions you can spend money to get around confidence barriers… bring it on!

I justify the expense by telling myself that this will encourage me to make more videos and screencasts. Let’s see how it works out. For recording and webcasts, I put the Yeti on a thick stack of fleece to help muffle the vibrations from the desk.

I know there are even fancier microphones out there. I think those will have to wait for a better setup, though. I’m fine with the quality of the Yeti, and I’ve learned not to let my expenses outpace my senses by too much.

If you’re thinking of getting your own, try getting it from a brick-and-mortar store so that you can return it if it doesn’t work out for you. Apparently, microphones do different things for different voices. Here’s an affiliate link to it on Amazon, if you’re inclined to get it online: Blue Microphones Yeti USB Microphone – Silver Edition. =) (I’ll get a tiny fraction of the purchase price, which is handy for buying the occasional book.)

Hope this helps! I’d love to hear (from) you.

Editing audio and embedding it into a MS Powerpoint file

Jade asked me for help in converting a CEO interview from 51 MB (it was an AVI!) to something more manageable, condensing it from 00:02:09 to around 00:01:30, and embedding it into a Microsoft Powerpoint file in time for her dry-run presentation.

Fortunately, I’m a geek.

I used AoA Audio Extractor to extract the audio track and convert it into an MP3, which slimmed the 51 MB file down to 1.5 MB. Then I used Audacity to edit the MP3. First, I removed all the ums, ahs, repeated words, filler words, and long pauses. That got me to about 00:01:50. After that, I removed as many of the questions as I could, and trimmed other unnecessary words from the answers. Result? Clocked in at 00:01:26, four seconds under target. Woohoo!

I’m starting to enjoy editing audio. I used to think editing was a bit tedious, but now I see it as a way to help people sound like much better speakers.

As it turns out, you can’t embed an MP3 into a Microsoft Powerpoint file – at least, not directly. Microsoft Powerpoint can embed WAVs, but WAVs can be quite big. (16 MB vs 1.1 MB for our condensed file.) But you can use CDex to add a RIFF wav header to your MP3, change your Tools > Options > General > Link sounds with file size greater than option to something like 50000 (to embed anything smaller than 50MB), and then insert your new WAV-which-is-really-an-MP3-in-disguise.

I put it together and sent her the file using instant messaging. (Yay Sametime!). We confirmed that it worked at 9:59 AM, just in time for her 10 AM dry run.

Thank you, Internet!