A few years ago I made the investment in getting proper audio recording equipment for podcasting, and I am putting it to decent use with the Edge of Empire podcast, and perhaps will be doing something else with it in the near future too.

Anyway at the moment it’s set up in the studio and is capable of hosting two people in there and I have a mix-minus set up using an old PC just for Skype to bring other people into the studio.

It was always the plan to be able to set up the equipment elsewhere to allow for recording with four people in the same location and now I am planning on adding the extra equipment to do that, in fact I have already added some of it, and it’s lead to a few discussions about what I do add to it.

What I have done to enable this, is I have bought a gig bag to transport the mixer and headphone amplifier, along with power cables for them so I don’t have to pull them from behind my studio desk. In the bag is also four XLR cables to run the microphones and two pop filters, to which I will add the two from my studio.

And I picked up four scissor arm microphone stands, I already have two set up on my studio desk, but pulling them out would be a real pain in the bum, and I want to minimise the disruption when recording elsewhere, so I have four available to just take with me where I need them.

This leaves me missing three items, two extra microphones and a pair of headphones, eventually it will be two pairs of headphones, but Lindsay has a pair of monitor headphones that I got her for her birthday this year, which are identical to my ones and she has said I may use them when I need more than three sets of headphones.

The discussion I have been having, both with myself and with the girls is around buying identical equipment to what I have or upgrading the ones in permanent use, or at least upgrading one of them, because most of the time it’s just me in the studio.

At the moment I use MXL 990 microphones and if I were to upgrade I am thinking of an Audio-Technica AT-2035, but that’s considerably more than the MXL 990s which do a pretty good job and sound excellent to my ear.

Headphone wise I currently use some Audio-Technica ATH-M30x and these are really good, they deliver excellent sound quality and are very comfortable to wear. If I were to upgrade the next model up the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is very tempting, and has the advantage of a detachable cable.

So I am currently thinking that initially when I buy the third microphone just after Christmas, it will be another MXL 990, and then I shall see what the money is like before pulling the trigger on buying the fourth. If there is enough money then I will buy a better one, if not another MXL 990 will suffice. The money situation will also decide on what pair of headphones I get as well.

Something else to consider would be if there is a noticeable difference between an upgraded microphone and the original, when we do have more than one person using the setup, would we be risking a notice or difference between myself using the more expensive microphone and everyone else using the MXL 990s, and would that as a result make things sound a bit off.

Another thing to consider is that the MXL 990s are very very sensitive, so literally pick up every mouse click I make whilst recording the show, and I do need to use the mouse to change between stuff on the screen so I can keep myself clear with the show notes, which makes me think they might not be so great on the road, and perhaps something a little less sensitive might be better for that, so it’s something I need to look at, but this would be expensive because instead of buying two additional microphones, I would be buying four additional microphones.

But then it’s been pointed out that four people in the same place would lead to quite a bit of microphone bleed using the MXL 990s, so perhaps I would be better off with four dynamic microphones, like the Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB. However the problem with that is, that they would be a lot of money to buy four of them, and they are very hard to get hold of in the UK. And looking at the oft suggested alternative the Samson Q2U presents the same issues.

So in terms of that possibility I am looking at the Behringer Ultravoice XM8500, which is cheap as chips, about £20 a microphone which would make four of them much less than the cost of a single MXL 990. And its not like they would be in constant use, they would only be for the situations where we have more than two people to record with. 

But there is an added cost to getting these that I will need to consider, I will need shock mounts for all four of them, but these will only be a few pounds each. Then again, it’s a dynamic microphone so a shock mount isn’t that big of a deal for it.

Another upgrade I am in the process of making are a pair of lavalier microphones for recording videos, they are only cheap ones as video isn’t intended to be a big thing, and they are more to experiment with before making a bigger investment in that area. Plus I already have a shotgun microphone for that as well, which can do quite a bit of that very well.

Video is something I want to explore more of, just got to figure what kind of content we want to do and how to go about doing it and get good results.

The other upgrade will eventually be a small setup for Graham, at the moment he records using a not so great microphone, and his channel often needs a bit of work. I was considering grabbing him a cheap mixer and another MXL 990 so we have prettty similar sound quality, but if I go down the route of the four Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 then he could be given one of those and a XLR to USB adaptor to plug it into his computer, throw in a scissor microphone stand and a pop filter and he would be giving me much better audio.

So considering all this, I have decided that I will be going down the Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 route, my MXL 990s are expensive and if they were damaged when out of the studio, it’s a lot of money to replace one, whereas the XM8500 is already extremely durable and if damaged would be easy and cheap to replace.

Anyway I am hoping to have the ability to do four microphones for the Heresy Weekender in March, which I should be able to manage, would be nice to set up a mini studio and record with some of the attendees which will be cool.

What I am Modelling

I finished off Grand Master Voldus, and I am very happy with him. A lovely model to paint and full of so much detail. I have been considering a small force of Grey Knights to accompany my Militarium Tempestus and I think I am now sold on the idea, so that will be something at look at probably late next year.

On Friday I started some work on the last few models for my Breacher heavy list, specifically the pair of Land Raider Proteus for the two MKIII Breacher Squads and the 2011 MKIII Boarding Marine who is going to be the lists Praetor.

I have the Boarding Marine about 60% done and the Land Raiders about 50% done right now.

What I am Reading

I have gone this week without picking up my Kobo, but I have almost finished listening to Path of Heaven

What I am Playing

I haven’t played any games this week, but me and Lindsay are going to play Carcassonne tomorrow at Raiders.

What I am Backing

Still backing Munchkin Starfinder right now, it’s only got a few days to go, but I strongly suggest you go and back it because it’s going to be brilliant, really hoping we get to $60k and get those credsticks.

Today our package from The Creativity Hub arrived which contained our reward for backing Untold, which included the game, Batman Story Cubes (which are going to my nephew Freddie for Christmas) Adventure Time Story Cubes and the Story Cubes Collectors Box into which has gone all our non licensed sets of Story Cubes.

What I am Cooking

Illness and fatigue has kept me out of the kitchen this week, so I haven’t cooked anything.

What I am Spending

As previously said I have purchased a few little things for the podcast, specifically a pair of pop filters, a lead for the mixer a couple of cheap lavalier microphones, and four scissor arm microphone stands. And from the same place I got an adaptor that will allow Lindsay to use the headphones I got for her birthday with her record player.

I was able to pick up a second hand Behringer Ultravoice XM8500 for a few pounds on eBay, so I snapped that up to assess it before I make the plunge I buy a bunch more.

I also made a small purchase from Forgeworld, I got myself a Legion MKIV Destroyer Squad with Jump Packs to expand my current squad to 10 men and a Malanthrope for my Tyranids.

And I bought a Cadre Fireblade for my Tau, I was a little unsure about the model, it’s never really appealed to me that much, but I was feeling down and wanted to cheer myself up.

I was also offered a sweet deal on a Skull Cannon and some Blood Crusher from a friend, he bought a Start Collecting box but just wanted the Bloodletters, so I kinda snapped up that deal.

Slightly boring purchase, I bought a new doorbell for the house as some little toe rag nicked ours, but I did something we have been thinking of doing for a while and got one with two ringers, one for upstairs and one for downstairs. When me and Megan are bad we can’t always get to the door and the current ringer is hard for Lindsay to hear in her office during the day, so by having two we can make sure that the door gets heard by everyone and if we aren’t able to go, Lindsay can.