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Trends in Technology: Microphones
Modern day applications have driven the market toward the creation of new styles and types of microphones. For podcasting and computer recording, microphones with a USB output for connection directly to a computer are now in high demand. Available models include Audio-Technica's AT2020 USB side-address cardioid condenser, Shure's PG42USB large diaphragm condenser microphone, Blue Microphone's Plug 'n Play, Snowflake Portable USB, and Yeti microphones, Samson's CO1U condenser, its G-Track, and Go Mic models, the Rode Podcaster large diaphragm model, and AKG's Perception 120 to mention but a few. Just like standard microphones, not all USB output microphones are created equally. USB converters can and will sometimes cause unwanted audio artifacts such as digital noise and other unusual sounds, so always be cautious when purchasing a product. Many standard microphones can now be adapted to having a USB output with the addition of an external XLR-to-USB adapter such as Tascam's US-122mkII which offers two microphone inputs, two line inputs, on-board phantom power, a high impedance instrument input plus MIDI in and out. Shure offers the X2u, featuring a headphone jack with volume control, integrated preamp, monitor mix control, 16-bit 48kHz sample rate and +48V phantom power. Others such as M-Audio's Fast Track Pro offer two front panel mic or line inputs, on-board phantom power, inserts for outboard effects, balanced or unbalanced analog audio outputs, S/PDIF digital in and out, MIDI in and out, and more.
Another application for a standard dynamic microphone is with JK Audio's BlueDriver, a Bluetooth device that attaches to a microphone's XLR connector. When paired with a Bluetooth-enabled cell phone, the device's 3.5mm jack provides a mic level signal suitable for recording along with cell phone audio. Devices of this type provide versatile and economical field operations for news gathering -- especially when paired with one of those long-time resident dynamic microphones that have been lying around radio stations for many years.
-- More present mic pics continued on page 4
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