Introducing the Staunton Media Lab

smiling girl with headset

This is the first official announcement of something we’re calling the Staunton Media Lab. We begin with our first podcast, a series of sound checks cooked down to a 3-minute audio file.

Have you ever wondered, “Would I sound better if I used a webcam?” The answer is, “Yes!” That’s the surprising result of our side-by-side comparison of 10 different microphone/recording combinations. Listen to the embedded audio and use the comments below to tell us which sounds best to you—and why.

The Staunton Media Lab is an attempt to build a vocational training program for people who are hearing-impaired, visually-impaired, or cognitively-impaired teaching the skills of editing audio and video files. Today’s audio file was assembled from more than a dozen recordings by audio engineer Coley Evans, who has been blind since birth. For those in our audience who are hearing impaired, we provide the following guide to the audio file.

Guide to the Audio Sampler for the Hearing-Impaired

This audio recording is comprised of 5- to 15-second samples of different microphones connected to different recording devices. These configurations are similar to the choices of microphones that are available to home video and audio enthusiasts and small businesses.

Depending on the configuration, audio samples will contain more or less noise, more or less treble or bass, more or less ambient sound. This is similar to a sampler of video recording devices comparing the image capture capabilities of each configuration.

Here is a list of the connections tested and some consensus opinions at the Staunton Media Lab about the quality of the sound resulting from each configuration.

  1. Lavalier (lapel) microphone into digital recorder (sounds good)
  2. Sure dynamic electrostatic hand-held microphone (good for singers)
  3. Logitech headset microphone into USB port (too much mouth noise)
  4. Sony MiniDV camera
  5. Lavalier (lapel) mic into phantom power on Sony MiniDV video camera (sounds great)
  6. Built-in microphones on Olympus digital recorder (sounds great)
  7. Built-in mic on a HP Notebook computer (cavelike and mono)
  8. (discarded)
  9. (discarded)
  10. (discarded)
  11. Logitech webcam into USB port (sounds great—surprisingly, our top pick)
  12. Built-in microphones on Tascam digital recorder (low/soft and cavelike)
  13. Keyboard into Kurzweil midi into Olympus digital recorder (nice and clear)

The closing credits were recorded from a Skype call made with a Logitech headset and microphone plugged into USB port.

The fact that we can get clear audio from a Skype call should give you some confidence to buy audio editing services from the Staunton Media Lab. We would be delighted to schedule an interview with you, your employees, your customers, your mother, or whomever you want us to interview. We’ll schedule the interview, record the interview, then cut it down to five minutes, two minutes, or a six-second Vine—whatever works best, whatever you want.

We need your encouragement to keep the Staunton Media Lab working to help those with different capability arrays to use their extraordinary skills to create a better than average listening or viewing experience for other people. Please connect with us and share your suggestions for the Staunton Media Lab.

See You Next Week!

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