Relevant Resources: AV supplies for professional speakers

I help edit SPEAKER Magazine for the National Speakers Association (NSA). Each month I curate the Relevant Resources column – a list of time-saving tools and technologies.

The June 2012 edition listed AV supplies for professional speakers. Speakers for speakers, so to speak…

Professional speakers have a multitude of AV needs in their home offices as well as on the platform. Whether your goal is to make money in your jammies or reduce noise interruption when presenting to live audiences, you should consider investing in your own audio products. Get started with this assortment of quality microphones, recorders, speakers, software solutions, and accessories.

Pop screen

Pop filterYou know when you say the letter “p” into a microphone and you hear that annoying pop noise in the audio recording? It doesn’t have to be that way. Pop filters are screens that filter the popping sounds that occur when you speak into a microphone (not to be confused with the foam covers that function as windscreens). Using a pop filter can make a significant difference in your sound quality. Check out this filter for only $15 on amazon.com.

How to Record Skype Calls

CallBurner is an application that works with Skype to record your calls and convert them directly to mp3 or wav files for the best quality. Ideal for business meetings and podcasts, CallBurner creates crisp, clean, professional recordings, and is great for keeping a call archive. PC only. Free 30-day free trial, $49.95 after.

A Simple Audio File Editor

Audacity Audio EditorWhether you’re new to editing, or you’re a pro who just wants an easy, yet powerful, solution, Audacity® is the package deal. A free, open source, cross-platform software for recording and editing sounds, Audacity supports mp3, wav and aiff files; allows users to cut, copy, splice and mix sounds together; and you can also change the speed and pitch of recordings. This is the software I use to edit all my podcasts. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

A Quality Digital Recorder

Olympus Digital RecorderA digital voice recorder, like the Olympus VN-8100PC Digital Voice Recorder 142600, allows you to record your own presentations and interview audience members for testimonials. This one features 2 GB memory, USB connection, support for mp3 or WMA formats, a large LCD screen, and a long battery life. $82. Use it with the Olympus ME-15 Microphone. $22.

The Snowball Microphone

Snowball MicIf you’re looking for a simple plug n’ play mic that connects to your computer and is ideal for podcasting, check out the Snowball USB Microphone. Snowball is the world’s first professional USB microphone that sounds just as good on your desktop as it does in a recording studio. The retro design is attractive and its three-way switch can handle a variety of recording applications. Connects with PC, Mac, or iPad. $66.

Screencasting

Want to speak, train, and sell more? Camtasia® Studio makes it easy. With this software, you can record presentations, product demos, and sales presentations; create interactive “screencast” training videos; and add a boost to your blog without going over budget. Available for PC and Mac. $300.

An Invisible Mic

Tech-geek speakers who want the ultimate cool onstage presence will love the Countryman E6 Omni Earset Mic. Practically invisible to live audiences, this headset captures sources clearly with excellent rejection of ambient noise, and it is incredibly comfortable to wear. $325.

A Rechargeable Wireless Microphone System

VocoPro Wireless MicSave cash without compromising quality when you opt for the VHF-3300 2 Channel VHF Rechargeable Wireless Microphone System from VocoPro. While not in use, set microphones in the charging port on top of the receiver. The set features Squelch Circuitry to eliminate background noise, individual volume controls, LED indicators to monitor signal strength, and a range of up to 150 feet. $142.

Great Self-Contained Speaker System

Behringer Speaker SystemSay goodbye to those backbreaking floor wedges when you discover the 150-Watt Behringer EUROLIVE B205D Speaker System, an ultra-compact PA speaker with amazing sound quality. Featuring revolutionary amplifier technology, a 3-channel mixer, two mic preamps with phantom power, dedicated stereo input and more, Eurolive delivers high power and tremendous functionality at a great price. $150.

Shure Wireless Mics

Shure Wireless MicWhen onstage, a hands-free lavalier microphone provides freedom of mobility. The Shure SLX124/85/SM58 Dual System features a Shure SLX4 Diversity Receiver, a Shure SLX2/58 Handheld Transmitter with SM58 Microphone, a Shure WL185 Cardioid Lavalier Microphone, and a Shure SLX1 Bodypack Wireless Transmitter. In addition to serving as backup, the second (handheld) wireless mic is a great way to perform Q&A with your audience without the hassle of cables. $889.

Portable Presentation Speakers

GoSpeak Portable SpeakersLike the Behringer Eurolive, the GoSpeak! Pro Portable Presentation Speakers are extremely portable and pack an impressive list of features, but at a slightly higher price point. These 13 x 9 inch flat panel NXT® technology speakers slide into your laptop bag with ease and provide uniform volume throughout a room with up to 200 people. Plug them into a regular microphone, CD player, laptop, or other sound source. $290.

You can subscribe to SPEAKER magazine on the NSA website.

4 Comments so far
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If you have got the spare cash I would have to recommend Blue Yeti USB Microphone. Its about $40 more compared to the Snowball Microphone but it sounds just like a $300 mic. Great article as ever Ian.

Tim Cimbura has written a detailed article about a great portable sound system for speakers called the Happie Amp which costs under $250 and can handle events of 20-400 people indoors or outdoors.

I am looking for a voice recorder set up to capture speaker and audience of up to 100 people. What would you suggest? Thanks

Alison

I don’t know of a specific solution for a single fixed-place recorder that will capture the entire audience. However, the VocoPro and Shure systems listed in the article include a mic for the speaker and another unit that a runner could carry into the audience. I’ve also been to events where the second mic is placed on a stand in the aisle and audience members step forward to ask questions and comment. You would then run the audio from the speaker and the audience into a sound board attached to a digital recorder.

Hope this helps.

Ian



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