Lend Me Your Ears

I've always had bad luck when it comes to Mics, through out my computing history. Basically, I've never managed to get nice, clear, audio of myself. Back when I had, I can't remember now, but some Soundblaster gaming card, I tried using a battery powered lapel mic, it just didn't seem to work properly.

Either, I was just too quiet, or, if I turned up the gain so people could hear me, a horrible noisy mess, (and no… not the horrible mess that is my actual voice). I tried headsets with mics, which included a USB interface, no luck. I finally found success going to a USB mic, the AudioTechnica AT2020USB, and, is what I started my streaming with.

That, of course, gave me other issues. I wasn't using a boom at the time, and I found that having it sit on the desk (it came with a little stand) would, of course, get noise with any tap or bump of the desk. Plus it wasn't located close to my mouth, so I people weren't quite getting the full awesomeness of my voice. So I decided a boom arm was what I needed to get next.

This caused a problem, USB cables have a limited length, and using a boom with a USB mic would mean I would have an issue. This could have been worked around with a USB hub, but I figured, better to just get the option that removes the cable length issue. So, I went for a more traditional XLR mic.

XLR (and the other connector type TRS) are capable of carrying "balanced audio", which I won't go into great detail here. But it's a trick that lets audio signals travel pretty long distances that allows any noise picked up along the way, to be filtered out. This means that my mic cable could have more than enough length without issues. (I believe anywhere from 15 to 30 meters)

XLR also allows power to be send along the cable to power the device at the other end (48V phantom power). Typically, this phantom power is used with mics known as "condenser" mics. The summary is, I ended up going the proper condenser mic, XLR, and USB audio interface combo.

I got the XLR version of the AT2020, an XLR cable (about 5 meters long), a Behringer Xenyx 302USB audio interface, and a Rhode PSA boom arm (with the AT8458 shock mount and pop sock filter). I had some problems with the Behringer, the audio quality wasn't fantastic. I eventually had to return it and got a Focusrite Scarlet Solo. It worked! I had good quality mic audio (at last!), but naturally, it didn't stop there…

To be continued…

Twitch Streaming

So, I've started streaming on Twitch, and thought I probably should write about it. There are many YouTube videos and Twitch streamers who have useful tips and information for new streamers. However, I'm not familiar with anyone who is doing something similar, but, honestly I haven't looked too hard.

This won't be a blog, or discussion about how to do streaming on a budget, although I can't afford to go crazy with money, I do have a day job, and an income that I can spend some on my streaming setup. I generally have to sell some things I have on Ebay to try and make up the funds for purchases.

So, what are my motivations for streaming? Good question! Honestly, I really want to be able to play games (typically with friends) for a substantial amount of time. At the moment, on weekdays, I come home from work, try to help with the kids, eat tea, get the kids ready for bed, then watch TV with my wife until she goes to bed.

Around this time (9:30PM to 10:00PM) is the time where I get to play some games. Since I have to work the next day, midnight is generally the latest I should be staying up. Doing this schedule for five hours a week is a bit punishing, since I have to work the next day, and I'm not at my best. So, I have just recently, cut down to only doing it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Now, if I could get a good enough income from streaming, then I would have the flexibility with my hours, spend time with the kids after they come home from school, and get a better sleep cycle.

I honestly don't expect to be a top tier streamer, making $250,000 a month streaming. But, I would like to be in a position where I can make it a full-time job, so I can justify spending more money and time on gaming. I'm already in a decent enough financial position that I don't need an income from Twitch, et al, so it's pretty low risk in that regard.

Anyway, I figure I might as well blog about it, since I haven't blogged on here for awhile. I really need some subject matter to blog about, and lacking a subject that I'm a real expert on, I figured I would just blog about something that I'm hoping to learn.