Little USB audio box for podcasting

I’ve been looking around for a simple solution to an audio issue I’ve had for some time.  In the past I’ve had a computer set up just for audio.  Over the years I’ve found myself working on numerous other computers when doing web related tasks.

So here’s the issues.

  • Most computers have average quality soundcards
  • I have good quality audio equipment ( Mikes, mixers, preamps, recorders)
  • Average soundcards have low quality AD converters (Analogue to Digital converters)
  • Low quality converters degrade the audio when it passes through them (quality in < Garbage out)
  • The sound that you end up with to use in a multi media production is just not a good enough (If you care about what you do)

So here’s what I did.

I went to my local musical instrument shop and purchased a little box.
The little box has a couple of a LINE inputs. 
In a nutshell, line inputs are the sockets that you’d plug audio cables into. 
The little box has a USB output. 
A cable runs from the little box and plugs into the USB sockets on the computer.

The next step:

I plug a decent quality microphone into my sound mixer
My mixer plugs into the little box
The little box plugs into the computer USB socket
I start up a simple audio recording software application
I use the audio recording software (Audacity) to record speech or any other noise
I end up with audio that is acceptable for the jobs on hand

I’m happy because I don’t need to upgrade the soundcard on every computer I work on.

The box I use is made by Behringer, it’s called a UCA202 U-control. 
http://www.behringer.com/UCA202/index.cfm?lang=ENG

behringer_uca202.jpg

Yes, there are other similar devices on the market.  But this one got me out of trouble when I needed it.

Problems that arose during testing: 

It didn’t like the front USB ports on my computer, but once this was sorted it did the job that I wanted it to do.

It also disabled all the other audio in my computer.  To restore audio functions back to normal, I just unplugged the USB cable.  A clunky solution but the workaround is suitable and only atouch annoying.

There are now a number of products on the market for podcasting, but there are many people like myself that don’t need thge kit because we have audio and music gear lying around.

A podcasting kit will give you:  A mike, a mike stand, a little mixer/audio interface, a cable to plug into the computer, a bit of software to record the incoming audio, RSS software, headphones. 

M-Audio  http://www.m-audio.com/products/en_us/PodcastFactory-main.html

podcast-m-audio.jpg

If you want to know more about Podcasting. Read “the secrets of podcasting

http://safari.peachpit.com/0321438434

Secrets of podcasting

I need to point out that I don’t profit in any way from making these recommendations 

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