Oh Shure

February 07, 2023

… and a Vocaster, two.

Part one

It was many years coming, but I have finally made the leap from USB microphone to XLR. The move was pushed through mainly by the thought of getting a microphone which would pick up even less of background sounds than the previous ones I have tried. I have the luxury of being able to control my regular podcast location pretty thoroughly, and so background sounds have never really been a serious problem, but when you regularly listen back to and edit your own audio it is just one of those things you keep thinking about. There definitely is the odd sound I do want to include for added colour, but they are very few and far between, and do not include anything I can not bring closer to the microphone if I really want to.

At some point, I was talking to my brother about microphones. He does a bit of music creation and had set up a very neat studio in a bag including a classic singing microphone. It occurred to me to ask what the difference was between a singing microphone and one for podcasting, and - to the best of my hazy recollection - he replied that the major difference he could think of was that you need to be really close to a singing microphone to be picked up, everything else falls off very quickly.

Perfect, I thought.

Then I put the thought of XLR microphones away for quite a while because of the second obstacle: how to connect the microphone to one of those computers I insist on using for recording. You need some kind of interface, and there are of course a million of them. Most likely, every single one would work just fine, but most of them would most likely also be complete overkill, and probably lack one or two things I would want if I just knew enough to ask for them.

Time passed, along came December of 2022. I was still interested in a XLR microphone and an interface. I also had some money mentally put aside to invest (cough) in audio gear.

Funding secured, as some would say.

Then, I read about the Focusrite vocaster two. Two XLR inputs, made for podcasters, plenty of other inputs, plenty of other features, all in a nice little package.

Sold Bought.

Once I had decided on the interface, he microphone was a much quicker choice, I headed to Marco Arment's review of podcasting microphones and picked the Shure beta 87A.

Suddenly, I had bought a microphone, XLR interface, and a suitable amount of XLR cable, and just had to sit around and wonder what had just happened for a few business days until the package landed at a nearby pickup point.