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Saturday, August 18, 2007

Podcasting--basic equipment

I have been interested in podcasting as a way to meet the needs of my auditory learners--especially in a totally online environment. I researched a variety of digital voice recorders, microphone headsets, and lavalieres using the reviews on Amazon.com, About.com, and other blogs. I currently use a Plantronics headset (not sure what model). It sits easily on my head, but the sound is awful--complete with hisses and outside noise--no matter how I adjust the position of the microphone and the sound quality. In addition, it records in mono, which leaves it sounding a little tinny.

The digital voice recorder I've decided to buy is the Olympus WS-300M 256 MB Digital Voice Recorder and Music Player. It's about the same size as a 25-piece pack of gum. Two other selling points were the built in MP3 player, which holds about 66 songs and the USB connectivity. Olympus also incorporates noise-cancelling technology. It runs for about 15 hours on 1 AAA battery. Amazon's price is only $78.82. The Olympus WS-320M 1 GB Digital Voice Recorder and Music Player has similar features except that it can record up to 266 songs--at a price of $124.77. The purists may hedge on the inclusion of the MP3 player as unnecessary; however, I don't currently have an iPod; therefore, being able to have just a few of my favorite songs is better than having to carry separate CDs everywhere.

I decided to go ahead and buy the Olympus ME-15 (clip) microphone since I also plan to record my workshops and lectures. I wanted to make sure that I had a clear sound. The microphone is also UPC. It's not a bad price for $21.99.

I'm looking the Plantronics DSP-400 Digitally-Enhanced USB Foldable Stereo Headset and Software for $44.98. Several reviews indicate that the headset works well for voice recording (i.e. Skype and Dragonspeak). It is foldable, stereo, USB, and noise-cancelling. One drawback mentioned often is that the long cord and the DSB component integrated into the cord. I'm not sure of it's function--but since I primarily plan on using the headset in my office, I don't think the drawbacks will outweigh the sound quality and convenience.

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